East Football defeats Eastern in first game of season

East and Eastern face head on in the first football game of the season.

The 2015 football season opened Friday, September 11 with the East Cougars visiting the Eastern Vikings. The Cougars fought hard for a 21-28 win to start the season off 1-0. This is the first time the Cougars celebrate success at Eastern since 1990. This season has the potential to shadow the previous disappointing few years.

“Coach gave every player a little index card that said 1990 and we carried this everywhere we went and we were constantly reminded what this game means,” said Captain and Quarterback Vinny Guckin (’16).

The Cougars started the game kicking off to the Vikings. East slowed the Vikings progression down the field, but after nine minutes into the first quarter, Eastern finished their first possession with a short run into the end zone.

The 7-0 deficit electrified the Cougars as Kyle Encarnacion (’17) had an excellent kick-off return to the 49-yard line to start East’s first possession of the game. Jay Jay Vaughters (’17), a weapon in the backfield, came to play with three consecutive carries to go 52 yards and put East on the scoreboard. After a wide right extra-point attempt, Cougars trailed the Vikings 7-6. With that drive Vaughters established himself as a player to watch this season.

The first quarter ended with Cougars possession in their territory and trailing by one. However, early into the second Eastern forced a fumble and recovered the ball on East’s 26-yard line. Cougars defense locked up the run game pressuring Eastern to attempt a throw into the end zone. MinWoo Lee (’16) was able to come up with the interception and keep the deficit at only 1 point.

The Cougars moved down the field and after being finally stood up by the Vikings defense at the 1-yard line, quarterback Vinny Guckin (’16) snuck into the endzone for the touchdown. Encarnacion got in the end zone for the two-point conversion, giving East a 14-7 lead. Eastern tried to respond, but with .1 seconds remaining in the second quarter, East intercepted the ball in the end zone and kept the score 14-7 heading into the second half.

East received to start the second half. Guckin took the first snap of the drive, scanned the field, found the hole, and took off to the races picking up enough yardage to put the Cougars in Viking territory. Vaughters scrambled into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day.

“It felt great. It all started at the line. They made tremendous holes. I did the easy part. They did the hard part,” said Vaughters.

Avoiding an extra-point attempt, East successfully attempted the two-point conversion as Vaughters charges into the end zone. Cougars began to take control of the game at this point as they extended their lead to 22-7.

Eastern tried to respond to East and get into the red zone, but the Cougar defense dominated the field, and East forced a field goal attempt that went wide.

The third quarter ended with East up 22-7, retaining the ball as the fourth quarter started. Thirty-five seconds into the quarter, Josh Santana (’17), a Cherry Hill West transfer, pulls in a 15 yard pass from Guckin to score, securing the East win. An unsuccessful two-point conversion brought the score to 28-7.

Eastern responded by gradually moving down the field and scoring a touchdown to cut the Cougar lead to two possessions. After a failed East drive, Eastern were able to score another touchdown, and the gap closed to a 28-21 scoreline.

There proved to be no time for an Eastern comeback, allowing the Cougars to gather up a win and a 1-0 start to their hope-filled season. If East was looking to make a strong impression with the season opener, they succeeded.

“The statement that came out of this game is that we are a different team than we were in the past. We are here to play football games and we are here to win football games,” said Guckin.

Lastly, before the game, a moment of silence was given in respect to Kara Lemanowicz and her family because she recently passed away.