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Posted: 09/18/13

Above, junior Nathan Conner makes a shoestring tackle that resulted in a loss of yardage for Dakota. Below top, senior tight end Blake Williams tries to break free from a Dakota tackle during last Friday night's game. Below middle, senior safety Charlie Roth makes the first of his two interceptions early in the 1st quarter down in the Dakota end of the field. Below bottom, 10th-grader Lucas Schimon is pushed out of bounds by two Dakota defenders during Friday's game.

(Observer photos by Mike Nicley)

Romeo comes up scoreless
in 21-0 contest with Dakota

Observer Sports Writer
      Romeo knew it was going to have trouble scoring points against the Dakota High defense entering Friday night's contest at Barnabo Field so it was important that they play good defense themselves, and for three of the four quarters the host Bulldogs did just that.
       Unfortunately for Romeo, the Cougars scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and that was enough to grab a 21-0 win to improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the MAC Red division.
       Romeo (1-2 and 0-2 MAC Red) was able to move the ball getting more than a few first downs, especially in the second half, but could not sustain anything and when it did the Dakota defense would come up with a big turnover to thwart the drive.
       The Cougars scored early in the second quarter when tight end Daniel Crawford capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Crowell. Place kicker Pasquale Madonna added the PAT and the Cougars led 7-0.
       Seven minutes later, with Romeo trying to get out of its own end, defensive end Tony Balabani intercepted a pass at the Bulldog 17-yard line and returned it for a score, giving Dakota a 14-0 lead following the successful point after try from Madonna with just under 3:00 left in the half.
       After a short punt that gave the Cougars the ball at the Romeo 39-yard line on the Bulldog's ensuing possession, Crowell (19-of-29 for 196 yards) found wide receiver Brendan Mangan for a 6-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 54 seconds left in the half for a 21-0 lead heading into the locker rooms.
       The Romeo offense began to play better in the second half, putting together a drive late in the third quarter that began at its own 20 only to see it end at the Dakota 10, when Balabani intercepted Zach Rizo for the second time.
       Offensively for Romeo, Rizo was 13-of-27 passes for 100 yards in the air and had 21-yards on 11 carries on the ground.
       Lucas Schimon had eight carries for 25 yards; Jason Sammut had three receptions for 34 yards, Mitchell Pacitti had three catches for 25 yards, and tight end Blake Williams had four catches for 24 yards.
       Senior defensive back Charlie Roth had two interceptions and linebacker George Wilson recovered a fumble to lead the Romeo defense.
       Next up, the Bulldogs travel to play a much improved L'Anse Creuse North team this Friday night in a MAC crossover contest.
       The 2-1 Crusaders, who like to toss the ball around and are averaging 34 points a game, are led by quarterback Sean Koski, who had eight touchdown passes in the last two games alone.
       Deiontae Nicholas is one of Koski's favorite targets and is also a dangerous return man.

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