Quakers Still Searching for Their First Victory

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Greeley’s Matt Nagler returns a kick in
Saturday night’s game vs. RCK.

It wasn’t quite an eternity, but the Horace Greeley football team sure had to wait a while before finally hosting its first night game back in early September.

The Quakers have now played twice under the lights on their brand new turf field, but they’ll have to wait a little bit longer to know what it feels like to win at home after dark.

That’s because Roy C. Ketcham quarterback Tim Cipollini ran for two touchdowns and threw for another Saturday night as the visiting Indians defeated Greeley 27-7. Cipollini’s 21-yard TD run five minutes into the second quarter broke a scoreless tie and helped RCK take command in a battle between two teams still in search of their initial victory of the 2017 season.

“You know what, the lights are a lot of fun,” said new Quakers head coach Joe Kearns shortly after the first night football game at Greeley under his command had come to an end. “The addition of the lights has been really, really cool and it’s pretty special. We waited a long time for it and it’s exciting. And it’s gonna be even more exciting when we start getting some ‘W’s out here.”

Kearns, now in charge of the Quakers after the sudden resignation of Tim Sullivan less than two weeks ago, watched an even first quarter in which both teams moved the ball past midfield on their opening possession before their drives stalled. But on the final play of the period, Greeley punted the ball away to set the stage for RCK to begin an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Cipollini racing along the right sideline on third and 16 for his 21-yard touchdown.

The point-after try was wide, so the Indians had to settle for a six-point lead. But less than four minutes later, they blocked a Greeley punt and Matt Brennan picked up the ball and scampered into the end zone for another touchdown. With the extra point, RCK suddenly had a 13-0 cushion.

Greeley marched the ball down the field on a nine-play drive in the waning moments of the first half, but Ketcham finally took over on downs at its own 24-yard line after a Ryan Flanagan completion to Matt Nagler on fourth and seven left the Quakers still a couple of yards short.

After the Quakers were forced to punt on the first possession of the third quarter, RCK all but sealed the outcome by chewing up six and a half minutes of the clock and going 81 yards in 11 plays, capped off by Cipollini’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Nick Nevins. With the point-after, Ketcham took a 20-0 lead as the teams headed to the fourth quarter.

Ketcham scored again with exactly four minutes remaining as Cipollini concluded another time-consuming drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. The Quakers finally got on the scoreboard on their final possession of the evening as Flanagan moved the team with his arm and his legs, eventually finding the end zone with a 24-yard dash right up the middle with 1:09 left on the clock.

Despite the loss, Kearns had nothing but praise for Flanagan, his senior signal caller.

“Ryan is one of the most prideful kids we’ve ever coached here,” he said. “When your quarterback, one of your best players, is your hardest worker it’s a good thing. Nobody outworks him. We have a couple kids maybe tied, but nobody outworks Ryan. So every time he does something well, I’m happy for him. And he holds himself accountable for everything he does.”

Even though the Quakers are now 0-4, Kearns is savoring every moment in his new, expanded role.

“I’m having a great time,” he said. “I’m having so much fun with these kids. Their compete level is so high, the execution is getting better and I’m really enjoying it. I’m going to enjoy it a whole lot more when we get a couple of wins.”

The Quakers finish their regular season with night games at Fox Lane and Ossining, but Kearns is hopeful they’ll soon experience the same feeling Ketcham had when time expired in Saturday’s game.

“Ketcham worked real hard for that win and we made ‘em work real hard for that win,” he said. “We’re gonna have our day too. I’m happy for them (the Indians) that they got their ‘W’ and they worked hard for that. And, you know what, we’re gonna have that day too where we get to have a group huddle after a game and we get to really yell and scream and cheer for each other because our day’s coming. Our day’s coming.”

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