New Hampshire Football Report

Zech, Ravens run past Post

RINDGE – Capitalizing on short fields throughout the night thanks to its defense, the Franklin Pierce University sprint football team used three touchdowns from sophomore tailback Tyler Zech to put together a 24-6 win over Post in Collegiate Sprint Football League play at Sodexo Field on Saturday night. The game was the season opener for both teams, as well as the annual Talon Cup matchup between the two schools.

Neither team was able to muster much offense, and what yardage the teams did collect came via very different methods. Franklin Pierce picked up 135 rushing yards, on a staggering 56 carries, but went 4 for 17 for 11 yards through the air. Meanwhile, Post rushed the ball 16 times, netting -4 yards, but went 18 for 41 through the air for 136 yards, though the Eagles threw a pair of interceptions long the way.

All three of Zech’s scores came at the end of short-field drives, including a pair of touchdowns on drives that began in first-and-goal situations. In the latter stages of the first quarter, Post was forced to punt from its own 4-yard line. The kick from senior Jarrick Sharp went to the Post 37, and freshman Alex Revere put together a 10-yard return, giving the Ravens first-and-10 coming in from the 27-yard line. Zech would cap off the five-play scoring drive by taking a shovel pass and slashing through the right side of the line for an eight-yard score.

The lone score for Post came 16 seconds before halftime, at the end of the game’s longest — by far — scoring drive. The Eagles would have gone three-and-out on the drive, but a roughing the kicker penalty on the punt kept the drive alive. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Buddy Enriquez hit senior tight end Rocco Guerrera for 32 yards to set up first-and-10 at the 27. After Enriquez quickly spiked the ball to stop the clock, he found Sharp over the middle for a 27-yard score, though Guerrera’s point-after was blocked, to allow the Ravens to hold a 7-6 lead heading into halftime.

Just shy of the midway point in the third quarter, on second-and-17 from the Post 31-yard line, Enriquez was picked off by freshman linebacker Bailee Johns, who returned the ball 33 yards before being run out of bounds at the Post 2-yard line. It took the Ravens four plays and some good fortune to strike pay-dirt from there, but they eventually did. It appeared Franklin Pierce would settle for a field goal, which freshman kicker Max Ayotte made from 21 yards, but a personal foul for leaping by Post gave the Ravens another crack at things. Zech took the handoff on the very next play and plowed ahead for his second touchdown of the day.

Franklin Pierce would put some distance between itself and the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Just 46 seconds into the stanza, a four-play, seven-yard drive ended with a 33-yard field goal from Ayotte to make it a 17-6 game, after the field position had been set up by a 15-yard interception return by freshman defensive back Vincent Hall.

Later in the quarter, Enriquez and his backfield suffered a miscommunication on what appeared to be a designed handoff. Enriquez wound up fumbling, with senior defensive lineman Jacques Elias coming away with the football for the Ravens, who started their drive from the Post 8-yard line. Zech would carry the ball on all three plays of the ensuing drive, finding the end zone from five yards out to cap the scoring.

Defensively, junior Ryan Becerra led the Ravens with eight tackles (five solo), including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. For Post, it was seniors Chris Leggio and Greg Volpe with 10 tackles apiece. The former had one tackle for loss, while the latter had three, including one sack.

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