Mountaineers not making excuses

Running back Lyle McCombs and tight end Mark Villa celebrate a touchdown while the Mount St. Michaels defense watch. Photo by Damion Reid

Jaylen Amaker cringes every time anyone associated with the Mount St. Michael football program mentions the team’s inexperience.

“I hate it,” the first-year quarterback said. “Experience, it does help, but you still have to play the game.”

Unfortunately for the Mountaineers their youth showed from the first play Saturday. St. Joseph by the Sea junior Chris Murphy took the open kickoff back 95-yards for a touchdown to start a 41-14 rout in a CHSFL AAA game in The Bronx. Mountaineers coach Mario Valentini said his team didn’t line up correctly on the kickoff and looked overwhelmed early.

“Every week, whether you are a sophomore, junior or a senior you have to be ready to go,” senior running back/linebacker Gary Acquah said. “You can’t keep using inexperience as an excuse.”

The Vikings went on to score 35 straight points, dominating the time of possession with a punishing ground attack and physical offensive line. Andrew Armato ran for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and Lyle McCombs ran the ball 23 times for 173 yards and a score for Sea (1-0, 1-0 CHSFL AAA). The Mount offense had the ball just four times in the first half and saw its running game stuffed, especially on the outside, by a hard-hitting and athletic Sea defense.

“When I ran the option a certain way they baited me,” Amaker, who threw a 13-yard touchdown pass late, said. “They were always there. Against New Canaan [last week in a scrimmage] I was able to break them for big runs.”

Mount St. Michael (0-1, 0-1), which has 36 juniors and five sophomores on the roster, got on the board early in the third quarter as senior Eddie Cox ran a kickoff back 95-yards for a touchdown. The senior, who ran for 54 yards on 10 carries, was a bright spot late as he was able to break some sizable runs.

“He is a real big energy guy,” Amaker said. “Once he got that run the other people started to believe we have a chance to put some points on the board if we do things right.”

It’s a lesson that will have to carry over into next week’s matchup with Kellenberg at Mitchel Field. It’s one of many the Mountaineers will be looking to work on.

“We are a young group,” Valentini said. “Every snap is a learning experience.”

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