By: Ric Porter | Valley Sports Report | August 26, 2017
SAYRE — Sayre dug itself a hole early on, and never recovered here Friday night in a season-opening, 27-6, loss to Wyalusing in non-divisional NTL football action at the Lockhart Street Bowl.
The Rams opened the game with a 10-play, 71-yard drive to take an 8-0 lead, then capitalized on a Sayre turnover with a short scoring drive to take a 14-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first quarter.
“We need to get off to a little better start,” said Sayre coach Steve Satterly. “Slow starts have kind of been our MO for a while now.
“(Wyalusing) was able to establish control of the line-of-scrimmage on that first drive. They did a nice job moving the ball down the field and into the end zone,” noted Satterly. “It makes it tough when the other team is able to take the ball right down the field on you on their first drive.
“Then, unfortunately, we had a turnover on our second play, to give them a short field,” added Satterly. “We talk a lot about not putting our defense in that position, and it hurt us.”
Senior Carl Gowin did most of the damage on Wyalusing’s first scoring drive, toting the pigskin six times for 32 yards, including a 4-yard TD run with 7:30 left in the first quarter. Dominick Otis slammed into the end zone for the conversion to make it 8-0.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Sayre’s junior QB Nate Garrity connected with junior Connor Harbst for a 13-yard gain, but he coughed up the ball at the Redskin 39.
On Wyalusing’s first play, senior QB Calvin Burke connected with Will Martin on a 26-yard completion to the Sayre 13, then Burke gained 5 yards on an option keeper to the Redskin 8.
Three plays later, Gowin scored on a 2-yard run to make it 14-0.
After a Sayre punt, the Rams threatened again as Burke connected on a 32-yard pass to Kajar Cameron, who made an acrobatic catch at the Redskin 16.
A holding call against the Rams, and a QB sack by junior Colton Rudloff, resulting in a 14-yard loss, forced Wyalusing into a 3rd-and-28, and a subsequent punt.
“We adjusted to what they were doing offensively,” said Satterly. “We put some kids in different spots, and went with a different style of defense.
“We did a much better job after the first two possessions, and we were to establish ourselves on the line-of-scrimmage to get our linebackers a little more free than they were early in the game,” he added.
Gowin broke free on a 67-yard TD run midway through the third quarter to give the Rams a 20-0 lead.
“That was a really big play,” said Satterly. “It took a little of the wind out of our sails.”
Sophomore Corbin Brown took the reigns of the Redskin offense in the second half and completed 7 of 10 passes for 92 yards, including a 46-yard TD to sophomore Ethan Miller with 8:56 left in the game.
Burke provided the final margin with a 1-yard TD run with 3:14 left in the game.
Senior Austin Arnett led Sayre’s ground game with 22 yards on 10 carries, and freshman Elmer Stevens gained 19 yards on three carries. The Redskins gained just 37 yards on 27 yards as a team.
Garrity completed 1 of 10 pass attempts for 13 yards in the first half.
Junior Gage Carnrike led Sayre with three catches for 33 yards, and Esposito had two receptions for 14 yards.
Gowin led the Rams with 139 yards and three TDs on 17 carries, and Burke added 42 yards and one TD on 11 carries.
Burke also completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 150 yards, with Jon Morrison hauling in five catches for 42 yards, and Martin collecting three receptions for 53 yards.
Satterly said his team’s inexperience (it returned just one starter on offense and two on defense) showed Friday night.
“We made some mistakes,” said Satterly. “We were doing some things that were kind of new to us.
“I’d be lying if I said our inexperience didn’t show tonight,” he noted. “Some of the mental mistakes were inexperience … some of the defensive problems was inexperience, but that happens when you have a lot of young kids on the field.
“I thought the guys stuck together, and overcame a lot of those problems as the game went on,” he added.
Next Friday, Sayre travels to Wellsboro (1-0), a 64-12 winner over Canton in Week 1.