In a heated contest, Sheffield fell to 0-3 with a 16-0 District 9 loss to Ridgway on Saturday at Sheffield High School.
The teams battled hard for the first ten minutes of the first quarter, with Sheffield moving the ball effectively down the field. With 4:55 left in the quarter, the Elkers forced a fumble, and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown. This was a huge momentum shift at a point when the Elkers' offense had no answers for the Wolverines' defense.
Sheffield got the run game going and controlled the clock in the second quarter. The defense also rallied from the fumble return and stymied the Elkers' wishbone rushing attack.
Times Observer photo by Tyson Himes
Sheffield’s Shequan Wright, left, passes to an open teammate during the Wolverines’ 16-0 loss to Ridgway Saturday at Sheffield Area High School.
There were technical difficulties due to a power outage and the scoreboard and P.A. system was turned off by an unfortunate power outage. With an unknown amount of time left in the half, the Elkers lined up for a 37-yard field goal and kicker Eric Matheson split the uprights.
After halftime, Ridgway made some offensive adjustments, using more downhill power running with the fullback and drove the ball down the field. Inside of the 5-yard line, the Elkers handed it off to Sam Delhunty for an easy score and 16-0 lead.
Sheffield then went four and out on offense on the ensuing possession, but immediately got the ball back with good field position after an interception by Ike Nearing. This opportunity was squandered however by another four and out.
R-Eric Matheson fumble return (Matheson kick); 4:55
R-Eric Matheson 37 kick; time unknown
R-Sam Delhunty 3 run (kick no good); time unknown
RUSHING: R- Sam Delhunty 21 for 82, TD, Jordan Lundin 6 for 23, Logan Wickett 7 for 17; S- Nick Bonavita 15 for 75, Ike Nearing 2 for -5, Shequan Wright 8 for -20
PASSING: R- Lundin 1 of 8 for 25, INT; S- Shequan Wright 7 of 20 for 72, 2 INT, Ike Nearing 1 of 3 for 12
RECEIVING: R- Aaron Sorge 1 for 25; S - Evan Jamison 4 for 56, Nick Bonavita 4 for 28
Meanwhile, the Sheffield linemen were getting great penetration on every drop back by the Elker quarterback, forcing the Elkers to keep it on the ground.
In the fourth, a blocked punt by the Wolverines set them up on the Ridgway 23. Sheffield quarterback Shequan Wright led the offense down to the ten-yard line. After narrowly missing two open receivers for scores, Wright was picked off in the end zone. This was the best scoring chance for the Wolverines to that point, and would prove to be the best they would see all day.
On the Elkers' next drive, a long run ended with Jordan Lundin being tackled out of bounds on the Sheffield sideline. After some jawing back-and-forth, Sheffield's Kalil Slaughter, though not playing due to injury, was ejected in the exchange.
Nick Bonavita and Evan Jamison were offensive standouts for the Wolverines in the loss. Bonavita had 75 yards rushing on 15 carries, leading a successful ground attack. He also had four catches for 28 yards.
Jamison caught a 25-yard jump ball from Wright that got the hometown fans out of their seats. He ended the day with four catches for 56 yards. Both players provided a spark for an offense that struggled through much of the game.
Before the action got underway on Saturday afternoon, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to pay tribute to the recent renovations to the Sheffield High School complex. These renovations included an all-weather track, new bleachers, new press box, new softball complex, multi-purpose building, public sewer line and new entrance road. The total cost of this project was in excess of $700,000. Funds were raised with the help of private benefactors, foundations, industries, alumni and state grants. Representative Kathy Rapp joined in the festivities, praising the hard work that went into these much needed improvements.