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Last night at Somers High School, the Tuskers opened with two first down drives and quickly showed that they had a grinding running game on the heels of FB Jack Kaiser. Stalling across midfield, though, Somers soon realized that they were up against a stampede of their own. But two plays was all it took to reveal that QB Bryce Ford was more a gazelle, and the Tuskers would be trailing him all night long.
Still, after Somers won the early field position game, John Jay was situated at the 20, and opening night appeared as though the play would slowly develop. But as Ford appeared to be contained on the keeper, the skies opened and Ford flashed through the morass for 42 yards.
No Stopping John Jay Storm
Ford didn’t wait for the thunder either. So before Somers could shudder, Ford was down the sidelines and in the end zone at 6:56 of the first.
Somers went back to the grind nonetheless. But an illegal procedure on fourth and three from the Indian 43 forced a punt after Somers had lined up to go for it.
Unfortunately, for Somers another passing storm was in the forecast. After several scrambles, short passes, and runs, John Jay paused at the Somers 36 at second and three. Once again, Ford disappeared at the line and didn’t emerge until he was found outrunning the Somers defense into the end zone with 55 seconds remaining.
A muffed snap on the extra point couldn’t find the Indians doing wrong either. James Machado corralled his miscue and made for the far sideline too. But he shifted gears and found his kicker back across the field. Ford now had all 15 of John Jay’s points.
Somers has its own thunder.
The darkness seemed firmly cast over the home team, but Somers still had plenty of doppler of their own in the form of Kaiser. Twelve and eight yard runs rumbled the Tuskers to the John Jay 41, and a scramble by Somers QB Nicolas Maestri put Somers at the 30.
A personal foul moved the ball to the 15, and left Kaiser in position to manhandle the John Jay line. Stopped at the 2, Somers seemed ready to make a game of it. But a holding penalty hovered shade on the Somers glimmer.
Kaiser was quick to illuminate, though. Busting up the middle three times, the fullback provided no answers for the Indian defense, and Somers pulled to 15-7 with 8:09 remaining in the half.
This Ford doesn’t stop.
But pause restored on what seemed headed for a route didn’t cause Ford to stutter. After two keepers yielded first and ten at the 31, Ford rolled to the far side and froze the Somers defense. He flashed past, read the hesitation perfectly, and the senior QB sliced through to midfield.
Another keeper put John Jay 33 yards out, and Ford was set up to give someone else a touch. Dropping back in the pocket, he zipped the ball over the middle, and Luke Mercer finally put another Indian on the board with 4:05 left in the half.
21-7 at the half, Somers knew they had to come out strong on defense. And the Tuskers seemed to answer with what appeared to be a three and out.
Instead, Ford lined up in the shotgun, and the sidelines made like train tracks for the standout’s bullet train. Two plays later, Ford went near sideline and John Jay led 28-7 at 8:49.
The momentum didn’t get a change up either as the Indians refused to bite on a Somers reverse at midfield. That would come on the change of possession. A Ford scramble was flagged for holding and hemmed John Jay in at their own goal line.
Back and Forth and Back
Somers took the much needed miscue and was set up at the John Jay 48. A couple of Kaiser runs gave the Tuskers a first and ten at the John Jay 37. Unfortunately, a bad snap airmailed passed Maestri and had Somers chasing the other way. Recovering all the way back at their 45 seemed to tee Ford up for another run.
But a Maestri roll yielded much better than the 3rd and 11 that Lawrence Steven came down with. A personal foul gave the Tuskers a first down at the 24, and Kaiser once again would have the John Jay defense looking clueless. Following runs of 4 and 11 yards, Kaiser left no trail among the hapless Indian defenders, and seven yards later the score stood at 28-14.
The home team obviously didn’t need any extra schooling to know a stop was necessary, and three plays for minus five yards earned the grade. Lined up to punt inside the ten, Luke Mercer took the long snap but tucked for the sideline. Both crowds stunned, John Jay had themselves a first down at midfield and ready for some ball control.
But with 6:21 remaining, a roll right by Ford ended up with the ball on the ground. Kevin Graber picked it, and this time John Jay chased to the end zone.
A missed extra point kept the score at 28-20. But Somers wasn’t leaving any fourth down conversations to chance. TJ Deagan recovered the onside kick, and John Jay clearly had lost its swag.
Somers, though, chose to not to butter its bread with Kaiser. On third and five, Maestri was sacked, and his fourth down pass came up incomplete over the middle.
The Somers defense held strong nonetheless. But fourth and nine from the 20 was almost too easy for Ford. With 2:04 remaining, he calmly stepped back in the pocket and hit Luke Mercer in stride for the clincher.
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