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High School Football: Saints miss their chances vs. Sidwell

October 06, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

ST. JAMES — The Saint James Saints just couldn’t overcome the obstacles in front of them, several of their own doing.

With 112 yards in penalties, four turnovers and wasted opportunities in the red zone, Saint James fell to Sidwell Friends 34-23 on Saturday in a Mid-Atlantic Conference battle.

“I thought we were ready to play, but we had turnovers at the wrong time,” said Saints coach Juwuane Sandridge.

Sidwell Friends (5-0, 1-0 MAC) took the opening kickoff and scored on its third play from scrimmage — a 53-yard run by Kameron Mitchell.

“We missed some tackles on that run,” said Sandridge.

Then, the first turnover by Saint James (3-3, 0-2) led to being in a hole very early.

On the first play run by the Saints, Justin Pank fumbled and the Quakers jumped on the loose pigskin at the Saints’ 43.

With 8:19 still to play, Sidwell scored on a 29-yard pass from Chase Plebani to Diamente Holloway and suddenly the Quakers had a 15-0 lead.

Saint James powered its way to the Sidwell 4 before a pass by Bobby Brennan was intercepted by Terrance Horne in the end zone.

But the Saints got the ball right back on a fumble by the Quakers at the 10, and Brennan scored from the 2 with 3:44 to go in the first quarter.

Kicking into the wind, the ball fell in front of a Sidwell player and the Saints pounced on the ball at the Quaker 28.

Brennan ran 24 yards and Pank followed with a 4-yard touchdown run. With Ryan Abbott’s kick, the Saints were back to within 15-13.

But Sidwell came back on a 45-yard pass play that set up Plebani’s 1-yard sneak at the outset of the second quarter.

Stopping the Saints on downs, Sidwell made it 27-13 on a 24-yard scoring pass from Plebani to Oscar Boochever with 7:09 left in the first half.

The Saints made it 27-20 with nearly four minutes to go on a 62-yard drive that culminated with a 20-yard pass from Brennan to Kyle Neal.

Then, Sidwell coughed the ball up but the Saints did nothing, and another Sidwell possession resulted in an interception by Noah Cisse at the Quaker 13 with 1:06 left.

On third down, Brennan was intercepted in the end zone.

“We should have put it in there and it’s a whole different game,” said Sandridge. “We could have tied the game, and that killed some of the momentum we had.”

Saint James constructed a drive from it’s 31, but was hit with bad news with 6:12 to play in the third quarter when Brennan suffered a left ankle injury that knocked him out of the game.

With Scott Manesh picking up, the Saints managed to get to the 19, where Abbott booted a 37-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 27-23 with 4:50 left in the third.

The teams traded turnovers heading into the final quarter, with Sidwell taking advantage of a Saints fumble at the 46 and scoring on a 20-yard pass from Plebani to Holloway, who caught the pass between two Saints defenders.

Saint James drove from its 40 to the Sidwell 7 late but was denied.

Penalites were an issue with 112 yards for the Saints, but the Quakers were also penalized 92 yards.

“I can’t fault our effort today,” said Sandridge. “They had big plays into our blown coverage. We had stupid holding Penalites and missed assignments.”

Brennan, who ran for 56 yards and passed for 68, was taken for x-rays following the game, but Sandridge didn’t seem optimistic in his outlook for a quick return to action.

Pank got the call 19 times for 101 yards on the ground as the Saints ran 78 plays in the game, totaling 300 yards, one less than the Quakers.

“I thought (Manesh) did a good job keeping his composure and stepping in,” said Sandridge.

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