Thursday September 26, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
COMING DOWN WITH IT — Despite the efforts of Cory Fiutko (right front) and Steve Fessel, pictured here, Myles sprung loose. Photo by Ron Larson.
As Pat Cauley’s frustration with his team’s running game built, one of his assistant coaches, Mike Guzda, advised him to keep handing it off. “It’s going to break; we’ve just got to stay with it,” Guzda told Cauley.
He was right – four times over. And Cauley’s listening, while making a few adjustments along the way, earned the first-year head varsity football coach his first win with Hamburg. It also got the Bulldogs a needed victory, after a 0 – 2 start to the season.
Myles broke off a number of big runs and scored four touchdowns, during the final 15 minutes of the game, to erase a seven-point deficit in Hamburg’s 35 – 14 win against Lake Shore on Sept. 20.
“We’ve been working hard at that,” Cauley said. “Lake Shore plays very hard; they’re a scrappy team. But Mark got some creases and he did a heck of a job with it. We were able to sustain a little more than them. I think we did wear them down a little bit.”
The junior ran for scores of 61, 33, 10 and 5 yards – the shortest TD set up by a 34-yard run during the drive – from the final few minutes of the third quarter to the 3:10 mark in the final quarter. He finished with 203 yards on 21 carries, picking up 20 of those yards in the first half.
“I came out here and knew I had to perform,” said Myles, who saw some time at the varsity as both a freshman and sophomore. “In the first half, I didn’t do anything so, in the second half, it was like it had to be my time. I feel like we kept our composure and started to wear them down in the second half. By the fourth quarter, we just had to keep pounding it.”
Lake Shore took a 14 – 7 lead with 3:19 left in the third on a Parker Addison to Alex Kaczmarek 17-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles were working with a short field after an interception from sophomore Cory Fiutko. But it was all downhill from there.
While Hamburg scored on four straight possessions, Lake Shore’s offense could manage only one first down, the rest of the way. The Eagles field a team of only 27 players and suffered several injuries.
“It seemed to slip away; I don’t know if it’s a numbers game – guys are tired out there – we just can’t seem to finish a game in the second half,” said Lake Shore head coach Drew Takacs, whose team, which fell to 0 – 3, also played right with North Tonawanda in week one, before falling 46 – 28.
“We seem to get our heads in the clouds a bit after coming out here all fired up,” he added. “We forgot our assignments and didn’t execute properly. What worked for us in the first half, didn’t in the second half. Hamburg wasn’t going to quit. I’ve worked there and coached there and I know the kids are tough and play until the very end.”
When Hamburg felt an expressed sense of urgency, Myles provided the spark, which was no surprise to Takacs, who once coached Mark’s older brother Dorian, while at Hamburg. Takacs said that Mark has similar breakaway ability and speed as Dorian.
“We got behind and we felt we needed to make a comeback. We were 0 – 2 and didn’t want to drop to 0 – 3,” Myles said. “We knew we had to do something before we were going down. The line was blocking amazing. I got to the first level and through the second and I was gone.”
Cauley said his team has been facing adversity from the very first play of the season, when it lost senior back Vinny Sardo for the season to an injury; this have gotten worse, as starting quarterback Colin Daly suffered the same fate in week two.
“It’s gotten the better of us on some other occasions, but these kids answered the bell today and kept battling and we made some plays and got some momentum,” Cauley said. “One of the positives is we’ve had a lot of kids get a lot of quality playing time.”
Junior Alex Suchan has stepped in at quarterback. He fired a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior Bryce Hite, as Hamburg tied the game 7 each, 8:48 before halftime. Lake Shore had taken the lead late in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run from Steve Fessel. Senior Nick Miranda ran six times for 36 yards, on the 14-play drive.
Zach Damon and Tosh Johnson each recovered a Lake Shore fumble in the first half, while Griffin Ryan was in on a sack-and-a-half and Chase Harmon added a late-game interception for Hamburg. Lake Shore’s Matt Webber and Addison shared a sack on defense.
Both teams have challenging games next week, as Lake Shore will travel to 2 – 1 South Park on Friday, Sept. 27 and Hamburg will host 3 – 0 West Seneca East that night, as part of homecoming weekend.