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Seeking feedback on a high school football gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by StephenBailey, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. StephenBailey

    StephenBailey New Member

    Hey all, just to give you a bit of background: This story was for a local weekly paper. Also, my editor has a tendency to add awful transitions (i.e. "thus" and "despite all of this") so some of the more awkward word choice was not my choosing.

    Still, I'm debating whether or not I can use this as a clip for internship season and would greatly appreciated any/all feedback. Thanks!

    Baldwinsville — Leaning against a wall in the Baldwinsville locker room on Friday night, Tyler Rouse examined his arms.

    A bright red gash gleamed on the outside of the senior running back’s left forearm. One half inch wide by two inches long, it crept out just passed the rolled-up sleeves of his white Nike shirt.

    His eyes followed the smaller bruises and lacerations that ran from his elbows down to his wrists. And at his fists — fingers swollen up the size of hot dogs — he tried to clench them, his cold muscles slowly obliging.

    Rouse then withdrew his attention from the carnage he took in that night’s game against Utica-Proctor, and looked up as a wide smile stretched slowly across his face.

    “What would be the game without it?” Rouse said of the wounds. “We knew we had to punch them in the mouth on a cold night like this, smash-mouth football, B’Ville-type football. That’s what we had to come out and do and that’s what we did.”

    Rouse pounded away at the Raiders defense to the tune of 39 carries, 270 yards and five touchdowns as the Bees defeated Proctor 40-32 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, clinching a share of the Class AA-1 regular-season title with Liverpool and Fayetteville-Manlius, all of them finishing with 4-1 league marks.

    But B’Ville wins the tie-breaker over based on point differential. Thus, it gets the No. 1 seed in the Section III Class AA playoffs and home-field advantage for a first-round match-up with Central Square. The winner of that game will face F-M or Henninger in the semifinals.

    Carrying his usual workload, Rouse ran through and around a Proctor defense which regularly crammed nine players into the box, advancing his season totals to 2,227 yards and 33 touchdowns — far and away the best back, statistically, in Central New York.

    Rouse also played every defensive down and handled punting duties for B'ville, veering his team away from a loss which would have slid them all the way down to fourth place in the league and a spot against undefeated AA-1 champion CBA in the first round.

    “We’ll take the win, but it wasn’t pretty,” B’Ville head coach Carl Sanfilippo said. “But then again, we can win a championship and I don’t think it has to be pretty.”

    Rouse gave B’Ville an early 7-6 lead on a one-yard score before the fierce Bees defensive front knocked Proctor quarterback Jordan Treen out of the game late in the first quarter.

    Senior defensive end Justin Weeks and junior middle linebacker Matt Hartwell recorded drive-halting sacks. Then 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive tackle Alfonzo Whitehurst crushed Treen on a knockdown, forcing Proctor head coach Jerry Fiorini to turn to backup Nico Dorsagno for the remainder of the game.

    Despite all this, another Evans one-yard score gave Proctor a 12-7 lead with eight minutes to go in the first half.

    But that didn't last long. Rouse took a pitch right for 10 yards to start the ensuing drive and, two plays later, took a handoff right, hurdled over one Proctor linebacker and outran defensive back Derrin Lilley for a 49-yard score.

    Weeks nearly forced a safety on the Raiders next drive, but Raiders punter Naronn Harvey, who is also a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, eluded his grasp in the end zone and escaped before turning the ball over on downs.

    Taking over at the Proctor 15-yard line, Rouse took a counter right for 12 yards to set up quarterback Gage Blasi’s one-yard TD sneak.

    Raiders running back Lawrence Elliott ran out of a Cole Burchill tackle on the ensuing kickoff and sprinted 80 yards up the left sideline for a score, but Rouse dashed in from three yards out with 55 seconds left in the half to give B’ville a 26-18 lead.

    “He’s a special person,” Sanfilippo said. “He’s done it himself, training hard. You can see him get stronger in the second half and that’s just a result of his work ethic.”

    Following an Elliot fumble, forced by linebacker Joe Stanard and recovered by free safety Eric Anthony. Rouse flexed that second-half strength, slipping between Raiders defenders Desean Slaughter and Corey Williams for a 67-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the third quarter.

    Evans responded with a 41-yard score three minutes later and after a Bees three-and-out, the Raiders drove down to the Bees’ 39-yard line. But defensive tackle Mo Bouvia wrapped up Elliott in the backfield on a 4th-down-and-7 to force the turnover on downs.

    Rouse carried the ball on each of the next seven plays, racking up 55 yards and sprinting in behind a Matt Paddock block to put B’ville ahead 40-28 with 3:57 remaining.

    Dorsagno, who finished seven-for-14 for 69 yards and a touchdown, found Elliot for a 20-yard scoring pass and hit Chris Simmons for the two-point conversion. The ensuing Proctor onsides kick bounced off the hands of B’Ville’s Jake Norton and rolled out of bounds.

    But after another Bees three-and-out, the Raiders were left with 0.6 seconds on the clock. A hook-and ladder play in which Harvey caught a pass and lateraled to Stephan Pfleuger gained only 12 yards and B’ville prevailed.

    “We hung in there,” Sanfilippo said. “We made a lot of mistakes. Gave them some short fields on fumbles in the first half, gave up the kickoff return for a touchdown, but the kids hung in there.”

    Running back Javon Evans tallied 170 yards and three TDs for Proctor (2-5, 2-3) in a losing effort. This loss meant that the Raiders, instead of B'ville, would get CBA in the opening round, with Liverpool hosting defending champion West Genesee in the other first-round game.
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