Wildcats Down Phoenix
The Phoenix took to the road for the first time this season and made the trek to Saxtons River, Vermont to take on the Vermont Academy Wildcats. There was little evidence of fatigue from the bus ride as the Phoenix hit the field ready to go on this hot and sunny afternoon. Unfortunately, the effort was not enough to bring home the win.
The game started with Vermont receiving the ball. After a solid drive, Vermont found the end zone and converted for two points, immediately going up 8-0. On the ensuing kickoff Bemnet Banks ’12 found a seam up the right side and ran 70 yards to put the Phoenix on the board. The rest of the first quarter saw strong defensive play from Hyde. Isaac Pfosi ’12 made a handful of great tackles and Jonah Alexander ’12 made an acrobatic interception, his first of two on the day. In the 2nd quarter the Wildcats found the end zone twice, while the Phoenix still couldn’t find any luck moving the ball against Vermont’s strong line. Down 22-6, the Phoenix needed a spark. The Phoenix found it in Tyquan Ekejiuba ’13, as he returned a kickoff after a Wildcat score for a quick 6. Bemnet Banks ’12 added the two point conversion, putting the Phoenix right back in the game. The Hyde defense came out strong, forcing a turnover on downs. The offense continued to sputter and the Wildcats found themselves in the red zone late in the 2nd quarter, until Jonah Alexander ’12 came up with a clutch interception, halting the Wildcats.
The Phoenix started off the 2nd half on offense, determined to get some production. They put together a solid drive with nice runs from Tyquan Ekejiuba ’13 and fullback James Schnatterly ’12, and capped it off with a 30 yard touchdown run by Bemnet Banks ’12. After converting another 2 point conversion the Phoenix found themselves even with the Wildcats at 22-22. Vermont responded immediately with two scoring drives to close out the 3rd, going up 35-22 entering the 4th. Refusing to quit, the Phoenix defense came up with a nice turnover on downs, giving the Phoenix offense the ball on the 50. The offense put together a decent drive, but couldn’t convert on 4th and short, giving the ball back to the Wildcats with about five minutes remaining. The Wildcats tacked on another 6, and the game ended with the Wildcats up 41-22.
This was a tough loss for the Phoenix, especially seeing how the game was tied up the third quarter. This week in practice the team will be working on offensive blocking in hopes to increase production. The Phoenix also look to mix up some personnel choices on both sides of the ball in hopes of finishing games stronger. The Phoenix will hit the road again this week taking on Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 pm.
JV Football Takes On Andover
Last Wednesday the JV football team had their first official game travelling to Andover, Massachusetts to take on Phillips Andover Academy. It was a picturesque autumn afternoon in Andover and the team arrived excited and ready to have a great day. While the squad came up short on the scoreboard, there was undeniable growth and a strong sense of pride on the bus ride home.
The game started with the Phoenix putting together a nice offensive drive led by strong carries from Omar Harris ’14. Facing forth and 5 on the Andover 35 the Phoenix elected to go for the first down and it paid off. Quarterback Evander Lenardson ’14 found space along the sideline and scampered 35 yards for 6. The strong play continued on the other side of the ball as well, as the defense recovered a fumble on the first play of the second quarter. Hyde couldn’t convert on offense and Andover responded with a scoring drive, tying up the game. Andover earned a safety towards the end of the quarter and the Phoenix went into halftime trailing 8-6.
The third quarter saw some fatigue in the Phoenix. Hyde’s seventeen players in uniform couldn’t keep up with the deep Andover squad as they scored on an interception and a punt return. Offensively Ben Burlock ’13 and Evander Lenardson ’14 had some nice passes at quarterback, but minor timing issues kept the Phoenix from finding a big play. The fourth quarter was full of spirited defensive play by the Phoenix. Ethan Bryan ’12 and Brian Zuo ’14 each recorded sacks and the Phoenix ended the game with a goal line stance, denying Andover a final scoring opportunity.
Overall, the JV Phoenix played with pride, discipline, and heart. It was a pleasure to coach these young men and witness the outstanding growth they have made. The next JV game is October 21st against Hyde-Woodstock. The squad is eagerly preparing to play in front of their parents and take on our rival school.