Sep 12, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though other football rivalries may get more publicity, or may feature bigger-name programs, it’s hard to top the sort of intensity Morrisville-Eaton and Hamilton bring to the field when they gather each season for the “Jug Game”.
And this edition ended very much like 2008, with the Warriors not getting a single offensive touchdown, yet still finishing in front, beating the Emerald Knights by a score of 10-7.
It ended 3-0 in M-E’s favor a year ago, and every player and partisan in Hamilton green had waited for another shot at the Warriors, especially after the way it dismantled Sherburne-Earlville 35-15 in its opener.
M-E was also 1-0, thanks to beating West Canada Valley 31-13, and knew that keeping possession of “The Jug” would require an even better effort against the Emerald Knights.
With two teams so familiar with each other, perhaps it was fitting that the first half proved to be a 0-0 stalemate. Joey VanDee ran the ball well for the Warriors, but it didn’t turn into points, and Hamilton’s possessions proved just as empty.
The Emerald Knights had the ball again early in the third quarter when M-E’s defense forced a fumble, which VanDee picked up on the 23-yard line and returned for a touchdown.
Trying to respond, Hamilton quarterback Coley Graham threw on his team’s next possession – but M-E’s Ben Thomas picked it off.
Moving it to the Emerald Knights’ 16, the Warriors got stopped, but not before Thomas booted a 33-yard field goal through the uprights that would prove quite important.
Now trailing 10-0, Hamilton got a gift when M-E tried a surprise onside kick, but could not recover it. Working with a short field, the Emerald Knights saw James Smith get most of the yards before Graham, from the two, scored, cutting the margin to three.
So it would remain, through a wild fourth quarter. VanDee ran his totals to 167 yards on 29 carries, but every M-E attempt to put the game away fell short.
Thus, Hamilton got one more chance. From his own 22, Graham smartly moved his team toward the M-E goal line, and appeared to have scored a go-ahead TD, only to see his run called back by an ill-timed holding penalty.
With 1:01 left, Smith came in to try a 37-yard field goal. A bad snap nixed the kick, but a face-mask penalty allowed for another try, from 32 yards. But it fell short, and M-E had won once more.
With “The Jug” and a 2-0 record, M-E comes back home this Friday to face Waterville, who just routed Rome Catholic 50-7 and is also 2-0 on the season. Hamilton pays a Saturday visit to Oriskany, who just took a 52-6 loss to Westmoreland.
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