September 8, 2012
Indians pick off END for big win
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Groton quarterback Jeff Hatfield throws a touchdown pass early in the second quarter against Elmira Notre Dame Friday night at Ross Field. Groton prevailed, 18-14.
If you missed the first quarter of Friday night’s Section 4 Football Conference game at Ross Field, you missed most of the scoring.
Still, the most excitement came on the decisive next-to-last play of the game.
Clinging to an 18-14 lead with seconds remaining, Zach Diedrickson picked off Hunter Thomas pass in the end zone to preserve the Indians’ four-point victory over visiting Elmira Notre Dame in a non-leauge match-up.
Groton improved to 2-0 on the season. The Crusaders, who had driven to the Groton four-yard line before the ill-fated pass, now stands at 1-1.
Elsewhere, Dryden came up with a 16-14 victory at Trumansburg.
Groton 18, Notre Dame 14: “Zach came up big for us,” Groton coach Jeff Lewis said of senior safety Diedrickson.
“The best thing is I know I can count on him to make the plays when he needs to,’ he added. “This game really had that playoff feel to it. You really don’t expect that to happen in the week two.”
Lewis was comparing Friday night to the last time the two teams met. That game was a 40-30 Indians’ win in the first round of sectional play in 2011.
Notre Dame had the ball to start the game, but the Groton defense held. Starting at their own 36, the offense needed just three plays to take the lead. Zeke Wright found a lane and raced 62 yards for the 6-0 lead with 6:42 left in the quarter.
The Indians went for the on-sides kick and appeared to recover the ball after it went through the legs of a Crusader player, but the officials disagreed with the initial touch.
“The officials said we touched the ball first,” Lewis said. “They said the ball didn’t touch the Notre Dame player.”
It mattered little. On the very first play from scrimmage, quarterback Chris Thurber fumbled the snap and Groton recovered the ball at the Notre Dame 49. After a pair of Wright runs and one carry by Joey Scaglione, Groton quarterback Jeff Hatfield went up top and found a streaking Damian Young for a 39-yard scoring strike and a 12-0 lead with 4:40 still to play in the opening quarter,
“We really were firing of all cylinders,” Lewis stated of that quick start. “I was surprised that we were able to move the ball so well.”
Notre Dame settled down and got on the scoreboard with a nice eight play, 68-yard march. Tom Agan capped the drive with a 13-yard dash up the middle.Thomas threw the conversion pass to Agan to pull the Crusaders to within 12-8 with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame went for the onsides kick, but Groton was ready and recovered the ball at their own 47-yard line. Five plays later the Indians had another six points. Hatfield tossed a short ball to Young who used his speed to turn the play into a 42-yard touchdown connection. The Indians failed for the third time to get points after the touchdown, but the home team still led 18-8 one minute into the second quarter.
From that point on, both teams moved the ball between the 20s, but only the Crusaders found the end zone when Aaron Carson scored from four yards out with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Groton saw its offense bog down, especially in the third quarter as both Wright and Scaglione were forced to the sidelines with leg cramps on the warm evening. Both guys returned during fourth-quarter play.
“It was a warm night and we didn’t rotate guys as well as we should have,” Lewis acknowledged. “We did get some guys who really stepped up. Guys like Joey Bernhardt, Jake O’Brien and Kyle Crismer came through. Damian Young stepped into the middle linebacker spot and did a nice job. Anthony Goodsell did a good job blocking as the tight end as the whole offensive line worked well. It really was a great team effort to get the win.”
Despite missing most of the third quarter, Wright still rushed for 152 yards on 18 carries. Scaglione added 29 yards on eight carries.
In the air, Hatfield completed five-of-7 passing attempts for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Young caught four of those passes for 104 yards and two scores. Wright had the other reception for one yard.
For Notre Dame, it was a balanced running game. Carson rushed 20 times 89 yards while Darius Garvin netted 88 yards on 15 carries. Agan finished with 60 yards on 11 carries.
Thomas completed six-of-15 passing attempts for 78 yards. Garvin has four receptions for 47 yards. Agan recorded two catches for 31 yards.
Groton will return home Friday hosting Moravia at Ross Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Dryden 16, Trumansburg 14: Eymel Deas ran for a career best 238 yards and scored both touchdowns as Dryden opened Division V play with a win. The Purple Lions are 1-1 overall.
“It was a hard fought game with sloppy possessions,” Dryden coach Dan Fink said. “Our defense came up big with some key fumble recoveries and an interception by Hunter Senecal.
“The game had the same feel as our double overtime win last season,” he added. “Our kids rebounded well from some early mistakes and put together a nice long 15-play drive with four third-down conversions to eat the clock in the final quarter.”
Deas scored on a three-yard run in the first quarter and ran in from 24 yards in the third quarter. The Purple Lions converted both two-point conversions tries for the deciding points.
Dylan Mosher led Trumansburg (0-1 division, 0-2 overall) with 100 yards on 13 carries. Mosher scored a Trumansburg touchdown on an 18-yard run. Colin Fellows added a two-yard burst for the other Blue Raider touchdown. The home team converted two extra-point kicks.
Dryden will play its home opener Friday. The Purple Lions will host Greene (2-0) with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
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