SIDNEY — Sidney’s high-powered offense was too much for Spencer-Van Etten/Candor in a 39-27 season-opening defeat.
The Eagles showed some sparks of hope, but ultimately couldn’t contain Sidney quarterback Nicholas gravel who threw five touchdowns.
Spencer had the ball on offense three times in the first quarter. The result was two first downs and a fumble. As for Sidney, the Warriors scored twice in the first quarter and immediately in the second quarter.
Gravel drove down the field in the first drive of the game culminating in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Liam Matthews. The Gravel-Matthews connection struck again in the second quarter resulting in a 19-0 lead after two missed extra point attempts.
Searching for answers junior quarterback James Sutherlin took over. The offense looked revitalized with Sutherlin at the helm storming back for two straight touchdowns. Alex Morse broke off for a huge 35-yard run ending in a five-yard Sutherlin touchdown run.
Sutherlin showed his arm strength on his second drive completing back-to-back 34-yard completions to Nick Thomas and Kolden Foster. Sutherlin went back to Foster on a five-yard touchdown throw making the score 19-14 heading into the half.
“I thought I did pretty well go in at quarterback ,and I think I did a good job of keeping my head up because people look up to me and if I put my head down my teammates would have done the same” Sutherlin said.
It looked as though all the momentum was with Spencer, however; a slow offensive start to the second half eliminated any chance of a comeback.
“I’m really proud of how our team played. I thought we fought hard but made a lot of mistakes, and you can’t do that like a team like this” Spencer coach Mike Chafee said. “They had big plays and their playmakers made plays when they needed them to.”
Sidney opted to forego the air raid tactics of the first half in favor of an old-fashioned ground and pound system. Leading the charge for the Warriors was Zachary Harrington who finished the game rushing for 84 yards and one touchdown.
The Eagles fumbled on the opening drive of the third quarter. Foster intercepted Gravel giving Spencer another chance on offense, but once again an unsuccessful offensive drive dug the Eagles in a hole.
Gravel completed his fourth touchdown pass in the third quarter finding Peyton Mosher for a 21-yard touchdown. Mosher stole the show finishing the game with eight receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
Mosher came up big on defense as well intercepting a throw off Sutherlin in the fourth quarter.
Mosher then went on to score his second touchdown the following drive making the score 32- 14.
Sutherlin answered right back throwing an 11-yard touchdown to Alex Morse cutting the deficit to 32-21. Harrington made the score 39-21 on a rushing touchdown, but Sutherlin and the
Eagles didn’t go out without a fight. In the final play of the game, Sutherlin rushed for his second touchdown of the game. “Offensively we did pretty great, but I just have to a better job at reading what receiver is open and how to get it to them” Sutherlin said. “Going forward we just have to keep doing what we did for a lot of this game.”
Sutherlin finished the game 14-21 for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Morse did it all on offense finishing the game with four receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown.
The yards were rather close as Sidney finished with 387 and Spencer finished with 347. In the end, the four Spencer turnovers were the difference between the two teams.
The road only gets tougher for the Eagles who host the 19th ranked team in New York, Susquehanna Valley Friday September 13th at 7 p.m.
“James really gives us that dual threat. I can put him in at any position on the field and he can play it” Coach Chafee said. “We just need to improve on our mental mistakes; physically we were really tough, so we will be right back at it next week.”