Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Braves stymied by Fleetwood


SALISBURY -- At a Class AAA school, replacing talented senior classes does not always come easy with the limited pool of student-athletes.

Octorara, which only has 38 players on its roster, including freshmen, is dealing with that daunting task.With all of its skill players gone from an offense that averaged over 300 yards last fall, the Braves started that transition Saturday.
But under a merciless sun on the field of Pequea Valley High, Octorara found little offense and didn’t have enough depth to mount a comeback as Fleetwood came in and took the seasonopener, 24-8.
The Braves mustered just seven rushing yards for the game and 66 total in a contest where they had more fumbles than first downs.
“We obviously have to come out and get more focused in practice,” Octorara coach Jed King said. “Offensively we couldn’t move anything. (Fleetwood) drove us back every single play and we had a lot of fumbled snaps, which shouldn’t happen.”
Fleetwood, which went 1-9 last year, including a 38-13 loss to the Braves, was more physical on both lines. The Tigers held Octorara to minus-14 yards in the first half and no first downs. Meanwhile, the Tigers scored on the ground twice in the first quarter, and 27 of their 29 first-half plays were in Octorara territory.
All things considered, things could have been a lot worse for the Braves if not for a defense that continued to fight.
“I was pleased they didn’t quit,” King said. “They figured some things out and were flying around to the ball. They made some plays and a couple of stops. I just feel if we could have moved the ball a little more on offense we could have won the game.”
Octorara got its chance to make one final push midway through the final quarter. After being stopped on its own 23, Fleetwood lined up to punt, but the snap zoomed over the punter’s head and out of the back of the endzone for a safety.
On the ensuing free kick, Octorara’s Alex Gooden found a seam and returned it 70 yards to the house. But instead of kicking the extra point and making it a one-score game, the Braves went for two and were denied, keeping it 17-8.
“I think the kick return was a positive,” King said. “We made some mistakes with our returns early, so it was a positive after fumbling early and then scoring a touchdown later. They’re learning on their past mistakes.”
Fleetwood’s next drive was stalled temporarily by a holding call, but on fourth-and-10 at the Octorara 43, quarterback Stephen Hilborn hit Mason Allen on a wheel pattern down the right sideline for a 23-yard reception, and any thought of comeback was all but squashed. Two plays later the Tigers punched in their third touchdown to finish the scoring for the day with 3:52 remaining.
Gooden accounted for 83 yards on offense and the only score in his first start as a sophomore.
“Alex is a tough kid,” King said. “As a sophomore he needs more experience and he’s going to get tired because we need him a lot. He’ll get used to it, though.”
Fleetwood 24, Octorara 8
Fleetwood 14 3 0 7 -- 24
Octorara 0 0 0 8 -- 8
FW- Johnson 3 run (Hook kick)
FW- Allen 17 run (Hook kick)
FW- Hook 39 FG
OCT- Safety, punt snap out of endzone
OCT- Gooden 70 kick return (run failed)
Team Totals
First downs 14 5
Yards rushing 272 7
Yards passing 53 59
Total yards 325 66
Passing 3-9-1 4-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 6-3
Penalties 12-108 1-5
Punts-Avg. 0-0 4-27.8
Individual Statistics
RUSHING - Fleetwood: Emge 27-157; Johnson 7-76, 2 TDs; Allen 4-32, TD; Hillborn 11-7; Wapinsky 2-0. Octorara: Gooden 11-24; Norris 3-10; Devlin 3-(-4); Rossiter 1-(-5); Butler 1-(-8); Thompson 2-(-10).
PASSING - Fleetwood: Hillborn 3-9-1, 53 yards. Octorara: Gooden 4-6-0, 59 yards.
RECEIVING - Fleetwood: Allen 1-23; Klapchar 1-19; Webb 1-11. Octorara: Butler 1-50; Dinorscia 1-2; Rossiter 1-0.
SACKS - Fleetwood: Anderson 2, Dugan. Octorara: Cooper 2, Dinorscia .5, Stiles .5.
INTERCEPTIONS - Octorara: Thompson.

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