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Ardsley's Defense Preserves 19-14 Win

BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. -- Once again, the Ardsley football team grabbed the lead, this time in its game against Briarcliff Sunday. The Panthers kept their string going of holding the advantage in the scoring column. However, unlike three of their earlier games, where the opponent rallied back, the Panthers would not allow the undefeated Bears to accomplish it. Ardsley fought off a furious second-half charge by Briarcliff and came away with a 19-14 win, spoiling the Bears’ homecoming. Ardsley, now 2-3, received a touchdown, scoring pass and a fumble recovery on defense from quarterback Dan Stein. Halfback Nicholas Sergi carried 16 times for a game-high 156 yards and a touchdown. “Every game we’ve had a lead and at halftime, we told ourselves we were not going to have a letdown,” Stein said. “We knew Briarcliff was a big-play team. Their quarterback has a great arm and he has two great receivers. We were blitzing four, and sometimes five, depending on the play.” Briarcliff quarterback Ryan Hooper did throw for 176 yards, including 153 in the second half, but he was under constant duress from Ardsley’s pass rush. Hooper was sacked three times and picked off once, but Ardsley made him uncomfortable in the pocket with pressure. The Bears also suffered a major blow in the third quarter when stand-out wide receiver/safety Jackson Plimpton left the game with an arm injury. Ardsley was holding a 19-14 lead late in the fourth quarter when Briarcliff mounted one last surge, driving from midfield to the Ardsley 19. It was the second time Briarcliff was inside Ardsley’s 20-yard line in the fourth quarter. On second-and-3, Hooper was sacked. Hooper’s next two passes fell incomplete, including a fourth-down pass that was batted down at the line of scrimmage. “In the first half, our corners pressed them and I don‘t think they were used to that because other teams have played off their receivers,” Stein said. “In the second half we started to play off of them, a little, then went back to press.” Briarcliff took a quick 7-0 lead, scoring on the game’s opening series, on a Hooper-to-Colin Orr 15-yard pass on fourth down. It capped a 15-play, 67-yard drive consuming eight minutes and nine seconds. However, Ardsley responded with 19 consecutive points. Stein connected with Gabe Kardish for a 27-yard strike on fourth down. After Stein recovered a Briarcliff fumble at the Bears’ 7-yard line on the ensuing series, Sergi carried in untouched for Ardsley’s second score in a span of 42 seconds. Ardsley forced Briarcliff to punt and then went 48 yards in four plays, capped by Stein’s 1-yard plunge. “We passed a lot in our first four games, but coming in we felt we could run on their defensive line,” Stein said. “I think this was the most carries Nick Sergi had. He had a great game and the offensive line did a great job.” Briarcliff sabotaged itself with penalties. The Bears were flagged 11 times, including 10 on the offense, for 80 yards. After its opening drive in the first half, Briarcliff ran just nine plays the remainder of the half. Orr finished with four catches for 90 yards and Jonathan Marrero had four grabs for 89 yards.

Ardsley 0 19 0 0 -- 19 Briarcliff 7 0 0 7 -- 14

Briarcliff -- Colin Orr 15 pass from Ryan Hooper (Matt Pasternak kick). Ardsley -- Gabe Kardish 27 pass from Dan Stein (kick failed). Ardsley -- Nick Sergi 7 run (run failed). Ardsley -- Stein 1 run (Quinn Reilly kick). Briarcliff -- Colin Orr 3 run (Pasternak kick).

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