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Written by: Avery Falisec on Sunday, September 5th, 2021
Senior fullback Jayce Brooks takes the ball to the endzone for a touchdown of six yards (above). RAY KAUFFMAN PHOTO
Blue skies and 68 degrees. The perfect football weather has finally arrived and the Purchase Line Red Dragons took full advantage of it as they bested the United Lions in a shutout of 41-0, during their game, Friday, September 3.
Purchase Line was to have the ball to start the game, but United had other plans. On the first play, Lions’ sophomore linebacker Caden McCully intercepted the Dragons’ pass and ran it to the Purchase Line 34-yard line. However, for the next four plays, the Lions couldn’t get through the opposing white wall to the first down marker. On third down, United’s senior quarterback Jacob Boring dropped back to pass, but couldn’t find a man, so he dodged three tacklers and found the open green to the left and was taken down five yards short of a first down. Despite this effort, the fourth down attempt was unsuccessful, due to an incomplete pass.
The Red Dragons earned their first down after runs from sophomore quarterback John Elick, and senior running backs Mello Sanchez and Brady Syster. On the next play, Elick hit Syster at the 47-yard line. Syster ran the ball past midfield, and to the United 33-yard line. Elick connected with sophomore wide receiver Andrew Beer on the next play at the 25. This was followed by a 15-yard run from senior fullback Jayce Brooks to United’s 10-yard line. One play later, the ball was fumbled and the Lions’ offense took to the field once more, deep in their own territory. The Red Dragons forced them to a three and out, and back to the five. Punting is always dangerous in this situation and junior Eric Overman showed the Lions exactly why. Overman tipped the ball into the air, leaving it wide open for Syster to grab and run inside the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Brooks ran the ball into the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown. The Dragons lined up for the extra point kick, but the Lions were caught offsides. This gave the Dragons the opportunity to go for two and they capitalized on it. Elick ran it in on a quarterback sneak, making the score 8-0, with less than three minutes left in the first quarter.
United was held to another three and out, and on the punt, Sanchez got a hold of the ball at the 24-yard line, running it very close to midfield. This play will only count on a highlight film, though, because Purchase Line received a penalty and was moved back to the 12. During the next two plays, Elick hit Syster at the 15 and Sanchez at the 22. At the end the first quarter, the Dragons were driving down the field.
With a surge from the offensive line, Elick was able to reach the first down marker at his own 24-yard line. Then, Elick threw a lateral pass to Sanchez, who brought the ball right up the sideline for a first down and more. Sanchez and Elick combined for the next 10-yards, to the United 47-yard line. Elick called his own number on the next two plays, and on the third, the ball was handed to sophomore Austin Chambers, who was forced out of bounds at the 17. Brooks capped this drive, a few plays later, with another 1-yard touchdown, making the score 14-0.
The Lions tried to get things going in the air, but when Boring passed to senior Wade Plowman, Elick took him down, preventing anything more than a 3-yard gain. Boring tried tossing the ball to McCully, so Purchase Line’s defense fell into the backfield, taking him down before the line of scrimmage. On the next play, Elick led the swarm that took down Boring in the backfield, near United’s 20-yard line.
On the next series, both teams struggled offensively. On the Lions’ drive, there was no gain on the first two downs, and on the third, Elick soared through the lines to Boring in the backfield. Luckily, Boring got rid of the ball before the sack, though it was no use because the Lions punted during the next play.
Brooks ended the Dragons’ scoring run for the half when he took it to the house again for a touchdown of six yards, increasing the Dragons’ lead, 20-0. United needed to get their offense going before the half ended, but on the first play of their drive, senior Vincenzo Scott took down freshman Dylan Stephens before he was able to make a play. The Lions punted the ball to the Dragons, but on the return, there was a fumble, and United made the recovery. Boring was the key player for the next couple of plays after a scramble that turned into a run down to the other side of the Purchase Line 45-yard line. United was unable to capitalize on this drive because the half ended, leaving a score of 20-0.
To start the second half, Stephens took the ball seven yards up the field for a first down, and Boring followed suit with ten yards, getting the Lions to the Red Dragons’ 37-yard line. Boring followed up with four yards, but on the next play, the ball was dropped and recovered by Purchase Line. This resulted in a 25-yard touchdown run by Syster, along with senior Brock Lloyd’s extra point kick. A score of 27-0 was now on the board. It was Beer’s turn to score on Purchase Line’s next drive for a 31-yard run, after United fumbled the ball and Purchase Line recovered it. Then, Syster capitalized on the two-point conversion. This closed out the scoring in the third quarter, with the Dragons leading 35-0.
The last touchdown of the game was scored only 13 seconds into the last quarter by sophomore Brock Small for a 65-yard run up the left sideline. However, for the rest of the quarter, the ball went back and forth between the two teams. Both teams fought hard, but neither could reach the endzone. The final score of the game was 41-0, Purchase Line.
Brooks said, “It felt great to be able to score three touchdowns, but all the credit goes to the line on both ends. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to score or do anything on defense. This win can give us a lot of confidence to move forward and play better as a team and I think that’s just what we need with our schedule getting harder as the season goes on.”
Beer followed up, “We just forgot about the fumbles and turnovers right away and played defense and the offense came to us after. We just have to keep improving every week, and take care of the little things.”
Purchase Line Head Coach Matthew Falisec concluded, “I think we did some good things on both sides of the ball tonight. The line is starting to come together and the backs really ran hard. We need to clean up the turnovers and get prepared for some tough football games in the next couple of weeks.”
Catch the Red Dragons next week, at their home field, taking on the West Shamokin Wolves and the Lions at Homer Center battling with the Wildcats.
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