Deerfield dusts off SCA

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Reggie Mitchell was on crutches in the middle of the field, shouting over and over: "No comment! No comment! No comment!''

Only this time, Mitchell,

who refused to talk about

Sherwood-Deerfield rivalry before the season opener, had a point.

There was really nothing to talk about.

Deerfield-Windsor whipped Mitchell's Sherwood Christian Academy team, 28-6, on Friday night at Webb Memorial Stadium -- and whipped is a kind word for it.

"We just took it to them. Our offensive line absolutely took it to them,'' Deerfield quarterback Banks Kinslow said. "They're a lot bigger than us, but you have to give all the credit to our offensive and defensive lines. They won the game for us.''

That they did.

Deerfield might have faced a team that was much bigger, much faster and much stronger, but it didn't matter. The Knights beat SCA right

up front -- right where on paper they were totally outmanned.

The evidence was never more damaging than in the third quarter when Deerfield drove 90 yards on 12 plays, stuffing the ball right up Sherwood's gut for most of it to take a 21-6 lead. Deerfield built a 14-6 halftime, thanks to a 6-yard TD run by Quentin Heard and a 28-yard TD pass from Kinslow to Heard just before halftime, and then manhandled Sherwood in the third quarter.

Call it a little thunder and lightning. That's what DWS coach Allen Lowe calls his two sets of offensive linemen.

"We played all 15 of them on that 90-yard drive,'' Lowe said. "We've got two teams, and all of them were in there. They had defended our sweeps pretty good so on that drive we decided to go at them up the middle on trap plays.''

Give Kinslow a big assist. When Deerfield took over at its own 10, Kinslow told the other players: "We're going to score on this drive.''

They listened to him.

"That was the dagger,'' said Davis Moore, who played fullback and cornerback and had a big night on both sides of the ball. "That finished them off. We just pounded it right at them. They were worn out and we just took it to them.''

It might of been as simple as conditioning. The little guys just kept coming and coming and coming -- right up the middle.

"They were beat. They were worn out. Even before that 90-yard drive started they were worn out,'' said Matt Miller, who plays both sides of the line for Deerfield. "You could see it. They were on their knees. They didn't want to get into their stance.''

No one on the Deerfield side of the field seemed to care that Sherwood was twice as big.

"Size isn't all that matters,'' said Moore, who scored two TDs on runs of 6 and 27 yards and had a 30-yard TD catch called back because of holding. "We worked so hard this summer, and it paid off.''

Moore topped off the 90-yard drive that ate up 5:27 off the clock with a 6-yard TD run with 31.9 seconds left in the third, and then added his own icing with a 27-yard run that came on a fourth-and-three play with 2:33 left in the game.

"When I saw daylight, I knew I was going to score. It felt wonderful, just wonderful,'' said Moore, who finished with 96 yards on 15 carries. Heard finished with 51 yards on 11 carries, and also caught one pass -- his 28-yard TD catch that was set up by a penalty on SCA coach Mitchell.

DWS took the ball at its own 41 with 26 seconds left in the half, and gained a yard before Mitchell was hit with back-to-back penalties. The first 15-yarder was for an illegal substitution. Mitchell was so furious about the call, he slammed his crutches on the ground while arguing with an official. That cost SCA 15 more yards, and suddenly the Knights had a chance, standing at the SCA 28 yard line. Kinslow knew just what to do and hit Heard on the right side for the TD with 13.5 seconds left in the half.

Then came the thunder and lightning.

DWS controlled the game from that point, holding Sherwood to just 18 total yards in the third quarter and holding the ball for 8:33 of the quarter. James Tyson, who finished with 46 yards on six carries, and Noah Horton, who had 29 yards on three carries, came off the bench and ran to the right on the drive. It seemed everyone was in on the act.

DWS swarmed all night and capped the evening off with back-to-back sacks in the fourth quarter when Heard nailed SCA for a 10-yard sack and Rhett Cooper, who had a monster night at linebacker, and Hunter Brettel followed that play with a 10-yard sack.

Mitchell's team -- a squad loaded with talent from all over Albany -- had everything to prove Friday night. The rivalry had been so one-sided in the past (DWS now owns a 14-1 record against Sherwood) and the two teams hadn't played in two years. But Mitchell showed up last year from Albany High and brought eight Indians starters with him. Sherwood had its best season ever at 9-3, and Mitchell brought in more kids from the public schools this year.

This game meant even more because Sherwood looked like the favorite to win the GISA Class AAA state title, and the Region 2-AAA opener was against a DWS program that has played for the title the last two years.

Mitchell refused to talk about the rivalry and his players echoed their coach earlier this week, saying, "No comment'' when asked about the rivalry.

No one from Sherwood spoke to The Herald after the game except Mitchell who just said "No comment" again and again.

He could have talked about Mack Green, who gained 103 yards on just five carries, or Phillip English, who gained 71 yards on 14 carries and scored Sherwood's only TD -- a 20-yard run with 4:40 left in the half to close to 7-6.

He could have talked about bouncing back from an early loss, about how proud he was of his kids, but said nothing.

Deerfield did all the talking after the win. After all, the Knights had plenty to talk about.