St. Luke's football team shut down by Rye Country Day
Updated 9:37 pm, Wednesday, October 23, 2013
NEW CANAAN -- It wasn't quite the Homecoming Day they were looking for.
"We all laid an egg on Homecoming. It was difficult to watch," said St. Luke's football head coach Noel Thomas Sr. following his team's 21-0 loss to Rye Country Day Saturday at Watson Field at Pedrick Stadium. "It was the last Homecoming for our seniors. But it missed the mark."
Indeed. Rye Country Day (3-1 overall, 2-0 Fairchester Athletic Association) punished St. Luke's on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Rye Country Day used a variation of Navy's winged-T, three-back rushing attack to dominate the time of possession.
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With 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior running back Christian Pankey (29 carries, 157 yards, 3 TDs) leading the way, Rye Country Day amassed 250 yards rushing on 49 carries on the afternoon.
"That's our style. A bruising hybrid wing T running offense. All our opponents know what we're going to do," said Rye Country Day football head coach John Calandros. "But with three good running backs, the defense isn't quite sure who will be carrying the ball."
With sophomore quarterback Reed Connor handling the ball flawlessly but not running with it himself, senior Tyler Miller (12 carries, 85 yards) and Dylan Bronson (eight carries, eight yards) combined with Pankey to gash the St. Luke's defense.
Rye Country Day took control early, marching 70 yards on 10 plays for a 7-0 lead with 3:07 left in the first quarter. The lone pass in the drive was a 41-yard pass connection from QB Connor to 6-foot-3 wide receiver James McPhail on fourth down and six from the St. Luke's 45.
The Rye Country Day defense was very stingy. The Wildcats limited St. Luke's to 74 yards in total offense including a minus-9 passing. Rye Country Day stopped St. Luke's three times on fourth down and added a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense performed well," Calandros said. "We made big plays when we needed them."
Rye Country Day marched 59 yards in seven running plays to build a 14-0 lead just 5:25 before intermission.
There was no grand comeback in the second half for St. Luke's (1-5 overall, 5-game losing streak).
Freshman running back Justin Brown picked up 48 yards in five carries after intermission but that proved to be the Storm's lone silver lining.
Rye Country Day settled the issue with a 12-play, 47-yard drive that ate up 9:30 on the clock. Pankey's eight-yard TD burst and Henry Alderson-Smith's third conversion kick made it 21-0 with 3:50 left to play.
St. Luke's hopes to regroup at home against Pennington High next week and on the road Nov. 9 at King School.
"The first thing we need to stop when things aren't going well is pointing fingers at each other," St. Luke's Thomas Sr. said. "We had some gritty losses (a one-point defeat and a pair of 4-point defeats) but today we were just flat. For some kids this is the first time they've lost this many games in a high school season. So we're learning lessons now. We have to get back to having fun as a football family. If we do that, we can start fresh and have maximum effort on the field."
Rye Country Day 21, St. Luke's 0
RYE COUNTRY DAY......................7 7 0 7 --21
ST. LUKE'S..................................0 0 0 0 --0
RCD -- Christian Pankey 1 run (Henry Alderson-Smith kick)
RCD -- Pankey 1 run (Alderson-Smith kick)
RCD -- Pankey 8 run (Alderson-Smith kick)
Records: Rye Country Day 3-1; St. Luke's 1-5.