Tigers win Cooke Co. battle

·3 min read

Sep. 3—The first all-Cooke County football game this season went to the boys in red and white.

Sacred Heart defeated Era on the road 50-30 Friday night after a dominant first quarter.

Sacred Heart (2-0) scored in the first 14 seconds of the game and never let Era recover.

Era (0-2) finished strong in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too great.

Sacred Heart coach Dale Schilling said the Tigers won with good execution.

"Game plan worked out great," Schilling said. "We were concerned quite a bit about their passing game. We were able to really, really adjust in the secondary. We got a lot of sacks, but we gotta call them a lot of coverage sacks. Not taking anything away from the D-line, but the linebackers and secondary did a great job in coverage, and then the defensive line just kind of cleaned things up."

The Tigers sprinted out to a 22-0 lead and eventually led 36-6 after the first quarter. Sacred Heart junior Ryan Swirczynski opened the game with a 63-yard touchdown run, then scored again on a 22-yard run later in the quarter. Not even a minute later, he hit Gus Ganzon for a 37-yard touchdown pass.

Era senior Jarren Twiner got the Hornets on the board with a 72-yard pass to Bradyn Bookhout, but the Tigers scored the next four touchdowns and led 50-6 after the third quarter.

Era scored three touchdowns, each with a successful 2-point conversion, in the fourth quarter to make the score more respectable, but the outcome had long been decided.

Schilling said the Tigers had a great start because they played hard, especially in the trenches.

"The linemen did a great job," Schilling said. "I was kind of concerned about the linemen last week, missing a few assignments, but they really clicked in that first half."

The Tigers rushed for 274 yards, led by Swirczynski with 221 and four touchdowns. He passed for 153 yards and three scores. Ganzon led the Tigers' receivers with 98 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Schilling said the Tigers needed Ganzon to step up with Nathan Hesse missing the game due to an injury.

"I can't say enough for Gus," Schilling said. "He did a good job, actually on both sides of the ball. His routes were crisp. He caught the football. Ryan really stood in the pocket and took his time, found the open receiver."

For Era, Twiner passed for 187 yards and a touchdown. Bookhout led in receptions with five for 103 yards and a score. Seth Velasquez rushed for 55 yards and two scores.

Both teams turned the ball over three times, continuing their trends from week one. Era lost three fumbles, while the Tigers lost two and threw an interception.

Two games into the season, Schilling said he is happy with his team.

"I'm still concerned about some injuries," Schilling said. "We're still banged up, but I could not be more pleased with our effort."