Think big number 65 Andrew Kampf  wasn’t happy about the Indians win?

Peter Pagliaro-MHTS

Photos-Kevin Montano-MHTS

th_football7The Sauquoit Valley Indians and the Mount Markham Mustangs kicked off their 2013 season under the lights and on the turf Friday night from the scenic Sauquoit Valley, and it was a battle which the Indians rallied to win 32-28.

The Indians, wearing the home red jerseys with black numbering, were first to bring out their offensive unit, but the Mustangs were stingy on defense allowing them only three chances with the ball in their first drive.

The Indians looked to run early, handing it off to Ethan Harris and with the quarterback, Korey Lewandrowski, calling his own number. After a dropped pass attempt on third down, the Indians were forced to punt.

The snap for the punt came out awkwardly and took an awkward bounce. It proved costly for the Indians, as the Mustangs took over on the seven yard line.

Mount Markham’s Mustangs were all business at Sauquoit Valley.

The Mustangs saw an opportunity and took full advantage, as they handed the ball to Mike Tanzillo on two straight plays and he barreled in for the first score of the game giving Mount Markham a 7-0 edge.

The Indians wasted no time responding, when on the very next play Zach Freeman took the kickoff return to the house with a 95 yard return into the end zone and the Indians cut the lead to 7-,6 after a missed extra point.

th_football7Mount Markham showed that they too had plenty of speed of their own, as Eric Taylor-Holmes returned the ensuing kick-off for 45 yards, to start off their second drive.

The Mustangs continued to attack with the ground game, as they handed the ball off to Mike Tanzillo and Eric Taylor-Holmes, both who garnered positive gains.

The success of the run early allowed the Mustangs coaching staff to continue to call Tanzillo’s number, as he picked up a series of consecutive first downs on the ground.

With the ball in the red-zone, Mount Markham turned to Tanzillo and then Holmes, whose second effort surge got him into the end-zone, putting the Mustangs back ahead by a score of 14-6.

Plenty to cheer about on opening night in Sauquoit!

Holding on to a 14-6 lead, the Mustangs were hungry to increase the lead and started to play hard nosed, smash-mouth football by running the ball into the heart of the Sauquoit defense and forcing them to come up with the stop.

After Mike Tanzillo picked up a nice six yard gain, the Mustangs turned to Tanner Christian, who ran through the defense for a first down.

th_football7Following a defensive stop on first down by Colin Madia, along with a holding penalty, the Mustangs were facing a first down and twenty.

Holding true to their game plan, the coaching staff continued to go to the running portion of the playbook and handed the ball to Kyle Yager, who tallied a twelve yard gain. Then Eric Taylor-Holmes took a play up the middle for a third down and long.

The Indians stepped up defensively and made a stop, as Korey Lewandrowski and Tyler Ray closed the gaps, as Tyler Ostrander looked for daylight.

Facing a fourth down and five yards, the Mustangs decided to go for it, and it, paid off big. Eric Taylor-Holmes appeared to be stopped short by the Sauquoit defenders, but he kept his legs moving and was able to bounce out to the sidelines and dance his way down along the white stripe and into the end-zone, giving the Mustangs a commanding 20-6 lead.

Eric Taylor-Holmes a tough man to bring down.

The momentum seemed to swing the way of the Mustangs, but again the Indians responded on special teams and Zach Freeman roared up field for a 45 yard return, to get the Indians right back in business and the Sauquoit faithful back on their feet.

th_football7It would take the Indians just four more plays to get back on the board, when they turned to running back, Jason Simon, with two running plays that netted them only four yards, but following a big third down stop by the Mustangs, the Indians looked down field. Korey Lewandrowski found Jason Simon, who caught the ball and saw green grass all the way to the end-zone, with an immaculate 37 yard touchdown run. The Indians were down just eight, 20-12, after the missed two-point conversion.

The Indians would get the ball back again before the half with a chance to further narrow down the margin.

Quarterback, Korey Lewandrowski, started things off with a quarterback keeper, as he pulled the ball back from the running back just as a defender bit on the play, securing the first down.

Following a few failed attempts to score, Sauquoit went back to Korey Lewandrowski to run the same play that worked earlier, this time to the opposite side of the field. The result was a touchdown and a 20-18 Mount Markham lead, going into the half.

# 20 in red Ethan Harris hangs on after a hard hit.

With the Indians rallying to end the half, the Mustangs were in need of a spark and they got it from Eric Taylor-Holmes right away, as in the very first play of the second half. Taylor-Holmes received the kick-off, tucked the ball away, jumped to the outside and ran 78 yards taking back the momentum and extending the Mount Markham lead to 26-18.

As the clock continued to wind down, the Mustangs found themselves in a good position to put the Indians away, if they could punch in another score.

However, the Indians had a different plan and forced Mount Markham to punt after four plays.

With the ball back in their hands, the Indians went back to work and did so very efficiently.

A run by Jason Simon, a pass to Brady Murphy and a throw deep down field by Korey Lewandrowski to Zach Freeman and the Indians were down just two, 26-24, after Freeman found the end zone.

th_football7The start of the third saw Sauquoit make one more stop before Mount Markham would air it out for the first time in the game which resulted in a pick-six, as Jason Simon would pluck off Tyler Ostrander’s first pass attempt and take it to the end-zone, giving Sauquoit its first lead of the game, 32-26, after Kevin Owens converted on a two-point conversion.

The Mustangs leading all game, now found themselves down and would look to rally, but after a run and then an offside by Sauquoit, the Mustangs again looked to pass and again it turned out to be the wrong move.

This time an interception by Austin Mohringer and the Indians would take over, but not for long. Just three plays later, a botched handoff resulted in Tanner Christian recovering a fumble for Mount Markham and the Mustangs were still threatening.

With the ball in their hands, the Mustangs went back to what worked, the running game. The Mustangs kept the Indians guessing, mixing it up with run plays to Kyle Yager, Eric Taylor-Holmes and Mike Tanzillo and it was working as they continued to tally first downs.

Colin Madia all pumped up!

The Indians defense dug deep and managed a sack, setting back the Mustangs. After a third down run the Mustangs faced a fourth down at the goal-line, but it would be Korey Lewandrowski who would make the stop and the Indians would take over with 3:53 left on the clock and their backs to the Mustangs end-zone.

The Indians looked to run time off the clock with its running game, but were limited, as the Mustangs called timeout.

th_football7After an incomplete pass, Sauquoit faced a fourth down. Coach, Rocky Corigliano, decided to take a safety instead of punting, avoiding a potential punt mishap near the end-zone.

The Mustangs took the two points and got the ball down 32-28. The next two minutes and forty-nine seconds saw both teams put it all on the line and it all came down to 4th and 10 for the Mustangs. They dropped back and the pass fell incomplete and the Sauquoit Valley Indians capped off its comeback, winning 32-28.

Following the game My Hometown Sports caught up with the winning team’s players and coaches.

Coach Corigliano, after catching his breath after the close victory was very proud of his team’s effort saying, “These kids came out and played football today. They bent, but they didn’t break.  It was great to see this place packed with the enthusiasm we saw today from our fans and community and our players. This is a great start to the season for us and a big win, beating Mount Markham here at home.”

Indians celebrate big win!

Corigliano also praised the Mount Markham squad saying, “They have a lot of speed in the backfield. Tanzillo is one of the best runners in the league and you will hear more about him as the season goes on.”

Corigliano added, “We gave up some big plays early. We were trying to back them up in the backfield to make them throw. Eventually they did, but they were successful early running the ball. They also have a tough defensive line and it was hard for us to run inside so, we had to spread them out. We made some mistakes today with some missed tackles and giving up some big plays, but you expect that early in the season. We did a lot of good things too on special teams, offensively and defensively. I’m proud of our guys.”

th_football7Zach Freeman who scored twice on the big touchdown return and on a passing route said, “This win means a lot to this team. It gives us confidence and proves that we can play with the teams in this league.” In speaking of his touchdown return he was humble saying, “I actually bobbled the ball at first, but once I secured it. I saw a huge hole and just took off. All the credit goes to my teammates, who opened up the field for me.” He also commented on his touchdown catch saying, “It was a jet route. It didn’t work the first time we ran it, but the second time, Korey put up a beautiful ball for me to catch.”

Quarterback Korey Lewandrowski also spoke highly of his team’s effort saying, “This win was an overall team effort and it’s great to see and feels great. It’s a big confidence booster.”

Finally, we caught up Jason Simon, who put in a tremendous effort in the win, with two touchdowns, via a pass and an interception return and even recorded a sack. He was involved in several big plays, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

th_football7We really played as a team today, an overall effort by everyone on all sides of the ball. This shows what we can do here in Sauquoit.” Speaking on his performance, Simon was quick to credit his teammates, “My line blocked for me and my quarterback made great decisions. That’s how you win games.”

Regarding his interception return Simon said, “I read the play and knew it was a pass. I just read it right and once I caught it I saw the light of day and ran for it!”

The win for the Indians shows the “Big Red” program at Sauquoit is on its way, with a young group of players on the roster. This team will be a force to be reckoned with, as will the mighty running attack of the Mount Markham Mustangs, a great start to the high school football season!

Sauquoit Valley 32 Mount Markham 28

                                 1 2 3 4 Total

Mount Markham        14 6 6 2 28

Sauquout                 6 12 6 8 32