Tigers’ fast start sinks Warriors
ATTICA — Seneca East raced out to a 19-0 lead and topped rival Mohawk comfortably 31-6 Friday in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play.
However, there wasn’t Backstreet Boys blasting in a postgame celebration in the locker room.
The Tigers were unhappy.
That speaks volumes of where Seneca East is as a program.
The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 N10) led 19-0, but muffed a punt and had two other turnovers in a few sloppy spots during the game. They won 31-6, but could have played a lot better.
“We had a really solid effort by the guys tonight,” Tigers coach Ed Phillips said. “There’s not a bit of me disappointed about tonight because we were really physical out there tonight. We really hit on offense and defense. We just have to take care of the football.
“You have to learn lessons in life and some times you have to go through it and have it happen to you to learn it. I told the guys, really disappointed in that, but I also know they are guys that know how to hone in on things and fix it. It’s certainly fixable.”
Senior quarterback Chase Foos got off to a great start Friday with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Homecoming King Blane Cottingham to start the game. After a quick three-and-out for Mohawk (2-3, 0-2), Foos hit receiver Jake Siesel in stride for a 50-yard score.
After another three-and-out for the Warriors, Seneca East went to the ground game as Jesse Beckman scored on a 1-yard plunge up the gut to give the Tigers the 19-0 advantage in the opening quarter.
“They are just monsters up front,” Mohawk coach Eric Daniel said. “We knew we would have to play really well and execute really well to be in the game and in some capacity we did. We managed our turnovers and stuff, but you can’t overcome a slow start against a team like this. We aren’t built to come from behind and they can put up points in a hurry.”
Mohawk recovered a muffed punt at Seneca East’s 21 late in the first quarter and turned it into six points on a Jesse Leeth 8-yard run up the middle.
Seneca East fumbled on the following drive, but got off the field without giving up any points.
The Tigers drove the ball down the field — mostly on a 55-yard jaunt from Beckman on a counter — and scored on a Foos flip pass to Kane Lynch across the middle of the end zone from four yards out.
The Tigers led 25-6 at the half.
“It’s a good feeling when you turn the football over … and even when they are on the 30 going in our guys aren’t going to let them score. They’re just not. They have that belief and that confidence,” Phillips said of his stingy defense. “That’s a credit to our character. We’re high-character people that … bad things can happen, but you don’t lose it. You don’t lose your focus or fall apart.”
Seneca East capped the scoring in the third quarter as Foos connected with Cottingham for 21 yards in a tight window for a TD.
Mohawk QB Landen Snyder showed some flashes of his playmaking ability, but was under duress a lot of the night against Seneca East’s defensive front. Snyder ran for 61 yards, while Leeth added 41 yards.
“I’m proud of the way they battled,” Daniel said. “We got seniors not hanging their heads, so no one is packing up the tents or anything. We are grinding away and we have some things we can work on, but they beat us up front. It came down to that. They moved us up front and they controlled the line of scrimmage consistently.
“We are in a little bit of a skid right now and I told our kids lets link up together and grind threw this thing. Don’t focus on wins and losses at this point. Just focus on your effort and execution and being coachable. If you’re coachable then we will get better and the wins and losses will take care of themselves. That’s our focus right now.”
Overall, Foos was 12 of 15 passing for 178 yards and four scores.
“He’s a playmaker and he has that bravado and confidence that if the window is tight, he can sling it right in there,” Phillips said of Foos. “He did a great job and made a lot of big plays for us.”
Skyler Walker ran for 124 yards on 13 carries and Beckman tacked on 87 yards on the ground. Foos completed passes to six different targets. Cottingham had three grabs for 81 yards.
“It’s nice to win 31-6 and know we have a lot of things we can do better. It’s a good feeling,” Phillips said. “You don’t want to have to fix things, but that’s football. There is always things to fix, but when you hit Week 5 and know you can get better … it’s pretty stinking exciting.”