By CLAUDE SCILLEY
It’s not supposed to work that way.
“It’s supposed to get 10 yards, maybe 11, every time,” Mitch Dowd said. “It’s surprising how well it works.”
The La Salle Black Knights quarterback wasn’t at a loss, however, to explain exactly why one particular simple off-tackle play to tailback Tim Wight went for a 63-yard touchdown Thursday night.
“That’s definitely on our (offensive) line,” Dowd said. “We have one of the nicest O lines in the league, and when they’re on the move, they’re hard to stop.”
“That, along with the blocking (downfield) from our receivers.”
The touchdown, the first of two by Wight in the third quarter of a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior football game under the lights at Berk Brean Field, sent La Salle on its way to its third win of the season, 19-0 over the struggling Sydenham Golden Eagles.
The game followed a familiar script for the Knights: A first half undermined by a rash of bonehead penalties that kept a game much closer than it otherwise would have been. In this case, La Salle had just a 5-0 lead to take into the intermission of a game where the opponent was having tremendous difficulty moving the football at all.
The game was scoreless well into the second quarter when the game’s first real threat ended with an interception by Sydenham’s Brandon Monnier at his own goal line. The Eagles weren’t able to gain first down, however, and they conceded a safety.
Two minutes before the first half ended, La Salle’s Shawn Miller kicked a 19-yard field goal but the Eagles, still looking for their first victory of the season, were hanging in. “It is scary,” Dowd said, when a game remains that close for that long.
That ended with Wight’s long run down the left sideline five and a half minutes into the second half and then, when the Knights defence held against the Eagles' subsequent possession, La Salle blocked the Sydenham punt. An apparent touchdown scored on the very next play was called back by—what else—a penalty, but it took just two more plays, a pass from Dowd to Denver Stephens and a 10-yard run by Wight, for the Knights to score again.
In a span of a little less than three minutes, La Salle had taken complete control of the game, thanks in no small part to Wight, who separated his shoulder in the preseason tournament at La Salle and was playing his first game of the year.
Sydenham had one good chance to score in the fourth quarter, after David Leslie intercepted a Dowd pass and returned it to the La Salle 26-yard line. Kyle Compton completed a pass to Will Sanderson to give the Eagles first down on the 13, but the drive ended when a measurement revealed that a third-down bid had fallen an inch short.
“We need a lot of time to get the momentum going but after a while, we pull through,” Dowd said.
“We are undisciplined. Penalties are the big factor that slows us down. Every game we’ve had, we’ve had a bunch of penalties in the first half, and then at halftime everybody knows what has to be changed, that penalties are the big thing.”
As it typically does, finding a measure of self-control Thursday night led to the team’s improved play in the final two quarters, Dowd said.
“(It’s a matter of) everybody relaxing, keeping to themselves,” he said. “If somebody pushes, you walk away, you don’t say a word to them; just play football.”
After Ernestown’s 23-19 loss Thursday afternoon in Napanee, La Salle emerges as the last undefeated team in the county. Friday, Frontenac, 1-1, plays winless Bayridge while Friday night at Caraco Field, Regi and Holy Cross, both 1-1, will clash in the annual Bill MacLeod Memorial game, beginning at 7 o’clock.