Phoenix Fall to Tilton in Opener
The Phoenix kicked off their regular season this past Saturday with a game against Tilton School. It was a warm and humid day, reminiscent of some practices from preseason. It was also Homecoming weekend and many former Phoenix showed their support for the squad. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to secure the win.
The Phoenix started strong in the first half, forcing Tilton to punt on their first possession. On offense, long runs by Bemnet Banks ’12 and Jack Peters ’12 put the Phoenix in the red zone. The Phoenix punched it in on 4th and goal with a nice run by Peters and converted the 2 point conversion. In the second quarter the Phoenix continued to shut down Tilton’s offense; however, a fake punt on 4th down and long pass play highlighted a nice scoring drive by Tilton. The Phoenix defense responded with Lukas Fischer ’13 and Zach Tolman ’12 forcing a blocked punt on Tilton’s ensuing drive, setting up the Phoenix offense in Tilton’s red zone. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t convert and fumbled the ball away. Hyde entered the half up 8-6.
The 3rd quarter began with Tyquan Ekejiuba ’13 returning the opening kickoff over 70 yards to the Tilton 2 yard line. Again the Phoenix fumbled the ball away, failing to convert deep in the red zone. The Phoenix D continued to hold strong through the 3rd quarter. As the 4th quarter unwound it became apparent the Phoenix could not hope to maintain their lead against this Tilton squad. Breakdowns on defense and punts led to multiple scores for Tilton giving them the win. The final score was 31-8.
It was disappointing to not earn the victory against Tilton, but it was also a great learning experience. The Phoenix now recognize what it means to play a full four quarters and will be working on conditioning this week in practice. The Phoenix return to action at home next Saturday against Kent’s Hill with a scheduled kickoff time for 3:30 p.m.
JV Football Takes Down Hebron in Friendly
This week began with the football program’s younger portion making a trip to Hebron for a “friendly” Monday matchup. Play was timed and run at full speed, but coaches were on the field and a quick whistle was used to provide a competitive, yet safe learning environment. Everybody who made the trip saw action on this sunny and mild afternoon. With a lot of “firsts” on the afternoon, the day showed great promise for the future of Phoenix football.
The first offensive possession for each team yielded minimal results. Then, after a nice few plays on Hyde’s second possession, quarterback Evander Lenardson ’14 broke loose down the sideline and ran 40 yards for the first score of the afternoon. Hebron responded with a nice drive and eventually scored on 4th and goal ending the half with Hebron in front 8-6. The second half began with the Phoenix on defense and saw solid play from line backers Jack Howarth ’14 and Harry Hu ’14. The ensuing offensive possession found the Phoenix driving, led by a few nice runs from Billy Martinez ’13. After seven plays on offense it was Lenardson again who found the end zone due to a strong second effort along the sideline. Scoring for the day was wrapped up on Hyde’s final drive as fullback Ryan Scioli ’13 broke a nice run up the middle for about 30 yards. The final score was 20-8 in Hyde’s favor.
The day saw many new faces to the field and a lot of experimenting with different players at different positions. There was noticeable improvement in execution over the course of the day, which was inspiring. The players also seemed to really enjoy themselves and appreciated the opportunity. The JV squad will face off with Hebron again a few weeks from now, with the Lumberjacks traveling to Bath.