By Rob Potter
GOSHEN October 12, 2004 Something had to give in Saturdays gridiron contest.
Both the visiting Sullivan West Bulldogs and the John S. Burke Catholic School Eagles entered their Section IX Class B Division II game with perfect records on the 2004 season.
A fired-up Bulldog squad wasted little time in grabbing the games momentum.
On the third play from scrimmage, SW running back Scott Peters took a handoff from quarterback Joe Meyer and ran off the left side of the Bulldog offensive line and quickly gained a few yards. As a couple of Burke defenders closed in, Peters cut back towards the middle of the field and outran everyone to the end zone. The 47-yard touchdown run gave SW a 6-0 lead with 10:29 remaining in the opening quarter. Meyer then split the uprights with his PAT kick to make it a 7-0 game.
From there, the Bulldog defense took over. The SW defensive unit sacked Burke quarterback Mike Sullivan 11 times and held the Eagles to just 4 yards of offense in the first half.
As for the SW offense, Orion Darder and Meyer each added a touchdown run as the team posted a 21-0 victory.
Meyer scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 27 seconds left in the second quarter and Darder had a 7-yard touchdown run five seconds into the fourth quarter. Meyer successfully kicked the PAT following both scores.
The defense did a great job today, SW Coach Ron Bauer said. It was probably our best defensive game all season.
With the win, SW improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Class B Division II competition. The victory also moved the Bulldogs one step closer to Class B postseason play.
Burke, which fell to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in Class B Division II, struggled to get on track throughout the game.
The Eagles best drive occurred late in the fourth quarter. After James Toledo recovered a SW fumble, Burke took over at the SW 38 with 4:35 left in the game.
Burke earned a first down and advanced to the SW 26-yard line. The Bulldogs defense stiffened, forcing the Eagles into a fourth-and-17 situation.
Burke then lined up for a field goal, but faked it in an attempt to get a first down deeper in the SW end of the field. Paul Donahue caught a pass from Sullivan to give the Eagles a first-and-10 at the SW 13-yard line with 1:40 remaining.
On that first down play, SW linebacker Jimmy Erlwein busted through the Burke offensive line to bring down running back Phil Ascaro for a 7-yard loss. Then on second down, Erlwein sacked Sullivan for a loss of 15 yards.
Following an incomplete pass, Burke again lined up for a field goal. With 38 seconds on the clock and the SW defense poised for another fake, Eagle kicker Nick Rappa booted the ball towards the uprights. But the pigskin hit the crossbar and fell to the turf.
SW took over on downs and Meyer took a knee to run out the clock and preserve the Bulldogs dominating shutout victory.
The leading rusher for Burke was Toledo, who gained 42 yards on five carries.
We just couldnt catch a break on the offensive side of the ball today, Burke Coach Dwight Smith said.
Smith praised the Bulldogs for the way they played.
Theyre good kids, tough kids, he said. I told our guys this week they would be facing a team of good, tough kids.
He was quick to note that despite being behind virtually the entire game, his team didnt give up.
They kept playing the whole game and didnt quit, Smith noted. They left everything they had out on the field.
In addition to his big plays on defense, Erlwein led the Bulldogs rushing attack. He gained 102 yards on the afternoon. Peters finished the day with 64 rushing yards.
Erlwein really ran well in the second half, Bauer said.
The veteran coach was very pleased with how the Bulldogs competed.
Everybody played a great game, he said.
After the big win on the road, SW will play its homecoming game this weekend. The Bulldogs are scheduled to host Tri-Valley in a non-league contest at 2 p.m. Saturday at the school districts Jeffersonville-Youngsville campus.