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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

ELDRED DEFENDER KEVIN Prunka brings down LMR running back John Clancy in the open field during the first quarter of Friday night’s non-league game.

Eldred Blanks Devilcats

By Rob Potter
ELDRED — September 12, 2006 — The rushing and passing of senior quarterback Nick McCormick and an excellent defensive effort on Friday night allowed the Eldred Yellowjackets to record a big victory over the Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats.
McCormick carried the ball 10 times for 164 yards and completed 5-of-8 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown and the Yellowjackets’ defense kept the Devilcats out of the end zone as Eldred posted a 40-0 win in the non-league gridiron contest.
Eldred (2-0) took control in the first quarter. LMR (0-2) was forced to punt on its opening possession and a bad snap on the play gave the Yellowjackets excellent field possession at the Devilcats’ 14-yard line.
Six plays later, Eldred running Tom Compasso back scored on a 1-yard run. Phil Talley then booted the ball through the uprights to give the Yellowjackets a 7-0 lead with 8:39 left in the quarter.
Eldred extended its advantage a few minutes later. With 3:40 left in the quarter, the Yellowjackets took over possession at the LMR 47-yard line after forcing a punt. Kevin Prunka capped an eight-play drive when he ran off left tackle for a 4-yard touchdown. Talley’s kick made a 14-0 game with 1:11 remaining in the opening quarter.
McCormick kept the drive going by running for a first down on a key fourth-and-two play near the LMR 20.
Less than two minutes into the second quarter, McCormick threw a 18-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Kojo Williams. Talley tacked on the extra point and with 10:06 remaining until halftime, the Yellowjackets enjoyed a 21-0 advantage.
Four minutes later, McCormick scored on a 24-yard run to make a 27-0 contest.
The senior QB ran for a 15-yard touchdown on the final play of the half to give the Yellowjackets a commanding 33-0 lead at the half.
McCormick scored another TD, this time on a 10-yard run, with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter.
LMR’s best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the game’s final moments.
With 1:47 remaining, the Devilcats took possession at the 50-yard line. They drove inside the 5-yard line with 12 seconds left. A three-yard run by John Clancy set LMR up for a third-and-goal play.
Following a timeout, the Eldred defense stepped up and prevented the Devilcats from crossing the goal line as the final whistle sounded.
Eldred Coach Frank Kean noted that allowing the Hancock Wildcats to score 18 points in the Yellowjackets’ season-opening victory on September 2 provided motivation for the team’s outstanding defensive performance vs. LMR.
“We just came to play tonight,” he said. “[Assistant] Coach [John] LiGreci worked with the defense all week. I can’t take credit for that, he deserves it for getting those guys ready to play as well as they did.”
Kean also noted that McCormick “had an excellent game.”
In addition to McCormick, Prunka and senior fullback Hilton Johnson paced the Eldred offense. Prunka finished the night with 67 yards on 10 carries and Johnson rushed 10 times for 53 yards.
One of the highlights for the Devilcats occurred with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Senior safety Tyler Schmidt stopped a Yellowjackets’ drive by making a nice, one-handed interception of a McCormick pass near midfield. Schmidt hit the ground while catching the ball, but immediately got back to his feet and ran for about 12 yards before he was tackled.
“Eldred deserves the credit; they played very well tonight,” LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart said.
Ahart also noted that McCormick was a key factor in the contest.
“He did a great job,” the veteran coach said. “There were a couple of times when we seemed to have him stopped, but he was able to break away and gain some yards.”

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