Boro falls short, drops home opener to ESU

Contributed Photo: Sports Information
The Edinboro Fighting Scots football team fell to 0-3 on the season with a loss to the Warriors of East Stroudsburg. They’ll travel to California University (Pa.) this Saturday as they face a 2-1 Vulcans squad at 1 p.m. to open PSAC West play.
Fighting Scots lose contest 47-34

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor/Spectator

Edinboro’s offense racked up 448 offensive yards last Saturday.

Just eight more may have changed the outcome of the game.

The Scots faced a fourth and three on East Stroudsburg’s eight-yard line. Sixth year starting quarterback Cody Harris scanned left and then looked right and found sophomore receiver Darren Massey, who had been the hot hand, accumulating three total touchdowns in the game, and slung the pigskin his way. Massey went to the ground in an effort to catch the pass, but as his knees hit the ground, so did the football.

The Warriors of East Stroudsburg (2-1 overall, 1-1 PSAC) took over on downs and marched down the field to tack on another touchdown to make it 47-34 with 46 seconds left in the contest as ESU went on to defeat Edinboro (0-3, 0-2) by that score last Saturday in the home opener for the Fighting Scots at Sox Harrison Stadium.

“A football game never comes down to one play or one player, never,” said head coach Scott Browning.

“You play 60 minutes and the bottom line is they made more plays than we did down the stretch.”

Early on, ESU was the only team making plays. The Warriors, who were coming off a crushing 56-24 loss at the hands of Slippery Rock, received the opening kickoff and took it 75 yards on six plays in just a little over two minutes of game time to take an early 6-0 lead after their extra point attempt by Matt Smith sailed wide.

After a quick Edinboro three-and-out, the Warriors found the end zone again as Matt Soltes (31-45, 502 yds., 6 TDs) connected with Dusty Reed on a seven-yard pass and catch as Reed extended over the pylon to bump their lead to 13-0.

Soltes, whose 502 passing yards is the third highest total against Edinboro, received high praise from Browning after the loss.

“He is a heck of a quarter-back. He is going to take advantage of what you give him. If you have play back he is going to throw the hitch. We thought at the end we had to press them up and they have more speed than people think. He also throws the deep ball real well.”

Harris (26-37, 268 yds., 4 TDs, 13 car., 28 yds., 1 TD) didn’t throw the deep ball, but he didn’t have to as he got Boro’s first points courtesy of a four-yard pass to Massey on a fourth-and-goal on ESU’s four-yard line to make it 13-7 in favor of East Stroudsburg with 2:48 remaining in the first quarter.

Although Massey had a career day catching 10 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns, he was devastated by the loss.

“I wouldn’t dwell on that,” he said of his stat line. “I’m not a big person with personal stats when it comes to losing. We just have to get better play by play.”

It seemed as though that improvement came during the second quarter with Edinboro down 20-7. Harris threw up a jump ball for 6-foot-4-inch tight end Nick Helmick, who hauled in the touchdown in the back corner of the end zone to bring the Scots to within a touchdown.

ESU’s 34-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive missed wide left opening the door for Edinboro to steal the momentum and the lead, which it did two drives later.

The Scots went 80 yards on 12 plays, which was capped off by a stellar scramble by Harris as he leaped over a Warrior defender in route to a touchdown. A Paul Ortiz extra point gave Boro a 21-10 lead with 1:33 left in the first half.

That jubilation didn’t last long as Soltes found a streaking Robert Healy on a 57 yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead, 27-21, heading into halftime.

ESU put up seven more points as Soltes threw a 39 yard pass to Reed (9 rec., 170 yds., 4 TDs) midway through the third.

Edinboro countered with an aerial attack of their own, with Harris hooking up with Massey on a 28 yard touchdown. A blocked extra point made it 34-27 in favor of ESU heading to the fourth quarter.

Another Harris-Massey touchdown combo tied it at 34 early in the fourth before Soltes hit Healy on ESU’s ensuring drive to make it 40-34 after a blocked extra point.

Browning believes youth is why his team is coming up short in these games.

“Looking at us on offense, we have the tailback, number two, Anfreenee Williams, who is a true freshman. Number seven [Kolbe Hughes] is a true freshman. Massey is a sophomore. We are young. We still had some guys who made plays, but we just didn’t make enough.”

The Fighting Scots travel to California University (Pa.) this Saturday as they face a 2-1 Vulcans squad at 1 p.m. to open PSAC West play.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for The Spectator. She can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com