Nottingham beats Baldwinsville, 20-0, behind pass rush and big plays

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Nottingham showed no sign of complacency in the second half, returning the opening kickoff to its own 45. That opening drive stalled, but the Bulldogs defense didn’t relent. Later in the third quarter, it was Baldwinsville’s Michael Letiza trying to will some life into his team with one hard run after another. Letiza picked up a first down in the red zone right before the quarter expired, setting up a tight final quarter. Bulldogs’ head coach Fred Wheeler knew he needed to adjust. Nottingham put five players on the defensive line instead of their standard four defenders. Letiza was stuffed on three consecutive runs, followed by a sack of Baldwinsville’s backup, Trey Blasi, with 9:52 to go. “It really played into our hands being able to do different things,” Wheeler said. “That’s football.”Dixon knew then that this was the Bulldogs’ game to win, and he sensed a similar feeling from his teammates. “The huddle was hype,” Dixon said. “Everybody was full of energy. They had my back and I definitely had their back.”That energy culminated with an 18 yard touchdown run for Brown with 3:07 left. Brown finished with 115 yards and two scores.As the clock wound down, the Bulldogs’ sideline was full of life. Coaches and players were high-fiving, hugging and dancing. The postgame celebration featured a backflip from Xavion Walker-Pickard — in full pads. Dixon hopes this win Nottingham on the right path. “Into next game, we’re gonna go out, still got that chip on our shoulder,” Dixon said. “We’re one of the lesser teams right now, but we’re gonna prove everybody wrong. This is our season.” Comments Published on September 7, 2018 at 11:16 pm Contact Tim: tnolan@syr.edu Nashon Ash from James Dixon III for a 40 yard touchdown. It’s 13-0, Bulldogs time-out before the XP attempt. @NottinghamSCSD @NHamAthletics pic.twitter.com/LMtiNze66Z— Billy Heyen (@Wheyen3) September 7, 2018 Nottingham’s home opener wasn’t going to be an easy task. The Bulldogs started its backup quarterback, James Dixon III, and his go-to wide receiver, Nashon Ash, was playing his second ever game on offense. On top of that, they had to face the reigning sectional runner-up, Baldwinsville. And yet it was the Bees that appeared more inexperienced. “We played with a chip on our shoulder,” said Kias Boatwright, a Nottingham linebacker. “We knew they were gonna run power football, everybody stuck their head up, everybody head got on the ball. We just played Nottingham, we just played defense, that’s all we did.”Boatwright led the Bulldogs’ pass rush with three sacks. Dixon connected twice with Ash on game-changing deep balls. That added up to Nottingham (2-0) winning convincingly, 20-0, over Baldwinsville (0-2) on Friday night at Nottingham High School. Dating back to 2007, Baldwinsville had been 5-0 against Nottingham, according to Maxpreps.com.Since the Bees couldn’t muster any points, all the Bulldogs needed was a couple of big plays. And that’s exactly what they got. After throwing an interception with 7:42 remaining in the second quarter, Dixon rebounded on the next drive with an 84-yard strike to his inexperienced counterpart, Ash. The first-year offensive player lined up in the left slot and ran a go down the seam. Dixon’s pass beat the safety and Ash did the rest, carrying a defender to the four-yard line. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I thought I was down,” Ash said. “So I kind of slowed down but I kept it pushing. But then I felt someone on my back and then he just got me.” Two plays later, Nottingham’s Jadda Brown pounded it in from two yards out to put the Bulldogs on the board first, with 3:50 left in the first halfNottingham kept the momentum going, sacking Baldwinsville quarterback Patrick May for a loss of 12 yards on third down to force a three-and-out before the half. May left the game after that play with an apparent shoulder injury. After Nottingham worked the clock with Brown and its other back, Jamel Nellons, Dixon found Ash on another deep ball, a 40 yarder. This time it was for six, and it put the Bulldogs ahead of the Bees, 14-0. Ash finished with three grabs for 129 yards and that score.“I’ve been waiting for two years to get on offense,” Ash said. “And now I’m on offense and I’m showing what I can do.”last_img