SECTION IV FOOTBALL: MAINE-ENDWELL RACES PAST OWEGO FOR SECTION IV CLASS B TITLE
By ANTHONY GOSS
Broome County Sports Report
VESTAL —— Maine-Endwell continued its dominant 2023 campaign on Saturday. But with another accolade added to its resume, Spartans' head coach Matt Gallagher reminded his group to enjoy these accomplishments at each step.
"You got to celebrate the things that you do," he said.
Saturday, the Spartans clinched their third straight Section IV Class B title in a dominant 69-21 showcase.
The ME defense sent a resounding message on the first play from scrimmage. Owego quarterback Elijah Lewis dropped back and floated a pass to Evan English. Defensive lineman Adam DeSantis rushed to make a tackle, but instead ripped the ball free and returned the ball 16 yards for a score 12 seconds into the game.
ME forced a three-and-out on the next River Hawks' possession. On the Spartans' first play from scrimmage, Vinny Mancini escaped the Owego defense for a 57-yard score. ME led 14-0 at 9:51 in the first quarter.
Owego sustained a more extended drive next time out, but ME forced another punt. The Spartans needed only two plays to find their third touchdown, this time Jaden Branch rumbling 74 yards through the defense.
The Class B three seed soon made a shift, moving to a pass-centric attack. Owego moved to the ME 30, but the River Hawks missed a field goal and remained scoreless.
Two plays later, Branch punished Owego, exploding through the line for a 79-yard run into the endzone.
Owego could not push the ME defense on its next possession and had to punt once again. The River Hawks defense made a stand and had the Spartans backed into a fourth down in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
But ME quarterback Austyn Nyschot took to the air and found Mancini, zipping away from Owego for his second touchdown. ME held a commanding 35-0 lead at 4:39 to play in the half.
"Our offense played great. Everybody that got in there did a great job," Gallagher said. "A bunch of guys had the chance to score and get up the field a little bit. I thought we looked good."
However, Owego began to gain its footing on offense. Lewis captained a 64-yard drive, ending with a touchdown pass to Jack Buchsbaum, making the deficit 35-7. The River Hawks recovered their onside kick and earned another possession of the ball.
The River Hawks used the final minute to drive down to the ME one where Conlan Taylor punched in a one-yard run with 37 seconds remaining in the half.
The resurgence of the River Hawks drew the attention of the Spartans. ME's offense struck back almost immediately and Mancini dashed 24 yards for another score, putting his team up 42-14 at halftime.
The Spartans came out of the halftime break with the same vigor that put them in control in the first half. Nyschot kept the ball on a third and six play, taking the run 60 yards for a touchdown.
Preston Ocker would enter the game in relief of Nyschot later in the third and he claimed his own rushing touchdown on a 41-yard carry.
Lewis and the River Hawks kept fighting. Three plays into the next drive, Lewis found English for a 46-yard touchdown.
But the Spartans proved too much for their opponent. Tyler Mathews and Salvatore Caforio would add touchdowns in the fourth quarter, bringing the final score to 69-21.
ME controlled the game from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, but Gallagher credited Owego for its season.
"I think that's a great season for Coach Taylor and his staff," he said. "To come here to and take second in Class B that's not a bad run for him."
After clearing their section and earning the Section IV title, the Spartans prepare for a fresh test against the Section III winner next week.
"When we get out of the section I think we're tougher because people don't see our offense very often," Gallagher said. "Somebody that doesn't see us very often and they have a week to practice for us, I think we have an advantage when it comes to that."
Gallagher expects his group ready to face a new opponent in next week's NYS Quarterfinal.
"The way these guys have been working all year, I think they will be ready come Saturday."
PHOTOS BY ANTHONY GOSS
OWE: Palladino 9-20; Taylor 3-8-1; Cole 1-5; Mott 1-5; Khromalney 3-4; Schofield 4-2
ME: Branch 4-191-2; Mancini 2-81-2; Nyschot 1-60-1; Ocker 2-45-1; Mathews 2-29-1; Raleigh 3-22; Caforio 2-9-1; White 2-8; Jellick 2-6; Rollo 5-5; White 1-4
OWE: Lewis 28-39-238
ME: Nyschot 2-3-64 yards; Ocker 0-1-0
OWE: English 10-110-1; Buchsbaum 6-49-1; Schofield 3-38; Palladino 8-26
ME: Mancini 1-55-1; Hennessey 1-9
ME: DeSantis 16-yard fumble return, 11:48 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Mancini 57-yard run, 9:51 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Branch 74-yard run, 4:22 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Branch 79-yard run, 8:50 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Mancini 55-yard pass from Nyschot, 4:39 (PAT GOOD)
OWE: Buchsbaum 18-yard pass from Lewis, 1:24 (PAT GOOD)
OWE: Taylor one-yard run, 0:37 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Mancini 24-yard run, 0:05 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Nyschot 60-yard run, 10:25 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Ocker 41-yard run, 4:45 (PAT GOOD)
OWE: English 46-yard pass from Lewis, 3:02 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Mathews 27-yard run, 8:23 (PAT GOOD)
ME: Caforio one-yard run, 2:10 (PAT BLOCKED)
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