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Wildcats own 2nd half to beat Weir

September 8, 2012
By AARON PETCHAL - Special to the Herald-Star

RICHMOND - The Edison football team tallied 35 unanswered points en route to a 41-20 victory over Weir Friday night at Cartwright Memorial Field.

"I am proud of our kids," Edison head coach Mike McKenzie said. "I was disappointed in the first quarter and in the first half. They built a 20-6 lead.

"It would have been easy for our kids to start questioning everything we have done, but they rallied. Hopefully, this is a turning point for us."

Article Photos

HOME OPENER — Edison’s Chris Graziani ran for 151 yards and four touchdowns in?Friday’s 41-20 victory over visiting Weir.
-- Mike Mathison

"We played well in the first half. They played well in the second half," Weir head coach Tony Filberto said. "We looked like an offensive team. We looked like a defensive team. In the second half, we didn't get stops, and they did. That was the difference in the football game.

"We are making strides."

The Red Riders scored the first 14 points of the game before Edison got on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Weir regained a double-digit lead with its third score of the game, but the rest of the game belonged to the Wildcats.

Fact Box

Edison 41, Weir 20

Weir 8 12 0 0 - 20

Edison 0 13 14 14 - 41

W: Larch 1 run (DiGiorlamo run)

W: Larch 3 run (run failed)

E: Graziani 23 run (run failed)

W: Larch 50 run (run failed)

E: Graziani 4 run (Marcus kick)

E: Springer 33 pass from Marcus (Marcus kick)

E: Graziani 30 run (Marcus kick)

E: Graziani 1 run (Marcus kick)

E: Springer 23 pass from Marcus (Marcus kick)

RUSHING: Weir 41-214-3 (Larch 29-164-3, DiGiroloamo 6-22, Bennett 5-30, Rice 1-(-2). Edison: 39-376-4 (Graziani 23-151-4, Marcus 11-94, Shannon 5-31).

PASSINNG: Weir 6-14-111-0-0 (all by Larch). Edison 7-10-172-2-0 (all by Marcus)

RECEIVING: Weir Barnes 2-83, Rice 1-20, Bennett 1-3, Davis 2-5. Edison: Springer 3-78-2, Shannon 2-54, Ross 2-30

FIRST DOWNS: Weir 13, Edison 16.

FUMBLES: Weir 0-0, Edison 2-1.

PENALTIES: Weir 2-6, Edison 5-28.

Edison ended up scoring two touchdowns in each of the final three quarters to pull away for the big victory.

Offensively, the Wildcats were led by the dynamic duo of quarterback Nolan Marcus and running back Chris Graziani. Marcus accounted for 264 yards of offense, while Graziani gained 151 yards.

Marcus seven of 10 passes for 174 and two touchdowns, and the first-year starter ran for 90 yards on 14 carries. Marcus also converted six extra points.

"We have big expectations," McKenzie said about Marcus. "He can run. He can throw well. At times, he plays a little too fast. He needs to slow down. Tonight, the game slowed down for him, and that made him comfortable."

Graziani rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries.

Richie Springer recorded 88 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions. Ethan Shannon netted 83 yards of offense.

William Larch contributed 276 yards of total offense to lead the way for the Red Riders.

"He's very good," Filberto said.

Larch completed six of 14 passes for 110 yards. He also amassed 166 yards on the ground on 29 carries.

"Those all weren't designed runs," Filberto said.

Matt Barnes snagged two passes for 83 yards to lead the way. A 72-yard catch and run by Barnes set up the first score of the game.

Weir opened the scoring on a 1-yard run by Larch. Phil DiGirolamo ran in for the 2-point conversion making the score 8-0 with 8:50 left to play in the first quarter.

The Red Riders added to their lead early in the second stanza.

Larch scored his second touchdown of the game to make the score 14-0. His second-scoring run covered 3 yards. The 2-point conversion run failed keeping the score at 14-0 with 11:58 left to play before halftime.

The Wildcats got on the board on a 23-yard run by Graziani. The 2-point conversion pass failed keeping the score 14-6 with 4:45 left to play before halftime.

Edison attempted an onside kick, but Weir was able to recover the ball at midfield. On the next play, Larch scampered 50 yards for a touchdown making the score 20-6. The conversion run failed again keeping the score 20-6 with 4:34 remaining in the first half.

After the touchdown, the Red Riders also attempted an onside kick, but the Wildcats were able to recover the ball. Edison drove down the field, and Graziani capped the march with a 4-yard run. The extra point by Marcus made the score 20-13 with 2:15 to play before halftime.

"We started tackling better in the second half," McKenzie said. "It was a tale of two halves."

The Wildcats tied the score at 20 on the first drive of the second half. Marcus hooked up with Springer for a 33-yard score, and the PAT tied the score with 10:55 to play in the third quarter.

Graziani gave the Wildcats a 26-20 lead on a 30-yard run with 5:04 showing on the clock. The extra point made it 27-20.

In the fourth quarter, Graziani scored from the 1, and Marcus' extra point made the score 34-20 with 11:55 left to play in the game. Later, Springer hauled in a 23-yard pass from Marcus, and the conversion kick made it 41-20 with 5:51 left to play in the game.

"This kind of got the monkey off of our back," McKenzie said. "It was a taking a physical toll. I was physically sick. I could feel the pressure on my chest. Hopefully, we can build on that."

Weir plays Friday night at Grafton, while Edison travels south to play Union Local.

"Four out of first five games are on the road," McKenzie said. "Our first game was a home game, but this was the first time we got to play here. We are going to be the road warriors again."