Costly interceptions and fumbles were the downfall of the Windham Middle School football team when they took on Scarborough at home last Sunday, but head coach Tony Leslie remained optimistic after the game.
“Even though we came out fairly sluggish in the beginning, we were able to maintain with these guys fairly well,” said Leslie. “This was one of the top seeded teams in the league and we did a really good job of containing them defensively in the second half.”
The game against Scarborough started with the opponents drawing first blood as they went up 6-0 within minutes. Windham came back with quarterback Blake Houser connecting with his favorite receiver Garrett Peeples on a 30-yard strike before he found him again in the end zone to put Windham on the board, tying the score at 6-6. Houser ran in for the two-point conversion and the home team was on top 8-6. “Garrett had good catches,” said Leslie. “He sees the benefits of being a good receiver.”
With 5:43 left in the second quarter, Scarborough scored to go up 12-8. With 4:02 left before the half, Scarborough intercepted a Houser pass and scored on the ensuing drive. After cashing in on the two-point conversion, the visitors were up 20-8.
With the Eagles driving, Houser did what NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Tony Romo tried to do during their games Sunday afternoon. He forced a pass to try to make a play and Scarborough intercepted the ball again and scored. The two-point conversion put Scarborough up 26-8 at the half.
“You can’t fault him for trying to make a play,” Leslie said in defense of his quarterback. “Houser is one of those kids who takes defeat like a gentleman and comes back and wants to play harder.”
In the second half, the Eagles showed their pride and, as Leslie put it, “The kids got their heads in the game.”
After having no success running the ball, Scarborough tried to take to the air, but that didn’t work well either. In the second half, Leslie was proud of how his team rallied. On his 14th birthday Treva Valliere had a 25-yard run that set up a scoring sprint by Houser. It was the final varsity score of the afternoon and Scarborough won 26-14. A late game highlight for the Eagles was Grant Jacobson’s blocked punt, which showed the playmaker’s athletic ability.
In the junior varsity game, Leslie was proud of how the younger kids fought and said he’ll continue working with the squad to help them improve.
Looking ahead to this week’s game at Bonny Eagle, Leslie said, “As long as our guys go out there with the mindset that they are stronger and faster and have a better game plan, I think we’ll handle them and win the game.”
Grant Jacobson stretches out to block a punt.
Garrett Peeples fights off a defender to haul in a reception.
Both photos by Carrie Wall.