2017-10-18 / Sports

Offense, defense and special teams lead Indians past Clear Spring 53-6

by Jamie Harris

The staff and students of Berkeley Springs High School kicked off homecoming last week with daily spirit activities that capped off with a pep rally late Friday afternoon. Then prior to the football game at 6:30 p.m. there was the crowing of the 2017 Senior Homecoming King Patrick Raymond and Queen Rikki Mann. Then at 7 p.m. the kickoff between the visiting Clear Spring Blazers and the hometown Berkeley Springs Indians.

The Indians who ran wild on a decent Brunswick team last week was ready to unleash the attack once again on the Blazers. The Tribe did not disappoint the homecoming fans as they racked up 50 plus points for the second straight week as they ambushed the Blazers, 53-6.

Clear Spring won the coin toss to start the game and elected to receive the ball. After picking up an initial first down the Blazers were forced to punt to the Tribe. The Berkeley Springs offense took over at their own 42 yard line. The Indians needed only two plays to find the end zone for the first score. Freshman Payton Thompson picked up 33 yards to move the ball down to the Clear Spring 25 yard line. From there the Indians quarterback Tobin Whittington scored on a 25 yard run. Junior Remington Hiles booted the extra point through the upright and the Tribe led 7-0.

Clear Spring’s second offensive possession ended with a punt after the Indians Mason Sipes sacked the Blazer quarterback on third down. Starting from their own 48 yard line the Indians needed only three plays this time to reach the end zone. On first down Whittington connected with CJ Ryan for a 38 yard gain to move the ball to the Blazer 14 yard line. Michael Hovermale took the sweep toss on the next play and was knocked out of bounds at the Clear Spring one yard line. From there Whittington scored his second rushing touchdown of the game with a quarterback sneak. Hiles’ extra point attempt was blocked, but the Tribe was up 13-0 early in the first quarter.

The Blazers did not have much luck with their third offensive possession as the Berkeley Springs defense forced a fumble that linebacker Matt Cowles recovered at the Indians 46 yard line.

The offense went back to work as Hovermale picked up nine yards on a carry. On second down and two Whittington connected with Josh Hartman for a three yard gain. An unsportsmanlike penalty moved the ball back to the Indians 42 yard line. Whittington then connected with Ty’Jae Armstrong for a 17 yard gain to move the ball to the Blazer 42 yard line. On second down Whittington found Hartman streaking down the visitors sideline for a 42 yard touchdown pass.

Hiles split the uprights once again and the Tribe was up 20-0.

The Berkeley Springs defense continued its dominance over the Clear Spring offense forcing the Blazers to punt once again. Ryan fielded the Blazer punt at the Indians 15 yard line and made several nice moves and broke free for an 85 yard punt return touchdown. Hiles’ extra point attempt was good and the Tribe had a commanding 27-0 lead in the early part of the second quarter.

The Indians defense stepped up once again on Clear Spring’s next possession as Nathan Mason intercepted the Blazer pass and returned it into Clear Spring territory. However, Mason fumbled the ball as he was tackled and Clear Spring was able to recover.

The Indian defense stiffened again and forced a Blazer punt. Berkeley Springs then went back to work on offense.

Whittington hit Larry Miller for a 16 yard completion to move the ball to the Blazer 49 yard line. On second down Whittington connected with Ryan for a 19 yard gain. After a couple of running plays moved the ball to the Blazer 20 yard line Whittington hit Armstrong in the corner of the end zone for a 20 yard score. Hiles’ extra point attempt split the upright and the Indians held a commanding 34-0 lead.

Clear Spring took over with a few minutes to go in the second quarter. The Blazers started to have a little success moving the ball, but with only a few seconds left in the quarter had to punt once again. Ryan fielded the punt and took off once again for an apparent Indian touchdown. However the touchdown was nullified on a penalty on the Tribe. The Indians end the half with a 34-0 lead.

The third quarter started with the Indians taking the kickoff and returning it to the Clear Spring 45 yard line. On first and 10 Hovermale picked up 10 yards to move the ball to the Blazer 35 yard line. From there Whittington connected with Hartman for their second touchdown of the night with a 35 yard pass and with Hiles’ extra point good the Indians were up 41- 0.

Clear Spring took advantage of a kickoff return that set them up with good field position. However, the Indians defense buckled down and Cowles forced the Blazer quarterback into an intentional grounding penalty on third down. Clear Spring then got off a short punt that Ryan fielded at the Clear Spring 48 yard line. Ryan brought it up the home sideline before slashing to his right and sprinting into the end zone for his second punt return touchdown of the night. Hiles’ extra point attempt was blocked, but the Indians were in control up 47-0.

Clear Spring went back to work on offense and put together their best drive of the night. Moving the ball down the field getting inside the Indian 10 yard line. However, sophomore Luke Spielman ended the Blazer drive with an interception in the back of the end zone.

Berkeley Springs turned their offense over to their second string offense and those players led by freshmen quarterback Shawn Ott and running back Thompson moved the ball down the field. Ott then found Armstrong in the end zone for a five yard touchdown pass however, it was brought back on an Indian penalty. With the ball on the 15 yard line Ott handed it off to Thompson who powered his way in for the score from 15 yards out and his first varsity touchdown of his career. Hiles’ extra point attempt was blocked again, but the Tribe was up 53-0 and the running clock was in full force.

Clear Spring finally found the end zone in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to make the final score 53-6.

Offensively the Indians were led by their quarterback Whittington who was a perfect 9/9 passing with 166 yards and three touchdown passes. Whittington also had 27 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground. Thompson (67 yards rushing and a touchdown) and Hovermale (34 yards rushing) also paced the ground game. Hartman (three receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns), Ryan (three receptions for 67 yards), Armstrong (two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown) and Miller (one reception for 16 yards) led the Indians receivers.

Ryan had two punt returns for touchdowns (85 and 48 yards) to lead the Tribe special teams. Hiles kicked five extra points.

Defensively the Indians were led by Cowles (10 tackles and two fumble recoveries) and defensive linemen Michael Hinkle (six tackles), Sipes (five tackles), and Noah Kelly (four tackles). Ryan (five tackles), Mason (interception) and Spielman (interception) also played well for the defensive backfield.

Berkeley Springs (3-4) will host Green Street Academy out of Baltimore on Saturday, October 21 at 1 p.m. at Morgan Field. The Indians will be looking for their fourth win and a chance to improve their record to .500.

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