Seminole Ridge 21, John I. Leonard 6: Elie Turene's hard running lifts Hawks
Friday, October 12, 2012
by Jeff Greer
For the first 13-plus minutes of Seminole Ridge's 21-6 win at John I. Leonard, everything went Leonard's way.
Seminole Ridge had only run three plays, and the Hawks' defense looked worn out. Then Elie Turene turned the game on its head Friday night.
The senior wingback converted an ordinary sweep into a 76-yard touchdown run, altering the momentum of a dreary game and waking up Seminole Ridge (3-2) at a most critical moment.
From there, Ridge controlled the clock, using Turene and fellow running backs Silas Spearman (77 yards, one touchdown) and E.J. Elien (70 yards) to bully its way to a third consecutive hard-fought win.
"We went with a tight package and decided we're just going to run right at them," Seminole Ridge coach Matt Dickmann said. "It paid off."
Consistency has been a major problem for Ridge thus far, with the Hawks' passing game coming along slowly as young quarterback Zach DeCosta learns his position. Because of that, the Hawks have become a one-dimensional offense, something Leonard (3-3) was prepared to handle, stacking as many as 10 defenders on the line of scrimmage for most of the game, begging Ridge to pass.
But Turene's hard running -- he finished with 130 yards and a second touchdown, the game-clincher -- and his offensive line's dominant blocking did just enough against a tired Leonard defense in the game's final 24 minutes.
"We had to man up in the second half," Turene said. "The offensive line, they're big. They get down and dirty. Everybody had to do their jobs."
Discipline killed Leonard, which looked far crisper in the opening 24 minutes. The Lancers' offense, built around shifty quarterback Adam Johnson, rolled down the field on its first two possessions.
But the first series stalled after Leonard reached the red zone, with a sack and a holding penalty forcing the Lancers to try a 39-yard field goal, which missed short and to the right.
The second drive gave Leonard its only lead of the night, thanks to a 17-yard pass from Johnson to sophomore Travares Martin, but that score came after multiple penalties pushed the Lancers back 20 yards on consecutive plays.
Each drive after that was hampered by the same problems, even with Johnson's spectacular playground plays that kept the game interesting. Johnson was 13-of-22 for 185 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He ran for 61 yards but was sacked four times.
"Penalties killed us," said Leonard coach Wayne Monroe, who watched from the press box because he's still recovering from elbow surgery. "You can't do that against a good team. (Johnson) is special. It's hard to contain him, but we didn't make the plays when we should have."