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Small numbers add up to big Colts win

08/29/2015, 12:17am PDT
By Steve Brand

Crawford roster not huge, but athletes making plays on both sides of the ball

Crawford running back Eric McDuffy sparked the Colts’ attack with 117 yards rushing on 17 carries, including a 15-yard TD in Friday’s win over Orange Glen.

Looking at the numbers, Crawford didn’t figure to have much of a chance of beating Orange Glen on Friday in the football season opener at Hoover High.

The Colts suited up 21 players, with every one going both ways. Orange Glen had 44 — more than double.

Crawford had eight players at 200 pounds or more, while the Patriots had 17, and two of them tipped the scales at better than 300 pounds.

Even the weather favored the visitors from Escondido, hitting 97 at game time. It just figured the Colts would be gasping for breath by the fourth quarter.

Instead, it was the Patriots who simply could not move the ball and seemed rundown — literally — by game’s end as Crawford prevailed 24-8 behind the rushing of 5-9, 165-pound Eric McDuffy.

McDuffy gained 117 yards on 17 carries with 90 of those yards coming in the first half when the Colts established the tempo.

“That’s my first 100-yard game,” said McDuffy, who could easily have scored two more times as he was stopped once at the Orange Glen 1 and another time came up 2 yards short. “Running the ball was the game plan and we were successful because everyone did their job. The second half we had to just keep going.”

On top 10-0 after McDuffy’s 15-yard score and a 20-yard field goal by Ricardo Flores, the Colts saw Orange Glen successfully convert an onside kick and seven plays later, Richard Barry (19 carries, 101 yards) ran in from 7 yards out. Suddenly it was 10-8.

But Crawford had yet to run a play in the second half, and once it did, the Colts marched 54 yards, Sharif Sharif gaining the final 2 up the middle.

Less than 3 minutes later it was 24-8 after outside linebacker Raymond Gabriel scooped up a fumble, returning it 32 yards for a score.

Orange Glen did not attempt a pass until the 7:02 mark of the fourth quarter, and Crawford never did put the ball up as the two teams slugged it out in less than two hours.

Crawford coach Mike Wright was pretty pumped up following the impressive showing after losing to the Patriots, 49-12, a year ago.

“After the way he ran in our scrimmage, we knew McDuffy would carry the ball a lot and we had confidence he’d do well,” said Wright. “It was really team defense that was the difference. I think before the game I’d say Orange Glen would be favored by 10, but these guys came to play.”

Orange Glen coach Jason Patterson was hoping for a better result in the opener, but the loss of 1,500-yard rusher Roger Rickman to an ACL injury this spring took away the team’s main weapon.

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