CLINTON, NY– In the NFF league, most teams cannot afford any injuries, as their numbers hover around the state minimum for fielding a team.
In their game on Saturday afternoon against Oriskany, the Clinton Warriors saw their numbers dwindle closer to that minimum, as three key players went down with injuries. That didn’t help their chances against the Redskins, who bounced back from a devastating loss last week to Port Byron/Union Springs to spoil Clinton’s homecoming game in a 48-20 victory.
“We started a freshman (quarterback Tanner Deveans) and seven sophomores today,” Clinton head coach John Hurteau said. “Oriskany played well, but our boys tried hard.”
It didn’t start out too well for either team, however, as after a turnover on downs by Clinton, the Warriors and Redskins traded fumbles. On Oriskany’s next possession, the Redskins would draw first blood. Keyed by a 24-yard run by Chad Jackson, Oriskany took the lead on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Enos to C.J. Jones. From there, the Redskins never looked back.
After the game, Oriskany head coach Jerry Tine was impressed with his senior field general.
“Ryan managed the game better [than last week],” Tine said. “He stayed within the game plan, and that’s what you expect out of your senior quarterback.”
After Clinton went three-and-out on their next drive, a blocked punt put Oriskany in favorable field position at the Clinton 25-yard line. The Redskins would only need two plays to put them up 14, with Enos calling his own number on an 11-yard romp.
The Warriors finally got on the board early in the second quarter, however. Brandon Brown, the team’s leading rusher, capped off a ten-play drive that took almost four minutes with a three-yard run to put the Warriors within six.
Clinton would quickly have another chance on an Enos fumble that would set them up deep in their own territory. However, just two plays later, the Warriors gave the ball back on another fumble. This time, Enos would only need four plays and 44 seconds to score, capping it off by taking it himself on a 9-yard run.
After the two teams traded the ball back and forth for the rest of the quarter, the Redskins got the ball back after Deveans fumbled deep in their own end of the field. This time, Enos would go to the air, needing only nine seconds to find Joshua Strauss just before the half to put Oriskany up 28-8 going into the halftime break.
Clinton would hold the Redskins scoreless after the half, snuffing out a punt fake to put the Warriors just over the midfield line in Oriskany territory. The Warriors would put a little bit of hope into the Clinton faithful after the turnover, going on a 10-play drive that took just over half the quarter. Again, Brown would be the benefactor of another touchdown, going on a 10-yard run to halve the Redskins’ lead to 28-14.
However, that was where the Clinton attack derailed. Enos would put in his third touchdown of the day soon after that. Against a depleted Clinton defense that was missing at least three starters, including senior leader Chris Heselton, who missed most of the game, Enos would run it in from three yards out to extend the lead.
Fumbles and turnovers hurt the Warriors all day, and the ensuing kickoff was no different. Clinton would fumble a squib kick, and the Redskins pounced on it again. It would only take one play again for Enos, this time finding Strauss on a slant pattern for a 35-yard score, his longest of the day.
Strauss would give Enos a break from scoring early on in the fourth quarter, as he would take a Deveans interception back 62 yards for the back breaking touchdown, Oriskany’s third in four minutes of the fourth quarter.
However, the Warriors fought hard to the end. Aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that negated a fourth-and-long, Brown and Deveans marched Clinton down the field for the last touchdown of the day, a two-yard sneak by Deveans to make the score a respectable 48-20.
However, it was too little, too late, as the Redskins (2-1, 2-1 NFF) would run out the last 20 seconds of the game, and relish a victory that kept them in the hunt for the NFF championship.
After the game, Hurteau lamented the lost opportunities his Warriors (0-3, 0-3 NFF) had by putting th ball on the ground, while at the same time, praising Enos for his ability to take advantage.
“There were too many breakdowns today…turnovers hurt us a lot,” Hurteau said. “We schemed to contain him, but we had trouble containing their quarterback.”
Tine praised his Redskins after the game for being able to wear down the Clinton defense as much as they did.
“At this level, conditioning is part of the game,” Tine said. “We have 26 kids, they have 22, so we had to wear them down.
“The kids worked hard and played well. We rebounded well from a tough loss [38-14 to Port Byron/Union Springs]…that’s the great measure of a team.”
If that is the case, Oriskany measures up to the best of the best in the National Football Foundation.
Oriskany Redskins 48, Clinton Warriors 20
Clinton 0 8 6 6 20
Oriskany 14 14 0 20 48
O- CJ Jones 14 yard pass from Ryan Enos (conversion failed), 3:30
O- R. Enos 11 yard run (R. Enos run), 1:43
C- Brandon Brown 3 yard run (Tanner Deveans run), 9:16
O- R. Enos 9 yard run (conversion failed), 4:14
O- Joshua Strauss 38 yard pass from R. Enos (CJ Jones pass from R. Enos), :36
C- Brandon Brown 10 yard run (conversion failed), 3:42
O- R. Enos 3 yard run (conversion failed), 11:47
O- Strauss 35 yard pass from R. Enos (conversion failed) 11:31
O- Joshua Strauss 62 yard interception return (Chad Jackson run), 8:00
C- Deveans 2 yard run (pass failed), :25