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Defense, special teams leads York past Alliance on the gridiron

Defense, special teams leads York past Alliance on the gridiron

Dukes force two turnovers, hold Bulldogs to 124 total yards; Ivey drains two field goals in 27-6 win

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YORK – The York Dukes steamrolled the Alliance Bulldogs Friday night behind a powerful rushing attack and a suffocating defense. Alliance mustered just 33 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 124 for the game – 55 of which came on one play - as York rolled to a 27-6 win and improved to 2-0 on the year. 

The Dukes, meanwhile, finished with 267 offensive yards, highlighted by the ground game churning out 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 40 carries.

Special teams factored into York’s success as well, as junior Garrett Ivey knocked home a pair of field goals and had a critical 48-yard punt return just before halftime. The Dukes also forced a pair of turnovers and returned one back for a defensive score.

“I thought the defense and special teams were very good tonight,” York head coach Glen Snodgrass said. “Offensively, we just made too many mistakes. We did a lot of good things, but there were far more mistakes than there were a week ago. We didn’t have a great week of practice and it kind of showed on offense, but Coach Brackhan had those defenders ready to go tonight, and the special teams – Garrett Ivey knocking in those field goals returning the kicks and Bryson Benjamin with some nice returns – I was very happy with the special teams and the defense.”

The two teams traded punts early, but sophomore running back Seth Erickson put the Dukes on the board on a 39-yard scamper with 2:50 left in the first quarter.

York’s defense shut down Alliance on the next drive, and the Dukes’ offense moved down the field but turned the ball over on downs after a fourth-down drop. The defense immediately responded, as Erickson intercepted a tipped Tyzen Brown pass to give the Dukes the ball deep in Alliance territory.

The offense capitalized, as junior Dalton Snodgrass took the direct snap and ran 12 yards for a touchdown, extending the York lead to 14-0 with 1:06 left until halftime.

York’s defense forced another stop with 14 seconds left in the half, and junior Garrett Ivey took the punt, bounced it to the outside and returned it 48 yards to the Alliance 18-yard line with two seconds left in the half.

Ivey then drained a 35-yard field goal as time expired, and the Dukes went into the locker room up 17-0.

The Dukes’ suffocating defensive performance continued into the second half, as York pitched a shutout through three quarters. Ivey's 32-yard field goal with 3:02 left in the third extended the Dukes' lead to 20-0. 

On the final play of the third quarter, York’s defense turned Alliance over on downs at the Dukes’ 44-yard line. York’s offense moved the ball down to the Bulldogs 10 but turned it over on downs as the clock continued to tick away.

Alliance’s next drive ended quickly, as senior Joel Jensen picked off Brown’s pass and returned it 14 yards for a pick-six. The defensive score extended York’s lead to 27-0 with 4:14 left, and it looked like York might complete the shutout.

Those dreams ended on the next Bulldogs possession, as Carson Bair broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run with 2:43 remaining. However, York’s Dylan Bower crashed through the line of scrimmage and blocked the PAT to keep the Dukes’ lead at 27-6.

York got the ball back and ran out the remaining clock to preserve the 21-point win. The Dukes finished with 267 yards of total offense, including 212 rushing yards on 40 carries.

Defensively, York stymied Alliance for almost the entire 48 minutes. The Bulldogs finished with 17 carries for 79 yards and posted 124 total yards. Minus Bair’s 55-yard touchdown run, Alliance recorded 69 yards of total offense for the entire game.

Brown completed 8 of 15 passes but only threw for 34 yards and also tossed a pair of interceptions, including Jensen’s pick-six.

Erickson finished as York's leading rusher with 73 yards and a touchdown on just seven touches. Snodgrass added 67 yards and a score on 12 carries while also catching two passes for 12 yards.

Senior Marley Jensen added 24 rushing yards on eight carries, while sophomore Morgan Collingham tallied 26 yards on just three touches.

After a very efficient outing against Crete in his first varsity start, Ryan Seevers finished 6-of-15 for 55 yards with no scores. However, the junior also didn’t make many mistakes, had no turnovers and had a likely touchdown dropped on a fourth down in the first half.

Ivey was York’s leading receiver against Alliance, catching two passes for 24 yards. Austin Phinney added 14 yards on one reception, while Snodgrass had 12 yards on two catches.

The Dukes hit the road for the first time this season next Friday when they take on McCook. One area York will look to clean up before the trip are penalties; the Dukes were flagged six times for 61 yards against the Bulldogs.

“We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot with little penalties against a quality team,” Snodgrass said. “Alliance has got a good team, but McCook is a whole different animal, so we’ve got to clean up little silly mistakes that we made tonight and we’ll go down there and give it our best.”

To stay updated on YNT-area sports coverage, follow Christian on Twitter @YNT_Christian or YNT Sports on Instagram @yntsports.

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