Buckskins pull away from winless Ephrata
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Ephrata had plenty of chances to put away its first win of the season Friday night at Conestoga Valley.
The Mounts held a 7-0 lead and were playing well enough with the lead to earn the win. Unfortunately, they simply couldn’t close the deal.
That’s when CV’s Anthony Brown took over, first by making a big defensive play and then shredding a worn down Ephrata defense in the second half.
Brown rushed for 227 yards on 24 carries, and scored a pair of second-half touchdowns on runs of 20 and 23 yards to lead the Buckskins to a 17-7 come-from-behind victory.
According to Ephrata Coach Jim Vieland, who saw his team drop to 0-3, the Mounts are making just enough mistakes at the wrong time.
"That’s the name of the game right now and we got to clean it up," he said. "We are not going to do the things we need to do to win until we get rid of the mistakes. It’s all over the place. I just can’t point to one area. It’s what’s going on right now. We are making mistakes at inopportune times…That’s what is keeping us from winning games right now. We got to clean it up and play four quarters of football. We got to finish games."
Ephrata appeared on its way after taking a 7-0 lead into the half. It looked even better for the Mounts when Tim Murray returned the second-half kickoff all the way to the Buckskin 46.
From there, the Mounts got a pair of first downs and drove the ball inside the CV 10 for a first and goal. However, after a holding penalty set the Mounts back to the CV 24, quarterback Jeremy Franck threw a pass in the flat that was picked off by Brown. The CV junior returned it all the way back to midfield before fumbling the ball back to Ephrata.
That was the good news for the Mounts. the bad news was they went three-and-out and eventually were forced to punt.
Then later in the half, after a 29-yard field goal by Robbie Cardina got the Buckskins (2-1) on the board, Ephrata fumbled at the CV 19 on the ensuing drive and Brown went off right tackle for the 20-yard score to give CV its first lead at 10-7.
Still, Ephrata let another golden opportunity slip away. After another solid return by Murray to the CV 45, the Mounts moved the ball deep into buckskin territory but came up empty again. This time, Franck was stopped short on a fourth-and-one play at the CV 25.
"In a game like this, you need to convert when it’s third-and-one, fourth-and-one," Vieland said. "Those are the things you need to do to sustain drives, and we got to find paydirt and score more than seven points. We scored seven the first game, 15 last week…We just have to score more."
Unfortunately, it was CV which did that. The Buckskins took over at the 25 and went 75 yards in seven plays. Brown got most of it, including the final 23 yards on simple off-tackle plays. The touchdown put the Bucks up 17-7, and Ephrata never threatened again.
"I think our defense at times played real well," Vieland said. "But I think they did get worn down a bit in the second half. We just couldn’t stop their off tackle play."
"That’s where momentum plays a role," he continued. "If you are scoring points, and you keep your defense off the field, those guys get excited, and they don’t get fatigued in the second half. It’s the second time this year we’ve been leading at the half. We need to finish those games."
Ephrata surely started the game strong.
After shutting down the Bucks on their first possession, the Mounts took over at their own 43 and went to work on what would be their most productive drive of the night. A screen pass from Franck (10-18-1, 82 yards) to Murray netted 14 yards for their initial first down. Murray hauled in two more passes out of the backfield on the drive to set up Franck’s six-yard TD run with 4:10 left in the first quarter for the 7-0 lead.
CV was held in check for most of the half. The Buckskins’ best chance to score came late in the second when they marched to the Ephrata 40. However, Ephrata’s Andrew Burkholder stripped the ball from Brown and the Mounts recovered.
Offensively, Ephrata was held to just 123 yards in total offense, including just 41 yards on the ground in 30 carries.
With the Section One opener set for Friday night at Manheim Township, that is one of a number of areas where the Mounts must improve to have success in league play.
"We’ve already played some good teams so I think we just have to show up and play four quarters," Vieland said when asked about the upcoming tough Section One schedule. "We were in a lot of games last year and there is no reason we can’t be in a lot of games this year and win some games. That’s the attitude we are taking." More EPHRATA, page B-3