Indians fall in opener, 40-0
by Geoff Fox
The 2012 Berkeley Springs Indians football season got underway last Friday, August 24 when the Tribe traveled to Berryville, Va., to take on the Clarke County Eagles.
After winning only two games by a combined three points in 2011, the Indians were looking to take down the Eagles, who were a playoff team in Virginia.
Zach Wise kicked off the season giving the Eagles first possession at their own 27 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Eagles running back David Hardesty took a direct snap from center and ran nine yards.
After two short runs of two and three yards each, Nicolas Helmut broke for a 15 yard scamper to pick up a first down.
Hardesty then broke for a 21 yard run setting up first and goal. Another run of six yards from Hardesty set up a four yard plunge for quarterback Sean McDonald to cap the 64 yard drive.
The Eagles led 6-0.
On the ensuing drive, the Indians got the ball at their own 20 yard line to start their first offensive drive.
After two runs by freshman running back Brady Tritapoe that gained one yard, Mark Cowles completed a four yard pass to tight end Chris Kees.
Three and out led to a Wise punt which the Eagles returned 19 yards to the 31 yard line.
The Eagles offense came back on the field and must not have wanted to stay very long, because Hardesty broke off a 31 yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 13-0.
This wouldn't be the last of the long runs for Hardesty and the Eagles.
After another three and out that saw the Indians commit their first penalty of the year, two men in motion at the same time, a run of four yards from Cowles and an eight yarder from Tritapoe, the Eagles once again got the ball after a Wise punt.
After back-to-back first down runs of 10 and 13 yards by McDonald and Hardesty respectively and another nine from McDonald, running back Todd Benton put the Eagles up 19-0 on a 19 yard dash.
The Indians, who got the ball back just before the end of the first quarter, started the second quarter with a two yard run by Tritapoe.
Cowles then completed a seven yard strike to Kees for seven yards followed by another three yard gain by Tritapoe, picking up the first down of the season for the Tribe.
After a Cowles incomplete pass, running back Sam Brake broke for eight yards. The next play resulted in a Brake fumble, but was recovered by Indians lineman Kyle Harden for a five yard loss and fourth down.
After a 28 yard Wise punt and an illegal block in the back penalty on Clarke County, the Eagles took over on their own 16 yard line.
The Eagles running game once again looked to take over the game when Helmut took off for 20 yards and Hardesty for nine.
McDonald also attempted his first pass intended for tight end Ben Wallace, but was broken up by the Indians Preston Hovermale.
After an 11 yard pick up from Hardesty, he coughed up the ball which allowed Indians linebacker Richard Recio to fall on it and get the ball back for the Indians.
The ensuing drive would prove to be the Indians first real offensive movement of the game.
Tritapoe racked off a 17 yard run to pick up a first down. Cowles had a pass attempt fall incomplete, but the Indians picked up a first down on a defensive pass interference call against the Eagles.
Now in Eagles territory, Cowles tried to scramble, but was sacked by Eric Stewart of Clarke County for a loss of three yards.
After another Cowles scramble for no gain, the Indians set up from the 41 yard line to have Wise attempt his first field goal on the year.
Wise had the distance, but missed wide right.
On the ensuing drive, the Eagles broke off runs of 10, seven and 19 yards.
It was a McDonald to Benton pass for 44 yards that put the Eagles up 26-0.
After another three and out for the Indian offense, the Eagles started at their own 17 yard line.
An incomplete pass from McDonald, with pressure from Kyle Shambaugh, and a tackle on McDonald by Shawn Trump ended the first half.
Clarke County kicked off to start the second half, but attempted a squib kick and recovered at the Indians' 35 yard line.
A fumble on the second play from Clarke County was recovered by Recio, giving the Indian faithful hope that the second half might be different.
The ensuing drive was another three and out for the Indians.
The Eagles' Hardesty, on the next possession, broke for two runs of 15 and 25 yards off the right guard. He had a 20 yard run called back due to a holding penalty.
The Indians' Hovermale had another opportunity to defend a pass as McDonald threw an in completion intended for Hardesty. A safety blitz by the Indians led to a second incompletion intended for Hardesty.
On the next play, McDonald took off for a 24 yard run off the left guard.
A 22 yard run by Hardesty, where he ran off the right guard, found a hole and took off for the end zone to put the Eagles up 33-0.
The Indians couldn't come through on their next drive as the Eagles defense clamped down hard.
Cowles was dropped for a total of 19 yards on back-to-back plays. Tritapoe was also tackled in the backfield for a five yard loss.
The Indians were forced to punt backed up against their own end zone. With his heels near the back of the end zone, Wise was able to get a decent punt off.
McDonald led the offense back on the field and on the first play from scrimmage, took the ball off the left guard for nine yards.
Helmut added a 14 yard run, which was followed by an 18 yard touchdown run by Hardesty putting the Eagles up 40-0.
After going up by more than 35 points in Virginia, a mercy rule kicks in where the clock doesn't stop. And for the Indians, that clock couldn't move fast enough.
With just over four minutes left in the third quarter, the Indians got the ball back.
The Indians offense finally started clicking when Cowles sent a pass to Kaleb Athey for 12 yards.
Three Tritapoe runs had the ball well into Eagle territory. The runs were for two, six, and 13 yards. A personal foul penalty added another 15 yards on to the last run.
After a run of no gain, Cowles found Athey for five yards to end the third quarter.
A third down run of one yard by Tritapoe set up Wise for a chip shot field goal.
However a botched snap by the holder allowed Wise to pick up the ball and run for six yards picking up the first down for the Indians.
Two plays later, with the Indians knocking on the doorstep of the end zone, Cowles threw an interception that Kasey Lake of Clarke County took back 47 yards, a personal foul on the Indians moved the ball to the Indian 38 yard line.
With the Eagles in blowout mode, they brought in their reserves.
After getting one yard, McDonald came out of the game. Three plays later, the Eagles turned the ball over to the Indians on downs.
Indians' Coach Angelo Luvara also brought in his back ups giving Ben Solomon his first action of the year.
On the third play, he threw an interception to Justin Dulaney.
With the clock ticking, the Eagles ran three small running plays to kill the clock.
The Eagles won the game 40-0.
The Indians, who have lost their last four season openers, will travel to South Hagerstown on Friday, August 31 to take on the Rebels. Game time is at 7 p.m.