Wolves blanked by Greenway in opener

by Tom Coombe

After a difficult debut, Ely’s high school football team went back to the basics.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves worked a lot of tackling and blocking last week, after struggling in both vital areas during their 21-0, season-opening loss to Greenway Sept. 3 at Coleraine.<BR><BR>The Raiders chewed up over 350 yards on the ground, averaging almost nine yards per carry, while limiting the Wolves to 124 total yards and keeping them out of the end zone.<BR><BR>It was not the way Ely had hoped to start the season.<BR><BR>“I think disappointed would be the word for it,” Ely Head Coach Darren Visser said of the performance. “I was overall disappointed with our tackling and our blocking. We were tackling way too high and we weren’t holding our blocks long enough.”<BR><BR>Greenway back Jason Castle made the Wolves pay for many of the missed tackles.<BR><BR>The 205-pound senior ran for 201 yards on 27 carries and had both of the Raiders’ first-half scores, including a 48-yard sprint around right end that put the hosts up by two touchdowns before halftime.<BR><BR>Even though they were stymied by 10 first-half penalties, Greenway took control of the contest early on.<BR><BR>The running game was key as Castle and fellow back Derek Vogel evaded Ely tacklers.<BR><BR>An 18-yard punt return by Vogel helped set up a short 41-yard march to the end zone in the first quarter. A four-yard plunge by Castle followed by Derek Peterson’s extra-point kick made it 7-0.<BR><BR>Ely stopped the Raiders on a second-quarter march and had momentum going its way briefly with its best possession of the night.<BR><BR>With the running game stalled, Visser went to the air and senior quarterback Tim Scott delivered.<BR><BR>Completions to Mike Popesh, Ernie Horvat and Mike Krunkkala gave the Wolves two first downs and the ball in Greenway territory.<BR><BR>The drive ended with a turnover on a halfback option pass, and Greenway turned the opportunity into seven more points, as Castle added his second touchdown.<BR><BR>The only points of the second half came during the third quarter, when Greenway quarterback Brock Harling weaved past several Ely defenders on a 47-yard scoring spring.<BR><BR>Ely’s aerial attack, which included an eight-for-16, 98-yard effort by Scott, got the Wolves moving once in the fourth quarter, but a completion to the Greenway 15 was nullified by a penalty.<BR><BR>“I thought our passing game was a true bright spot,” said Visser. “Tim played an outstanding game. We were able to move the ball, but then on a few drives penalties set us back.”<BR><BR>Visser also credited the discipline of the Greenway defense, which effectively took away Ely’s running game.<BR><BR>“It didn’t matter if we ran misdirection, they were right there,” said Visser.<BR><BR>Scott also led the way on defense for the Wolves, finishing with 13 total tackles, including 10 solo stops.<BR><BR>“You don’t want your safety leading the game in tackles,” said Visser.<BR><BR>• The Wolves made their first home appearance Friday night, after the Echo’s deadline, against Cook County.<BR><BR>• Ely has its second straight home game this week, when Carlton comes to Ely School Stadium for a 7 p.m. contest.<BR><BR>