Edinboro starts season 0-3, suffer loss on the road against East Stroudsburg

Category:  Sports
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:50 AM
Edinboro starts season 0-3, suffer loss on the road against East Stroudsburg by Chase Rowland
Aaron Rogers in the game against ESU last season. | File Photo

The Fighting Scots football team looked to flip the script on their season thus far, traveling to East Stroudsburg (ESU) after a tough loss against Bloomsburg. The early-season woes would continue, though, as they fell to the Warriors, 34-14.

East Stroudsburg fed off the energy of the packed Eiler-Martin Stadium for their home opener, coming off two prior convincing wins (over Seton Hill and Wagner). Edinboro would win the coin toss, electing to defer and giving the Warriors the ball to start the game. Jake Cirillo led the Warrior offense onto the field for their first possession of the game and did not disappoint.

Anchored by a deadly attack through the air, and running a no-huddle offense package, they would go 70 yards down the field in just five minutes. East Stroudsburg then capped off the drive when Cirillo would punch the ball in himself from 3 yards out.

The Fighting Scots offense would not be able to offer a rebuttal on the next drive. They wouldn’t even get their offense on the field. Defensive back Justin Haynes forced a fumble, popping the ball out of return man Ta’Nauz Gregory’s hands. Warriors linebacker Justin Johnson would recover the ball at Edinboro’s 27-yard line.

With great starting field position, East Stroudsburg was in striking distance to put the Fighting Scots down by two scores early. Edinboro’s defense would continue to fight with their backs against the wall, though. Defensive back Billy DePaul would force a fumble after an 8-yard run by ESU tailback Devante Robinson. Unfortunately, Robinson would recover that fumble.

The defense would come up big again on the very next play as Edinboro sent the house. Tarique Smith found his way into the backfield, left untouched, sacking the quarterback for a 6-yard loss. The back and forth continued, this time Cirillo delivering a laser to his receiver Ezequeil Lopez, who ended up back at the 6-yard line. Cirillo would then hand the ball over to his running back Robinson, who would carry the Warriors to their second touchdown of the game.

On Edinboro’s side, quarterback Jordan Castelli was giving the reins as offensive facilitator for week three, with Andrew Tomko out with an injury. Castelli handled the pressure well, as ‘Boro established the run game early with Dorian Woody leading the charge. In turn, the passing game then opened up, as Castelli was able to find Gregory for a gain of 32 yards. A catch by Woody went 17 yards later in the drive and Edinboro was set up for their first points.

Kicker Vicenete Arriagada came on to try from 40 yards, but his attempt would prove to be unsuccessful as the ball sailed a little too far to the right.

Action would pick back up nearing the latter stages of the first half. The Fighting Scots rallied behind their running back Woody, as he busted to the outside for a 20-yard touchdown to put Edinboro on the board for the first time. That drive would go 10 plays and cover 85 yards.

Warrior Cirillo took over with little time left, trying to answer right back. Edinboro defensive tackle Myles Turner would commit a costly face mask penalty, which allowed East Stroudsburg into Fighting Scots territory. A steady attack would be too much for the Edinboro defense, as Cirillo then marched his team to the 10-yard line. He would once again cash, mixing it up to find wide receiver RJ Sarajian in the end zone to extend their lead to 21-7.

But Edinboro still had a minute left in the first. Castelli would hook up with John Long for a much-needed gain of 38 yards, timeouts still remaining. With that extra cushion, Edinboro continued their push to score. ESU linebacker Joseph Odebode had other plans in mind. Crashing the party, he would send the Warriors to the half happy, hauling in a pick-six to stall the drive.

Edinboro would receive the ball after halftime, with the drive ending in a similar fashion. Castelli would gamble on a deep throw down the sideline, which would be his second interception of the game. This time, Warrior Tyler Watson pulled down the pick at ESU’s 6-yard line and with a few excellent blocks returned it to the 37. Unwilling to waste an opportunity, the Warriors would bust the game open with a huge contribution from Robinson. The scoring run would be from 15 yards out, extending the lead to 28.

Resilient, the Edinboro offense trotted onto the field seeking vengeance. A long 12-play, 75-yard drive would be the final highlight of the contest. Castelli hooked up with Woody several times on the drive, as the Scots marched their way to six more points. One on those catches was a 28-yard completion, putting the Fighting Scots inside the 5-yard line. Woody later powered his way through the teeth of the defense on a run from two yards out, giving Edinboro their second touchdown.

Both defenses remained solid through the final quarter, with the Fighting Scots holding strong on several occasions while being backed up to their own end zone. The Warriors could only muster up six more points, both scores coming off the leg of kicker Jordan Walters. He would put two of his attempts through the uprights from distances of 24 and 32 yards out. 

One final shock wave struck Eiler-Martin Stadium and came courtesy of the Warriors in the closing stages. Edinboro’s final drive resulted in a three-and-out, forcing a punt for the visiting Scots. Return man Rece Bender took a booming punt from Edinboro’s Corey Badaracco, turning on the jets a the ESU 13-yard line. Cutting down the near sideline and in open space, no one was left to catch the speedy wide out. The celebration would not go on for long, though, as flags littered the field at the spot of the foul. The ESU return team would be plagued with a block in the back which in turn vexed the fantastic run by Bender.

ESU’s Cirillo led the winning team in passing, accumulating 223 yards through the air, along with 1 touchdown. Tailback Robinson tacked on 70 yards while plowing into the endzone for two scores. Wide receiver Javier Buffalo came down with 118 yards, while teammate RJ Sarajian had the only receiving touchdown on the game.

Castelli, meanwhile, finished the day with 186 yards through the air, but threw 3 interceptions. Head Coach Wayne Bradford spoke on his backup filling in to run the offense.

“I thought he competed, he took some shots and continued to push forward. He operated the system while mixing it up with play calls getting us in the right play. The main key is fine tuning the accuracy down the field and protecting the football.”

Running back Woody carried the load for ‘Boro, as he rushed past the pylon two times and picked up 118 yards on the ground. Gregory also had a solid game, pulling down 7 catches for a total of 78 yards. John Long was not too far behind him, as Castelli targeted him four times for a total of 54 yards.

The Fighting Scots have had glimpses of success, despite the 0-3 start. Bradford spoke highly on his team fighting through adversity.

“First thing we tell our guys when they step on campus is that life is hard. Tough people make it through the tough times. Offensively we need to continue to build. Defensively we have played our hearts out the past few weeks.”

When in the red zone, the offense has been consistent coming away with points at 71%. Gambling on 4th downs has been in favor of the Scots, as they sit at 50% when trying to move the chains.

California University (2-1) visits Sox Harrison Stadium next Saturday with the annual Hall of Fame Game kicking off at noon.

Bradford spoke on how vital the remainder of the seasons schedule could shape this teams future hopes for a championship.

He said: “The biggest thing is we are 0-0 in PSAC West play. Our fate lies ahead of us, the next seven weeks determine where we end up in divisional play. We haven’t missed any opportunity in being crowned divisional champions. All the goals that we want still exist.”

Coverage of the game will be provided by Edinboro Television and on 88.9 WFSE Fighting Scots Radio. Follow EdinboroNow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for live streaming links.

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