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Second quarter rampage secures Leyton win in rivalry game

Warriors down Potter-Dix 50-24 on frigid night

 

Four minutes of football just before halftime decided Friday night’s rivalry game between Leyton and Potter-Dix.

The host Warriors claimed a lopsided win, 50-24, allowing two harmless late scores to narrow final margin. For much of the game, Leyton’s defense showed its stubborn side. Meanwhile A.W. Frerichs pierced the bitter night air for 237 yards passing—Dylan Brenner his favorite target—and Jared Westman pounded out 112 more on the ground.

But, as Potter-Dix head coach Dale Frerichs pointed out, “We got off to a good start and were in the game.”

That is until those critical moments in the second quarter.

Leyton clung to a 14-6 advantage late in the period and the game was developing into a grinding defensive battle. The Coyotes’ Wyatt Long and Tristan Hinrichs shut down two Leyton attempts to run the ball and Kelsey Rozelle pressured Frerich’s into an errant throw. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ Tanner Bellmyer almost single-handedly stymied Potter-Dix’s ensuing drive.

With 3:44 remaining until the break, Rozelle lined up to punt. But Brennen Cruise shot through the line and got a paw on the ball. Leyton took possession on the Coyotes’ four and Westman blasted his way into the end zone, opening up a 20-6 lead.

“That gave us momentum,” Westman said. “It set the tone.”

Before the visitors could manage a response, Westman picked off a Bryant Knigge pass attempt. Frerichs then engineered a drive, connecting with Brenner for 14, Cody McKay for 6 and, finally, a wide open Cruise from 23 yards out for another touchdown.

“The ball was cold and hard,” Frerichs pointed out, as temperatures had dipped noticeably below the freezing mark. “I just put it up and let the receivers go get it.”

Frerichs was 13 for 23 on the night, with four touchdowns and one pick. He hit his stride in the second quarter, however, completing 5 of 7 for 84 yards.

“A-Dub is a game changer,” Leyton head coach Glen Lipska said, referring to Frerich’s nickname.

But the Warriors were firing on all cylinders in the period. They entered the second locked up 6-6 and went into the half on top 28-6—a 22 point swing. Defensively Leyton forced two turnovers, blocked a punt and allowed the Coyotes only nine snaps over the 12 minute span.

Their dominance in the second quarter was so complete, Potter-Dix managed only 5 positive yards in the period, all on the ground. Leyton’s running back trio of Westman, Cruise and James Rushman tallied 54, by comparison.

Take away the second and Friday night’s game was much more closely contested.

The Coyotes stopped Leyton cold on the opening series and stiffened on the next after the Warriors crossed midfield. After consecutive running plays failed to move the ball more than a few yards, Frerichs opted to throw a screen. The pass sailed over his intended receiver, however, ending up in the arms of Potter-Dix’s Rozelle, who returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

“I was just sitting in my zone,” Rozelle explained. After intercepting the ball, “I saw blocking develop and took off.”

The score put Potter-Dix on top 6-0, though not for long.

“We were startled,” Leyton’s quarterback admitted. “So I said ‘let’s get going.’”

The hosts responded with a 53 yard scoring drive, half of that distance covered by Westman on a 30 yard touchdown run that evened matters at 6-6. As the second period got underway, the Warriors began break down Potter-Dix’s reticent defense. Carries that produced just a yard or two in the early stages of the game now picked up six or seven.

Runs by Westman and Cruise—back in the lineup after recovering from an injury—along with a 27 yard toss from Frerichs to Brenner, put the ball inside Potter-Dix’s 10. Westman took it the rest of the way, breaking the deadlock and handing the Warriors a 14-6 lead.

“I had the blocks out front,” Westman said, giving particular praise to the lead work of Cruise. Having him back, Westman added, “was a moral boost.”

But for one play, the third quarter was a mirror image of the hard fought opening period. Over much of the span neither team could gain an edge. With just over two minutes on the clock, Frerichs found Brenner alone by the pylon for a 25 yard touchdown strike.

The Coyotes responded on the ensuing kick off. Cooper Hicks fielded the ball on his own 25, cut across the middle and then raced along the far sideline—a 55 yard return to cancel out Leyton’s score.”

“We needed something,” Hicks said. “I got the blocks, turned it on and gave it all I had.”

By that point, however, the one big play had already made the two scores moot.

Earlier in the period, with the game still at 28-6 and Potter-Dix hunting for that elusive opportunity to gnaw their way back into the fray, back to back stops by Jake Johnson near midfield seemingly gave the visitors the opening they needed.

The Warriors lined up to punt, but Frerichs—serving double duty as kicker—tucked the ball in, looked downfield and spotted Brenner on a post pattern. The fake punt resulted in a 33 yard touchdown and a 36-6 game breaker.

“That’s a chance you have to take,” Lipska said.

But the trick play almost failed before the ball was even snapped.

“We called for the fake, but no one heard me in the huddle,” Frerichs said.

He repeated the play call, but again his teammates failed to pick it out of the noise—except for Brenner.

The anticlimactic scores added late in the third made it a 42-12 game. Frerichs hit Brenner once more in the final frame, while Rozelle tacked on a couple of rushing touchdowns for Potter-Dix, the second coming after a Coby Hicks interception.

Despite dropping the annual rivalry game 50-24, Coyotes’ coach Frerichs found it difficult to complain.

“Mental errors hurt us,” he said. “But the kids played hard.”

On the home side of the field, there was a sense of quiet satisfaction at the outcome.

“This is the last time we play Potter,” the senior quarterback Frerichs said. “This is the way we wanted to go out.”

 

Score by Quarters

Potter-Dix 6 0 6 12 – 24

Leyton 6 22 14 8 - 50

 

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