BY TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Sayre is fourth-fifths of its way through an unprecedented five-game road trip, and are 3-1 after a 55-28 win at Cowanesque Valley Friday night.
“It’s very unusual to have road games in a row. I’ve seen two, once in a while three, but never five,” said Sayre coach Kevin Gorman. “I’m happy with the way the guys are traveling.
"Obviously, we laid an egg at Canton,” he noted. “I told the guys I’m not even sure if we got off the bus.
“But, I’m very pleased with how the guys have accepted that we have five road games in a row, and have gone out and taken care of business,” added Gorman.
The Redskins scored 48 points in the first half, including 35 in the first quarter, and amassed 446 yards in total offense. Sophomore QB Brayden Horton completed 9 of 13 passes for 225 yards and four TDs, and senior tailback Isaiah Firestine rushed for for 106 of the team’s 221 yards, and scored two TDs.
“The defense set up a couple of our scores, but the offense finished it off, and played really well in the first half,” said Gorman.
“I thought Isaiah (Firestine) did a really nice job on the ground, and our offense did a decent job of opening up holes for him.
“I thought Brayden (Horton) did a decent job getting the ball to our receivers,” noted Gorman. “And, our receivers were making sure one tackler wasn’t going to bring them down, and were gaining a lot of yardage after first contact.
“Luke Horton had a really nice run. A kid tried to spin him down to the ground, and he spun out of if and ran 60 more yards down inside the 10-yard line.
“I really like how are receivers run with the ball after the catch,” added Gorman. “I like the way they fight for the extra yard, and sometimes they break one loose.”
The Redskins enjoyed offensive success despite the absence of a pair of starting linemen Jordan Goodrich and Jared Giggee, as well as wide receiver / fullback Patrick Casterline.
“We plugged-and-played some kids up front,” said Gorman. “We’re lucky that some our younger kids, like Ethan Ray, Gavin Rucker, and Donovan Wynn have played throughout the year as swing guys. Gavin (Rucker) has played all three positions, and Ethan has played guard and tackle.
“Getting Nick Polzella back from injury was also a big help.
“I was pretty happy with how our back-ups came in to replace Jordan and Jared, and did a nice job,” added Gorman.
Cowanesque Valley scored first in the game, but it was 28-7 before they found the end zone again late in the first quarter. Then, Sayre added three more scores before the Indians would score again.
“We did a good job defensively in the first half,” said Gorman. “Our tackling was really good.
“Corbin Brown had an interception in the end zone, Zach Watkins had an interception, and Glenn Romberger, who was playing nose guard, chased a kid down and punched the ball out,” noted Gorman. “And, Logan Chapman and Zack Garrity hit their kick returner, and Zack ripped the ball right out his hand. That gave us a nice gift on a kickoff.
“Forcing four turnovers in the first half is always a good thing,” he added.
Gorman was also pleased with his team’s performance against CV QB Seth Huyler.
“I thought our secondary did a nice job in coverage, when we asked them to play man, and switch up coverage.”
There was one negative in the game, according to Gorman.
“I thought we came out in the second half and were a little lackadaisical.
“After watching the film I saw some things we need to do differently as a (coaching) staff in where they were attacking, but at the same time our guys have to step up and put the game away.
“For a while, it seemed like we were just toying with them in the second half,” noted Gorman. “We couldn’t get our 1s off the field. I wanted to get our 1s off the field to give some of our younger guys some game reps, but that didn’t happen until the fourth quarter.
“We’ll go back to the film and correct our mistakes,” he added.
Gorman said the special teams did a lot of positive things, aside from forcing the fumble on the CV kick return.
“Special teams were good.
“When we called on Luke (Horton), he did a really good job of flipping the field again,” said Gorman. “Nic (Bentley) made his first seven extra points.
“Our kickoff coverage team let up one big return on a missed tackle, but that happens sometimes,” he noted. “Corbin (Brown) did a nice job of catching punts and getting some return yards.
“Our kick return team needs to improve a little bit, but when our guys had a chance to return the ball, they did a nice job of getting up field,” added Gorman.”That’s really all we ask of them is to get up field and gain yards.”
GRADE: B+ “The letdown we had in the third quarter wasn’t something you want.
“We were up and wanted to get one more score and one more defensive stop, then get the 1s off the field,” said Gorman. “We just couldn’t do that, all the sudden we weren’t executing.
“We need to come out and be ready to go in the second half,” he added.
IN PHOTO: Sayre coach Kevin Gorman.
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