Sabers rain nine scores on hapless Indians
FORD CITY – Through its first three Allegheny Conference games, all losses, Ford City never led and was relegated to a come-from-behind role each time.
With Shady Side Academy in town Friday night, however, the Sabers showed just how effective they can be when they get a lead.
Ford City’s Cyril Haponski took a reverse on the opening kickoff from Zack Shaeffer and raced untouched down the right sideline for 95 yards and a score to start the Sabers (3-3, 1-3) off on a 65-7 romp over the winless Indians.
“I knew Shady Side was down a little bit and we made some big plays,” Ford City head coach John Bartolovic said. “We were almost starting to feel bad, trying not to run it up. Everything just started to click.”
Ford City’s synergy was most apparent in the running game as the Delaware Wing-T finally shifted from neutral into overdrive. The Sabers ground attack collectively tore through the Shady Side Academy (0-6, 0-4) defense for 382 yards and seven touchdowns on 55 carries.
“I’ve been telling the line all year that it starts up front,” Haponski said. “They played a heck of a game. Every yard every back got starts with them.”
Sabers fullback Rich Bennett seemed to find every gaping hole in the Shady Side Academy defense. Bennett only carried 14 times, but plowed through the Indians for 130 yards and a season-high four touchdowns despite not playing most of the second half because of the lopsided score.
“It was fun,” Bennett said. “I just wish I could have gotten one more touchdown, not to be greedy, but my career-high is four and I would have liked to get five.”
Getting anything after halftime has been a challenge for Bennett. Because the Sabers have played catch-up for three weeks, he’s been a non-factor after intermission.
“I was a little upset with it,” Bennett admitted. “But whatever happens, happens. I don’t run the team, Coach Bart runs the team.”
After three straight losses that severely hampered Ford City’s playoff chances, Bartolovic certainly showed his team who was in charge. In fact, it was the head coach who insisted on running the reverse on the opening kickoff despite misgivings from the person who ended up returning it for the touchdown.
“Teams have been keying on the reverse lately,” Haponski said. “I told him that we shouldn’t run it and he put it in and it worked.”
Everything else also worked for Ford City.
Haponski supported Bennett with 13 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, while Zack Shaeffer chipped in 47 yards on five carries for the starters. Not to be outdone, the Sabers substitutes, Eric Densmore, Aaron Bell, Brandon Goldinger, Josh Mangus and Ryan Eckman, combined for 13 carries for 87 yards and two scores while a running clock was in effect in the second half.
“The kids have played well in the JVs and we have some good athletes in the sophomore class,” Bartolovic said. “They’re anxious to get in there…and we’re glad that can happen and everybody gets excited that way.”