By Rob Potter
ELDRED September 13, 2005 For the first few moments of Saturdays non-league football game between visiting Webutuck and Eldred, it looked as though both teams had just taken a two-and-a-half hour bus ride to the field.
Even though the Webutuck Warriors, a team from Dutchess County endured a lengthy bus trip, both squads were lethargic during their first possessions.
However, Eldred (2-0) got fired up midway through the first quarter. On a second-and-11 play from its own 17-yard line, Webutuck quarterback Cody Cafiero dropped back to pass. He threw the ball to fullback Marquis Williams, but the ball bounced off his shoulder pads and into the arms of Yellowjacket defensive back Patrick Kean.
Kean was tackled immediately, but the Yellowjackets had a first-and-10 at the Webutuck 19 with 9:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Eight plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the Warriors 2-yard line, Eldred quarterback Nick McCormick rolled left and made his way into the end zone to give Eldred a 6-0 lead. The extra-point kick was blocked by Webutucks Charles Cafiero.
Webutuck (0-2) wasted little time in tying the game. Following the Eldred kickoff, the Warriors had a first-and-10 at their own 24-yard line. A delay of game penalty moved them back five yards, setting up first-and-15 at the 19.
Halfback Tiere Spruill took a handoff from Cody Cafiero and swept around left end. Spruill outran all of the Yellowjacket defenders on his way to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick was wide right and the game was tied a 6-6 with 6:54 remaining in the quarter.
The Yellowjackets broke that tie early in the second quarter. With 10:42 remaining until halftime, senior fullback Jonathan Counts scored on a 9-yard run to give Eldred a 12-6 lead. The touchdown was set up by a 35-yard pass from McCormick to Kean.
Once they had the lead, the Yellowjackets did not surrender it. Eldred scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 36-6 lead at halftime. The Yellowjackets went on to post a 44-14 victory over the Warriors.
The Yellowjackets other second quarter scores were three touchdown tosses by McCormick. He completed a 16-yard pass to J.T. Vogt, a 2-yard pass to Vogt and a 30-yard pass to Mike Prunka.
The Eldred defense extended the teams lead in the third quarter. With less than a minute remaining in the stanza, Webutuck was pinned deep in its own territory and faced a third-and-14 situation. The Warriors attempted a running play, but the pigskin popped loose and hit the turf. Eldred nose tackle Hilton Johnson recovered the ball in the end zone, which gave the Yellowjackets a 42-6 advantage.
The Yellowjacket defense also scored the teams final points of the afternoon. On a third-and-eight play from the Warriors 5-yard line, the Eldred defense swarmed in and the ball hit the turf. A Webutuck player recovered the ball in the end zone, but was immediately tackled by Patrick Speaker for a safety.
Webutuck recorded the final touchdown of the game with only 25 seconds remaining. Williams took a handoff from Cody Cafiero and scampered 35 yards to paydirt. Charles Cafiero then carried the ball into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
We started off slowly, Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. We didnt really get fired up until midway through the first quarter.
Kean noted that the interception by his son Patrick and McCormicks three second-quarter touchdown passes got the team going.
Nick threw some really nice passes today, the veteran coach said. We really woke up when he threw those touchdown passes to put us up on the scoreboard.
McCormick completed 6-of-9 passes for 135 yards and those three touchdowns.
Counts led the Yellowjackets rushing attack with 61 yards on 17 carries. McCormick added 15 yards on four carries and Patrick Kean had seven yards on two carries.
Defensively, John Adams, Jeremy DeForge and Johnson each recorded four tackles and one assist.
The leading rusher for Webutuck was Spruill, who had 185 yards.
Webutuck Coach Doug Winston noted that a second-quarter injury to starting linebacker Luke Smith really impacted his team. Smith suffered a dislocated shoulder and was taken from the field by the American Legion Ambulance Corps to Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis. Winston said that in Smiths absence, he had to move one of his defensive backs to linebacker and bring in a less experienced player at defensive back.
Despite Smiths injury and the 30-point loss, the Warriors coach found some positives in the game.
Im proud of these guys, Winston said. We played two good quarters of football in the first half. This is only our second year as a varsity program and were doing pretty well.