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Poland wins battle of defenses vs. Howland

October 12, 2013
By KAYLA HANUSCHAK - Tribune Chronicle correspondent ( , Underthelights

HOWLAND - The Poland Bulldogs, who have not defeated Howland since 2009, continued their undefeated season and overtook the Tigers in a battle of the defenses at Richard Lombardo Stadium, 17-7. Both teams shut each other out in the first and fourth quarters.

The first score of the game did not occur until the end of the second quarter. Howland freshman Victor Williams caught senior quarterback Ross Griffin's 37-yard pass for a touchdown with 1:12 left in the half. Williams caught the ball three times for 87 yards and blocked Poland's second field goal attempt.

That would be the last time that Howland scored in the game.

"Field position, that didn't help us out," Howland coach Dominic Menendez said. "We got pinned back deep and got caught in some third and long situations and we just couldn't capitalize. We couldn't get anything going there in the onset of the second half. Defense played well. We put up players and they caught us on a couple of things. The kids played hard. They always play hard but hats off to a good Poland football team."

At the end of the second quarter, junior kicker Bob DeVito kicked a 33-yard field goal to put some points on the board for the Bulldogs. In the beginning of the third quarter, Poland had the ball the first 6 minutes of play. An 11-play, 6:47 drive led to the first points of the half. Poland's Ross Gould, senior running back, ran for 6 yards to score the first Bulldog touchdown.

Gould led the pack in rushing yards for the game. He had 22 carries for 103 yards, which added to Poland's 295 total yards. Howland only put up 160 total yards.

Poland coach Mark Brungard said he knew that Howland was a good team and that his squad needed the right preparations to be successful.

"I felt that we moved the ball," Brungard said. "Obviously we had a costly turnover there in the first quarter but they are a great team. We knew coming in based on the film we watched that it was going to be a four-quarter game. They could very easily be a 6-0 team, so we were not taking them lightly. We haven't beaten them in a while. It was a huge win for our kids and our program.

"It was obviously a great second half by everybody on our side. The defense shut them out and the offense taking advantage of what was there, playing very physical, holding on to the ball and fundamentals and it really paid off. Great second half, but we had a great game plan. Our coaches put in for our kids. Our kids obviously had to do the executing and they really did in the second half. We take great pride in shutting out that team in the second half."

Gould reiterated his coach's words when he talked about the preparations in the past week.

"It's something that we talked about all week," Gould said. "We just talked about running the ball and trying to pound the ball because originally our primary receiver George Chammus wasn't supposed to play. But we just talked about pounding the ball so that was kind of our game plan."

Next week, the Bulldogs (7-0) hit the road to take on undefeated Hubbard Eagles for an All-Ameican Conference American Division showdown. Howland (4-3) will travel to Niles to take on the Dragons.