Clyde-Savannah Head Coach Nick Dercola said it: "Momentum is such a big thing in high school football."
In the second half of the Class D Section V championship game in Rochester, the Golden Eagles had it. The Alexander Trojans wanted it.
As a result, the final score favored Clyde, 30-24.
The Trojans had a chance to win Alexander's first Section V football title in school history, but a muffed snap on a punt deep in Golden Eagles territory on Alexander's first possession in the second half seemed to have a big impact on the game.
Clyde scored on a 10-yard pass from wide receiver Cal Felker to tight end Jarrod Faniel and with a two-point conversion, Alexander's half-time lead of nine points became a one-point lead, 24-23, and gave Clyde's players a little bit of hope.
Even a quick score on an eight-yard run by Dylan Scharlau following an 80-yard kickoff return by Same Browne didn't dampen Clyde's sense from that point that anything was possible.
"After the fumble on the punt, we had field position for the whole second half," Dercola said. "My kids loosened up a little and started getting after it a bit harder ... We got the momentum in the second half and kept it."
So much of Alexander's offense is dependent on senior running back Dylan Scharlau and after gaining 105 yards in the first half, scoring one TD, the Golden Eagles held Scharlau to just 39 yards in the second half.
It didn't help that Scharlau came into the game with a sprained right ankle and had been on a light practice schedule all week.
"It was a tough second half," Alexander Head Coach Tim Sawyer said. "We just didn't make the plays -- a couple of penalties, we dropped an interception and that was eight points the other way. We've just got to make plays. We've got to finish."
Stopping Scharlau was an important part of the Golden Eagles keeping the second-half momentum flowing their way.
"We knew they were going to come at us and he's a heck of a runner," Dercola said. "We kept hitting him and he'd bounce off. We knew we had to stop him and we didn't do a very good job in the first half. I thought we did a much better job in the second half."
Alexander had a chance to grab that all-important momentum early in the 4th quarter when an 18-yard pass from Joe Faniel bounced off the chest of an Alexander defender and instead of falling to the ground it hung up long enough for Clyde's Kam Disanto to slip his hands under it giving the Golden Eagles a go-ahead TD.
That was a lead Clyde would not surrender as Alexander's offense was pretty much shut down on its following possessions and Faniel added to Clyde's lead on a two-yard TD run with six minutes left in the game.
It's the fourth straight win for Clyde over a team that came into the game with only one loss.
"I feel bad for our community," Sawyer said. "It was huge that our community was behind us. It's great to get this far. We won a league championship this year for the first time in 36 years. We beat Notre Dame in the semi-finals last week. All of those things are very good things."
Section V awards were given to Scharlau, QB Nelson Burke and Jonathan George.
Those seniors, and all the seniors on the team, made such a huge contribution to the Trojans' run at a Section V title, Sawyer said.
"I'm glad Section V recognized (George) as the best lineman out there today," Sawyer said. "He's been the best lineman in every game he's played in this year, and Nelson Burke, he loves the game. I know this hurts."
Burke finished 4-11 passing for 50 yards. He also ran the ball four times for 15 yards and Tyler Laird had four carries for 37 yards.
The Trojans out gained the Eagles 248 yards to 189 for the game and time of possession 30 minutes to 18.
Laird also had five tackles. Zach Laird had two tackles and a sack.
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