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Eagles rip Daniel Boone
JOHN CRAWFORD Review Correspondent
, Staff Writer
Cocalico was in mid-season form Friday night in the season-opener at Daniel Boone.
The defending Section Two champion Eagles, picked by many to successfully defend their crown in 2013, got off to a scintilating start vs. the Blazers.
Jhett Janis scored three touchdowns while Spencer Moser ran for two others. Brad Whittaker and Devon Delpiano each added one score apiece as the Eagles took care of the Blazers, 49-14, in non-league action.
Quarterback Janis led all players with 210 all-purpose yards, including 102 on the ground on 13 carries. Moser had a game high 118 rushing yards, while Mitch Shober led the Eagle’ defense with 11 tackles in the lopsided win.
"The only thing this does is put us at 1-0," said Cocalico Coach Dave Gingrich. "We’re going to enjoy this tonight but we’re going to have a game (vs. Reading) next week. We’re going to have to prepare for that."
The Eagles opened the game by kicking off to the Blazers and managed to score before the offense took to the field. With 1:17 gone, the Blazers lined up second-and-7 on their 22-yard line. Quarterback Nick Hughes dropped back to pass and sent the ball down the sideline where Janis intercepted it with a one-handed grab. With most of the Blazers in front of him, he managed to elude them enroute to a 42-yard touchdown return.
"Being the first game of the season, I was so pumped," recalled Janis. "I was so excited that I wanted to make a big play and get the first points of the board. Usually, the first team that scores always has the momentum. If you get the first points on the board, you have momentum and you don’t want to stop."
Getting the ball for the second time on their 20-yard line following Dan Graybill’s second touchback, the Blazers ran into a defensive wall on two running plays sandwiched between a modestly successful pass. A punt and a personal foul set the Eagles up on the Cocalico 41-yard line. Moser got the ball on an option run and proceeded to go 59 yards for the second Eagle touchdown with 8:53 left in the first.
Graybill’s third kickoff again pinned the Blazers to their own 20 when the ball.
"If (our opponents) start at the 20 every time, eighty yards is a lot," said Gingrich when asked about Graybill’s leg as a defensive weapon. "I think our defense is going to be pretty good and going 80 yards is going to be tough to do against our defense consistently."
The defense forced another three-and-out but a fumbled snap on second-and-10 at the Cocalico 36 set up the Blazers with their best opening field position of the night.
The Blazers opened with two running plays that gained nothing and then two yards as the Eagles’ defensive line gave small openings to the DB running backs; however, a Hughes-to-Tom Pufnock pass took the Blazers to the Cocalico 10-yard line. Cocalico held for three plays, giving up no yards on running attempts, but Hughes converted a fourth-and-goal by hitting Kyle Myers for a 10-yard touchdown. With 3:55 left in the first quarter, the score was 14-7 and the Eagles’ momentum became endangered.
The danger lasted for a full 1:41.
The Eagles opened their possession on their 35-yard line. Mitchell Shober lost two yards on the first play but Moser gained 11 yards up the middle and then five more yards on the next two plays. Whitaker, who gained 90 yards for the game, ran 45 yards to set up first-and-goal. Janis finished the drive by running yards for the touchdown with 1:46 left in the quarter for a 21-7 lead.
The Eagles held the ball for 2:13 of the quarter. Their next possession took longer but the momentum stayed with them as they went 65 yards on five plays to extend the score to 28-7. Janis scored his final touchdown of the evening on a three-yard run.
The Eagles followed another Daniel Boone three and out with a 15-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a Moser 10-yard run. Moser got to the end zone on first and goal from the five but a penalty nullified the touchdown. Backed up to the 20-yard line by a second penalty, the Eagles overcame the setbacks when Moser converted on third-and-goal with 2:45 left in the half.
With 35 points in the first half, the stats easily show how well Moser and Janis played but they were insufficient to show the effort of the offensive and defensive lines. Consistently through the first half, both lines stifled their Blazer counterparts by opening holes for their offense and closing them on defense.
Janis appreciated their work.
"We have a lot of good lineman, which is a good thing for the team because we can sub guys in and out and they’re always fresh," he said.
Gingrich added, "I liked both our offensive and defensive lines. "We probably play 13, 14 kids on the offensive (and) defensive lines. We try to keep them fresh. The offensive and the defensive line did a nice job."
The second half opened with an all-run, nine-play Eagle drive that culminated with Whittaker’s three-yard touchdown with 8:22 to go in the third.
Mitch Deering then intercepted a Hughes pass on the second play from scrimmage following the sixth touchdown. With Dante Haines in as quarterback, the Eagles went on a eight-play, 62-yard drive. DelPiano finished the drive with a 12-yard touchdown.
Gingrich summarized the game and his team.
"We hustle," he said. "We get after it. We put the ball on the ground a couple times that we shouldn’t have, and I was a little disappointed in that. I think things looked crisp at times, and other times, it didn’t. We strive for perfection so we’re going to coach the things we didn’t do well. I am happy with the outcome and I’m happy with the effort but I am sure there are going to be some technique things (to correct)."
More EAGLES, page B-2