Savannah second-half surge tops Smithville

By Ryan Edwards PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 14, 2013 - 12:19 AM

After suffering a heartbreaking loss last Friday night to Harrisonville, Savannah rebounded by defeating Smithville 26-10.
The Savages spotted Smithville a 10-point first-half lead only to rally in the second half and earn their second win on the season.
Savannah faced adversity early with key turnovers including a fumble on its opening drive by senior quarterback Dalton Duane. Savages’ coach Chad Smith said his quarterback recovered from the early troubles.
“I think in the second half, he (Dalton) stepped it up, and he was reading the option better,” Smith said. “I think he was a little timid in the first, and he said he wasn’t, and I’m proud of him.”
Coach Smith went on to say he wasn’t pleased with the way his team played in the first half.
“Well obviously we came out flat.” Smith said. “We came out a little scared, and we made a lot of mistakes.” Smith said.
Smithville’s used a punishing ground attack on their first drive, moving the ball 56 yards down the field behind senior running back Nolan Gromacki, who on the same drive carried the ball six times for 41 yards. With the ball on the Savannah six-yard line, Gromacki plunged into the end zone getting the Warriors on the board first. 
After a Savannah three and out, Smithville got the ball back. The Warriors once again used a very effective running game, this time led by sophomore quarterback Mitchell Orr. On the first play of the drive, Orr ran through the Savage defense picking up a tough 50 yards. Three plays later the drive stalled at the Savannah 18-yard line, Sam Aviles would make a 28-yard field goal making the score 10-0 in favor of Smithville.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Savages offense looked lost. But, after a pass interference penalty on Smithville, Savannah only needed one play to get on the board. Duane completed a 40-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jesse Dickens making it 10-7.
At halftime in the locker room Coach Smith wrote on the board: “Flat, scared, and mistakes. I told the players to make them (the players) understand that was the reason why we were losing the game.”
In the second half the Savannah defense held its own against. The Savannah defense intercepted Orr four times and also forced two fumbles.
With 1:14 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Orr’s pass was intercepted and returned 35 yards for a touchdown by junior cornerback Clayton McGinness, giving Savannah the lead at 14-10.
Savannah wasn’t done scoring. They would get on the board again, as Duane found a wide open Chase Simpson in the back of the end zone to make the score 20-10, Savannah. On Smithville’s final drive of the game sophomore quarterback Ethan Thomas had the ball taken away from him by Savannah’s Lyle Powell, who returned the fumble 65 yards for another touchdown.
Coach Smith said he was pleased with the way his defense played in the second half.
“They are so young,” Smith said. “They only had two games under their belt. And, I think they realized that they can play with anybody.”