NEWPORT, N.Y. — Herkimer made a smooth transition into its new league Saturday with its 19-0 shutout of defending Class D East champion West Canada Valley.
Quarterback Austin Mills ran for two touchdowns and threw for another before halftime and Herkimer’s Magicians, coming off back-to-back Section III titles in Class C, held the Indians of West Canada Valley in check on offense throughout the afternoon.
“Between Coach (Jason) Izzo and coach (Tim) Zaleski, we’re doing some good things with this defense,” Herkimer coach Alan Steele said, “and defense wins championships.”
With junior Isaiah Herron (eight tackles) and senior Steven Napolitano (seven) anchoring the the line, the Magicians took away West Canada Valley’s inside running game. Herkimer held West Canada Valley to 186 yards of total offense and the Indians were unable to complete a pass.
“We did not expect their defense to play that well against our offense,” West Canada valley coach Mike Moody admitted after the game. “... I thought we’d be able to move the ball more. That’s what surprised me.”
Herkimer set up both of Mills’ touchdowns — a one-yarder in the first quarter and a two-yarder in the second — with passes from the senior quarterback to fullback Ryan Fahy. The two connected for a 33-yard gain on the initial play of the second quarter and Mills trotted across the goal line on the next snap.
Aided by one of Herkimer’s 12 penalties, the Indians responded with a drive to the Magicians’ 37-yard line. The Indians opted to punt on fourth-and-four at the Herkimer 42 but the Magicians ran into punter Treyten Borden, giving the Indians a fresh set of downs. Mills intercepted a pass on the next play and the Magicians regained possession.
Alex Shepardson sacked quarterback Ryan Moody on a forth-down play near midfield to end the next West Canada Valley drive and Herkimer added a touchdown 22 seconds before halftime on Mills’ 17-yard scoring strike to tight end Dan Appley.
West Canada Valley crossed the center stripe three times in the second half but failed to reach the end zone. Eric Johnston intercepted a pass on the opening drive of the third quarter, Herkimer took over on downs at its own 10 early in the fourth and time expired with West Canada Valley driving inside the 25.
Mills led the Magicians with 91 rushing yards.
“(Mills) is a handful,” Mike Moody said. “He’s a big, strong kid and they just have too many options to go to.”
Brandon Roberts ran for 81 yards and Ryan Moody had 66 for West Canada Valley.
Herkimer plays at home for the first time Friday against Dolgeville. The Indians travel Saturday to Cooperstown.
HERKIMER 19, WEST CANADA VALLEY 0
Herkimer 7 12 0 0 — 19
West Canada Valley 0 0 0 0 — 0
Page 2 of 2 - First Quarter
HERK — Austin Mills 1 run (Matt Borek kick), 3:21.
HERK — Mills 2 run (run failed), 11:43.
HERK — Dan Appley 17 pass from Mills (pass failed), :22.2.
Records — Herkimer 1-0, 1-0 D East; West Canada Valley 0-1, 0-1 D East.