Sunday, August 28, 2005

Scranton Eagles play well under pressure

BY DAVE LAURIHA staff writer

The Scranton Eagles have not been in many tight games this season.

Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, coach Mike Woodard learned his team can play under the gun.

Their execution, however, was not perfect. Those imperfections — and in some Eagles’ eyes, mistakes by the officials — caused the Eagles to fall short against the Broome County Dragons.

The Dragons got a 55-yard scoring pass from Ty Fish to Jonathon Bechy with 6:23 to play, the deciding points in a 30-25 victory in the Empire Football League game.

“It was the worst officiated game I’ve seen in my life,’’ Woodard said. “Pee Wee, high school, never in my life.’’

The final, and loudest complaint came in the final minute. After Eagles running back Andre Chollete went 18 yards to set up a second-and-2 at the Dragons’ 16, the Eagles sidelines yelled for a timeout.

No official, or no Eagle on the field, heard the yells. It cost Scranton dearly. Quarterback John Kennedy reached out to hand the ball off to Chollete, who wasn’t expecting the ball. The Dragons recovered the fumble with 34 seconds to go.

“I thought John was going to spike it,’’ said Chollete, who ran for 129 yards on 23 carries. “I didn’t hear him call it.”

The Eagles (3-5) came out on the short end of a more blatant mistake by the officials in the first half.

In the second quarter, the officials inadvertantly gave Broome County a fifth down. Not only did the Dragons convert, they scored on the drive to take a 14-7 lead.

The Eagles battled back to take a 25-23 lead on Marvin Wilson’s 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

But Broome County made the play of the game on the first play after the ensuing kickoff. Fish pump-faked a short pass to Bechy, who raced behind the defense, latched on to Fish’s high, soft throw and raced to the end zone with a 55-yard scoring pass. 

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