Sunday, July 10, 2005

Albany rolls to 49-0 win over Eagles

Albany rolls to 49-0 win over Eagles
First-year coach Mike Woodard had high hopes for his Scranton Eagles when they opened their Empire Football League season Saturday night at Albany.

But having only 30 players travel to New York to face the defending league champions — who had 60 to 70 players — was not a good recipe for victory for the Eagles.

Albany took command late in the first half and rolled to a 49-0 win over the Eagles as Scott Lawson and Jadel Whitfield accounted for three touchdowns each for the Metro Mallers.

“I’m proud of these guys. It was a learning experience,’’ Woodard said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.’’

The Metro Mallers had a 21-0 lead when they delivered the crushing blow late in the first half.

The Eagles picked up 23 yards on three running plays to move into Albany territory for the first time when the tide turned swiftly.

Mike Arcure, in relief of ineffective John Kennedy, fired a pass, but Albany’s James Mitchell stepped intercepted the ball and returned it 42 yards to set up a quick score. When Whitfield scored on a 13-yard run with 1:47 left in the first half, it was 28-0.

“No excuses. We’re young, and a lot of inexperience showed tonight,’’ Woodard said. “They’re the defending champions.’’

Whitfield hit Macio Clinton with a 16-yard scoring pass midway through the first quarter for the Metro Mallers’ only points in the first 15 minutes.

Whitfield scored on a 10-yard run, and Lawson found Clinton for a 19-yard scoring pass in the second quarter to extend Albany’s lead to 21-0.

That was more than enough as the Eagles struggled mightily on offense. Against a defense stacked to stop the run, the Eagles could not generate anything through the air as Kennedy and Arcure combined for two completions for 14 yards.

“We need a wide receiver who can stretch defenses, in order to run the ball,’’ Woodard said. “We needed to make them cover us. The offensive line has three rookies, and we didn’t pick up a couple of blitzes.’’

Lawson hit Sylvester Cooperwood for scoring passes of 20 and 45 yards in the third quarter, and David Jenkins closed the scoring with a 14-yard run with 13 minutes to play.

The Eagles play their home opener Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium, where they host the Ottawa Deacon Demons at 7:30 p.m.

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