Horace Greeley Quakers Defeat Irvington for Fifth Consecutive Win

 
The Horace Greeley defense swarms to make a tackle in Friday’s 21-6 Homecoming victory over the Irvington Bulldogs.

On a night when Horace Greeley High School paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of its 1971 football team that had gone unbeaten two years running and amassed a 20-game winning streak, the current crop of Quaker players continued to make a little bit of history themselves.

Quarterback Ryan Wohl ran 23 yards for a second-quarter touchdown and Boden Bounds and David Nikc each found the end zone in the second half as Greeley defeated visiting Irvington 21-6 Friday night to remain unbeaten at 5-0 this season. The Quaker defense delighted a big Homecoming crowd by blanking the Bulldogs until the game’s final play.

“The defense won us the game,” said Quakers head coach Joe Kearns afterwards. “The defense was the story tonight. They’re the reason we won.”

The two Independent League teams were still scoreless as the first quarter came to an end. But the Quakers were four plays into an 81-yard drive that was put on pause briefly as a video celebration of the 1971 team played on the scoreboard and Neil Young’s ‘Long May You Run’ played over the PA system.

Greeley quarterback Ryan Wohl picks up big yardage on the ground early in the third quarter of Friday night’s game.

Five plays into the second quarter, Wohl put the Quakers on the scoreboard when he ran up the middle, cut to his right and crossed the goal line for a 20-yard touchdown. The point-after kick from Ani Dhanawade gave Greeley a 7-0 lead two minutes into the period.

The Quakers threatened to increase their lead late in the half, moving the ball all the way to the Bulldogs’ 7-yard line. But a holding penalty on third down led to two incomplete passes that ended the drive and Greeley had to settle for a 7-0 halftime advantage.

“I’m gonna give the credit to Irvington and their players and coaches,” said Kearns. “They are a gritty rivertown team and they’re very well coached. They came here and they wanted it more in the first half. I thought our defense was outstanding, but I thought they wanted it more. The fact they did that with that number of kids (24), I have more respect for them than any team we’ve played this year.”

The Quakers, who had scored a season-high 40 points in last week’s rout of Peekskill, began the second half with the ball at their own 21-yard line and proceeded to march 79 yards in 11 plays, most of them runs by Wohl and Bounds. It was Bounds who scored from two yards out five minutes into the second quarter to give Greeley a 14-0 lead.

“We did make a few adjustments at halftime and we were able to connect on it a little bit,” said Kearns about pass completions to CJ Hessert and Sam Grossberg during the scoring drive. “And then our running back, Boden Bounds, was outstanding tonight. He actually started cutting the ball back off of our power, and that’s not something we practiced. He was reading the linebacker. He was bouncing out on his own or cutting back. And it was great. I’ve got my assistants going, ‘Nice play call.’ That wasn’t my play call. That was just a running back being a running back and finding grass.”

Boden Bounds of Greeley is pursued by the Irvington defense as he carries the ball during the Quakers’ fifth straight win on Friday night.

The Quakers’ defense really excelled early in the fourth quarter when, on successive plays, Julian Coku and Nikc tackled Bulldog quarterback Alec Schrader for big losses and then Hessert intercepted a third-and-25 pass deep down the field. Greeley increased its lead to 21 points with just over two minutes remaining as Schrader couldn’t handle a low snap on second-and-long and Nikc scooped up the loose football and scampered 20 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

In their enthusiasm for adding to the Greeley lead, Nikc left the ball spinning like a top on the turf as teammates hovered over it, drawing a flag from the officials and the wrath of their coach.

“I’ll say this about the scoop and score,” said Kearns. “It was an outstanding play, but we ruined it with an end zone celebration and that will never happen again. That was embarrassing and that will never happen again. We have great kids, but we’re still learning how to win. I addressed it and we talked about it after the game. It doesn’t mean we don’t have great kids. But that’s a big mistake. That’s something we don’t do at this school.”

Irvington finally managed to get on the board with a seven-play, 68-yard drive that concluded with a 16-yard screen pass from Schrader to Marcus Canton as time expired. The Quakers, still unbeaten in their first year playing an independent schedule, will now turn their attention to next Saturday afternoon’s game up at Poughkeepsie.

“Well, they’re gonna find out on Monday it doesn’t mean very much because we’re gonna work harder than we have all year,” said Kearns of his team’s 5-0 start this season. “The practice plan is not gonna be built around fun on Monday.”

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