Football gets preseason win over East River

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photo by Alexis Madlang

Running back Jeremiah Williams breaks a tackle. His break gained the team 15 yards.

It might have been a preseason game, but the last-minute excitement of varsity football’s 20-14 win over East River felt like a playoff victory. Both the student sections were energetic, as they yelled taunting chants across the field like, “We can’t hear you.” 

“I love having the student section back. They bring in a lot more energy for the game and it’s cool looking up there and seeing all my friends supporting us,” said quarterback Anthony Benzija.

Running back Jeremiah Williams scored the first touchdown of the game halfway through the second quarter. The team kept their momentum throughout the second quarter, ending the first half 14-0 after a long pass and touchdown by wide receiver Ian Miller. 

“At halftime coach Howell gave a really great speech to not only the defense but the whole team telling us what we are capable of and firing us up for the second half,” Miller said.

Halfway through the third quarter, East River scored their first touchdown, and then tied the game 14-14 after scoring another touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter. 

“When the game was tied up, I could tell my team was anxious but we wanted to keep digging in,” said linebacker Ryan Farwig. 

With 9:22 to go, wide receiver Jeremy Jacobs caught a deep throw from Benzija, gaining 25 yards and getting the team into East River’s red zone. In their third attempt, Williams was able to break past the defense and score his second touchdown of the night.

As it was the first game of the season, there were a lot of pieces the team is still working to put together.

“The turning point was the second half where we started to go down with cramps,” said Benzija. “We have to do a better job of preparing and hydrating a week before the game and not the day before.”

In East River’s final attempts to win the game, they were about 10 yards from Hagerty’s end zone, but the defensive line was able to tie them down securing the win. Players and coaches raced onto the field after the final buzzer from the scoreboard.

“The last couple minutes were really intense, both student sections were screaming and the cheerleaders ran over to cheer us on,” Douglas said. “That definitely gave us a boost of energy to pull through and win the game.”

The team’s first game of the regular season is on Friday, Aug 27, against Lake Brantley High School.

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