Patriots defeat Eagles 27-17 on Homecoming Night

Patriots Luke McPhail on QB Keeper breaks tackle for final TD. (Ron Morris)
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The Independence Patriots football team won it’s fourth game of the season with a solid performance for three quarters of the game with a 27-17 victory.

In the first quarter the Patriots put together a drive after a fumble recovery by Omar Zazueta to give the offense a first down on the Eagles 48 yard line.  The next play Luke McPahil would connect with Brevin Caldwell for 7 yards who would lateral to Shai Wheeler for 2 more yards.  The Eagles were immediately called for a personal foul on the play moving the ball to the 24 yard line.  The Patriots would matriculate the ball down to the 5 yard line, on a first and goal, Amarray Green would pound the ball into the end zone for the score.

Patriots WR Brevin Caldwell.

The second quarter started with a stalled Eagles drive.  On the field goal attempt the Patriots Jonathan Strickland would bust through the offensive line and block the kick.  Shai Wheeler picks the ball and rumbles to his own 49 yard line giving the Patriots good field position.

Omar Zazueta # 19 celebrating fumble recovery with teammates Ethan Safreit #51 and Caleb Legrand # 5. (Ron Morris)

On a third down and three from the Eagles 44 yard line, Amarray Green would rumble for 11 yards to the 33.  The next play McPhail would find Trevor Bryan for the touchdown on a 33 yard pass reception.  Shai Wheeler would scamper around the weak side for the two point conversion giving the Patriots a 14-0 lead.  The Eagles would add a 27 yard field goal  to make the score 14-3 to end the scoring in the first half.

Trevor Bryan # 2 celebrating TD reception with #6 Brian Morgan, # 7 Luke McPhil.

In the second half the Patriots would widen their lead after Shai Wheeler returned the opening kick-off to the 42 yard line.  McPhail on first down would rumble 16 yards on a keeper, he would then connect with wide receiver Brian Morgan for 15 yards, again to Shai Wheeler for 20 more, with the ball on the one yard line, Antwan Watson would pound the ball into the end zone giving the Patriots a 20-3 advantage.

Patriots Amarray Green scoring a TD. (Ron Morris)

However, in the fourth quarter the young Patriots made costly mistakes.  On four consecutive bad snaps and exchanges within a three minute span they gave the Eagles excellent field position starting inside their own 30 yard line.  The Eagles took full advantage of their gift opportunities to score two touchdowns and trail only 20-17 with under six minutes remaining.

Independence Student Body enjoying game. (Ron Morris)

However, Coach Natoli was able to keep his team calm and did not panic.  He let senior Luke McPhail take charge of the offense and the Patriots were able to put together a 5:03 drive to finish off any hopes of a comeback by the Eagles.  McPhail would connect with Brevin Caldwell for a 29 yard pass reception.  Antwan Watson would pick up 8 yards, followed by Brian Morgan for another eight yards.  The Patriots on third down and three, would get Shai Wheeler to pick up a tough 5 yards for the first down.  The Eagles would be penalized for their fourth personal foul of the game, putting the ball on the eleven yard line.  Watson would pick-up 4 yards, then from the 7 yard line McPhail would take off on a QB keeper, rumble into the end zone with 55 seconds remaining for the clincher.  The PAT would be good giving the Patriots a 27-17 victory.

Homecoming Queen

On the ensuing kick-off the Eagles would fumble on the play and the Patriots would line up in their victory formation.  This coming Friday night the Patriots (4-2) will have a big conference game with Porter Ridge on their home field.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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