By Matt Nestor
For the second straight season, Boylan had to go into the last week of the season with the conference title on the line, missing a star player, and playing on the road in bad weather.
After finishing off Hononegah to win their fourth-straight conference title, the Titans may call for a ritual rain dance if they find themselves in this situation again.
Missing top running back Paul Barmore for a second straight game, quarterback Michael Moorman threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown, while the Titans’ defense frustrated the Indians, leading to a 23-7 victory.
“I think our kids have really good focus,” Boylan coach Dan Appino said. “They don’t pay attention anymore to the media hype or even what the kids say in the school. We preach it a lot, but they also believe in it, and that makes the difference.”
Boylan got off to a quick start. After holding Hononegah to a three-and-out, the Titans marched 40 yards with Moorman finding Steve Thomas for a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.
The Titans’ defense held again on the next possession, and Moorman again engineered another touchdown drive. This time, it was a 51-yard drive capped by an Aaron Einhorn 2-yard touchdown. Einhorn, who ran for 41 yards, added a 2-point conversion, and it was 14-0 before the first quarter was even over.
But the Indians bounced back. After a couple of back-and-forth drives for both teams, the Indians were able to find the end zone.
Hononegah went on a nine-play, 54-yard drive that was capped by a 5-yard
Bryan Rothmaler touchdown to make the score 14-7 at the half.
“We played hard, and I’m proud of our kids,” Hononegah coach Tim Sughroue said. “They’re a very good football team and a good football program.”
From there, the Boylan defense took the game over.
Led by Thomas and Zack Smith, the Titans held Hononegah to 155 yards of offense, including only 37 in the second half. Thomas also had two interceptions in the game.
“He always plays hard,” Moorman said about Boylan’s two-way star. “The kid plays hard, and I just love to watch him play.”
Moorman, who ran for 69 yards and threw for 78, kicked a field goal and ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to get to the final margin.
Aside from standing out on defense, Smith was a key cog in the Boylan offense. Thanks to injuries, Smith has carried more of the load for the last few weeks.
“It was our goal to go undefeated in the conference, and we played as hard as we could,” Smith said. “I was trying to step up. (Barmore) was out with a knee injury. Hopefully, he’ll be back as soon as possible, but I’m just trying to step up and fill his shoes because he’s a great runner.”
In other NIC-10 action:
• Guilford (5-4) survived and advanced into the playoffs, winning a shootout with Freeport (2-7) 60-46. Dontrel Chance ran for 225 yards, and Tim Hill added three touchdowns for the Vikings.
• Harlem (8-1) won second place in the conference outright with their 41-8 victory over East (3-6). Tyler Cox scored two touchdowns to lead the Huskies.
• Belvidere North (5-4) made it into the playoffs with a 26-8 win against Auburn (0-9). Quarterback Tony Tindle threw for two long touchdowns in the victory.
• The Belvidere Bucs (5-4) also went into the playoffs with a 26-6 win over Jefferson (1-8). The Bucs scored two touchdowns on the ground and two through the air, led by Marcus Gooden’s two rushing touchdowns.
Share your thoughts with Matt Nestor via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the October 28 – November 3, 2009