|SECTION IV FOOTBALL: SVEC'S 'MISSED OPPORTUNITIES' LEAD TO 36-14 LOSS AT WATKINS GLEN / O-M (24 PHOTOS (2017-09-09)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WATKINS GLEN — Zach Elliott rushed for 215 yards and five TDs to lead Watkins Glen / O-M to a 36-14 win over SVEC here Saturday night in non-divisional Section IV football action.
SVEC coach Ron Miller said it was a night of missed opportunities for the Eagles.
“We led 14-8 at the half, and it should have been 30-8,” said Miller. “We shot ourself in the foot the entire game. We just didn’t play well.
“We had five penalties in the first half, and turned the ball over twice in scoring position when we had the lead,” he said.
“(Watkins Glen / O-M) fumbled the ball away three times,” added Miller. “We had the opportunity to take a win home tonight, and we didn’t.”
The Seneca Indians forced the first turnover of the night when SVEC sophomore QB Cameron Doane was stripped of the ball on the third play of the game, and WGOM pounced on the ball at the Eagles 32.
Seven plays later, Elliott, who scored four TDs in Week 1, bulled in from 1 yard out. He also tacked on the conversion run to give the Seneca Indians an 8-0 lead with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
SVEC answered quickly, taking the ensuing kickoff and marching 65 yard on six plays for a score.
Thomas Llewellyn opened the drive with a 10-yard run, and Christian Haynes added a 25-yard run before capping the drive with a 30-yard TD run with 5:09 left in the first quarter. The conversion failed and SVEC trailed, 8-6.
WGOM took the ensuing kickoff and appeared ready to add to its lead, moving the ball 45 yards on four rushing plays, but an SVEC defender put his helmet on the ball on a run by Elliott, causing a fumble that shot more than 10 yards in the air. SVEC senior Elijah Davis came out of the pile with the ball at the Eagle 25.
Two plays later, Haynes broke free down the home sidelines on a 68-yard TD jaunt. Doane’s pass to junior Nathan Mack provided the conversion and the Eagles led 14-8 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
After three scores in less than 10 minutes to start the game, neither team scored again for nearly 16 minutes, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunity.
WGOM’s next possession ended with a punt and SVEC took over at its 29-yard line. The Eagles quickly moved the ball to the Seneca Indians 16, but a chip block stalled the drive and WGOM took over on downs at its 31.
Late in the second quarter, WGOM moved the ball to the SVEC 14, thanks to a personal foul call, but Elliott was taken down inside the 10 at the first-half buzzer.
The Seneca Indians fumbled on the first play of the second half, and SVEC took over at the WGOM 24. On second down, Doane was picked off by Noah Angle, who returned the ball to midfield, but a clipping call brought the ball back to the WGOM 35.
Six plays later, Elliott busted loose off left tackle, then cut it outside and down the home sideline for a 34-yard TD run. The conversion failed and the game was tied at 14-14 with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
“When we threw the pick in the third quarter, you could feel them gain the momentum, and you could see the difference in play after that,” said Miller.
The Eagles took the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball deep into WGOM territory, but a pass from Doane to Mack on 4th-and-6 was stopped less than a yard shy of a first down at the 21.
Three plays later, SVEC’s Kyle Jelliff pounced on a WGOM fumble at the Seneca Indians 15, but disaster struck shortly after for the Eagles.
Three plays later, SVEC turned the ball over on a bad snap while in the “muddle huddle” formation, also known as the “swinging gate” or “pole cat.” The formation features a snapper and quarterback by themselves with one player split out to one side, and the remaining linemen and backs to the other side.
A high snap rolled back to near midfield, where Elliott scooped it up and headed toward paydirt. However, Cameron Fitzgerald chased him down and saved the TD, dragging him down from behind at the SVEC 9.
“The bad snap was another momentum changer, too,” said Miller. “We had them outnumbered over there, I thought it was going to be a touchdown.”
Three plays later, however, Elliott bulled in from 2 yards out for the score. He tacked on the conversion to give WGOM a 22-14 lead with 10:42 remaining in the game.
After a three-and-out by SVEC, WGOM took over at its 44 following a short punt. Two plays later, Elliott rumbled 53 yards for his fourth TD of the game. Casen Weeded tacked on the conversion to give the Seneca Indians a 30-14 lead with 8:39 left in the game.
With 42 seconds remaining in the game, Elliott found paydirt for the fifth time on a 12-yard run to cap a 10-play, 46-yard drive.
Miller said his team was worn down a bit by the much bigger Seneca Indians.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game.
“I think we wore down mentally,” he said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes.
“The kids didn’t quit, but they got tired,” added Miller. “(WGOM) had some big bodies on us all night.”
Joe Chedzoy added 96 rushing yards on 17 carries for the Senecas Indians, who ran for 330 yards on 54 carries without attempting a pass.
Llewellyn led SVEC with 141 rushing yards on 19 carries,while Haynes had 124 yards and two TDs on 13 carries. The Eagles ran for 280 yards on 38 carries.
Doane completed 2 of 11 passes for 16 yards, and was picked off once. Mack had both receptions.
SVEC, now 1-1, hosts Whitney Point (0-2) Friday night, while WGOM (2-0) hosts Oneonta (1-1).
IN PHOTO 1: SVEC’s Thomas Llewellyn follows the blocking of Noah Pierce (63). … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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