Tonight’s 8-man Eastern Region championship football game between Section IV champion Spencer-Van Etten/Candor and Section IX’s Spackenkill will be a contrast of styles.
Spackenkill’s Spartans enter the game with notable offensive balance. Head Coach Josh Riley’s club has gained 1,693 yards on the ground and another 1,665 through the air in eight games. In total, that’s 3,358 or 419.8 yards per game. The Spartans average 39.8 points per game and Spackenkill is allowing 21.0 points per game on average.
Anthony Hoyt is the trigger man under center for the Spartans. He averages 207.8 passing yards per game. He’s connected on 101 of his 161 passes this season with 24 TDs and five interceptions.
Hoyt also has 451 rushing yards and four TDs on 66 carries, but Hunter Gent leads the Spartans’ ground game with 690 yards and 10 TDs on 81 carries. Dan Collins, Jr., missed a game but still finished with 312 yards and six TDs on 58 carries.
Senior Kevin Mullins has been Hoyt’s top target this season and has 32 receptions for 688 yards and 11 TDs. Mullins has plenty of help. Antonio Lopez has 24 catches for 370 yards and five scores and Steven Ciancio has 210 yards on just 12 receptions with a TD.
Also for the Spartans, Dominick Fraser has 15 catches for 187 yards and three TDS and Kole Dominick has 12 receptions for 178 yards and two scores
SVEC, which averages 442.5 yards per game under Head Coach Mike Chaffee, is more comfortable with its collective feet on the ground. It isn’t that the Eagles CAN’T pass the ball, they just prefer not to.
SVEC has rolled up 2,710 rushing yards (338.75 per game) on the season with a bevy of capable runners led by dual threat quarterback Nick Thomas. He leads the ground game with 734 yards and 13 TDs on just 53 carries. He’s also passed for 830 of his team’s 834 passing yards, hitting 37 of 60 passes with 18 touchdowns and one interception.
Devin Beach, the Eagles’ leading receiver with 609 yards and eight TDs on just 10 receptions, has 673 rushing yards and nine scores on 36 carries and Hunter Haynes, the team’s second-leading receiver with 222 yards and six TDs on 12 catches, has 635 rushing yards and eight scores on 49 runs.
On 66 carries, Pavel Jofre, Jacek Teribury, Logan Jewell and Jacek Stahl have combined to add another 642 yards and nine TDs to SVEC’s running game.
Jewell and Teribury have also combined to total 14 receptions for 284 yards and three scores.
What’s equally impressive about the Eagles is their defense. In a form of the sport where big scores are the norm, SVEC’s opponents to date have had a hard time lighting the lamp. Led by Beach, Thomas, Seth McBride, Kameron Smith and Tyler Knickerbocker, the Eagles have allowed just 40 points this season. Only Groton was able to score twice in a game on the Eagles.