Cocalico sacks the Bears

By on September 27, 2017
Cocalico’s Tyler Hertzog (86) hits E-town quarterback Cole Patrick just as he releases a pass during Friday’s game in Elizabethtown. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Cocalico’s Tyler Hertzog (86) hits E-town quarterback Cole Patrick just as he releases a pass during Friday’s game in Elizabethtown. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Stiff D helps Eagles get past E-town

Cocalico’s defense picked up the slack for the Eagle offense Friday night on the road, pitching a 14-0 shutout over previously-unbeaten Elizabethtown.

While the offense uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times, the Eagle D dug in and earned its second-straight shutout, allowing the Bears just 42 rushing yards and just 140 total yards and eight first downs.

“First off, your hat is off to Elizabethtown,” Cocalico coach Dave Gingrich said. “They played a great game. They played hard, they played physical. We didn’t really match their intensity. We didn’t match their effort and execution. The ultimate thing is that we got out of here with a win against a good team, but we did a lot of things that were very uncharacteristic of us. Penalties and turnovers, that’s not normally our style and it was tonight.”

While Cocalico improved to 4-0 and 1-0 in Section Two play, the Bears suffered their first defeat and are now 0-1 (section) and 3-1 overall.

“I’m a little disappointed,” said E-town Coach Bill McDonald. “You know, just not being able to capitalize on some of the momentum that we could’ve. I thought we’d be better offensively, especially rushing the ball. I thought that was going to be key to the game. Being able to run the ball a little bit and not be forced into throwing situations.”

After Elizabethtown was forced to punt on the opening drive of the game, Cocalico took over at their own 10 yard, but the Bears defense forced Cocalico to go 3-and-out and punt for the first time all season.

The Eagles came into the game averaging just under 56 points per game, which was the highest total of any team in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

At the end of the first quarter, Cocalico faced a 3rd and 12 from their own 36 yard line. Quarterback Noah Palm took the snap, pitched it out to his left and running back Austin Landers did the rest to give Cocalico a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We have a lot of good things off of our option game,” Gingrich said. “We can go mid-line, inside, outside veer. We have some different blocking schemes off of that and that was just a mid-line triple option and it worked out pretty well for us. We executed at times. Again, my hat goes off to them. They played a great game and they played very physical, but we just uncharacteristically did dumb things.”

As they were driving in the second quarter, Cocalico fumbled and Isaiah Sheetz was able to pounce on it for the Bears at their own 34 yard line. Later in the drive, Elizabethtown converted a 4th and 4 via a defensive holding penalty. On 3rd and 10, with the ball at the 24 yard line, Elizabethtown Cole Patrick took off to run after he was pressured and fumbled the ball. The play resulted in a 24 yard loss and Elizabethtown was forced to punt rather than attempt a field goal.

Cocalico struggled to move the ball, which gave E-town a chance to put points on the board before the half. With no timeouts and 1:35 on the clock, Patrick tried to connect with Alex Diahn, but the two miscommunicated on which route should be run and Patrick was intercepted. Cocalico took a 7-0 lead into half-time.

The Eagles started with the ball in the second half, but fumbled for the second time and it was recovered by Bears’ safety Cade Robinson. Elizabethtown’s offense advanced the ball to Cocalico’s 34 yard line before kicker David Shank was sent out to attempt a 51-yard field goal. The snap was low, which through off the hold and the kick was short. The 3rd quarter ended and Elizabethtown was still down 7-0.

Cocalico was the first team to reach the red zone and appeared ready to make it a two possession game. On 1st and goal from the one-yard line, Cocalico fumbled again, but recovered at the 10 yard line. Two plays later, Cayden Livingston made contact with the Cocalico running back and, rather than take him to the ground, ripped the ball straight from his hands to give Elizabethtown the ball.

The Bears’ offense went three-and-out, however, and punted the ball back to Cocalico. The Eagles took over with 8:58 left on the clock and proceeded to run 5:16 off of it before they scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

As the Elizabethtown offense tried to mount a comeback, Patrick tossed his second interception of the game and Cocalico ran the clock out to preserve their fourth victory of the season.

Elizabethtown came into the game featuring an offense that hinged on running backs Devyn Clair and Livingston as their two primary weapons. The Bears’ running game was limited to 42 yards on 20 carries. In total, the offense gained 140 yards and eight first downs. Three of those first down came on the first three offensive plays of the game.

“Couldn’t generate enough offense on the ground. We’ve gotta fix it. Look at the film and see what we’ve gotta do.” McDonald said.

The inability to run the ball and gain positive yards on a consistent basis played into the fact that Elizabethtown was 1-10 on 3rd down conversions. Six of those were 3rd and 6 or longer.

Up next, Cocalico will host fellow unbeaten Manheim Central Friday in Denver. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

 

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