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Warriors Sports

WCS Wins Section 4 Title

Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 by aa

ENDICOTT -- Make it 10-up and 10-down, a second consecutive Section 4 Class D football championship for the top-ranked Warriors of Walton, winners in Saturday night's title game by 32-7 over hard-knocking bunch from Groton.

 

 

 Phil Hanley rushed 22 times for 232 yards and three touchdowns, last of which may call for game film tucked safely away in a time capsule for another generation to admire.

 

Ahead for the defending state champions is a quarterfinal against Section 3 champion Dolgeville, 5 p.m. Friday at Cicero-North Syracuse.

 

From the Warriors' perspective, Saturday's was a thankful blast of pad-banging and ball movement from a Groton crew clearly prepared and eager to stand facemask-to-facemask with the champs. After all, the most recent five weekends had brought an average victory margin of 53 points.

 

Not only was it a mere 12-0 difference at halftime, but the Indians took the opening second-half possession and went 67 yards in a tad under three minutes for a TD. The points came on quarterback Pete Jackson's 1-yard sneak and Kyle Reed's PAT kick.

 

Ah, but enough of this nonsense, was Walton's figurative reply to a scant 12-7 advantage.

 

Taking over at its 25-yard line following the kickoff, and summarily backed up 5 yards by a penalty, the Warriors went 80 yards on six plays, making it 18-7 when Hanley rushed in straight-ahead from 4 yards.

 

The possession lasted three minutes and one second, featured a 66-yard chunk of rushing from Hanley, and the tide had turned back Walton's way.

 

Groton's Ethan Tilebein returned the ensuing kickoff 61 yards to the 29, but the "Orange Crush" defense wouldn't budge.

 

Chris Mead barged in from his end position to fell Logan Randall for a 3-yard, first-down loss. Two unsuccessful pass plays later, Robbie Rigas smacked Jackson while he was delivering a fourth-and-13 pass, and Walton regained the football.

 

The Warriors nickel-and-dimed their way to their 49-yard line, from which point 5-foot-9, 170-pound Hanley turned in a run that was, well ... "Oh, boy. Unbelievable, wasn't it?" coach Jim Hoover said.

 

"It happened so fast," Hanley said. "I need to see it on film to see what happened."

 

What happened was, Hanley started off-tackle, got outside to his left and, legs-a-churning all the while powered and/or sped through three or four tackle attempts for a 51-yard TD they'll be talking about over sausage & eggs this morning throughout Delaware County.

 

Jim MacDonald added the two-point rush and it was 26-7 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.

 

"The running backs, we're all taught to just keep our feet moving, that's what I did," Hanley said. "I wound up free, toward the end I broke a couple tackles and I was in the end zone. I saw some of my teammates, it was awesome."

 

Walton's Brent Layton intercepted a pass off a tip of the football by teammate Cody Endress on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving Walton the ball at its 47-yard line.

 

A seven-play scoring drive followed, Bryant Mead rushing for 18 and 9 yards, respectively, on the final two plays. The TD for the night's final points was scored with 8:47 remaining.

 

Cody Reed and Chris Mills added an interception apiece for Walton, which fended off a Groton squad that spent a respectable bit of time in possession of the ball inside Walton territory.

 

"Those guys played tough, they were hitting hard, they did a lot of things right," Chris Mead said. "Second half, we took advantage of the mistakes they made."

 

"Groton is an excellent team," Hanley said. "But we expected that, we knew they were going to be hard-nosed. ... We definitely needed this close game to keep our heads on straight. We all enjoyed it."

 

Bryant Mead contributed 80 yards to the Warriors' 424-yard rushing output.

 

Walton continues run

By P.J. Harmer
Staff Writer
 

Section 4 Class D final Walton 32, Groton 7

ENDICOTT _ It was a night Phil Hanley said any Walton running back could have had.

It just so happened, Hanley's number kept getting called.

Hanley finished with 231 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Warriors to their second straight Section Four Class D football championship with a 32-7 victory over Groton on a chilly Saturday at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.

He also eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau as the Warriors won their 23rd straight game.

"I'm happy, but we have a lot of talented running backs," said Hanley, who joins 2007 graduates Logan Wood and Richard Fletcher as Walton backs who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season during the streak.

"It could have happened to any of them if they got the ball," he continued. "I think I got the ball a little more than a Walton running back normally does. ... We just went out and executed to the best of our ability."

His first of two runs that went for more than 50 yards during the third quarter _ a 66-yard burst through the middle _ was arguably the biggest run of the game. His 51-yard touchdown run later in the quarter will likely be the one being talked about throughout the week in Walton.

"He's a tough running back," said Groton coach Jeff Lewis, whose team finished 8-2. "We've watched him on tape and I've seen him run before in person. ... He's quick and he makes good decisions. I can tell you that offensive line he has in front of him is pretty special. They get off the ball and get the job done."

The Warriors (10-0), who won the Class D state championship last season, meet Section Three champion Dolgeville (10-0) at 5 p.m. Friday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in a state quarterfinal.

Walton, which has outscored opponents, 464-34, this season, didn't ease past Groton, however.

"We haven't really had a hard game where we had to dig down deep in a while and pull it out," Walton's Cody Reed said. "This just gives everybody a little bit of confidence knowing when we have a tough game, we can still come out here and execute and come away with a victory."

The defining reaction came early in the third quarter for the Warriors.

Pete Jackson's 1-yard touchdown run and Kyle Reed's extra point capped a 10-play drive to start the second half and pulled the Indians to 12-7.

Two plays into its next drive, Hanley helped Walton breathe a little easier.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound junior busted through the middle and shifted slightly left and attempted to break away from Groton's defense. Jackson kept up, however, and dived to pull Hanley down at the 8.

Then on fourth-and-goal from the 4, Hanley powered through the middle of the line and scored standing up to give the Warriors an 18-7 lead with 6 minutes, 7 seconds left in the third quarter.

"All of a sudden, instead of it being 12-7, it was 18-7," Walton coach Jim Hoover said. "It gives you a little breathing room and takes a little wind out of their sail. (Hanley's run) was an important run."

Hanley, who has 1,142 yards this season, wasn't finished.

After the Warriors forced a punt on Groton's next possession, the Warriors began at their 32 and moved to the 49 in four plays.

Hanley started the fifth play by going left and followed the line before zipping past through a hole. He was met with resistance by Jackson and Ben Simmons, who attempted to pull him down and even grabbed his jersey in a last-ditch effort to slow Hanley down.

That didn't work.

Eric Mclaughlin became the last chance for the stop, but Hanley wiggled out of another tackle and continued the rest of the way untouched for the score with 2:37 remaining in the third. Jim MacDonald's conversion run made it 26-7.

"It happened very fast. It was off-tackle left and our blocking was good," Hanley said. "I just followed the blockers like I do every day. ... I just kept my feet moving like any other back would have. It happened quick and next thing I knew I was getting tackled, then I wasn't getting tackled and then I was free in the end zone."

Many of Hanley's runs went behind guard Chris Mead and tackle Jon Howard.

"Phil is a great runner," Mead said. "Leading for him is a good thing. He makes up for my mistakes. I fall, he's running tough and I get back up and try and block for him. It's great. ... It feels good. Not a lot of people choose to be linemen. It's just something you have to do. It feels to good to be a part of that because it makes you feel like you're helping (runners) out a lot."

Bryant Mead, who finished with 80 yards on 12 carries, finished off the scoring in the fourth quarter when he plowed over Jackson at the end of a 9-yard touchdown run with 8:46 to play.

"After they scored and made it 12-7, we had a meeting on the sidelines with the kids and said ÂLet's relax and just play football and what happens, happens,'" Hoover said. "They responded really well. (Groton is) a good football team. They are physical and come at you. ... Our guys stepped up and played real good football."

The Warriors led, 12-0, at halftime. Bryant Mead had a 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Hanley contributed an 8-yard score in second.

Hanley's 213 yards are a team-high for a game this season. Mead rushed for 203 yards earlier this season. Those are the only two times during Walton's winning streak that a player has rushed for more than 200 yards in a game.

 

Groton 0 0 7 0 -- 7Walton 6 6 14 6 -- 32

First quarter

W: Bryant Mead 5 run (run failed)

Second quarter

W: Phil Hanley 8 run (run failed)

Third quarter

G: Pete Jackson 1 run (Kyle Reed kick)

W: Hanley 4 run (run failed)

W: Hanley 51 run (Jim MacDonald run)

Fourth quarter

W: Mead 9 run (run failed)

G W

First Downs 8 21

Total net yards 147 425

Rushes-yards 21-53 59-424

Passing yards 94 1

Comp-Att-Int 8-23-3 1-1-0

Punts-avg. 3-38 2-37

Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1

Penalties-yards 5-25 7-45

Groton rushing: Logan Randall 14-50; Reed 4-2; Jackson 3-1, TD.

Walton rushing: Hanley 22-232, 3 TD; Mead 13-80, 2 TD; MacDonald 5-29; Evan Boyd 4-26; Cody Reed 4-18; Chad Gardepe 3-18; Robbie Rigas 4-15; Aaron Holdosi 1-6; Dylan Hornbeck 1-4; Dan Gehl 2-(-4).

Groton passing: Jackson 8-for-22, 94 yards, 2 int.; Reed 0-for-1, int.

Walton passing: Gardepe 1-for-1, 1 yard.

Groton receiving: Ethan Tilebein 3-36; Reed 2-33; Randall 2-11; Nick Coombs 1-14.

Walton receiving: Hanley 1-1.

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