Early deficit too much to over­come for Spring-Ford

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Jeff De­wees

READ­ING » Wil­son’s John Gurski Sta­dium is a tough en­vi­ron­ment for any vis­it­ing high school foot­ball team to quell.

It’s es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult when your ball­club suf­fers through a ragged first half, as the Spring Ford Rams did Fri­day night.

Spring-Ford fell be­hind by 21 points in the open­ing 24 min­utes and that hole sim­ply proved too steep a climb in a 33-22 de­feat to host Wil­son.

The con­test de­layed by light­ning and heavy rain for 45 min­utes at the start in West Lawn. Once re­sumed, it was com­pleted with­out fur­ther in­ter­rup­tion.

Spring-Ford came out slug­gish and had difficulty keep­ing Wil­son (2-1) out of its back­field, es­pe­cially in a first half that could gen­er­ously be de­scribed as sub­par. The Bull­dogs held the Rams to 53 to­tal first-half yards; ju­nior quar­ter­back Ryan En­gro was just 5 of 10 for 39 yards with a lost fum­ble and was sacked three times. What was a promis­ing of­fense through two weeks just could not gen­er­ate any kind of sus­tained at­tack.

Rams head coach Chad Brubaker would like to know what hap­pened, too.

“I wish you could tell me what was go­ing on in that first half,” Brubaker replied whim­si­cally when asked. “We just did every­thing we pos­si­bly could to shoot our­selves in the foot. I don’t know the rea­sons be­hind that were, but we went into the half and said, ‘guys, we’ve done every­thing wrong we could pos­si­bly do and we’re not out of it.’”

And they weren’t. Spring-Ford looked like a dif­fer­ent team af­ter the break, into which they went trail­ing 21-0.

En­gro, who fin­ished 19 of 32 for 224 yards and a two scores, was able ma­neu­ver the Rams on a pair of scor­ing drives that slashed the deficit to 21-14 dur­ing the third quar­ter.

The ini­tial drive of the sec­ond half went for nine plays and 76 yard and fin­ished with En­gro find­ing Noah Baker from 26 yards to make it 21-7. The Rams looked far crisper than they had on any of their five first-half pos­ses­sions.

“We ran a cou­ple screens in the sec­ond half and catch-and-throw a bit more,” Brubaker said. “We said OK, we’re down and we need to do what we have to get back into it.”

En­gro tossed his finest com­ple­tion of the night to jump-start Spring-Ford’s next pro­fes­sion, a 62-yard strike to Stephen Brill on the first snap that gave the rams the ball at the Wil­son 4. A penalty on the next play hardly mat­tered, as En­gro weaved his way in from 14 to slice the deficit to 21-14.

Late in the third, Wil­son cashed in a short 52-yard field that saw Avanti Lock­hart go in from 6 to give the hosts a 27-14 lead and stem the mo­men­tum shift.

But it was Wil­son’s next score that reestab­lished con­trol and it was spe­cial teams that bit the Rams again.

A punt block a week ago had the coach­ing staff move some of­fen­sive line­men to the unit to shore it up. On the first drive of the fourth quar­ter Fri­day night, Troy Cor­son fielded a boom­ing kick that sailed over his head, from Taylor Smith, at his own 25 and was es­corted by a wall of red jer­seys down the near side­line to go 75 yards un­touched into the end zone for a 33-14 lead.

“Their young punter (Smith) was ba­si­cally out­kick­ing his cov­er­age,” Wil­son head coach Doug Dahms said. “He was boom­ing the ball. I thought our re­turn team did a much bet­ter job this week.”

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