CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Listening to Cambridge Central School football coach Doug Luke after the team’s 26-10 win over Canajoharie on Saturday, one would feel as if they had lost by 16.
These Indians have high expectations -- something Luke didn’t feel were met. But the Indians remained unbeaten at 3-0 after the victory on Saturday afternoon over the Cougars.
"Everyone in Cambridge expects us to win," said Luke, who won his 153rd career game on Saturday. "We expect to win, but we also expect to play well and win. We didn’t. [The coaches] tore them down, ripped them a little and now we build them back up for next week."
With Cambridge ahead 12-3 late in the third quarter, the Indians turned in its longest drive of the day, a 14-play grinder that ended in an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6 from the Canajoharie 11. On the turnover, the Cougars took over and four plays later, sophomore quarterback Jace Fox found Zach Folts on an 81-yard catch and run to pull within 12-10 with 7:30 left in the game.
"We didn’t execute on offense and we made a lot of mental mistakes," Luke said. "[We had a] 4th-and-1 and [we] false start. We had several breakdowns and we know it’s not acceptable. We can’t do it and compete against the better teams."
But momentum turned for the Indians on the next drive. Chris Warnke, who ran for a game-high 137 yards and a touchdown, ran for a first down on a 3rd-and-4 to keep the drive alive, then quarterback Ethan English found David Reedy on 4th-and-12 for a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 18-10.
Warnke also had a 81-yard run in the first half that set up the Indians for their first score. English was 7-of-13 for 139 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"Warnke was a big positive, he ran over a bunch of guys on the long run," Luke said. "He had a good game running the ball."
On the Reedy touchdown, Cambridge missed the two-point conversion, giving Canajoharie a chance to go down the field and tie the game. But on the Cougars’ first play from scrimmage with 3:34 to go in regulation, Caleb Rowland picked off Fox to give Cambridge the ball back.
"Our whole defense played well today and we got a good break there," Rowland said. "The defensive line got some push, and the defensive backs were able to do our jobs and be in position. [The] quarterback dropped back, I went into zone [coverage] and he threw it right to me."
Rowland iced the game two plays later, blasting through the line for a 13-yard touchdown run and a 26-10 advantage.
"A lot of games come down to the end and he came through at the end," Luke said. "He made the big play at the right time to put the game away."
So while the Indians are 3-0, there is still a lot to do, Rowland said.
"It’s nice to be undefeated, but we have a lot to work on," said the junior running back. "We’ll work hard in practice to get better and hopefully we can continue to keep winning."