North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- Turnovers and penalties can go a long way toward deciding the outcome of a football game.
The Drury Blue Devils are no strangers to that theory. The Blue Devils turned the ball over four times and committed four penalties for a total of 30 yards in Saturday’s loss to St. Joseph’s, 28-6.
"St. Joseph’s is a good team, but we gave them first downs on penalties and we turned the ball over around our 30 yard line twice," Drury coach Bill Bryce said. "We’re not good enough to do that and expect to win games."
Drury forced the Crusaders to punt the ball on the first drive and took over its own 22. Three plays later the Jose Melendez and Brandon Koprowski couldn’t execute a clean exchange and put the ball on the ground. The Crusaders recovered at the 25.
Quarterback Jon Bianchi finished the six play drive with an 8-yard touchdown strike to Zack Neary.
The Blue Devils put themselves in a similar situation when Melendez couldn’t handle the second snap of the second half. Lavante Wiggins recovered the loose ball for the Crusaders at the Drury 35.
Four plays later, Tank Roberson went in for a 25-yard touchdown. The Blue Devils also turned the ball over twice in the passing game, as Melendez was picked off by Bianchi twice.
"We just tried to read our keys," Bianchi said. "We smashed them in the mouth and went out and got our [win]."
The Crusaders also produced productive drives throughout the game. Wiggins carried the ball 20 times for 139 yards and scored twice. His second touchdown came from 40 yards out with just a minute left on the clock. Roberson added 66 yards to his team’s rushing total and Bianchi covered 103 yard through the air -- all in the first half.
"With the [players] we have, [teams] really have to pick what they are going to try and stop," St. Joseph’s coach Gary Bianchi said. "They came in with nine guys in the box, so that opened up the passing game a little for us and we spread it around."
Drury gained just 24 yards in the first half to the Crusaders 203. Drury was only able to grab two first downs, while they gave up 10 in the half.
"They just broke down our intensity," Melendez said. "When they have a fast runner and they’re making fast cuts and plowing through, you get broken down. We can, and have to, pick it right back up."
They showed they can respond, as Alex Bush intercepted a pass that set up a nine-minute drive that started in the third quarter and covered 84 yards before getting into the end zone. Melendez took a pitch from quarterback Jake DiLego and fired a pass to Nolan Bird for a 7-yard pass for the score. The Blue Devils fed off the interception and touchdown and forced another turnover with two minutes to play, but couldn’t score again, giving the ball up on downs and then giving up Wiggins’ final touchdown one play later.
"I think we regrouped nicely and had a nice drive there," Bryce said. "Then we had a let up at the end and allowed the final score. That’s disappointing."
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