Monday, December 1, 2014

Indian River floods Queensbury's Rush Attack, Wins State Championship

SYRACUSE - Down 19-0?

No problem for the Indian River Warriors, who adjusted their game plan midway through the second quarter and came back to a 63-38 win over the Queensbury Spartans for the Class A Championship.

It is the first state championship for Indian River, and the end of a 25 game winning streak for the previous defending champs.

But the way it started, it looked like Indian River was going to be on the receiving end of the blow out.  It took only two plays before Erik Wettersten ran in from 4 yards out, with Tyrell Adams setting up the touchdown run with a 65 yard gain up the right side.

Then after an Indian River fumble on the kickoff return, Brett Rodriguez scored from 9 yards out to give Queensbury the 13-0 lead.

Indian River would drive the length of the field, but a fumble at the Queensbury 5 yard line gave the Spartans the ball.  Drew Wilson connected with a wide-open Brett Rodriguez to make the score 19-0.

Indian River would storm back with an eight play, 75 yard drive, capped with a quarterback keeper as Densel Barnes ran in from 4 yards for their first score.

But a fumble on the second play of the ensuing drive gave the Warriors great field position to close the first quarter, and Romel Washington made the Spartans pay for that miscue with his 36 yard jet sweep touchdown run to start the second quarter.

The Spartans answered back with Drew Wilson's pass to a wide open Brett Rodriguez, who lined up as a wide receiver on the right sideline, but Chris Goudy's rush on the 2 point conversion failed, to make the score 25-14.

But then the Spartans became unraveled.  And the Warriors began their game of deception.  A fake handoff on the ensuing kickoff got the Spartans to bite, allowing Chase Farrell to run the ball to the Queensbury 45.  Dustin Sharritt would score two plays later, pulling the Warriors to within a field goal.

It only got worse for Queensbury from there.  Tyrell Adams was hurt on the bench, never to return to the game with ice down around his ankle.  On the next series, Queensbury would fall victim to two penalties, with Keeghan O'Leary getting slapped with an "ineligible participation" penalty after his helmet came off during a 1st Down play where Erik Wettersten tried to run to the outside, and Drew Wilson getting tabbed with an intentional grounding call after the ball sailed out of bounds on the next play.  The Spartans would end up punting the ball from their own 15 yard line.

Indian River would score again to make 29-25 at the half, converting a fourth down with a jet sweep to set up Dustin Barnes 4 yard touchdown run.  The Warriors would receive the ball first to start the third quarter, having deferred to the second half.  Connor Brown made that pay off with his 23 yard run to cap a four play drive, expanding the Indian River lead to 36-25.

After another touchdown, Indian River booted the ball towards Erik Wettersten, who bobbled the ball and was brought in by Brett Rodriguez.  However, trying to make something happen, he ran backwards and was down at the 7 yard line.  Rodriguez made up for that miscue with a 93 yard touchdown run to close the gap to 12.

Romel Washington scored the second of his two touchdowns after the kickoff, going in 68 yards for the score to make it 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Junior Dustin Sharritt scored the third touchdown of the game, and Freshman Brandon Smith would add to the Warriors lead late in the fourth quarter to make it 63-31.

Brett Rodriguez would return the kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown with two minutes left, but it was too little too late.

Romel Washington was named the game's Most Valuable Player, running 196 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns.  Dustin Sharrit was a key contributor, scoring 3 touchdowns on his 20 carries, picking up 89 yards in the process.

Brett Rodriguez scored two touchdowns and picked up 146 yards on 18 carries, most of that coming on the 93 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Indian River used misdirection to fake out the Queensbury Spartans.  The Spartans fell victim several times, allowing huge lanes to open up for the Warriors to gain consistent yardage.  And 5' 4" Romel Washington made his short speed pay dividends on the jet sweeps, allowing him to burn the Spartans with 196 yards.  This helped Indian River convert five of their eight third downs.

They also clogged up the holes inside, forcing Queensbury runners to the outside, where defensive backs were waiting to take the ball carrier down.  The Spartans had 289 rushing yards, but only 133 yards of that coming in the second half.  They only had four first downs in the second half, limiting the Spartans possession time, an attribute that the Queensbury Spartans used effectively through their 25 game winning streak

It is the first championship for the squad that played in Section 10 until the 2008-2009 season, but is the first trip to the State Tournament as a representative in Section 3.

Queensbury Spartans (12-1)
Indian River Warriors (13-0)

1st Quarter
11:37 - Erik Wettersten (QSBY) - 4 yard run.  (Escamilla kick) - 7-0
10:57 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 9 yard run.  (kick failed) - 13-0
03:57 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 57 yard pass.  (run failed) - 19-0
00:54 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-7

2nd Quarter
11:53 - Romel Washington (IR) - 36 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-14
07:50 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 26 yard pass.  (run failed) - 25-14
07:21 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Barnes run) - 25-22
03:01 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketeau kick) - 25-29

3rd Quarter
10:29 - Connor Brown (IR) - 23 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-36
05:40 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 2 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-43
05:17 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 93 yard run.  (run failed) - 31-43
04:57 - Romel Washington (IR) - 68 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-50

4th Quarter
04:16 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 7 yard run.  (kick failed) - 31-56
02:13 - Brandon Smith (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-63
02:00 - Brett Rodriguez (IR) - 76 yard kickoff return.  (Escamilla kick) - 38-63

Individual Stats
RUSHING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 18-146-2; Tyrell Adams: 2-86-0; Chris Goudy: 6-26-0; James Kassebaum: 2-14-0.  Indian River - Romel Washington: 13-196-2; Dustin Sharrit: 20-89-3; Connor Brown: 8-72-1; Densel Barnes: 10-45-2

PASSING:  Queensbury - Drew Wilson: 6-11 162yds, 2TD, INT; Brett Rodriguez: 0-1.  Indian River - Densel Barnes: 1-1 40yds

RECEIVING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 3-88 57yds, 2TD; Keegan O'Leary: 2-73; Hunter Scott: 1-1.  Indian River - Gary Ruckman: 1-40.

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