Long Reach offense awakens in 28-0 win Conwell's 2 touchdowns help rout Centennial

September 28, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The Long Reach Lightning finally straightened out its offense yesterday during Centennial's homecoming game.

The previously anemic attack gained some vitality with Devin Conwell carrying 19 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns, as the Lightning emerged triumphant over the injury-riddled Eagles, 28-0.

The victory improved Long Reach's record to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the league. Centennial fell to 2-2 and 1-2. "We've been hearing a lot of negative talk about our offense all over school and we showed them a little something today," said Conwell, who was used irregularly on offense during the Lightning's first three games but was a mainstay yesterday.

Conwell cited Tally White, Tivell Byrd and Turon Kosh for some key blocks that sprung him loose for several nice gains, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that put Long Reach ahead, 14-0.

"We wanted to keep it basic this week," said Lightning quarterback Gregg Matusewitch, who completed six of 11 passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. "We thought they (Centennial) were undersized as an overall team and we got good line surge today."

Long Reach opened the game with a 69-yard touchdown drive on nine plays that concluded with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Willy Bhatia, who caught three passes for 28 yards.

Centennial punted after three plays, and Long Reach drove 70 yards in 11 plays and scored on Conwell's 20-yard run. Centennial was in a 14-0 hole and never climbed out, although the Eagles moved the ball better in the second quarter and drove as far as Long Reach's 31-yard line before being pushed back just before halftime.

The game was all but over early in the third quarter, however. Centennial fumbled on the first play of the quarter, and Bill Clark of Long Reach recovered at the Centennial 33-yard line and ran to the 18-yard line.

Four plays later Kosh scored from 1 yard out and Long Reach led 20-0.

"Long Reach took advantage of our mistakes," Centennial coach Ed Holshue said. "We had too many turnovers, penalties and missed assignments. And we dropped a lot of passes."

Holshue refused to blame the loss on injuries to three starting offensive linemen in last week's game against Oakland Mills that necessitated a drastic change of Centennial's offensive emphasis.

Normally a running team, Centennial resorted to predominantly passing. Quarterback P. J. Paolisso completed 10 of 22 passes for 124 yards.

Centennial gained just 10 yards rushing in the first half and 89 for the game, as starting linemen Matt Nelson (knee) and Tom Fisher (knee) did not play, and Justin Rix (ankle) saw limited action. Nelson and Rix also play defense so their loss was doubly tough.

"I don't want to use the line as an excuse," Holshue said. "We had our chances, but when we needed to make the critical play we didn't."

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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