Saturday September 29, 2012

LEE -- With Taconic's leading rusher, Trayvon Sims, out with a shoulder injury, Braves head coach Vinnie Barbarotta turned to his defensive leader, middle linebacker Jordan Pasquarelli, to carry the load on offense against the Lee Wildcats.

Lining up at fullback, the senior co-captain carried the ball 14 times for 94 yards and one touchdown, propelling Taconic past Lee 20-0 at John J. Consolati Athletic Field.

"I knew what he could do because he is the heart of our team," Barbarotta said. "I had used him in the backfield on occasion and when I saw what he could do, my eyes lit up."

Normally a guard on offense, Pasquarelli did what all good running backs do after a big game -- praise the blockers in front of him.

"I really have to credit my line, they created some big holes for me," he said.

Modesty aside, Pasquarelli proved he could dazzle as an open-field runner. Early in the second quarter, he took the handoff from quarterback Troy Ziter, busted to the outside, broke one tackle, alluded another with a nifty spin move and sprinted -- sort of -- to the left corner of the end zone for the first score of the game.

"I didn't know he had it in him," Ziter said.

Ziter himself had a good night completing five of 10 passes for 106 yards and one touchdown pass, a 30-yard strike to Drew Scace in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Lee's offense was anything but dazzling as Taconic's defense held the Wildcats to minus-13 yards rushing and just 78 yards passing. The Braves had four quarterback sacks and five other times stuffed Lee's running backs behind the line of scrimmage.

"My line was dominating," Barbarotta said.

The Taconic secondary also came up big when Jordan Knowlton picked off Lee quarterback Deaglan Giarolo for a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. The Braves also blocked a Lee punt, adding to the misery for Wildcat head coach Keith Thomson.

"What we saw tonight was an ugly affair," he said. "There is no reason why we can't block, why we can't make plays, and part of that falls on me."

Winless in Berkshire County league play at 0-3, Thomson is headed back to the drawing board for next week's practices.

"We have to try and fix this thing," he said. "We have six weeks left and we're back to square one."

As for Taconic, the Braves believe at 2-2, they are headed in the right direction.

"We're back at .500 and we'll keep pushing to get to the playoffs," Pasquarelli said.