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Horace Greeley Grounds Out Win Over Sleepy Hollow

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- In two games one thing has been certain about Horace Greeley’s offense -- it is a rampaging force.

Horace Greeley amassed 489 yards, including 342 rushing, in a 35-21 victory over host Sleepy Hollow Saturday. The Quakers improved to 2-0 and have scored 91 points.

Senior quarterback Justin Ciero had another monster day, rushing for a game-high 178 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw for 147 yards and a score as the Quakers reeled off a pair of 94-yard scoring drives.

“It was intense,” said Ciero of the game. “We knew coming in we would be playing a great team in Sleepy Hollow. They have a fast-paced offense so we would have to be ready for everything. We knew we would have to put points up on the board and we stepped up.”

Along with Ciero’s 178 yards, fullback Hiro Asaga ran for 103 yards.

Leading 14-7 at halftime following a 28-yard scoring strike to Michael Lefkowitz and a Ciero 5-yard run, Greeley increased the score to 21-7 on the opening drive of the second half on Ciero’s 4-yard run.

“We knew that after halftime we were getting the ball back and we wanted to drive it down the field,” Ciero said. “The linemen were really pushing and everyone was contributing.”

Sleepy Hollow came charging back with two touchdowns in a span of two minutes and 30 seconds. Quarterback Nick Vallo hit Steven Bencosme on the sideline and the junior wide receiver made a great catch and evaded three tacklers at the 15 to complete a 49-yard score. Sleepy Hollow recovered the ensuing on-sides kick, and Vallo and Bencosme hooked up again, this time from four yards out. Ezekiel Sierra caught Vallo’s pass for the two-point conversion.

Whatever momentum Sleepy Hollow may have gained, quickly disappeared as Greeley went 63 yards in nine plays. Ciero plunged in from the 1 for the go-ahead score with eight seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“We have a great group of captains,” said Ciero, who is one along with Jackson Weisman, Theodore Graves and Asaga. “A lot of teams might have caved in, but we answered back. I am proud of my team.”

Sleepy Hollow had two huge pass plays wiped out by offensive pass interference, including an L.J. Garrant to Vallo touchdown that would have drawn Sleepy Hollow within one at 28-27, five minutes into the fourth.

Vallo had a big day, completing 17 of 23 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Bencosme caught five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns and Garrant returned the opening kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown. However, penalties and Greeley’s ability to run the ball effectively were too much for Sleepy Hollow.

“We weren’t wrapping up,” Bencosme said. “We were going for the legs. We missed a lot of gang tackling as well. We played with a lot of heart and desire the whole game. We’re mad, frustrated and disappointed because this is a game we felt we should have won. We just have to bring it next week against Saunders.” Scoring: Sleepy Hollow -- L.J. Garrant 95 kick-off return (Jake Warren Horace Greeley -- Cory Ekstrom 28 pass from Justin Ciero (Jackson Weisman kick).

Horace Greeley -- Ciero 5 run (Weisman kick).

Horace Greeley -- Ciero 4 run (Weisman kick).

Sleepy Hollow -- Steven Bencosme 49 pass from Nick Vallo (kick failed).

Sleepy Hollow -- Bencosme 4 pass from Vallo (Ezekiel Sierra pass from Vallo).

Horace Greeley -- Ciero 1 run (Weisman kick).

Horace Greeley -- Ciero 9 run (Weisman kick).

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