By Rob Potter
HANCOCK September 23, 2003 On Friday night, the Roscoe Blue Devil football team, coaches, parents and fans made the short trip on Route 17 West to Exit 87 for a non-league game versus Hancock.
The contest, however, did not turn out as the Roscoe faithful planned.
With a light rain falling through much of the game, Hancock took a 26-0 lead in the first half.
The Wildcats then added a touchdown and safety in the second half to post a 34-0 win over the Blue Devils.
Trouble began early for Roscoe. A bad snap on a punt set the Wildcats up deep in Blue Devil territory. Hancock tailback Evan Appley then scored on a 19-yard run with 9:29 remaining in the first quarter to give the Wildcats an early 6-0 lead.
Hancock (3-0), a Section IV Class D team, made it 12-0 less than four minutes later. Running back Jared Thomas took a handoff from quarterback Erik Schror and scampered to the end zone.
After both teams had drives that stalled, Roscoe again took possession of the ball. But the Blue Devil offense went three-and-out and Justin Bowers again punted the ball to the Wildcats.
Hancock then drove 74 yards in seven plays to paydirt. Appley capped the drive with a 26-yard touchdown run, breaking to the outside and outrunning a pair of Roscoe defenders to the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, however, and the Wildcats held an 18-0 lead with 9:02 left in the second quarter.
Roscoe (0-3) then drove deep into Hancock territory on its next possession. After converting on a fourth-and-eight play, the Blue Devils had a first down at the Wildcats 12-yard line.
But the Blue Devils were pushed back on two consecutive running plays. Faced with a third-and-17 situation, Roscoe went to the air. Hancock defensive back Jared Thomas intercepted Bowers pass in the end zone. The touchback gave the Wildcats a first-and-10 at their own 20-yard line with 2:20 left until halftime.
Hancock responded with a 10-play scoring drive. On a second-and-12 at the Roscoe 16-yard line, Schror connected with tight end Joshua Rice on a touchdown pass. Rice made a diving catch and slid on the wet turf into the pylon in the corner of the end zone to give the Wildcats a 24-0 advantage with just four seconds showing on the scoreboard clock. Schror then ran for the two-point conversion as Hancock took a 26-0 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Appley scored his third touchdown of the night on a 49-yard scamper. Then in the fourth quarter the Wildcat defender Ricky Elmore tackled Bowers, who was attempting to punt, in the end zone for a safety.
The idea coming in was to use a lot of players in the tailback position, Hancock Coach Walt Smith said. Our line is really functioning in an efficient manner now. We have a lot of speed at the tailback position. One of our goals offensively is to get speed and [the] space [to run outside].
The Wildcats did that as six different players carried the ball at least two times. Appley led the way with 186 yards on 12 carries.
For the Blue Devils, Rob Eggleton finished the game with 51 yards rushing and Bowers added 39 yards on the ground.
We made some good plays offensively and defensively, Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart said. We have a young team and the players are trying to work together.
Roscoe will look to post its first win of the season this Friday night. Thanks to temporary lights donated by the Tony Bryztwa Memorial Fund for the second consecutive year, the Blue Devils will play a night game on their home field. Roscoe will host the Tri-Valley Bears at 8 p.m. in a non-league game.
The game will be one of two contests played under the lights in Roscoe this season. The other is scheduled for Friday, October 10 when the Blue Devils host Millbrook in a Section IX Class D game. Kick-off in that contest is set for 7 p.m.
Lights for the Oct. 10 game will be provided by a donation from the Roscoe Kiwanis Club.