Eagles blanked by Daniel Boone

By on September 9, 2015
 Cocalico’s Abdul Saad (68) wraps up Daniel Boone’s Sean Seifert during Friday’s season opener in Birdsboro. (Photo by Scott Krall)

Cocalico’s Abdul Saad (68) wraps up Daniel Boone’s Sean Seifert during Friday’s season opener in Birdsboro. (Photo by Scott Krall)

Cocalico lost a non-conference game to Daniel Boone 7-0 in the season opener Friday night in Birdsboro. The loss marks the first in seven games against the Blazers.
Hunter High led the Eagles with 109 rushing yards. Moses Ulysse contributed 40 yards and D.J. Fabiani added 32 yards.
“Our linemen really helped and I couldn’t have done it without them,” said High.
Daniel Boone quarterback Nick Hughes ran for 119 yards, which included a 17-yard touchdown.
The Eagles fielded a younger team than the one that beat the Blazers twice last year. They also faced an athletic quarterback in Hughes but managed to hold him and the Blazers to one touchdown.
“All in all, our defense did well,” said Coach Dave Gingrich. “We’re a little young and we made mistakes.”
Nevertheless, he refused to accept youth as an excuse.
“It wasn’t just our inexperience,” he said. “I don’t think we were disciplined enough. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t focus on that drive. Other than that, I thought our defense played well.”
The game opened well offensively for the Eagles. Starting at their 20-yard line, they began running the ball through and around the Blazers. Fabiani opened with runs of four yards and 10 yards before High began running straight through the line. An early flag for holding negated most of High’s 11 yards but he converted a fourth-and-one on the same set of downs.
Later, he extended the drive with a four-yard run on third-and-inches and a two-yard run on fourth-and-two.
The fourth-and-two conversion put Cocalico at the Boone four-yard line. Fabiani ran to the one yard line but a personal foul took the Eagles back to the 16. Three plays later, the Blazers blocked a field goal attempt.
The drive lasted for 10 minutes of game clock and 22 plays.
“Our goal offensively was to score, whether it takes one play or 14 plays,” said Gingrich. “We had a good first drive. We just had a couple of breakdowns at times, had a penalty, had some mistakes and just didn’t execute and missed a field goal.”
While the missed points had obvious ramifications in a seven-point game, the short term benefited by keeping Hughes and the Blazers off the field offensively and they never developed a rhythm through the first half. Their first possession bogged down due to a dropped pass and an another incompletion. Their second one came to a crashing halt when Fabiani picked off Hughes’ pass.
“We were in cover three and I was the deep third,” recalled Fabiani. “I was backpedaling (and) looking at the quarterback. The first receiver did a crossing pattern. The other one did a corner and I just jumped the route to pick it off.”
After the interception, Fabiani took off running from deep in Cocalico territory and, with the aid of good blocking, returned the ball to the DB 33.
A penalty added five yards to the 47-yard return and the Eagles set up operation at the Blazers 28; however, Cocalico’s next four plays resulted in two yards net lost and the chance for points was gone.
The teams went into half-time with no points for their efforts but the Blazers remedied that with the first possession of the third quarter.
A penalty negated a 22-yard run by Cinque Ramsey but Hughes regained the penalty and Ramsey’s yardage two plays later with a run to the DB 45. A face mask penalty on Cocalico took the ball into Eagle territory. The defense appeared ready to limit the damage with two consecutive plays of one yard losses and a flag for delay on the Blazers; however, a Hughes pass to Ryan Okuniewski for 17 yards extended the drive. Two plays later, Hughes ran for a 17-yard touchdown.
The ensuing drive for the Eagles gave them their deepest penetration into Blazer territory since the opening drive but was marred by an apparently injury to Eagle senior Austin Sweigart. Following a four-yard run by Sawyer on third and one, Sweigart remained on the turf near midfield. Trainers called for an ambulance immediately upon reaching the injured player. Both teams returned to their sidelines and eventually assumed the bent knee and bowed head position for Sweigart while he received care on what appeared to be a lower leg injury.
When play resumed, High blasted through the Blazer line for runs of eleven and twelve yards but the drive died at the DB 19-yard line.
While neither team threatened the opponents’ goal line through the remainder of the game, the Blazers controlled the clock and eventually ran it out on the Eagles.
Afterwards, Gingrich summarized the game by saying, “I’m not disappointed with how many points we gave up. We’ve got to score more points offensively and you’re not going to win games without scoring points.”
“We’re going to get better,” he continued. “This is game one and we knew we would have some growing pains.”

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