By Rob Potter
ELDRED October 23, 2007 Neither rain nor the visiting Livingston Manor/ Roscoe Devilcats could slow down the Eldred Yellowjackets on Friday night.
Amid some intermittent rain showers, the Yellowjackets shut out LMR, 38-0, in a Section IX Class D football game at Eldred Central School.
With a victory in its Homecoming game, Eldred completed its regular season with an overall record of 6-2 and 1-1 in Class D. The Yellowjackets were to finish the season with a Class D game on Saturday at Webutuck, but Webutuck folded its varsity football program just before the season began.
LMR fell to 0-8 overall and 0-1 in Class D. The Devilcats will wrap up the regular season on Friday night when they visit the Chester Hambletonians for a Class D contest.
Eldred took a 6-0 lead on Friday night when quarterback Bryan Henry connected with running back Tom Compasso on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter.
The Yellowjackets scored twice in the second quarter. With the Yellowjackets facing a second-and-10 at the 50-yard line, Compasso took a handoff from Henry and broke a couple of tackles near the line of scrimmage. Compasso then sprinted to the end zone for a 50-yard TD run, which gave Eldred a 12-0 advantage with 9:19 remaining in the quarter.
With just 48 seconds left until halftime, Eldred’s Christian Martinez capped a 13-play, 70-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown run. The extra-point kick failed, but the Yellowjackets enjoyed an 18-0 lead at intermission.
The Eldred defense extended the team’s advantage in the third quarter. On a second-and-11 play deep in their own territory, the Devilcats tried to run up the middle. But the ballcarrier was hit by a couple of Yellowjacket defenders and the football popped loose. Eldred linebacker Cody Conklin picked up the ball and returned it 10 yards for a TD, giving the Yellowjackets a 24-0 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Compasso caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Henry to push the Yellowjackets’ advantage to 30-0.
The final TD of the evening was scored by Joe Counts on the next Eldred possession. He reached the end zone on a 28-yard run.
Ian Halloran then successfully ran for the two-point conversion to make the score 38-0.
“I thought we did a good job of running the ball,” Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. “Our offensive line blocked very well.
“And we played good defense,” he added.
The veteran coach also lauded the effort of the LMR players.
“They played hard the entire game,” Kean said. “They weren’t just going to come in here and lie down for us. They played very hard and should be very proud of themselves.”
Kevin Prunka was the Yellowjackets’ leading rusher, gaining 93 yards on 18 carries.
Compasso rushed for 80 yards on seven carries, while Martinez ran seven times for 26 yards.
Nick Simonelli and Conklin led the Eldred defense. Simonelli recorded a team-high 13 tackles. Conklin made five tackles and recovered two fumbles, returning one of them for the aforementioned TD.
Compasso made six tackles, while Chris Mehedin and Bob Moriggia each had five tackles.
The only disappointing event of the evening for Eldred was losing senior running back/linebacker Chris Leader to injury. Late in the third quarter, Leader ran the ball to the right side of the Eldred offensive line. As Leader was knocked out of bounds by an LMR defender, his left knee was twisted at an odd angle.
Leader was immediately treated by members of the American Legion Ambulance Corps and loaded onto a stretcher. Several of his teammates picked up the stretcher and loaded Leader into the back of the ambulance so he could be taken to the hospital for further treatment.
Kean said that he thought Leader had hyperextended his knee on the play.
In his postgame comments, LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart was thinking about Leader.
“It’s unfortunate that Chris was hurt, he’s certainly a key member of their team,” Ahart said. “We all wish Chris the best.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Ahart was very pleased with his team’s effort.
“This was the best defense we have played all season,” he said. “We really made Eldred work for everything they got.
“Eldred’s a very good football team and they deserve credit for the way they played tonight,” Ahart added.
Notes: At halftime, the Eldred PTSO announced the winners for several raffle prizes such as a New England Patriots’ helmet autographed by quarterback Tom Brady. It was also announced that through its fundraising efforts since the beginning of the season, the Eldred PTSO had raised slightly more than $17,000 for its “Raise the Lights” campaign.
The “Raise the Lights” effort supports the installation of permanent lights at the Eldred football field as part of a proposed building project. If approved by district voters later this school year, construction on the project, which includes new classrooms and roofing as well as other renovations at the high school, could begin as early as next summer.
Prior to the game, the Eldred senior players and their parents were honored. Those seniors include: Tom Compasso, Cody Conklin, Chris Leader, Chris Mehedin, Bob Moriggia, Kevin Prunka, Nick Simonelli, Stan Smith, Josh Wallace and Kojo Williams.