Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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Martin, Spartans Soar past Ephrata


With just 5:50 left in the first quarter, Friday night's contest between host Garden Spot and visiting Ephrata, looked like it was going to be a blowout.
 
But the young Mounts (0-2) regrouped and made a game against the Spartans (2-0) in New Holland before finally losing, 27-7 [box score].
 
Behind an air attack led by Mitch Martin (12 for 28 for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns), and a tough defense led by junior linebacker Jake Riehl, the Spartans scored early and then held off Ephrata's second half charge to win their second game of the young season.
 
"We got ourselves into a couple situations early," said Garden Spot head coach Matt Zamperini. "Then we dropped too many passes in the middle of the game when we should have blown it open."
 
The Spartans took the opening kickoff at their 9-yard line and used six plays before scoring their first touchdown. Martin hit Troy Shaub with a 9-yard pass for the game's first score.
 
Ephrata couldn't muster much offense on its first possession and decided to go for fourth-and-six from the Garden Spot 32, but the run by Dakota Keefer fell short and the Spartans took over at their 27.
 
On the very next play Martin hit Daryl Hartman over the middle and the sophomore receiver outraced the entire defense for a 73-yard TD to make the score 13-0.
 
Ephrata mounted a nice drive late in the first half, reeling off 14 plays and chewing up 7:33 of the game clock only to come up short on another fourth-down attempt.
 
After a scoreless third quarter, Martin struck paydirt again. This time he connected with Miguel Bowman for a 46-yard pass, again over the middle, to put the Spartans up 20-0 with 11:17 left in the game.
 
Ephrata got its offense in gear when, with 5:00 left in the fourth quarter, Keefer raced around the right side for a 13-yard score to close the gap to 20-7.
 
Keefer led the Mounts with 54 yards on the ground in 13 carries.
 
With time running out for Ephrata, quaterback Gyree Durante fumbled. Garden Spot's Rylan Eberly scooped up the loose ball and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown to slam the door on the Mounts.
 
Martin said, "We knew the seam down the middle was going to be open, so we tried to take advantage of it. It seemed to work."
 
On the Ephrata side, head coach Scott Shelly advised that his team will not give up. "Our kids played hard and will not give up," he said. "We have two guys in our secondary that haven't played since midget football and it was an adjustment for them."
 
The Spartans will try to stay unbeaten next week against Conestoga Valley, while Ephrata will try to crack the win column at home against Warwick.