By Rob Potter
ELDRED October 16, 2007 A 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Chris Leader early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the Eldred Yellowjackets’ win against visiting Millbrook on Saturday afternoon.
Leader followed the middle of the Eldred offensive line into the end zone to give the Yellowjackets a 28-22 lead over the Blazers with 9:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Eldred defense then stopped Millbrook on its next two possessions to preserve the six-point victory.
Millbrook (2-4) took the lead on its first possession of the game. Tom Wohlfahrt ran for a 19-yard touchdown and Darnell Cummings ran for the subsequent two-point conversion to give the Blazers an 8-0 advantage with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter.
Eldred (5-2) evened the score early in the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Bryan Henry capped a seven-play, 56-yard drive with a 1-yard run. The Yellowjackets then lined up for the extra-point kick, but holder Bobby Warden took the snap and immediately jumped up to pass the ball. Warden threw the ball to Kojo Williams in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
Millbrook regained the lead three minutes later when junior running back Nick Finger dashed into the end zone from 19 yards out. Finger then ran for the two-point conversion to give the Blazers a 16-8 advantage.
With just 22 seconds left in the second quarter, Henry connected with Leader on a 20-yard touchdown pass. Henry then threw the two-point conversion pass to Williams to knot the score at 16-16 at halftime.
The Yellowjackets took their first lead of the afternoon on a 6-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kevin Prunka with 8:26 to go in the third quarter. On the ensuing extra-point kick, a bad snap forced Warden to attempt a pass to Williams in the front corner of the end zone. But Millbrook’s Zachary Roach intercepted the pass to keep his team within six points at 22-16.
Millbrook needed only two plays to answer the Yellowjacket TD. On second-and-two at the Blazers’ 40-yard line, Finger took a handoff and broke through the middle of the line. He kept running until he reached the end zone for a 60-yard, game-tying touchdown.
However, the Yellowjacket defense stopped the Blazers short of the end zone on the two-point attempt to keep the score tied at 22-22.
Millbrook Coach Sean Keenan was impressed with the Yellowjackets.
“They are a great team with very good coaches,” he said.
Keenan was also pleased with how his team played.
“This is a good group of kids,” he commented. “They worked hard the whole game.”
Keenan said he felt that Finger “is one of the best players in Section IX.”
Leader was the Yellowjackets’ top rusher. He carried the ball nine times for 116 yards. Christian Martinez gained 45 yards on six carries, while Tom Compasso had 32 yards on five rushes and Prunka added 24 yards on six rushes.
Henry completed 3-of-6 passes for 83 yards.
Nick Simonelli paced the Yellowjackets’ defense with a game-high 18 tackles. He now has 100 tackles for the season.
Eldred Coach Frank Kean noted that a game plan devised by Assistant Coach John LiGreci worked very well.
“We flexed our defenders out,” Kean said. “We wanted to force their running backs to the inside. We did that and we hit hard, too.”
Of course, the veteran coach was also happy with the way his offense played.
“We ran the ball well today,” Kean said. “The holes were there for the runners, the line blocked well.”