Counter Intelligence

Red Dragons Rush For Nearly 500 Yards In Rout Of Clyde-Savannah

Behind the lead blocking of teammate Taige Jones (33), Maple Grove’s Nash Nelson eyes running room during Friday night’s Class D Far West Regional at SUNY Brockport. Nelson finished with 175 yards rushing and scored two rushing touchdowns and one via pass reception. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

BROCKPORT — For weeks, Clyde-Savannah was the New York State Sportswriters Association’s No. 1 team in Class D.

Twenty-four minutes into Friday evening’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Far West Regional, Maple Grove threw some serious shade on that ranking.

Another 24 minutes later, the Red Dragons were walking off a frozen Bob Boozer Field at Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium with one of their most impressive offensive performances in recent memory.

Maple Grove’s starters scored touchdowns on eight of nine possessions, three players eclipsed 100 yards rushing and the Red Dragons ran for 462 yards as a team in a 61-28 victory over the Golden Eagles in a game played with temperatures hovering in the mid-20s.

“Everyone came to play. I think we are starting to play big,” Maple Grove linebacker Zak Trim said. “If everyone plays big, we are going to win.”

Maple Grove’s Nick Fabrizio (3) breaks up a pass during Friday night’s Class D Far West Regional. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

The win vaults Maple Grove, which entered the game as the No. 5 team in the state, into next Friday evening’s NYSPHSAA West Region semifinal against Section IV champion Tioga. The sixth-ranked Tigers beat Section III champion Dolgeville, 46-16, on Friday night.

“Our division is definitely one of the best in the state. We beat each other up all year and it prepares us for this situation,” Maple Grove coach Curt Fischer said. ” … My hat’s off to every coach in our division because we keep getting better because of each other.”

“Coming over here and dropping 60 points on a Section V team shows just how good Class D football is in Section VI,” Fabrizio added.

If Clyde-Savannah was focusing its defense on any one Red Dragon, it didn’t work. Senior Nash Nelson finished with 18 carries for 175 yards and three touchdowns, including one receiving; junior Easton Tanner ran 13 times for 139 yards and a touchdown; and senior Fabrizio finished with 25 carries for 136 yards and four touchdowns en route to being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

“Against the No. 1 team in the state, I didn’t have a clue,” Fischer said. “I thought we’d be able to score some points from the film that we watched, but I had no idea that we’d execute that well.”

Maple Grove’s Easton Tanner breaks away from a Clyde-Savannah defender. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

The backs’ jobs were made easier by the aggressive work done in the trenches by the Maple Grove offensive line. That unit, consisting of Truman Purslow, Zak Trim, Alex Duncanson, D.J. Brown and Carter Russo, kept the Golden Eagles out of the backfield for most of the night, resulting in just one negative play while committing just two penalties.

“It was the offensive line. They did phenomenal this game,” Fabrizio said. “The holes they made were big enough for SUVs. It was all them.”

“They’re playing outstanding right now,” Fischer said of the offensive line. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from these guys. They’ve improved so much it’s amazing.”

On the other side of the ball, the Red Dragons held Clyde-Savannah’s Derrick Chance to just 51 yards rushing after the 5-foot-9 senior had run for 1,582 yards entering the game.

“I was expecting something close,” Russo said. “I was expecting a brawl.”

The Golden Eagles actually led 6-0 after their first possession of the game as Austin Diver caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Dru Carnevale, but it was all Maple Grove from there.

Nelson scored on a 15-yard screen pass on the ensuing drive before Trim recovered a Clyde-Savannah fumble with three seconds left in the first quarter. Nelson turned that into another touchdown when he ran down the Red Dragons’ sideline behind a great lead block from Fabrizio for a 23-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

“Nash had a phenomenal game, especially in the first half. He really set the tone for this game,” Fabrizio said. “Props to him because he’s a great player.”

After a Golden Eagles’ punt netted 9 yards, Maple Grove went 68 yards in less than four minutes, capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Tanner. Carnevale added a 61-yard touchdown pass to Chance three plays later, but the Red Dragons answered right back as Nelson broke several tackles down his own sideline to score from 40 yards out with 1:28 left in the first half.

Fabrizio took over in the second half, scoring on runs of 8, 2, 3 and 9 yards for the Section VI champions.

“My heart is so big right now,” Fischer said. “I’m just so happy for these guys, nothing fazed them.”

NOTES: The only drive Maple Grove’s starters didn’t score on was cut short by halftime. … Trim was in on 11 tackles with a sack while Russo was in on nine tackles with a sack. … Fabrizio added three 2-point conversion runs to total 30 points on the night. … Next Friday’s 4 p.m. semifinal will take place at Union-Endicott High School.

Maple Grove 6 24 16 15 — 61

Clyde-Savannah 6 8 8 6 — 28

C-S–Diver 28 pass from Carnevale (kick failed)

MG–Nelson 15 pass from Tanner (run failed)

MG–Nelson 23 run (Fabrizio run)

MG–Tanner 12 run (Fabrizio run)

C-S–DChance 61 pass from Carnevale (CChance pass from Carnevale)

MG–Nelson 40 run (Jones pass from Tanner)

MG–Fabrizio 8 run (Crist pass from Tanner)

MG–Fabrizio 2 run (Fabrizio run)

C-S–Diver 20 pass from Carnevale (Diver pass from Carnevale)

MG–Fabrizio 3 run (Tanner run)

MG–Fabrizio 9 run (Fischer kick)

C-S–CChance 55 pass from DChance (pass failed)