Dwyer recovers 4 fumbles, limits Seminole Ridge to 99 yards in 39-0 win
Friday, September 14, 2012
by Matt Porter
Seminole Ridge's sideline watched Dwyer wide receiver Ezra Saffold race downfield for a 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter. A gantlet of Hawks tried, and failed, to bring down the elusive junior.
"We just can't catch him," an assistant coach said. While he was speaking about that particular play, that line summed up Ridge's 39-0 loss to Dwyer about as well as anything.
The second-ranked Panthers (3-0) dominated No. 6 Ridge with their defense and had enough offense to keep the Hawks from contending. The score could have been higher if Dwyer didn't commit several drive-killing holding penalties, including two inside their opponents' 20 yard line.
But Ridge's mistakes far outweighed Dwyer's. The Hawks (0-2) bobbled the ball all night, especially in the return game, and lost four of five fumbles. Dwyer, which allowed only 9 points in a season-opening win over Glades Central, allowed just 99 yards of total offense.
Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said his team needs to fix misalignments on defense and shrink its penalty total (9 for 115 yards). Other than that, he said he was pleased.
Senior quarterback Clay Meister was 9-of-17 for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Playing special teams, he recovered a fumbled punt return in the second quarter. Four plays later, he threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior Natrone Macon.
Just two plays into Ridge's ensuing drive, junior defensive tackle Mark Kelly recovered a fumble, knocked over a Ridge player with a stiff-arm, and rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
"Our defense did a good job of gang tackling and stripping the ball," Daniels said.
Dwyer sophomore Peyton Shapiro kicked a pair of 32-yard field goals to put Dwyer up 20-0 at the half. Meister threw the 25-yard touchdown pass to Saffold in the third. Senior running back Cortney Lowery, the most consistent part of Dwyer's offense, had a 6-yard touchdown in the third. He finished with 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Late in the fourth, Dwyer junior Rob Nittolo threw 4-yard touchdown pass to junior Eddie Giles.
The Panthers dominated despite injuries and absences. Junior outside linebacker Shawn Boone (shoulder sprain) didn't play much and wide receiver Clint Stephens sat out. Daniels said Stephens would be back for next week's game.
Senior corner De'Andre Bozeman (knee) was visibly hobbled, but pulled down a third-quarter interception.
The Hawks were missing a starting right tackle and two starting linebackers to injury, but coach Matt Dickmann made no excuses from that or the week of practice the team missed due to flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac.
"Practice was so much better than the week before. Everything this week was 10 times better," Dickmann said. "We're not going to use that as an excuse. We just can't turn the ball over."
Dickmann said his team, which has nine turnovers through two games, had the same amount in 12 games last year.
"They'll be fine," Daniels said of Ridge.