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Varsity Football Game 1 Recap

Varsity vs Spring Valley HS on 9/2/2017 1:30:00 PM
Posted Monday, September 18, 2017 by Mark Flannagan

Drama was in the air, even before the coin toss, to start the Horace Greeley varsity football  season. Perhaps it should have been an omen that crews were working overtime trying to get the long awaited artifical turf installed.  Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of first year athletic director Jason Semo and BOE Member Jeff Mester, the field installation was sucessfully completed and inspected only hours before the opening kickoff for the 2017 football season.

Fittingly, the Quakers won the opening  coin toss, elected to receive, and proceeded to engineer a 12 play, 71 yard scoring drive.  Highlights of the drive included a gutsy 4th & 8 fake punt by sophomore Danny Meringola that netted 13  yards and a fresh set of downs; a 3rd & 6 quarterback scramble by senior co-captain Ryan Flanagan that netted 36 yards; and a punishing 8 yard run by senior co-captain Matt Nagler that advanced the ball to the one yard line. When Flanagan swept off tackle for the score and Thomas Brennen converted  the extra point, the Quakers had certainly made an opening statement to a foe that  had pummeled them last year 38-0

On the ensuing kickoff the Quaker's sophomore kicker Thomas Brennan drove the ball to Tiger's 17 yard line and junior Ray North spearheaded the kick coverage to pin Spring Valley on their own 22 yard line.  After picking up nine yards the Tiger's had a 3rd &1 attempt; but senior co-captain Reed Cohen  punctured the line and reeled in the Tiger running back for a three yard loss, forcing a Spring Valley punt. The Tiger punt was muffed and the Greeley offense was back in action with great field position at their own 40 yard line. With the team facing a 3rd &6, Flanagan found Senior Zach David for a 10 yard pass completion, then followed up with a 26 yard scamper to the one yard line. From there Matt Nagler pounded the ball in the end zone for the Quaker's second TD (followed by a Brennan PAT) and a quick 14-0 lead with 3:56 left to play in the first quarter. 

Spring Valley started their next possession  on their own 35 yard line after another solid special team kickoff coverage tackle by Ray North. The Tigers then engineered a 6 play, 65 yard scoring drive capped by a 40 yard touchdown pass completion, and tightened the score to 14-7 with 2:57 remaining in the 1st quarter.  

On the ensuing kickoff Matt Nagler returned the ball 15 yards to give the Quakers a 1st & 10 at their own 25 yard line. After two rushing attempts for no gain the Quakers were confronted with a 3rd and 10. Flanagan then connected with senior first year player Zach David on a nifty 43 yard pass completion to the Spring Valley 32 yard line as the first quarter came to a close.  Then, early in the second quarter with the Quakers facing a 4th & 12 on the Tiger's 34 yard line, Flanagan agin connected with Zach David on an out and up pattern down the right sideline for a 25 yard gain; setting up a 1st & goal  on the nine yard line. After a  Quaker five yard penalty, Matt Nagler muscled his way for 13 yards to the one yard line, setting up an easy QB sneak by Flanagan for the touchdown.  With 10:14 left in the first half Greeley led 21-7.

On the following possession Spring Valley recovered Brennon's squib kick on their own 42 yard line.  Despite  stellar defensive plays by Reed Cohen, senior Max de Janosi   and sophomore Ethan Samkoff, the Tigers were able to put together a 10 play, 58 yard scoring drive to narrow the score to 21-14 with 5:43 left in the first half.

After trading possessions, Spring Valley regained possession with 44 seconds to go until halftime and proceeded to move the ball to the Quaker's 25 yard line. However key defensive stops by Nagler in the secondary and de Janosi  on an end around reverse, set up a critical 3rd and 10 for the Tigers. Senior co-captain Hayden Schinderman shut the Tigers down as he powered thru his defender to sack the Tiger's quarterback and stifle the drive, as the first half came to a close with Greeley  leading  21-14. 

The second half opened with Spring Valley pounding the Greeley defense for big chunks of yardage as the Tigers marched all the way to the Greeley 15 yard line. However the Greeley defense, led by Samkoff, Cohen and Schinderman stiffened in the red zone and stifled the drive on a 4th and 1. The Quakers took over on downs and Nagler & Flanagan moved the ball to the Quaker 30 yard line setting up a 3rd and 6. Flanagan then connected with sophomore Danny Meringola for what looked like a six yard first down completion. But an unfavorable spot by the officials forced a 4th and inches situation for Greeley. In what would turn out to be a pivotal point in the game, the Quakers eschewed the punt and tried to gain the first down. Unfortunately, Flanagan could not convert, turning the ball back to Spring Valley on the Greeley 36 yard line. Two plays later, the Tigers were in the end zone and the game was tied at 21-21 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Quakers were forced to punt on their next possession and when Spring Valley got possession they easily moved the ball all the way to the Greeley 24 yard line. However on a 1st and 10 hitch pass completion by Spring Valley, sophomore defensive back Ethan Samkoff hit  the receiver and stripped the ball, allowing fellow corner back Jacob Rose to scoop up the fumble and return it 45 yards to the Tiger's 31 yard line. There was a palpable sense in the stadium that the momentum had shifted to the Quakers. However, on the next play Flanagan threw an ill advised pass which was intercepted, snuffing out the short lived Quaker momentum.

On the next series the Quakers defense stepped up again; as Ethan Samkoff, with a tremendous second effort, chased down a Tiger running back for a loss of 10 yards. On the next play Hayden Schinderman recorded his second sack of the day; and on 3rd down Reed Cohen and Danny Meringolo completely shut down an attempted screen pass, forcing a Spring Valley punt from their own 11 yard line.

The Quakers then took over with excellent field position at the 48 yard line. Stalwart running back Matt Nagler then ripped off runs of 16 and 18 yards, with Flanagan and Meringolo adding  14 more rushing yards, to give the Quakers a 1st and goal at the five yard line as the third quarter came to a close.As the 4th quarter started The Quakers went to their passing game. However three pass attempts proved less than futile, as Flanagan was sacked twice, to bring up a 4th and goal from the 23 yard line.. This obvious passing situation was also nixed as Flanagan and Meringolo  missed by inches on a pass completion in the corner of the end zone, leaving the teams still knotted at 21-21.  

Spring Valley then took possession on downs and made short work of the Quaker defense, as they  hit pay dirt in only three plays, capped by a 61 yard halfback scamper to put the visitors  ahead for the first time in the game at 28-21.

On the ensuing kickoff Jacob Rose scooped up  a squib kick at the 23 yard line and made a nifty 25 yard return to give the Quakers excellent field  position. The Greeley offense then started to roll, as the rushing combination of Nagler, Flanagan and Meringolo moved the ball to the Spring Valley 36 yard line.  With the Quakers facing  a 3rd and 12 Flanagan connected with wideout Jacob Rosen, picking  up 16 yards to keep the drive alive. Two plays later Matt Nagler grabbed a screen pass, took advantage of a "pancake" block by Hayden Schinderman and scampered into the end zone to bring the Quakers within a point. Thomas Brennan converted the extra point to tie the game at 28-28 with 4:12 left on the clock.

Spring Valley received the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball into Greely territory. However the Quaker defense again stepped up and forced and a 4th down situation. Spring Valley opted to punt and executed a coffin corner punt to pin the Quakers at their four yard line. On 1st & 10 Ryan Flanagan scooted up the middle for a six yard gain, but was stripped of the ball, and the Tigers took over in what appeared  to be very favorable position with a 1st & 10 on the Greeley 10 yard line. However the Greeley defense again rose to occasion as Reed Cohen stuffed the run for no gain in first down; Danny Meringola made the stop on 2nd down; and Hayden Schinderman slammed the running back on the five yard line on 3rd down. Still, despite this defensive effort, the Tigers had a very makable 15 yard field goal attempt to

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