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Experienced Flyers take down Wildcats

November 10, 2013
By DON HOHLER - Tribune Chronicle correspondent (sports@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

NORWALK - It did not take Norwalk St. Paul long to impose its will on Chalker Saturday night in their Division VII, Region 23 playoff game at Norwalk's WhitneyField. St. Paul used a blocked punt four plays into the game to score the first of eight first half touchdowns in route to a 55-7 victory.

Neither team scored in the second half as St. Paul went into the mercy formation whenever it got close to the goal line.

"St. Paul is a playoff-tradition football team and they proved that tonight," Chalker coach Ryan Slone said. "Our kids came out and played hard. I am proud of what they accomplished this year in getting the school back into postseason play and then coming in here and playing hard for four quarters.

"We got down quick but we responded with that 80-yard pass and run play to make it 21-7. That score made St. Paul continue to play as hard as they knew at that point they were not going to walk all over us without a fight."

Saturday night was the Wildcats' first playoff appearance since 2001.

"St. Paul has the kind of program we want to mirror," Slone said. "We are not close to that point yet but we started a new tradition tonight. Thanks to the leadership of our senior contingent, we made a step in the right direction. It take years and a lot of steps to reach a St. Paul-type program."

St. Paul (10-1) used a punt block on Chalker's first possession, one that gave the host team just 4 yards to drive to the Chalker goal line. Senior Jesse Gross scored on the first play and kicker Scottie Slauterbeck kicked his first of seven extra points at the 10:20 mark of the first period.

After a three and out by Chalker after the change in possession, St. Paul used four plays to go 47 yards. The payoff was a 17-yard pass from Slauterbeck to wideout Bob Harwood.

The Flyers, who play Wellsville next Saturday night, used a 67-yard run by sophomore Brad Smith to make it 20-0.

Chalker (5-6) then came back with a big play of its own when, on the third play after the kickoff, Austin Casper completed a 5-yard screen pass to Brendon Baugher with the latter breaking into the open and outracing St. Paul defenders on an 80-yard pass-run play. Andrew Baugher tacked on the extra point at the 2:31 mark of the first period to make it 21-7.

St. Paul went right back to its patented ground-pounding game, moving the ball 55 yards in 10 plays with sophomore Jaret Nickoli running it in from the five.

The Flyers still had time in the second quarter to score four more times. Harwood scored his second, taking a three yard pass, Nickoli raced eight yards for the sixth score and Gross got his second and third on runs of 17 and five yards.

St. Paul finished with 355 total yards including 319 on the ground. It had a 14-3 advantage in first downs.

Defensively, the Flyers man-handled their opponents up front. Of the 28 plays Chalker ran from scrimmage, 10 went for negative yardage. They were a minus 44 yards on the ground.

St. Paul used 10 running backs with Smith leading the way with 140 yards in seven carries. Gross showed 79 yards in 10 carries.

"Our goal was to play well and in build off what they did during the regular season," St. Paul coach John Livengood stated. "It was a nice opening round win. I wanted to see my players go out and execute to the best of their ability and, with the exception of that one play, they did just that. We'll get ready for Wellsville the same way we got ready for Chalker."