Wolves Come From Behind in Opener
Noel Pyne July 27 2010
PLAINFIELD – Head Coach Kevin Moss led the New Jersey Spartans onto the grass of Seidler’s Field in Plainfield beaming with confidence. In the last two games between the teams, the Spartans came up short, but the Spartans looked to break the trend.
“Although we are missing many of our key players for this game we felt confident because of a different attitude our team has taken on,” Moss said.“Our pre-season workouts and practices preached unity and play together as one.”
On the other side of the field, Wolves Coach Ty Redmond was concerned that the Wolves (1-0) would be looking ahead to their next game against the New Jersey Lions. Redmond knew that the Spartans was not the same team they faced last year.
The game opened up with Wolves moving the ball into Spartan territory with impressive runs by running back Daryl Kennedy. The Wolves failed to capitalize as the Spartans (0-1) defense stiffened and held the Wolves.
Coach Moss really had the Spartans pumped as on their second play of the game, quarterback Khalid Shakir connected with 6’4” 215lb wide receiver Robert Wright for a 54-yard touchdown.
After a 45-yard kickoff return by Jamelle Pyles, the Wolves needed a few plays to reach the end zone. Mark Johnson connected with Darnel “Neon Keon” Rose for a 24-yard touchdown, after failing to convert the extra point the Wolves trailed 7-6.
Shakir found Wright all over the field in the first half, the duo connected for 129 yards in the half, but the Wolves made the necessary plays to keep the score 7-6 into the half.
Wolves’ defensive captain, Tashan Huff ended a Spartan drive early in the third quarter with an interception. Daryl Kennedy and fullback Paul Caputo combined for 37 bruising yards as the Wolves moved into scoring position.After a few flags, Johnson connected with Rose again, this time for a 15-yard gain and field goal range.
The Spartans dodged the bullet, as the Wolves bobbled the snap on the field goal attempt. Any momentum gained by the Spartans was lost as Ray Myers stepped in front of a Shakir pass, the Wolves held Wright without a reception in the third quarter. The Wolves gave the back to the Spartans on a fumbled handoff, this time the Spartans capitalized.
Running back Robert Cheese squeezed through the Wolves defensive line for a 30-yard sprint up the middle. Shakir went to the air and connected with Wright for their second touchdown of the game this one covered 15 yards and gave the Spartans a 14-6 edge.
Rose showed the crowd why he is one of the most dangerous players on the field by returning the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Rose used his speed and juking ability to navigate his way to the end zone. The Wolves missed the extra point and trailed 14-12.
As the clock now an extra man against the Wolves, the Spartans took the field looking to wind down the clock and leave Plainfield with the victory. The Wolves defense held and forced a punt attempt. Wolves’ cornerback, Josh Belle (who battled with Wright all game) burst through the line and blocked the punt, and the Wolves recovered at the Spartan 35 yard line.
The Spartans stymied the Wolves comeback by stopping the Wolves on the next four plays and forced turnover on downs.
Chi Adams led the Wolves defensive unit back on the field and made two tackles for losses. Then the Spartans suffered a delay of game penalty to push them back to their own 10-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, bright yellow handkerchiefs littered the field. After a 15-minute discussion with both coaches and the entire referee crew, the penalty went against the Spartans and pushed the ball back half the distance to the goal line.
“If the call went the other way the out come of the game could have been different,” Moss explained after the game.
Now, Rose set up deep to receive the punt and surprisingly, the Spartans did not kick it away from the dangerous returner. Rose returned the punt 15 yards to the Spartan 39 yard line, and the clock now running with less than two minutes remaining. On the first play of the drive, Daryl Kennedy took a pitch from Johnson, broke a tackle, and fired a beautiful spiral toward Rose in the end zone. A loud groan from the crowd took over Seidler’s Field as Rose dropped the pass. Undaunted, Johnson hit Ryan Young for a 15-yard gain on the next play.
The Spartans defense stands tall on the next three plays, and does not allow a single yard. The Wolves were down to one final play from 19 yards out.
“We had a play setup for Ryan (Young) but when we saw the defensive backs lined up tight, we audiblized the play,” Johnson said.
Young and Johnson were on the same page, and Young shrugged off the chuck at the line of scrimmage and ran a slant, while Johnson fired a Michael Vick like bullet that hit Johnson right between the numbers for the touchdown.An extra point by Algandro Fernandez gave the Wolves their first lead of the game 19-14, with 40 seconds remaining.
Shakir lined the Spartans up for a potential game winning drive, but Josh Belle made another big play with an interception on a pass intended for Wright.
Article courtesy of plainfieldsportsnews.com