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Wayne Post
  • Red Jacket football advances to state tournament

  • The Red Jacket football team defeated Clyde-Savannah in the Class D qualifier on Friday night to advance to the New York State tournament next weekend.
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  • Finger Lakes West league rivals Red Jacket and Clyde-Savannah met for the second time this season on Friday night at Tom Coughlin Stadium in Waterloo, with the Indians coming away with a 44-14 victory in the Class D qualifier to advance to the Western Regional next weekend. Red Jacket defeated Cal-Mum 36-28 in overtime last weekend to win the Section 5 Class DD title while Clyde-Savannah defeated Alexander 30-24 to win the Class D crown.
    A change in defensive alignment helped Red Jacket force Clyde-Savannah into five first half turnovers, including three interceptions by sophomore Sean Sheets. Sheets was relocated by the coaching staff for this game from his tradition post at cornerback to a safety position, allowing him more freedom to roam the defensive backfield in an attempt to slow down the Eagles' passing attack.
    "We moved some guys around on defense for this game because we knew we needed to limit Clyde-Savannah's big plays," said Red Jacket head coach Marc Vitticore. "Moving Sean from the outside to the middle allowed him to use his speed to get under some of their deep passes. That is probably an alignment we will only use against this team, but it was successful tonight."
    Red Jacket opened the game with a four-play, 64-yard scoring drive. All four plays came on the ground for the Indians, the first three going for a first down with the fourth a 9-yard touchdown run by Sean Sheets.
    The first series for Clyde-Savannah began a wild series of turnovers that may never be seen again in a state qualifying game. Facing a third-and-five the Eagles completed a pass to the right side that would have resulted in a first down if not for a fumble. The loose ball was recovered by the Indians, who two plays after taking over possession fumbled the center-quarterback exchange to give the ball back to Clyde-Savannah.
    The Eagles looked to move the ball down the field quickly off their forced turnover but a long pass attempt down the right side was tipped and intercepted by Sean Sheets. After three turnovers in the previous four plays the Indians made their way inside of the Clyde-Savannah 20 yard line but their drive stalled out after coming up short on a fourth-and-four.
    Two plays later Red Jacket came up with its third takeaway of the first quarter when Sean Sheets tallied his second interception of the game. The turnover madness was not over yet however, as just a few plays into the Indians' possession Clyde-Savannah came up with its first interception of the game on an attempted halfback pass. The Eagles were able to convert the turnover into points when Todd Romano broke a 74-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 6-6.
    The momentum swung into the hands of Red Jacket on the next drive when Kory Fogarty turned a fourth-and-three into a 24-yard touchdown run to help put the Indians up 14-6. Sean Sheets continued his memorable night with his third interception of the game on the next drive. Starting from their own 44 yard line the Indians marched down the field in less than three minutes, capping the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run from Andrew Ogrodowski.
    Page 2 of 2 - Despite five turnovers Clyde-Savannah had a chance to swing the momentum back in its favor just before the end of the half. Facing a third-and-goal from the Red Jacket three the Eagles came up short on a quarterback option. The coaching staff elected to try to punch it in on fourth down but the Indians defense held up, forcing a turnover on downs and keeping their lead at 22-6.
    "Despite five turnovers in the first half, we were still in it," said Clyde-Savannah head coach Nick Dercola. "If we are able to score on our final drive of the first half it is a much different game."
    Clyde-Savannah opened the second half with the ball but started deep in its own zone. Forced to punt from their own four yard line the Eagles gave the ball back to the Indians at the Clyde-Savannah 30 and a few plays later Kory Fogary ran in his second touchdown of the game to make it 30-6.
    The Eagles answered on the next drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by Todd Romano but were unable to stop the Red Jacket rushing attack again in the second half. Andrew Ogrodowski tallied his second rushing touchdown of the day on the next drive while Sean Sheets punched in his second score of the night in the fourth quarter. Sheets capped his MVP performance with his fourth interception of the game late in the game, securing Red Jacket's 44-14 win and avenging the Indians' loss to Clyde-Savannah earlier in the season.
    "Along with making a few adjustments to our defense, we got some alignment and assignment issues fixed from our previous meeting," added Vitticore. "Those issues fell on us as coaches and our staff did a great job of getting our guys in positions they felt comfortable in and in positions to make plays. On offense our line again did a great job of giving our backs room to run and that gave us the opportunity to control the game on the ground."
    Red Jacket and Clyde-Savannah finished in a tie for first in the Finger Lakes West with Dundee. The Indians improved to 9-1 with the win and will face Section 6 Randolph, last year's Class D state champion, next Friday at Sahlen's Stadium. Clyde-Savannah finishes the season with a record of 8-2. The Eagles' sectional title was their first since 2001.
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