First-week gridiron notes

Patrick Newell

Greene’s Dave Gorton filled in as interim varsity head coach last season directing the Trojans to a win over Whitney Point. Gorton helmed Greene in Tim Paske’s stead, and Paske eventually stepped down as head coach following an eighth straight winning campaign. Gorton inherited a fair number of returning players, but knew a lot of young players – sophomores and even a few freshman – would not only have to fill varsity spots, but likely play prominent roles this season. Knowing you’re the “new guy” directing a winning program, outside scrutiny is a given, but Gorton and his staff have eschewed and perhaps ignored the expectations of outsiders. “The focus, whether you are a first-year head coach or a veteran coach is the kids,” Gorton said. “We want to control what is in our power to control, and that is our preparedness and effort. The entire coaching staff is focused on the players, and any pressure we feel is intrinsic because we want them to have a chance to be successful on every play.” So far, so good for Gorton, his staff, and the collective varsity unit. Greene throttled Bainbridge-Guilford on the road, 37-0, Friday night. The offense had one drive in which it drove 95 yards on 19 plays, it ran 69 plays overall, and held B-G to just two first downs for the game and 18 total plays. Linemen Wyatt VanderBunt, Alex Kozisky, Nick Adams, Phil Nelson and Jeff Pornbeck controlled the game, Gorton said. Third-year quarterback Joe Beckwith was nearly perfect, running back Joel Roselle was his physical self, and first-year defensive coordinator, John Martinson, had the Trojans’ defense well prepared forcing three turnovers and negative total yards until the third quarter.

Oxford’s 32-14 loss to Dryden was not nearly as bad as it looked. From this writer’s perspective, the Blackhawks’ Friday game was a veritable nailbiter as it was the only local grid contest decided by less than three touchdowns. In losing by 18, Oxford had three drives stall inside the Dryden red zone with untimely penalties conspiring against those possessions. Clearly, moving the ball was not much of a problem for Oxford. The Blackhawks ran for 284 yards and passed for 112. Those are numbers that usually end in victories. “We had some guys out there playing their first varsity games, and we were a little wide-eyed and bushy-tailed,” said Oxford coach Ray Dayton. “But I like what I saw and I liked our effort. We played snap to whistle.” Sophomore running backs Nick Neer and Jon Heggie led the Oxford ground game with 105 and 80 yards rushing respectively. Sophomore quarterback Angelo Gonzalez finished with 112 yards passing on 6 of 11 attempts. The Blackhawks square off with the always-tough Walton Warriors Saturday. Walton edged Whitney Point, 18-16, in its first game.