Fieldston stays unbeaten with Lions victory

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The Fieldston Eagles proved their dominance on the gridiron Saturday, earning their second straight win to open the season.

Jesse Cooper-Leary led the Eagles with four touchdown passes as Fieldston rolled to an impressive 34-7 victory.

“On the offensive side of the ball, there was obviously stuff we still need to work on,” Cooper-Leary said. “But as a whole unit. you can’t really be upset about a 34-7 victory. I thought the offensive line stepped up when they needed to, and obviously my receivers did one hell of a job today. Everyone’s really been stepping up, making my job a lot easier.”

The one-sided victory was the product of a play-making offense paired with a defense that kept the lions on their own side of the field nearly the entire game.

Fieldston head coach Gus Ornstein was impressed with his team’s performance on that side of the ball.

“Our defense has been awesome the first two weeks,” Ornstein said. “They’re playing aggressive, playing physical, getting after people. We thought we’d have that kind of physicality this year, and it’s awesome to see it happening.”

The Andre Ashley-led defense held the Lions to just one score, making key plays along the way. Most notably was a Noah Gold interception that brought the Eagles within Horace Mann’s 10-yard line to set up a score.

The one downside to their defensive outing was Brody McGuinn finding Charlie Wallach for a 20-yard touchdown run off of a screen pass early in the fourth quarter.

Fieldston’s offense was arguably more impressive, however.

The Eagles received the game’s opening kickoff before turning the ball over after four downs. Fieldston, however, quickly rebounded. After Horace Mann punted on their first three-and-out of the day, Fieldston quickly began to flex their many offensive weapons.

Cooper-Leary’s first touchdown of the day was a 38-yard dump pass to running back Josh Godosky for the game’s first score. The Eagles quickly doubled their lead to 14-0 as Cooper-Leary connected with tight end Patrick O’Hagan for a 40-yard sprint to pay dirt.

“Today’s game was awesome, it was lot of fun to play in,” O’Hagan said. “The heat got to us a little bit, but we continued to grind and continued to push.”

O’Hagan is seemingly Cooper-Leary’s security blanket, reeling in two touchdowns on the day, catching another for a 15-yard score and advancing the lead to 20-0.

Like O’Hagan, Fieldston’s Alexander Thorpe also punched in two touchdowns. The first, a 20-yard pass from Cooper-Leary, making the score 27-0. The second was a bruising rush that jumped the Eagles’ lead to 34. Thorpe spoke of his versatility after the game.

“I feel comfortable everywhere, wherever the team needs me,” he said. “Running back, fullback, quarterback, tight end, whatever it is, I like them all. Put me wherever, and I’ll play.”

The Lions sole touchdown of the day came at the end of a well-managed drive that lasted most of the third quarter. Storming down the field, McGuinn completed passes to receivers Kevin Smith, Rae Rae Silverman and Charlie Wallach, who later put his team on the scoreboard.

“We were down by a couple of touchdowns, so we figured we’d just go at them,” Wallach said. “I ran the ball, broke a couple of tackles, it felt good. It was nice to get some open field.”

Horace Mann head coach Matt Russo, was encouraged by his team’s fight.

The drive “speaks to our kids’ resiliency,” Russo said. “They were able to shake off everything and move forward. It was a really good sign. and something that is great to build off of.”

Horace Mann was playing despite losing starting quarterback Marc Murphy, while also being forced to move their home game to Fieldston due to field renovations.

“I don’t think home field advantage is really all that prevalent,” Russo said. “Whatever parents show up here, pretty much, are gonna show up there. You don’t get a huge student body following, so I think we were OK with it. I don’t think it was a big deal.”

As the season rolls past Week 2, Fieldston will test their early undefeated season at King on Sept. 23, while the Lions try to earn their first win against Newark Academy the same day.

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