High School Football:
Saturday, September 25, 1999
By Greg Alvord
Can you smell what the Cherokee Chiefs and Triton Mustangs were cookin'? Here in Evesham, the Chiefs and Mustangs went tooth and nail at one another in a slugfest that would have made the late greats Jersey Joe Walcott and Rocky Marciano proud. On a beautiful autumn afternoon, this made for football day treated the fans at a packed Cherokee stadium to one of the most exciting games of this young season. Triton edged Cherokee by the close score of 34-28.
The scoring began in the first quarter with Cherokee putting up the games first touchdown. Lefty Harry Morad connected with Brett Lawrence on a quick slant from 6-yards out to give Cherokee a 7-0 lead. Triton came right back on their next possession. A huge gallop down the sideline by Mike Eckmeyer for 65-yards gave Triton a first and goal from the 2-yard line. One play later, Dom Tomeo plunged into the endzone to tie the game at seven.
Cherokee came right back in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead. The Chiefs drove down to the Mustangs three-yard line. On a third and short, the Tritons defense tightened up and held the Chiefs rushing play. Cherokee lined up for the field goal, but played a trick that would make Harry Hudini happy. Mike Scanzano, holding the ball for the field goal attempt, picked up the football and dashed around the left end. It was at the goal line that four Mustang defenders and "Scanz" met in what unfolded into one of the greatest plays to been seen at Cherokee. As "Scanz" dove headfirst for pay dirt, the Triton defenders took turns popping him in mid-air. Scanzano initiated his best triple lindy maneuver and flipped backward into the endzone landing amazingly on his feet, giving Cherokee the lead. Triton, however came back to score. It was Eckmeyer doing the honors again on a 5-yard burst.
The second half began with a 14 all deadlock. Cherokee would soon change that with a touchdown. Marching down field Morad's passing to the "Sean Man", the Chiefs worked its way to the Triton 8-yard line. It was here that Greg Amato raced around end and dove past 2 defenders in Superman-like flying fashion for the score. The Mustangs again came right back at Cherokee. A run by Eckmeyer for 75-yards had more razzle-dazzle in it than Bill Murray of "Stripes" fame. Eckmeyer capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown burst that knotted the game at twenty-one. Just when you thought you could catch your breath, Scanzano took the ensuing kickoff, beautifully faking the reverse, darted 80-yards on a "Scantastic" run that gave Cherokee a 28-21 advantage.
After three series of interceptions and fumbles, the fourth quarter began. Triton would notch the score at twenty-eight. Going with the hot hand, the Mustangs converted two 4th and two plays for first downs, behind the bruising running of Eckmeyer. Eckmeyer finished the drive with a 3-yard dive. Both teams swapped points as Triton got the ball back with 2:43 left on their own 40-yard line. After picking up a first down behind the passing of Brian Yackle, Triton scored what would prove to be the winning touchdown. On a play action fake, Dom Tomeo snuck out of the backfield and streaked straight down the middle of the field. Hauling in the pinpoint spiral by Yackle, Tomeo scored from 50-yards out, never breaking stride. Cherokee received the ball at their own forty with 1:15 left in the game. Morad used Scanzano to complete a couple of passes, one a 33-yard beauty to the Mustangs two-yard line. Cherokee called two plays after their last timeout. With twenty seconds left, Triton stopped a plunge and as time ran out, the frenzy "D" of the Mustangs stopped a rollout on the final play. The entire Triton sideline stormed onto the field in a joyous celebration.
Photos by Art Redd
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