The frequency of Fox Lane touchdowns in the first half of Thursday night’s game against visiting Horace Greeley took a toll on more than just the Quakers — the big electric scoreboard behind the south end zone at Memorial Stadium went a bit haywire for most of the halftime intermission, flashing all sorts of random numbers faster than they could be read.
Maybe it shouldn’t have been surprising after the Foxes exploded for five TDs in the game’s first two quarters, including a pair by Andrew Brown in the span of just 17 seconds in the final minute of the half. Fox Lane, now 3-2 this season, built a 36-7 halftime cushion and went on to a 43-14 rout of the still-winless Quakers.
“They’re a good team,” said Quakers head coach Joe Kearns about victorious Fox Lane, which scored two touchdowns 53 seconds apart to open up a 13-0 lead just four minutes after the opening kickoff. “They’re coached very well. I think they should be very proud of the way they played tonight. And I think the coach should be very happy with the way their team executed.”
Fox Lane jumped ahead on the game’s opening possession, marching 62 yards on seven plays and finding the end zone when quarterback Matt Bodine fired a perfect strike to fellow junior Josh Olsen, who caught the ball in stride over his shoulder for a 20-yard touchdown. The point-after kick gave the Foxes a 7-0 edge just over three minutes in.
The Quakers got another hint it wasn’t going to be their night moments later when quarterback Ryan Flanagan dropped back to pass and fired the ball toward the left flat, only to see the Foxes’ Richard Rodriguez step in and make an interception. He easily scooted 21 yards into the end zone for another Fox Lane touchdown. The PAT was blocked, but Greeley was still behind by 13 points and the game was only four minutes old.
Flanagan made up for the interception on Greeley’s ensuing possession when he scampered up the middle for a 48-yard gain. It would’ve been a 68-yard touchdown run, but he lost his balance on the way to pay dirt and tumbled to the turf at the 20-yard line. Two plays later, though, he lobbed a pass into the waiting arms of Andreas Savvides in the right side of the end zone for a Quaker touchdown. The PAT by Thomas Brennan cut the Fox Lane lead to 13-7.
The score remained the same as the opening quarter came to an end, but the Foxes were in the midst of a drive that would cover 90 yards and last 13 plays. It ended with Bodine, from the 6-yard line, passing to Jack Foote, who lost the football near the goal line and an opportunistic Olsen picking it up and scoring the touchdown. Jayden Poellet’s point-after kick stretched the Fox Lane lead to 20-7.
Greeley responded with a long kickoff return as Matt Nagler handed the ball to Jacob Rose on a reverse play that wound up in the end zone, but was called back to the Foxes’ 32-yard line by a penalty. The Quakers moved all the way to the 9-yard line, but came out of a timeout and turned the ball over when the shotgun snap from center sailed over Flanagan’s head.
That turned out to be the Quakers’ last real gasp because Fox Lane then proceeded to move 77 yards in 10 plays, highlighted by a spectacular Olsen catch for a 30-yard gain and the two-yard hurdle up the middle by Brown for the Foxes’ fourth touchdown. Olsen was also on the receiving end of the two-point conversion that gave Fox Lane a 28-7 margin with 1:03 left in the half.
The impressive catches by Olsen in the first half were no surprise to anybody.
“He’s a great receiver,” said Fox Lane coach Bill Broggy. “So when teams start to load the box to stop our running game, they have to go one-on-one on him and he’s 6-foot-5. That’s an advantage, that’s real helpful.”
“He is a terrific player and we certainly were giving him the lion’s share of the attention,” said the Quakers’ Kearns. “And he still made plays and the Fox Lane coaches still trusted him to make plays even though we were showing him a lot of attention.”
In the final minute of the half, Greeley got the ball at its own 24-yard line and more misfortune was soon on the way. On first down, Flanagan threw over the middle and Brown picked off the pass, quickly galloping into the end zone for his second touchdown in 17 seconds. A pass to the right flat then added two more points, leaving the shell-shocked Quakers behind 36-7 at halftime.
“Yeah, we got some big plays,” said Broggy. “Drew, you know, that pick was big. That’s tough for a team. We just scored, we had a nice drive to score and then kick off to them. We had a great kickoff. And then, for them, you know, that’s tough. That’s a tough thing for them. But good for us.”
The only scoring in the third quarter came from the Quakers, who used an interception by Ian Dayan at the Foxes’ 13-yard line with 44 seconds left to set up Flanagan’s touchdown run on the next play.
“That kid’s a helluva quarterback,” said Broggy about the Quakers’ senior signal caller. “The ball in his hands is not a bad thing. That quarterback’s probably one of the more dangerous players. You saw it, he gets in space, he’s tough to tackle. So that’s a good football team. Double A football’s tough, you know. It’s tough to win games in Double A.”
The Foxes closed the evening’s scoring with a 12-play, 37-yard drive that ended with Michael Washington running 16 yards around right end for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
“We’re a young team,” said Broggy, pleased by the way his team bounced back from last week’s Homecoming loss to Port Chester. “When things are going well, we’re really excited. Then when they don’t go well, we get down. We can’t be like that. We have to learn to be just playing even keel.”
The Quakers, meanwhile, will be entering the final week of their regular season still in search of their initial victory.
“I’m most proud of my team for the way they never gave in,” said Kearns. “We had some defensive stops in the fourth quarter when we could’ve given up. Right now we’re 0 and 5. We’re not gonna just give up. It’s just not in our DNA. And that’s all you can ask really as a coach. Of course we want the results to be different, but until then we’re gonna fight.”