EDEN, NY – – After a year-long hiatus from football at Eden High School, the Raiders took the field for their first game of the 2016 season. Eden/North Collins hosted fellow Class C North opponent, the John F. Kennedy Bears, in a rare 5:00pm kickoff. The Bears were the better team in the game as they defeated the Raiders, 42-23.
“It felt good to be here,” Eden/North Collins head coach Mike Alessi said following the Raiders’ first game since the 2014 season. “It didn’t come out the way we wanted to in the end, but now we have a lot of things to work on. Now we know what we need to fix and obviously some of these guys are rusty, but we’re going to be alright.”
The Bears offense was tough to handle as quarterback James Bailey and wide receiver Brandon Kohl were the key components to the Bears’ success. Bailey, who was starting in his first Varsity game, finished 10-for-17 with 144 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Bailey also added 17 rushes for 73 yards and scored twice.
“I’m so excited,” Bailey said following the win. “Especially with Brandon, he came up big for our team. Everyone on the team came up big for our team. Offense, defense and special teams. I can’t wait for next week.”
Kohl had a very solid game catching four passes for 35 yards while rushing four times for 44 yards and one touchdown. He was solid on defense as well, earning 5 tackles and intercepting two passes thrown by Eden’s Andy Bialy. He was also a threat in the special teams game as he returned two punts for 90 yards including an 80-yard punt return touchdown.
“We looked very good. I think we struggled early. I think we made mistakes and found some things and made some things happen at the right time,” Coach Sabatino said. “Our offensive line came to play today. I think that was the difference and that was the key. Our playmakers did things when they had to but an all-around effort by this team.”
Eden/North Collins’ offense was very sporadic as they had some solid drives down field followed by drives where they couldn’t muster much offense. JFK’s defense was exploited from time-to-time, especially in the first half. However, the Bears’ defense was stout in the 2nd half, limiting Eden/North Collins to only 8 points which came off an 8-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion. Jeff Rashko led the Bears with 12 tackles. Jordan Snyder had seven tackles, a blocked field goal and two pass defenses. Zack Bremer also added 7 tackles for the Bears.
“Look at the secondary. It’s the most veteran secondary you’re going to see in Class C,” JFK head coach Jeff Sabatino stated. “We count on that and Eden/North Collins took it to us. Jarrett Eck, Owen Krouse and Andy Bialy are great football players and they brought it to us. We sustained their energy and with our bodies we turned it around when we had to.”
John F. Kennedy (1-0) will have their home opener next Saturday when they host divisional opponent the Akron Tigers. The Tigers lost to the Wilson Lakemen on Friday night, 14-12. Eden/North Collins (0-1) will have a rare Tuesday night game against the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds. It will be the first game of the season for the Thunderbirds.
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