Even though and , when the nearby teams renewed their rivalry Friday night, Fox Lane Head Coach Steve Quinn knew what to expect from his opponent’s offense.
Quinn’s Foxes were able to shut down the Quaker offense Friday night en route to a 28-3 victory at Fox Lane.
“We spent a lot of time preparing for their bread and butter plays, which they tend to run and run well,” Quinn said. “That’s why we played so well defensively is because we’re very familiar with they were going to do.”
The Quakers (0-2) only reached the red zone twice, one resulting in a field goal and the other time resulting in a interception by Fox Lane’s Pat Foote in the end zone on a third-and-goal pass from the seven-yard line that was tipped up for grabs.
“We couldn’t sustain a drive tonight,” said Horace Greeley Head Coach Tim Sullivan.
But the interception didn’t lead to any points. Instead, the Foxes (1-1) really separated themselves from Greeley on special teams. After Joseph Nickerson ran in a touchdown to give Fox Lane a lead, the Foxes scored a safety on the ensuing kickoff when Ori Herstik dropped the kickoff and bobbled the ball around a bit. He picked it up in the end zone eventually, where he was met by a group of Fox Lane defenders, including Adan Barrientos and Nicolas Stroud-Marbury.
With less than a minute to go in the first half, with Fox Lane leading 9-3, the Foxes blocked a punt and got the ball back on the Greeley 33, with 33 seconds to go in the half. The Foxes couldn’t score before the half.
In the second half, the Foxes scored two more turnovers on special teams, both leading to touchdowns.
“It started with the safety and then we had a couple of fumble recoveries on punt returns for them. They were huge,” Quinn said. They really swung the tide because they started to move the ball in the second half and really would have closed the score down at that point. It absolutely was big.”
Both fumbles were recovered by Alec Sessa.
“Alec’s motor’s always running. He was outstanding today,” Quinn said. “I told him, I said, ‘That’s a rarity for a guy to recover two in one game,’ and it’s because of his effort.”
The first fumbled punt lead to a 57-yard touchdown run by Chris Manjuck. The second fumbled punt led to a 22-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson, his second score of the game.
“If you’re dropping the ball on special teams then you can’t win ball games,” Sullivan said.
“We didn’t have this much trouble last week, so I think it’s lack of discipline and we have a lot of inexperience out there, so that could have something to do with it.”
Johnson’s first score came earlier in the second half, when he ran one in from 28 yards out. Johnson said he thinks the team felt a little more at ease in the second week of the season after dropping the opener to Panas last week.
“It’s just confidence. Last week was the first game, so I think we felt a little nervous,” he said. “So I think this week was just more relaxed and we felt more comfortable.”
All four of Fox Lane’s scores came on the ground.
“We’re a run-heavy team. They run a different defensive front than what we had seen and prepared for throughout our scrimmages and training camp and everything else,” Quinn said. “So it really was to see how we were going to adjust our blocking schemes for a different front this week and the o-line did a really nice job. The quarterback made some great reads.”
The Fox Lane coach added he was happy to play Greeley again. The teams didn’t play for three years because of class realignment.
“I think it’s great, it’s a natural rivalry,” he said. “I get frustrated when there’s changes in alignment every single year and it prevents us from doing that. With them being right down the road, we should be playing every year regardless of what classes we’re in.”