Edinboro Football Opens Bradford Era with 30-3 Win

Fighting Scots open 2017 season with 30-3 home victory over Lake Erie College

EDINBORO, Pa. - The Wayne Bradford Era at Edinboro opened on a blustery afternoon at Sox Harrison Stadium with strong winds courtesy of the remnants of Hurricane Harvey sweeping the area. More importantly, it opened with a victory for the long-time assistant coach, as his Fighting Scots prevailed over Lake Erie, 30-3.
 
With a largely revamped roster, Lake Erie hardly resembled a team that finished 0-11 a year ago. Of course, Edinboro could greatly appreciate that after the Fighting Scots posted the largest turnaround in Division II history in 2016, going from 0-11 to 9-2.  
 
Edinboro was unable to take advantage of five Lake Erie turnovers in the first half, leading just 3-0 after one period and 10-0 at the half.  The Boro offense came alive in the second half, in particular the combination of Jake Sisson to Ta'Nauz Gregory.

 
Edinboro opened the scoring after the first of three interceptions by Zuril Hendrick. The junior cornerback returned the pickoff 25 yards to the Lake Erie. Mike Cushma came in and booted 26-yard field goal for the redshirt freshman's first career 3-pointer with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
 
The Edinboro defense set up the next score, as well, this time throwing Desmon Turner for a yard loss on a 4th-and-2 play at the LEC 42. Three plays later, Walter Fletcher was in the end zone as he bounced an interior run to the right to the outside, got an outstanding block from a wide receiver, and scooted 28 yards for the score and a 10-0 lead with 8:08 left in the second quarter.
 
The run was part of a career-best day for Fletcher. The redshirt sophomore finished with a career-high 189 yards rushing on 25 carries, besting his previous high of 180 yards. Fletcher added 5 receptions for 36 yards.
 
Lake Erie was able to keep the score at 10-0 at the half as the Storm owned a 19:16 to 10:44 advantage in time of possession. The Boro defense was up to the task, intercepting three passes and recovering two fumbles.
 
The Storm would close the gap to 10-3 thanks to a 42-yard field goal by Mike Muzic with 6:40 left in the third quarter. That score seemed to wake up the Edinboro offense, as they needed just three plays to put seven points on the board. The 3-play, 48-yard drive – aided by an LEC personal foul penalty after a Gregory return of 26 yards – was capped by a 34-yard hookup between Sisson and Gregory. The sophomore receiver hauled in a deep slant pattern just inside the 20, juked a pair of defenders, and burst into the end zone. Cushma's extra point made it 17-3 with 5:48 left in the third quarter.
 
Sisson and Gregory paired up again for another six-pointer on the second play of the fourth quarter. This one covered 32 yards, and featured a short out pass on the left side, with Gregory faking out a defender, then sprinting up the middle of the field for the score. The 5-play, 95-yard drive came after the Edinboro defense held Lake Erie on downs at the Boro 5. It also featured a 35-yard diving catch by Blake Redick on a 3rd-and-8 play.
 
Edinboro would tack on one more score late in the fourth quarter, with the defense once again coming up big. Hendrick intercepted his third pass of the afternoon, then weaved his way up the field to complete a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:20 remaining. Lake Erie blocked the extra point.
 
The Fighting Scots ended the day with a slight 414 to 404 advantage in total offense. After a slow start, Sisson completed 20-of-44 passes for 258 yards with 2 TDs and an interception. He also served as Edinboro's punter, finishing with a 40.7 yard average on seven punts.
 
Gregory enjoyed one of his best games after being named the 2016 PSAC West Freshman of the Year. He caught 7 passes for 123 yards and 2 TDs. James Clarkcaught 4 passes for 29 yards, all in the first half.
 
Lake Erie showcased the running game, totaling 236 yards on 54 rushes. Turner had 107 yards on 17 carries, with Javarian Smith adding 66 yards on 13 carries. Smith completed 9-of-19 passes for 102 yards, but was guilty of three interceptions. James Moore was 8-of-14 for 66 yards and also three a pick as the Storm turned the ball over six times.
 
The safety tandem of DeVon Grovesand Brandon Anderson paced the Edinboro defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Anderson accounted for Edinboro's fourth interception. Aaron Rogers added 8 tackles, as did Jon Girvin, including 3.5 for losses and a fumble recovery.
 
Edinboro is home once again on Saturday, September 9, hosting Lock Haven in a PSAC crossover contest. Kickoff is set for 12 noon.

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