JORDAN — Port Byron/Union Springs didn’t have an answer for the Jordan-Elbridge offense in the first half.
The Eagles drove 355 yards on 22 plays and scored on all six of their possessions in the first half, as the Jordan-Elbridge football team beat Port Byron/Union Springs, 53-6, at John Howes Stadium Friday.
“They run a 3-5 (on offense) and we worked real hard against it, and we made our blocks. The line played very well,” Eagles coach Joe Fiacchi said. “We have a couple pretty good tailbacks, so if we get creases, we’re going to get yardage out of it. I feel real good about the way our offensive line played.”
Jordan-Elbridge’s Jeremiah Sparks rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns, passed for another and ran an interception back for a score. Still, the Eagles spread the ball around.
“What happens is they all focus on Jeremiah. …Today he saw where two guys were coming at him, so he let the ball go to the tails,” Fiacchi said. “Everything we do is an option, and he made good reads. When they hone in on him, the other guys shine. That’s a good thing.”
Sparks opened the scoring with a 21-yard pass to Geoff Lippa at the 3:25 mark, Luke Pinckney punched the ball in from the 2 four minutes later and Sparks rushed 25 yards for a touchdown with 2:09 left in the first quarter. Sparks capped the 28-0 quarter with a 27-yard pick six.
The Eagles continued to control play in the second quarter. Sparks ran 48 yards for a touchdown before the two-minute mark, Marion Quigley added a 26-yard touchdown run near the midway point and capped the first half scoring by scampering 64 yards for another score.
For Panthers coach Rob Piascik, the first half was a sign of the times for his struggling program, which is dealing with injuries — including a starter breaking his ankle on the opening kickoff — and other issues.
“It’s like a ‘When it rains, it pours’ type of deal,” he said. “We’ve created a lot of our adversity through our own actions. You’re going to have adversity anyways, but when you compound it with your own negative behaviors, you end up in situations where you’re getting slapped in the first half like that.”
With a commanding 47-0 advantage at the break, Sparks and other starters didn’t see much time in the second half.
Alex Pond finished off a short drive with a 2-yard run to give the Eagles a 53-0 lead late in the third quarter. The Panthers got on the board with a 6-yard pass from Ryan Bailey to Jose Reyes three minutes into the final frame, but didn't get any closer on the scoreboard after that.
“They’re going through a rough patch and our kids the last couple weeks have started to put things together, started making plays and executing,” said Fiacchi, who was honored at halftime for reaching the 100 win milestone last week against Hannibal. “They’re starting to feel good about what we’re doing. … I feel we’re peaking at the right time.”
Jordan-Elbridge (5-2) is set to take on Utica Notre Dame in the Section III, Class C quarterfinals next week, while Port Byron/Union Springs (0-7) will find out its crossover opponent on Sunday.
“We’ve seen them on film. Utica Notre Dame is a very good football team,” Fiacchi said. “We’ll have to play our best. … I compare them to the Lowvilles or the General Browns. They’re pretty good. … It should be a battle.”