Saturday September 8, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Senior running back Trayvon Sims rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, as Taconic repeatedly capitalized on big plays to defeat Monument Mountain 30-12 on Friday night.

Sims ended up with 172 yards in 13 carries on the night, but it was his two long touchdown runs that keyed the Braves to their opening night win.

The Spartans got 101 yards on eight carries from sophomore speedster Malik Wilbon, whose waterbug moves had Taconic coach Vin Barbarotta singing his praises.

"I’ll tell you, that Wilbon is something," he said. "Monu ment has something there."

The Spartans took an early lead, as Monument’s Rylie O’Brien directed an opening, five-play, 85-yard drive that ended with O’Brien finding Wilbon well behind the Braves’ defensive backfield for a 14-yard touchdown strike. The run failed, but the Spartans were up, 6-0.

"They had us back on our heels," said Barbarotta. "To my kids’ credit, we didn’t hang our heads. We came right back."

True. Facing second and 13 from the Monument 44, Taconic quarterback Troy Ziter pitched the ball to Sims, who broke several tackles en route to the score. Ziter hit Jordan Barbarotta for the two-point conversion, and the visitors took an 8-6 lead.

That was the margin for several minutes, and then the Braves struck quickly as the first half wound down, scoring twice in a four-minute span. The first touchdown saw Ziter hit 6-5 sophomore Jake Hesrock for a 26-yard touchdown. On the Braves’ next possession, facing third down and four, Sims bolted off tackle, again breaking several tackles, and burst 64 yards to another touchdown. It was now 24-6, with 2:51 left in the half.

The Spartans battled back. On second and 10 from their own 43, Monument’s Wilbon got around the end and dashed 39 yards to the Taconic 17. Two plays later, he scored from the 8. It was 24-12 at the half.

Monument received the opening kickoff, but two plays in, Jordan Knowlton picked O’Brien off at the Spartan 37. On the next play, Knowlton had the ball again, this time shooting up the middle to score.

The rest of the half saw the Spartans run off 26 plays to the Braves’ 8. But the Spartans were undone twice by costly penalties and a fumble. One of the infractions took away a touchdown; a second negated a long gain by Monument’s Hezekiah Adams.