By Rob Potter
ELDRED September 7, 2007 The Eldred Yellowjackets gave the hometown fans plenty of reasons to cheer last Friday night.
Eldred grabbed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of its non-league football game versus the visiting Hancock Wildcats. The Yellowjackets proceeded to add to that advantage as the game progressed, stinging the Wildcats by a final score of 52-6.
After forcing Hancock (0-1) to punt on its opening possession, Eldred (1-0) wasted little time in reaching the end zone. The Yellowjackets drove 78 yards in four plays to score their first touchdown of the night.
On first-and-10 from the Hancock 48-yard line, Eldred quarterback Bryan Henry threw a pass to wide receiver Kojo Williams near the sideline. Williams caught the ball, got past a Wildcat defender and sprinted 38 yards to the end zone to give the Yellowjackets a 6-0 advantage with 6:59 remaining in the opening quarter.
Eldred extended its lead to 14-0 in the final seconds of the first quarter as Henry connected with Tom Compasso on a 34-yard touchdown pass. The TD and subsequent two-point pass from Henry to Williams boosted the Eldred lead to 14-0.
In the second quarter, the Yellowjackets scored 19 points. Bobby Warden kicked a 19-yard field goal, Williams had a 3-yard TD run and Henry hooked up with Compasso on a 45-yard scoring strike. Those scores allowed Eldred to enjoy a commanding 33-6 lead at halftime.
The Yellowjackets scored three more TDs in the second half.
One of the few bright spots for Hancock occurred with 8:12 remaining in the second quarter. Senior wide receiver John Marino caught a pass from quarterback Dylan Oralls in the left flat. Marino then turned upfield and outran a couple of Yellowjacket defenders to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown.
As a team, the Yellowjackets rushed for 360 yards. Pacing the running attack were seniors Compasso and Leader. Compasso had 138 yards on 15 rushes, while Leader carried the ball 10 times for 104 yards.
Compasso added 40 yards on five carries.
Henry completed 4-of-6 passes for 84 yards and three TDs.
Compasso had 47 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns, while Williams had 39 yards receiving and one touchdown.
Leading the Eldred defense was senior linebacker Nick Simonelli. He made 12 solo tackles, had four assisted tackles and scored a safety.
Also contributing to the Yellowjackets’ defensive effort were Leader, who recovered a fumble and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown, and Henry, who intercepted a pass.
“Our two sophomore defensive tackles, Scott Hallock and Zach Tyler, really plugged up the middle,” Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. “They both did a splendid job.”
Kean praised all of his players for their big victory.
“These guys worked very hard in practice the past three weeks and it showed tonight,” he said. “I am very proud of all of these guys. The offense did a good job of moving the ball down the field and the defense played very well.”
Hancock Coach Walt Smith noted that tackling was a big factor in the game.
“In the first half, we did a better job of tackling,” he said. “In the second half, we were a little sloppy in that aspect of the game.”
Smith praised the Yellowjackets’ offense and its ability to move the ball up and down the field.
“They were very efficient tonight,” he said.