Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Running back Jared James, who scored Tri-Valley’s only touchdown, shrugs off a Millbrook defender on his way to a big gainer down the sideline.
Millbrook makes quick work of T-V
Story by Eli Ruiz
GRAHAMSVILLE September 24, 2013 Class C powerhouse Millbrook flexed its substantial muscle against a young Tri-Valley squad Saturday scoring 10 offensive touchdowns and putting up 70 points against the Bears in a Division II game that for all intents and purposes was over early in the second quarter.
By the time the whistle signaling the end of the first quarter sounded, the aptly named Blazers' vaunted double-wing offensive scheme had already overwhelmed Tri- Valley for 30 points. Senior tailback Henry Cardinal, whose three carries in the first quarter Cardinal's only action for the game netted him three scores and 164-yards, paced undefeated Millbrook early in their 70-36 win.
"We're 3-0...right now we're doing good," said Cardinal after the contest. "We're 1-0 in the division right now which is what really matters. We're definitely playing well. Everybody's doing their thing."
Cardinal was literally untouchable as he "blazed" through gaping holes provided him by a massive Millbrook offensive line to break touchdown runs of 69, 78, and 17 yards in the opening frame as the visiting Blazers took an unassailable 50-6 lead into the locker room at halftime. Jared James scored Tri-Valley's lone first half touchdown with 3:54 left in the half on a 3-yard plunge.
“They can't let the game be predetermined for them,” said Tri-Valley coach John Rusin of his young team. “You just can't come out of warmups and dictate the tempo. They've gotta come out and they've gotta hit. We have to get better defensively and we have to get better offensively.
Tri-Valley (0-3, 0-1 Class C Div. II) fared far better in the second half, outscoring Millbrook 30-20, though the Blazers had inserted much of their second team.
“Tri-Valley is always going to play hard," offered Millbrook coach Sean Keenan. "We were very nervous about this [game] today. They're very, very young, but they played hard. They played hard the whole time. John [Tri-Valley coach John Rusin] always has his kids prepared. This was us five or six years ago when we were playing all freshman and it's gonna pay dividends for them eventually."
About his decision to play his second-stringers the entire second half, Keenan explained, "They get beat up by our 1's all week in practice, so they deserve this. They gotta tackle a little better, though.”
Keenan, who counts Rusin as a great friend and colleague, added, "You know, we're not gonna run the score up on anybody, but especially [not] Tri-Valley. John had a chance my first year to put up 100 points on us and he ran the ball, ran the ball.
“He's one of my best friends in coaching. I have nothing but respect for what he does and what his staff does."
Regarding his team's inspired play in the second half, a frustrated Rusin said, "In the second half they did [play]. Coach Keenan made some subs in the second half and I think it leveled the playing field.
“I think we have the potential to move the ball, but we also have to stop people. I think we're very young and we're not making excuses, but unfortunately you're only gonna see other team's young players when you're down big or when you're up big. You have to learn to play against a bigger opponent. You're gonna have to learn to play against a more veteran opponent, and our goal is, as it always is, to get better week in and week out. I saw a lot of improvement between the scrimmage and game one. You know, today more than X's and O's and more than physical plays and technique, our effort, our attitude and our enthusiasm were much better in
the second half and that's the first step.”
Tri-Valley hosts Class D Eldred under the lights Friday night and then has tough games at Class B Rondout Valley and Section 1 Albertus Magnus. And it doesn't get any easier for the Bears after that as they close out the regular season at division foe Liberty, and then at home against Sullivan West.
"There are no pushovers on our schedule," affirmed Rusin. "When you're 0-3 the next game is always the Super Bowl and we don't have the luxury of looking past anyone. We don't have the luxury of looking at the playoff picture right now. We just need to pick-up that first win."
Millbrook (3-0, 1-0 Class C Div. II) hosts Sullivan West on Friday.