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Sandy Creek shows focus in opening-game rout

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BEAVER FALLS — Sandy Creek coach Mike Stevens was quick to remind his Comets before Saturday’s season-opener with Beaver River that this team hadn’t accomplished anything, yet, and that the only way to prove they are a legitimate sectional contender is on the field.

That’s a confident coach who knows what his talented team is capable of, and who needs them to remained focused on each and every opponent no matter how much of a favorite they are.

The Comets certainly looked like the defending Section 3 Class D champions by routing the Beavers 41-0 in a Class D Central division game. Except for accumulating more than 125 yards in penalties, Sandy Creek accomplished exactly what it set out to do against an inferior foe.

“We wanted to come out right away and make a statement,” said Sandy Creek senior quarterback/defensive back Tyler Swarthout. “It’s a new season, and what we did last year doesn’t mean a thing. We’ve heard that we’re going to win the sectionals again and even the states. But we can’t listen to that kind of talk and let it go to our heads. We’ve just got to stay focused and take it one game, one play at a time.”

The Comets were just too big and strong for the Beavers, an advantage they will hold against probably every opponent this year. Stevens said he particularly liked what he saw from his club as far as poise and communication was concerned, and “that we just need to grow and improve every week if we want to get to where we think we can go.”

Especially pleasing to Stevens and his staff was the fact the Comets scored on offense, defense and special teams, and that he was able to play his reserves a lot in the second half.

“Getting those second guys a lot of reps just makes us a better team,” Stevens said. “Hopefully, they gained some confidence and they can push our starters in practice and make us a better team.”

Junior running back Cameron Hall rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries and scored a touchdown as Sandy Creek ground out 243 yards on the ground and threw only three passes.

Junior Kyle Fayette scored on a 29-yard punt return and a 29-yard interception return for the Comets. Senior Zach Brown added a 19-yard TD run, senior Jake Benedict scored on a 1-yard run, and sophomore Tyler Brown contributed a 20-yard scoring run and kicked four extra points.

“It was tough to get any offensive rhythm, especially the first half with all the penalties,” Swarthout said. “But our defense kept giving us the ball, and sooner or later we knew we could punch in some scores.”

With a massive defensive front led by Matt Ennist and Zac Akey, standout linebackers in John Shirley and Benedict and several ball-hawking defenders in the secondary, this Comets defense will be tough to penetrate.

Beaver River simply could not rush the ball with any effectiveness. The Beavers finished with a net zero yards on 23 rushing attempts.

That forced senior quarterback Zach Steiner to put the ball in the air 32 times. He completed 14 for 72 yards, but also threw four interceptions.

“We made a lot of mistakes in our blocking assignments,” said first-year Beaver River coach Matt Lyndaker. “Against a team as big and tough as Sandy Creek, if you do that they are going to just beat you up.”

Stevens knows he must clean up the penalties, and find a little bit more consistency in his offensive execution. “I think we can be explosive if we just execute a little more consistently,” he said. “But our defense is going to give us a good chance to win every game.”

GENERAL BROWN 28, WESTMORELAND 20

After falling behind 14 points at halftime, General Brown scored three touchdowns over the final 10 minutes of the fourth quarter to earn a come-from-behind victory over Westmoreland in a Section 3 interclass season-opening game in Westmoreland.

It was veteran coach Steve Fisher’s first win back at the Lions’ helm, and it took a valiant effort over the final 24 minutes.

Trailing 22-6 early in the fourth quarter, Zach Pitre scored on an 8-yard run for General Brown and sophomore quarterback Evan Will hit Dylan Daghan for the 2-point conversion.

After a Rob Pickeral fumble recovery, Pitre scored on a 24-yard run, and Will hit Daghan again for the 2-point conversion to put the Lions ahead 22-20.

Following a Ryan Cumberbach interception, Joe Pitre added an insurance touchdown on a 3-yard run.

Zach Pitre rushed for 188 yards on 28 carries, including a 1-yard TD run.

Will, starting his first varsity game, completed 7 of 15 passes for 97 yards.

NEW YORK MILLS 40, SOUTH LEWIS 20

Zach Griffith passed for five touchdowns to lead the Marauders to a Class D Central home win over the Falcons.

Matt Swenszkowski caught three of Griffith’s touchdown passes for scores of 5, 32 and 14 yards.

Cody Capron ran for a 1-yard score and passed 56 yards to Lucas Kelly for another for South Lewis. Nick Kraeger also scored on a 13-yard run.

POTSDAM 54, GOUVERNEUR 6

O’den Robertson ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns and Chase Palmer provided 107 yards and a touchdown as Potsdam rolled to an opening Northern Athletic Conference victory at Gouverneur.

Potsdam carried the ball 44 times for 348 yards and ran for six touchdowns.

VVS 21, SOUTH JEFFERSON 6

Friday night in Adams, Chris Beavo scored three rushing touchdowns as the Red Devils topped the Spartans in a Class B East opener.

The Spartans’ points came on a second-quarter safety and a 7-yard run by Dylan Beckstead in the fourth quarter.

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