Opening day of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League was unkind to three Marco Eagles football teams, but the 125 pounders collared the Cougars of Hialeah on Saturday at Mackle Park.
From the opening drive the Eagles dominated.
Behind the strong blocking of the offensive line, Joe Scarpaci and Sawyer Hauk carried the ball inside the Cougars 10-yard line. The Cougars held for three plays, but a Luke Bergen pass to Kit Fowler gave the Eagles its first score of the season.
The Cougars bounced back with a drive of their own, scoring a touchdown, but the Eagles defense stopped the conversion, leaving the Eagle s a 7-6 lead.
The defense again collapsed the Cougars in the second half, with one defensive drive forcing a touchback in the Cougars’ end zone for two points, giving the Eagles a 9-6 lead.
The Cougars were forced into a free kick that led to the Eagles second touchdown. The Eagles consumed the clock on the drive, scoring in the fourth quarter as Bergen dove over the goal line for the TD. Hauk made good on a running play to make the final score, 16-6 Eagles.
“We played a strong game on offense and defense,” said coach Steve Schneider. “Luke Bergen had a great offensive and defensive game. Our line of Gage Wheeler, Michael Mitchusson, Nash Conroy, Kevin Roseboom, Jared Jackson, Kyle Adams and Steven Schneider played extremely well. They made me very proud today.”
The 90-pound Eagles team started strong, recording three first downs in its opening drive. Unfortunately, they didn’t score.
The Eagles defense played solid, not giving up a score until just before half time on a 35-yard break-away touchdown run. The Cougars scored three times in the second half.
Assistant coach Brian Kocak said, “The game’s final score was 26-0, but really did not reflect the hard-fought game that the Eagles played. The 90 pounders are playing with 10 first-year players and the progress that we have seen since training camp is amazing. We came close to scoring a couple of times and our tackling was very good. We will be working with the offense this week to help stop defensive blitzes.”
In the 115-pound game, the Cougars scored on each of its first three possessions. The Eagles stopped all three extra-point tries.
Late in the first half the Eagles offense rallied. In their drive, Zack Gober ran a quarterback keeper for 30 yards, but was dragged down just before the goal line. Then the Cougars held tough, stopping the scoring threat.
Assistant coach Bill Hollowsky credited several good defensive plays to Tiger Proehl, Randy McDuffie, Joshua Santil, Austin Knoll and Adam Hurdis. They all sacked the Cougars quarterback and Randy McDuffie made a touchdown-saving tackle.
“We played hard, but it is back to the basics in practice this week,” said coach Mike Synder. “We need to continue working on blocking and tackling.”
The Eagles 140-pound team also had a tough game, losing 28-0. Six players joined the team late, just fulfilling the 10 hours of required training the day before the game.
“We played a veteran team and although we were held scoreless, we played as a team and stayed focused,” said coach Skip Egbert.
Coaches Egbert and Brian Milk said linebackers Jake Dworkin and Marc Milk, along with safety Oscar Patarroyo, all made key tackles. On offense, running back Hayden Hanscom led the charge in rushing and quarterback Patrick Doyle was successful in passing to Elijah Henderson and Jordan Burnett.
Coach Egbert complimented the offensive and defensive line play of Victor Mora, Steve Grossman, Dakota Berry, Matt Bonito and Jimmy Meyer. The team has a bye this week, giving the players additional time to learn offensive and defensive sets, said Egbert.
The 125-pound team also has a bye. Playing on Saturday are the 90-pound team at South Miami and the 115-pound team, traveling to West Kendall in Miami.
They all travel to the Naples Titans at Fleischmann Park on Saturday, Sept. 1.
The entire Miami Xtreme Youth Football league has been invited to see the Miami Dolphins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night. The 90-pound Eagles team plans on attending and will be among the players on the field, being introduced at half time of the game.