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TALE OF TWO TEAMS: Strong Vincent wins, but “has a long way to go”

Written by: on Sunday, September 28th, 2008

ERIE, Pa. – Tom Cacchione said his grade for his Erie Strong Vincent football team entering Saturday night’s game with Warren was a B.

But postgame, Cacchione wasn’t offering any grades.  He was hopping mad.

“We need to get a lot better – that’s all I have to say,” the Colonels’ boss said angrily, a deep scowl etched into his face.  He didn’t say anything else to reporters.

He didn’t have to.

Despite scoring all 35 points in the first 14:05 of the game, the Colonels (5-0) were shut out in the second half, and appeared to just coast through the remaining 34 minutes against Warren (1-4), winning 35-7 at Veterans’ Stadium in Erie.

To compound to the coasting, Vincent was flagged four times in the second half for 30 yards.  One of the flags negated a 57-yard punt return by Deonte Flemings, which would have pushed the score to 41-0.

Vincent was also held to just four first downs in the second half, and only had three runs of 13 yards or greater.

But first year Warren head coach Brad Wright still thought Strong Vincent was the real deal.

“I’ll tell you what, that might be one of the best teams I’ve seen in my eight years of coaching,” Wright said.  “That team is loaded from top to bottom.  There isn’t a weak spot.”

There weren’t any chinks in the red and black armor in the first quarter, as the Colonels erupted for 28 points.

Darryl Brooks capped the opening drive of the game with a seven yard scoring run, and added a 36-yard jaunt to paydirt on Strong Vincent’s ensuing possession to push the lead to 14-0.

After Warren put together a couple of first downs, the Dragons were forced to punt, and Flemings promptly blew past the Dragon punt unit 77 yards for a touchdown.

Flemings did not see a lot of time on offense in the game.  A shooting in Erie earlier in the week claimed the life of a person close to Flemings, Cacchione said.

After attending the funeral  earlier in the afternoon, Flemings returned three punts for 95 yards, picked off a pass, and carried the ball twice for five yards.  His only pass attempt would have been a touchdown, had it not been dropped in the end zone.

Jordan Ferraro capped the Colonel scoring with touchdown runs of three and 40 yards.

Warren, which was limited to just 26 yards of offense in the first half, got on the board in the fourth quarter when Matt Stapleford found Travis Larson on a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Stapleford completed 13 of his 21 passes for 125 yards to go with the touchdown and one interception.  Larson caught both of his passes in the fourth quarter for 61 yards.

Warren’s offense finished the game with 119 total yards, including minus-6 yards rushing, and nine first downs.

Wright was very happy with the Dragons’ performance.

“Our kids have a big heart, and I think they showed that tonight,” he said.

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