By: Liam Hoffmann
SPENCERPORT, NY – The Greece Arcadia Titans topped Spencerport football in the Rangers home opener 39-38. In an improbable comeback, the Titans rolled to 2-0 on the back of star running back Dashaun McClemmon’s six touchdowns.
A kick return, recovered punt block, punt return, two rush, and one receiving touchdown fill out the line for McClemmon.
“Give two the ball. That’s all I’m gonna say, give two the ball,” McClemmon said when asked about the production.
McClemmon was impactful in all three phases of the game from start to finish. He returned the opening kickoff for the first score of the game. With the point-after try being blocked, the Titans were out to a 6-0 lead early.
Spencerport was without their senior starting quarterback Jon Distasio tonight as he was out with an illness. This forced starting junior safety Zachary Ajavananda under center. The Rangers heavily relied on backs Jahyleen Quick and Jack Vickers in the absence of Distasio.
The two headed running attack of Spencerport was seen early and often. Vickers played all around the backfield as a fullback, halfback, and H-back. The Rangers moved him all around using motion and got the ball into his hands in creative ways.
Throughout the first three quarters, Spencerport was prone to long, clock-churning drives. With Distasio absent, Spencerport Head Coach Brian Hugelmaier committed to running the football. With five returning seniors on the offensive line the Rangers controlled the line of scrimmage from the jump.
“Our entire offensive line is a pretty decent unit,” Hugelmaier said.
Throughout the night there was daylight to the outside for Vickers and Quick. The Rangers offensive line had the front seven of Arcadia overwhelmed.
Following the score on the opening kickoff, Greece Arcadia’s offense struggled out of the gate. Last week, senior quarterback Deshaun Caesar often deserted the pocket in favor of scrambling and throwing from outside the tackles. However, early in tonight's matchup, pocket pushers like junior defensive lineman Miron Gurman collapsed the pocket so quickly Caesar had little opportunity to get out in space. He was forced to make off-balance and untimely throws in order to avoid hits.
It wasn’t until the third Greece Arcadia drive that the run game got going with Deshaun McClemmon. Once they began force-feeding the back, the offense was much more efficient. McClemmon’s elusiveness and ability to make men miss in all three levels was the difference in the game.
Spencerport’s O did not slow down throughout the first half. The junior quarterback Ajavananda was kept generally very clean and was able to rely on his backfield in coordination with a stout offensive line to control the time of possession. On their only drive of the half that did not end up in points, senior punter and offensive guard Joshua Winter’s punt was blocked on the Spencerport side of the field after a short snap. Dashaun McClemmon scooped up the loose ball and scored without being touched.
In spite of a nice drive just before half time, Greece Arcadia ran out of clock and went into the break down 25-13.
The beginning of the second half was more of the same for Spencerport. They received the kickoff to begin the third quarter which turned into a nearly eight-minute long touchdown drive. Each Jahyleen Quick first down contributed to the feeling that the Titans’ hopes of rallying were bleak.
To follow that drive Greece Arcadia took a quarter of the time and called the same number for the rest of the night. McClemmon was slipping tackle after tackle en route to a quick score by the Titans.
Spencerport wouldn’t find the endzone again until the final two minutes. All of a sudden, Greece Arcadia’s front was immovable and Spencerport first downs turned to second and longs which turned into punts.
McClemmon’s final touchdown was a punt return off the bounce which he took seventy yards to the end zone for his sixth of the game. He broke countless tackles on the day and made so many cuts to make defenders miss. Following this score, the Titans held the lead for the first time since 6-0 as they went up 39-32.
“Honestly I was really tired after that kick return, I ain’t think I was gonna score four more touchdowns,” McClemmon said postgame.
Greece Arcadia’s final offensive drive ended in a touchdown to put them down by a point with the opportunity to tie or take the lead. After numerous disastrous special teams plays throughout the contest, Head Coach Brian Hugelmaier opted to attempt a two point conversion. A failed replication of the famed “Philly Special” in which Ajavananda was unable to hold on to a pass from sophomore linebacker and running back Amari Marianetti-Smith would not convert the try.
After a first down pickup by McClemmon on the last drive, the Titans would kneel out the game and hold on to win 39-38.
Next Thursday, Spencerport will head to East High School and face East/World of Inquiry School at 6pm. Greece Arcadia will be back at home next Thursday to face the visiting Canandaigua Braves.
Tune in on Sep. 14 to 89.1 The Point for the next Golden Eagle High School Football Game of the Week. Catch the Hilton Cadets host the Rush-Henrietta Royal Comets with the pregame show beginning at 6:45pm.