Burlington Central can't get on track at Sycamore
Sycamore wasted no time setting the tone against visiting Burlington Central in a 33-6 win Friday.
The Spartans took the opening drive 69 yards in 8 plays -- all runs -- to take a 7-0 lead on an 11-yard touchdown carry by Logan Egler.
Burlington Central (0-1) struggled with Sycamore's size up front much of the misty night, finishing with just 82 yards of offense while the Spartans ran for 284 yards.
"They are some big kids," Rockets senior linebacker Matt Ganziano said. "That's probably the hardest game we are going to play this year. Definitely learn from it. Tomorrow watching film we'll know what our mistakes are and move on."
Sycamore (1-0) held the Rockets to 3-and-out on Burlington Central's first possession, then took a 10-0 lead when Grant McConkey booted the first of his two field goals, this one barely going in from 41 yards out.
Burlington Central's best chance to get back in the game came early in the second quarter after Travis Schambach blocked a punt to set the Rockets up with first-and-goal at Sycamore's 7-yard line.
Ganziano carried for 6 yards to the 1, and on third down he got the ball again and looked like he had an opening to the end zone.
Manny Dominguez closed fast for the Spartans and delivered a hard hit to stop Ganziano just short, and Sycamore then held on 4th-and-goal from the 1.
"Manny is a dynamic player," Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. "He's a big-time player for us. He's a special kid."
Dominguez showed just how dynamic on the next play, taking a handoff and breaking free down the left sideline for a 97-yard touchdown run. Instead of pulling within 10-7, the Rockets were suddenly down 17-0.
"That was the football game right there," Rockets coach Brian Melvin said. "It was a 14-point swing. They were a very aggressive football team. That's the best team we've seen in awhile."
Ganziano got the Rockets on the board late in the first half on a 31-yard touchdown run on a 3rd-and-18 draw.
"Our offensive coordinator noticed they were over-pursuing a lot so once I got the ball they all stopped and it just opened up," Ganziano said.
Again the Rockets couldn't keep the momentum, watching Dominguez take the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to set up a short 6-yard touchdown run by McConkey with just 12 seconds left in the first half to give Sycamore a 24-6 halftime lead.
"We made some mistakes," Melvin said. "We are a very young football team. This is the first time some of these kids have ever played under the lights. We have to work on building each other up. When those young kids make a mistake, our kids need to rally behind them and help them and we didn't do that tonight."
The Rockets couldn't get anything going in the second half. Quarterback Jake Lenschow completed 2 of 8 passes for 24 yards before sophomore Mark Ganziano came in for the final couple series. Matt Ganziano rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries and Isaiah Bell had 23 yards on 6 attempts.
"We have a young offensive line right now and I thought we came off the ball well to start," said Ryan, whose team won their season opener for the first time since 2013. "Then we got a little stale and the penalties took us out of some drives but I thought up front we played pretty well."