Sayre shuts down South
SAYRE — Comedy buffs might compare this year’s Sayre team to Rodney Dangerfield, because the Redskins just can’t seem to get any respect from the numerous self-proclaimed football experts in the Valley. On Saturday evening, the ’Skins were the ones to get the last laugh.
With four different backs chewing up 50-plus yards of turf each, Sayre’s ball-control offense ground out a 28-0 homecoming game drubbing of South Williamsport, leveling its NTL Small School record at 1-1 and upping its overall mark to 3-1.
“Canton teaches you a lot,” said Sayre coach Larry Hanafin in reference to last week’s 35-12 loss to the Warriors. “We played well last week, but we weren’t as tight as we should have been. This week, these players realized being a foot out of position can cost you.
“All the credit goes to the assistant coaches,” he added. “Mike Esposito did a great job scouting for us. RC Nobles did a great job calling the plays and the players executed. It was a total team effort and I’m proud of them.”
The Redskins scored on four drives of 60 yards or more, but it was in the second quarter that the hosts truly exerted their dominance.
Already holding a 7-0 edge, Sayre faltered on a 32-yard fake field goal attempt, but the ’Skins forced the Mountaineers to go three and out and get the ball back at their own 39 yard line. Lucas Simonis highlighted a 61- yard drive with pair of bookend 11- yard runs, the latter giving Sayre a 14-0 lead with 6:39 remaining in the half.
On Williamsport’s next possession, the Mounties again went three and out and the ’Skins got the ball at their own 38. Albert Bodolus tallied on an 1- yard run to make it 21-0 with 1:04 left before intermission, but it was his high-yardage runs up the middle that sparked the 62-yard drive. Bodolus chalked up runs of 12, 12 and 18 yards to move the ball to the Mountaineers’ 12 and he ate up 47 yards of turf during the push.
Hanafin praised the way his backfield performed.
“They have to hit the hole and if they hit the hole they’ll get through the line and we put a lot of emphasis on not dancing or trying to make the play,” he said. “We just want them to hit the hole and whatever came after that was what the play was going to get.”
Hanafin also realized the Redskins’ performance on the ground would not have been possible without solid blocking from the offensive line.
“I’m the head coach but they are who I spend most of my time with,” he said of his line. “They’re a great group. They play very well together and they’re physically tough kids.”
Sayre would put the game away early in the fourth quarter on a 66-yard drive that began back in the third quarter. Starting at their own 34, Bodolus and quarterback Brad Felt moved the ball across midfield on five carries. Kyle Post and Jesse Dagutis then moved it another 19 yards to the Williamsport 30 and Bodolus took it to the five on two carries. Post pushed it to the one as the quarter ended, then scored on a one-yard run just four seconds into the final period to give the ’Skins a 28-0 cushion.
The Redskins’ longest drive of the night, 73 yards, came on their fist possession of the game. After coming up with some solid pass defense and forcing the Mounties to turn the ball over at the Sayre 27 on downs, the ’Skins went to work.
Felt carried twice for 12 yards, then found Cody Ketter open for a 23-yard gain to the Mountaineer 43 and a helmet to-helmet contact penalty moved the ball to the Williamsport 28. Sayre pushed the ball to the four, but a holding penalty brought it out to the 14 and Felt found Post in the back of the end zone on the next play. James Harbst connected on the first of four pointafter kicks to give the ’Skins a 7-0 advantage.
Early on, the contest didn’t look like it would go Sayre’s way as Mountaineers quarterback Tyler House picked apart the Redskin defense with short passes. With the visitors sitting at the Sayre 32, the ’Skins defense stiffened as David Mendola and Jeremy Kyc stopped Tyler Weaver for short gains on sweeps and Nick Bostwick stuffed Matt Bartholomew up the middle as Sayre took over on downs at its own 27.
The Redskins would force Williamsport to punt on its next three possessions, but the Mountaineers would get back on track in the final minute of the half. House connected with Michael Hall on a pair of passes for 28 yards, then find Bartholomew for an eight-yard gain to the Sayre 26. Following a pair of incomplete passes, Weaver was brought down after a 19-yard reception to end the half.
Hanafin was pleased with the overall performance of his defense.
“They (Williamsport) came out and they threw and they did a lot of different things,” said Hanafin. “If it was an eight-yard play it was an eight-yard play. We didn’t give up a big play and we were fortunate that they didn’t make plays in certain situations. We didn’t bend. We stayed disciplined, which is a huge part of the game. Hitting and discipline are huge and tonight we did both and I’m very proud of our players.”
The ’Skins kept the ball away from Williamsport for much of the third quarter and the Mountaineers would punt on their only possession of the period. However, the Mounties would threaten on their first possession of the fourth quarter.
Starting at its own 40, Williamsport threatened to end the shutout on a pair of House passes for 19 yards and four runs for 23 yards, but the Redskins’ defense came up big in the red zone. Michael Bostwick and Post broke up a pair of sideline passes intended for Weaver and House threw behind his receiver on fourth down as the Mountaineers stalled at the Sayre 18.
The ’Skins went to work on the clock with Kyc and Alex Lyons picking up a combined 50 yards on the ground. Simonis would score on a 31-yard run, only to have it brought back on a holding penalty. Simonis, Kyc and Lyons worked the pigskin down to the 11 before Sayre was tagged with an unsportsmanlike conduct call and Felt took a knee twice to end the game.
The Redskins were again plagued by penalties (eight for 90 yards), but unlike the pervious week’s loss to Canton, the yellow flags did not prove costly.
Sayre racked up 426 yards offense, 356 coming on the ground. Bodolus led the way with 88 yards on 12 carries and Simonis had 74 on 11 runs. Post contributed 65 on 10 carries and Felt 51 on 16 totes. Kyc and Lyons added 35 and 29 yards, respectively. Dagutis, who came in averaging 133 yards per game, carried the ball just three times for 14 yards. Through the air, Felt was 4-for-7 for 70 yards with Post snagging two passes for 38 yards and Ketter grabbing one for 23.
For South Williamsport, House completed 13 of 26 passes for 108 yards with Hall pulling down five of them for 46 yards. Brandon Stonge, who came in averaging 117.7 yards per game, rushed for only 16 on six carries.
The ’Skins racked up 26 first downs to the Mountaineers’ nine.
Sayre hosts powerhouse North Penn (3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.