The Telegram
  • FOOTBALL: Golden Bombers dominant in opening win

  • The Little Falls Mounties caught Ilion off guard with their offensive look at the start of Saturday’s season-opener but a quick adjustment sparked a smothering defensive performance by the Golden Bombers who won 44-6 on the road.

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    The Little Falls Mounties caught Ilion off guard with their offensive look at the start of Saturday’s season-opener but a quick adjustment sparked a smothering defensive performance by the Golden Bombers who won 44-6 on the road.
    The Mounties came out in a five-wide spread formation, a look Ilion had not seen while scouting Little Falls’ scrimmage against West Canada Valley last week. Tim Morgan motioned into the backfield and took off on a 13-yard run on the game’s first play from scrimmage and moved the chains into Ilion territory. Sophomore quarterback Mike Battisti scampered four yards on the next play and Ilion’s coaches called a timeout 56 seconds into the game to reset their defense.
    The adjustments paid immediate dividends. Two short runs and one incomplete pass later, the Golden Bombers took possession of the ball for the first time and embarked on a 69-yard scoring drive — and the Mounties went the rest of the day without gaining another first down.
    Little Falls was never able to respond to the Ilion adjustments.
    “They were able to control both sides of the line of scrimmage,” Little Falls coach Bryan Shepardson said, “(and) it just didn’t feel like we could get into a rhythm on offense.”
    Workhorse Jon Treen carried the ball on Ilion’s first five offensive plays and eight times in all on the Golden Bombers’ initial drive to set up Shea Murphy’s five-yard touchdown run. Treen ran in the conversion for an 8-0 lead.
    After Little Falls went three-and-out, Keith Hacker broke off a 29-yard run to set up Kris Klosner’s nine-yard scoring pass to Murphy which gave the visitors a 14-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game.
    The Mounties immediately struck back. Battisti caught the ensuing kickoff on the run, cut to the middle of the field, hurdled a downed defender near the 40-yard line and raced 81 yards for what would be the lone Little Falls touchdown of the afternoon. A bad snap doomed the Mounties’ conversion try but they were on the board and back within one score of the Golden Bombers.
    “It sound simple,” Shepardson said. “You’ve to play great defense, you’ve got to win the turnover battle and need to make plays on special teams. It wasn’t enough our special teams were great today.”
    While Little Falls continued to struggle on offense, the Mounties dodged a series of bullets on defense in the first half. Jake Gillard recovered a fumble after Ilion had driven to the Mounties’ 24, and Little Falls stopped the Golden Bombers on fourth down on back-to-back drives at the 30. Ilion went for it one more time on fourth down and broke through with Klosner connecting with Connor Morris on a 16-yard scoring pass.
    Page 2 of 3 - Ilion forced Little Falls to punt from deep in its own end in the final minute of the first half and missed another chance to extend its lead. Punter Nick Hubbell picked a dribbling snap off the ground but was hit hard by Golden Bomber Alex as he dropped the ball to his foot and never connected on his kick. Ilion scooped the ball up at the Mountie 11 with nine second on the clock and no timeouts. Unable to locate an open receiver, Klosner scrambled up the middle of the field rather than throw the ball away and was tackled at the 7 as the horn signaled the end of the first half.
    Treen ran for two touchdowns in the third quarter and Matthew Hall added a score in the fourth as the Ilion defense continued to stifle the Mounties. The Golden Bombers sacked Battisti four times and took the ball away on three occasions, including the recovery on the botched punt. Treen, who ran for 180 yards on 28 carries on offense, had a team-high 13 tackles on defense. Ryan Chiever was in on two of the sacks.
    “I’m pretty excited,” Ilion coach Jon Cole said. “We got our offensive running game going the way we wanted to and the defense played well. Overall, I’m excited, I’m happy.”
    Little Falls had negative offensive yardage in the second half.
    The Mounties suffered a personnel hit in addition to the loss on the field. Senior linebacker Traton Coffin was taken off the field on a stretcher in the middle of the third quarter. Coffin, who made a team-high 13 tackles before he was hurt, lay facedown and motionless on the field for several minutes and experienced some numbness, according to coach Bryan Shepardson. Shepardson said Sunday that Coffin had been treated and released at a local hospital and that he had suffered a concussion.
    Ilion plays its home opener Friday against Herkimer which is coming off a Week 1 road win of its own against Frankfort-Schuyler. Herkimer has defeated Ilion the last two years, once by one point and once by two.
    “It’s a great rivalry,” Cole said. “It’s a great game for us, it’s a great game for them and it’s a great game for the valley.”
    Little Falls plays a rivalry game of its own Saturday when the Mounties travel to Dolgeville for a non-league game.
    Ilion    14    8  14    8 — 44
    Little Falls    6    0    0    0  —  6
    First Quarter
    ILION — Shea Murphy 5 run (Jon Treen run), 6:13.
    ILION — Murphy 9 pass from Kris Klosner (run failed), 3:10.
    LITTLE FALLS — Mike Battisti 81 kickoff return (kick failed), 2:54.
    Second Quarter
    ILION — Connor Morris 16 pass from Klosner (Murphy run), 1:02.
    Third Quarter
    Page 3 of 3 - ILION — Treen 2 run (run failed), 5:50.
    ILION — Treen 8 run (Murphy run), 1:28.
    Fourth Quarter
    ILION — Matthew Hall 8 run (Hall run), 7:43.
    Records — Ilion 1-0, 1-0 C East; Little Falls 0-1, 0-1 C East.
    Compiled From Times Staff Reports