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New Hartford blanks host Watertown


This one was embarrassing by almost any standard.

It’s one thing to get beat by a superior team. But to fall deficient in so many areas, as Watertown High School did during Friday night’s 39-0 home defeat to Section Class A National foe New Hartford, was not acceptable to the Cyclones.

Watertown coach Vince Williams let his players know it in no uncertain terms after the debacle. “If we don’t practice harder this week and the next, we won’t win a game the rest of the year,’’ said a frustrated Williams. “Carthage and Indian River (Watertown’s next two opponents) will tear us apart if we show up and play like we did tonight.”

There was plenty of blame to go around. But Williams focused his ire on the offensive and defensive lines, which gave the Cyclone backs no support on offense, and could not stop what had been just a mediocre New Hartford running game over the first two weeks of the season.

WHS managed just a net 16 yards on 22 rushing attempts, and that included eight plays for negative yardage.

The Cyclones’ tackling was, in Williams’s word, “atrocious.

“When we watch it on film it will be disgusting,” he said.

New Hartford gained 240 yards on the ground in 50 attempts, and scored four of its five touchdowns on runs.

New Hartford coach Todd Hobin was “pleasantly surprised” that his club dominated the line of scrimmage despite being much smaller than the Cyclones. “We’d shown signs of getting better last week (as his club broke a 17-game losing streak against Oswego). But tonight the kids really showed me something.”

Besides the lackluster line play, WHS was forced to play without starting quarterback Malik Evans. The junior transfer, who had started the first two games, was suspended from school and was not in uniform.

In his place, junior Jarrod Bellinger, who had been playing wide receiver, was thrust into the spotlight. He was chased around all night, completing just 9 of 27 passes for 91 yards and gaining 13 tough yards on 10 attempts.

“Jarrod did just fine. He just didn’t get much support,” Williams said. “Our line was blocking way too high and allowing their line to just get by them so easily. Sometimes football comes down to wanting it more than your opponent, and tonight we didn’t seem to want it at all.”

New Hartford (2-1) scored at the end of an 11-play, 91-yard drive late in the first quarter on Steve Tomaino’s 10-yard run.

Tomaino added an 11-yard scoring run in the final minute of the first quarter, and Mike Nole’s 1-yard TD run made it 19-0 early in the second quarter.

The Cyclones (1-2, 0-1) made it into Spartan territory only once in the first half, and were forced to punt six times while earning just three first downs.

The WHS defense actually played a little better to begin the second half. The Cyclones forced New Hartford to miss a 37-yard field goal on its first possession, and Jordan Salyers blocked a punt on the second possession.

But again, the WHS offense could not sustain anything. It went three and out on successive possessions, and New Hartford scored again when David Han took a short pass and turned it into a 70-yard score to make it 25-0 with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Troy Henderson tacked on a 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, and Dustin Deon sped 24 yards for the final score five minutes later.

“I liked how hard our backs ran today,” Hobin said. “We’re trying to build something every week, and tonight was a nice step forward.”

For Williams, trying to motivate his young team has been difficult.

“We’ve had some kids quit and others who we’ve tried to put into certain roles haven’t fit in, yet,” he said. “You’d think winning last week (over Fowler in the final minute) would have given us a lift. But it seems like we just went back to our old patterns in practice this week and it showed in tonight’s game.”

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