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Shock defense holds Watertown to under 200 offensive yards in win

by Rob Tetro

The Syracuse Shock recveived the opening kickoff of its July 21 game against the Watertown Red & Black.

Tweleve seconds into the game, the Shock had a 6-0 lead following Jeff Lott’s 88-yard kickoff return.

Lott fielded the kickoff and ran to his right only to find too many Red & Black Jerseys approaching. Lott then switched fields, cutting to his left while displaying an impressive desire that brought him to the pay dirt that awaited him 88 yards later.

Lott’s impressive effort set the tone for the Shock. While showing balance and efficiency on both sides of the ball, Syracuse cruised to a 38-21 win over Watertown.

Watertown’s first possession of the game began with a bit of good fortune. Watertown snubbed out the Shock’s plot to attempt an on-side kick following Lott’s kickoff return.

The Red & Black quickly pounced on the ball near midfield. Watertown came out using an offensive game plan that was mostly a running game-oriented spread offense. They attempted many variations of their game plan but the Shock defense proved to be too fast for them to be truly effective.

After two offensive posessions, Watertown only had about 5 yards of total offense.

Following a Watertown punt, the Shock struck again. Running back DeWayne “Flash” Gordon scored on a 65-yard run that gave the Shock a 14-0 lead with 9:58 left in the first quarter.

He took the handoff from Qaurterback T.J. Sheard, who spent most of the first offensive drive, in the shotgun. Gordon went to his left but found that side of the field to be too congested to attack. He then switched fields and found opportunities to his right. Once he was able to put on the jets, he was not going to be denied.

Watertown attempted to add a bit of a faster pace to its spread offense when they began its third drive of the game. Watertown scored following a rollercoaster drive. Watertown Qaurterback Brian Williams found Jarrun Hilaire cutting to his right for a 34-yard touchdown pass which made the score 14-7.

Despite Watertown’s touchdown, the Shock remained focused. On the ensuing kickoff, D.P. Crowell got the Shock in gear with a solid kickoff return to midfield.

At this point in the game, the Shock adjusted its offensive game plan to execute with its quarterback under center more. With this adjustment, Syracuse was able to utilize the play action pass. After being flagged for a personal foul, Sheard took the snap out of the shotgun and found Tyrone Burke Jr. wide open down along the sidelines for the score. The Shock now lead 20-7 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

After a Watertown punt, the Shock got the ball back. Syracuse went back to work with Sheard under center while both Gordon and Fullback James Chaplin ran the ball effectively.

Once again, they were able to utilize the play-action pass. Sheard faked the handoff to Gordon and threw a slightly underthrown 45-yard pass to Tyler Gage.

Following Sheard’s deep ball to Gage along the left sideline, Gordon scored again to make the score 26-7 with 10:12 left in the half. This time, he scored from 5 yards out.

Watertown had a few missed opportunities during the second quarter. Following Gordon’s five-yard touchdown run, it had appeared that Watertown had gone 3 and out following an emphatic pass break up by the Shock Defense. However, a personal foul penalty against Syracuse gave Watertown new life. A couple of plays later, Watertown Quarterback Brian Williams had a receiver wide open going along the left sideline. The intended receiver started running before he caught the ball, which took a would be touchdown off the board.

During the final moments of the half, Syracuse’s Justin Galletta intercepted a pass.

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