Red Hawks batter Rams – Season Openers

Tyler Wood runs and runs and runs in 40-0 Hawks romp over Rams
By Terrance Gavan
Ìt sometimes takes a village to bring down a determined
 running back. Lookee here as Tyler Wood
channels his inner George Reed
in a two TD performance and 40-0 battering of Rams.
Haliburton High quarterback Scott Griffith never saw legendary CFL pivot Ron Lancaster play a single down for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
   So he probably wouldn’t know that the Red Hawks were copping some mellow rifts from a very old score last Tuesday afternoon on Gary Brohman Field.
   Lancaster and a human battering ram named George Reed used to do to opposing CFL teams – circa 1963-75 – what Griffith and the Red Hawks’ hellzapoppin’ running back Tyler Wood did to the visiting Kenner Rams last Tuesday afternoon during the annual Red and White Day home opener.
   Griffith and Wood ran and ran and ran the ball; channeled their inner Ronnie and George; then ran some more; quite literally daring the Kenner Rams defense to stop ‘em.
   They didn’t.
   Couldn’t.
   Ain’t broke? Don’t fix!

   And the final 40-0 shellacking of the perennially powerful Peterborough club – the same Rams team that knocked the Red Hawks out of the Kawartha play downs last fall – provided some measure of vindication for the returning Hawk veterans who had to contemplate what coulda’ been during that long ride back home down the Buckhorn Road last November.
   The Hawks – every single man, on defense, offense and special teams – played like they were settling a debt.
   Consider this particular marker: Paid in full.
   Hawks played gritty smash mouth football.
   Pure pad-popping poetry – if you like your Leonard Cohen mixed with a little Miles Davis juke, java, jostle and jive.
   In the second contest, Red Hawks’ juniors kept things close but lost 9-6 in a squeaker to an unusually big, tough, disciplined and seasoned Kenner Rams junior squad.
   In that back side of ‘Twin Bill Tuesday’ however; some neon-tinged bright spots down the road.
   In particular, the stellar play of two step-up and step-lively players, Louis Ferracuti and newcomer Cooper Sherlock showed enough mettle to earn some hard won and ungrudging props from long-time Hawk coach Bruce Griffith.
   “I think we got some players here,” said Griffith – to no one in particular – at a pivotal point in the first half.
   This comment coming shortly after Sherlock mowed down two Ram defenders with a shuddering angled block that set Ferracuti up for yet another first down romp.
   And speaking of first down romps.
   There was absolutely no question about the senior team’s ability to convert on second and long; third and short; or first and ten for that matter.
   A clear case of utter domination that started with a gutsy Drew Paul punt return for the game’s first touchdown. Paul, a speedy, capable and cat-quick hurdler took the ball on a dead-run, dad-gum gamble, and returned it for a touchdown.
   The silver footed Jesse Lefebvre converted that one and went on to paste one through the end zone on the ensuing kickoff.
   In all, Lefebvre converted on 5 TDs, nailed two touchbacks, and cranked a no-doubter field goal for 10 points in Tuesday’s (Sept 28) win.
   Lost in all the offensive heroics of course, was the Hawks’ stellar defensive performance. Ain’t that always the case?
Jesse Walker went all the way to paydirt on this run, the final TD in a 40-0
 shellacking of theKenner Rams.
The Juniors played very well before bowing 9-6 in their contest.
   Wise to remember that the stingy Red Hawk defense gave up no – that’s spelled Z-E-R-O – points in a game that will be billed as an offensive masterpiece. Can’t fight city hall D.
   More headlines for the Hawks’ offense on the first series of the second quarter, when Griffith stepped up and called Wood’s number on a third and six gamble from the Rams’ 23.
   Wood took the ball, juked right and jived left, shed three tacklers like water from a goose’s back, and ambled his way to paydirt – the first of his two touchdowns.
   That made it 15-0 and Hal High never glanced backward. The Hawks’ defense forced a turnover midway through the second quarter and then twin cohorts, Griffith and Luke Watson – who are both back for their fifth years – hooked up on a nicely designed 23-yard TD pass.
   The second half started with nine straight handoffs to the prepossessing Wood. He scored his second touchdown on a 12 yard gut-buster, and Jesse Walker scored a late TD on an 18-yard student body right sweep late in the game.
   After the game Griffith allowed that he was left a little baffled by the extent of the Hawk’s domination.
   “I expected a closer game,” said Griffith. “We have a better mindset this year though … and we were well-prepared for this game.”
   Coach Derek Little was jubilant if a little puzzled after the game. “Well, we lost twice to Kenner twice last year, so this was a little unexpected,” said Little. “At the same time we’re just playing a lot more physical than they are. Plain and simple.”
   Easier of course, if ya’ got a guy who runs the ball with the suave savvy of Tyler Wood.
   On the junior side, the Hawks went down 8-0 early but a touchdown by Sherlock turned the tide for the Hawks.
   From there it evolved into a tight-knit defensive battle with both teams forced into a ball-control mode by the muddy field conditions.
   Hawks held on and played very well utilizing a mix of great tackling, good containment and a pretty nice running game.
   After the game Ferracuti said that he and his teammates played solid after digging themselves into an early 8-0 hole.
   “It was our first game and their second game, so we had some problems with penalties, but I think we played a good second half,” said Ferracuti, who started playing minor football in Bancroft back in Grade 7.
   Coach Griffith was disappointed but was able to place it in its proper perspective.
   “We got a little hurt by the schedule,” said Griffith. “This is their second game and it’s our first and that’s a big advantage in junior.”
   Both teams are in Campbellford on Friday and then back home next Thursday versus Holy Cross.
gav@pardontheeruption.com or twitter.com/terrancegavan