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Roberts’ 40-yard punt return puts Pros up first

More work needed on Jets’ special teams
  • The Orry J. Sands Pros won the season’s opener in the Commonwealth American Football League 20-14 over the Baoilco Jets on Saturday. The Pros and Jets are long time rivals. FILE

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Oct 28, 2013

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A 40-yard punt return followed by a quarterback sneak and a 10-yard touchdown was all it took for the Orry J. Sands Pros to ink their first win in the Commonwealth American Football League (CAFL).

Behind the arm of their young quarterback Renaldo Dorsette, the Pros were able to show just who reigns supreme in American football, in the country. Playing one of their biggest rivals, the Baoilco Jets, the Pros wanted to prove that their ‘young guns’ can get the job down and Dorsette and crew did that with a 20-14 victory. Placing Ashley Roberts on special teams paid off for the Pros.

The 40-yard punt return in the first was ran in by Roberts. The Pros also scored the extra two points, going up 8-0 in the opening frame. Unable to move the chains in their first drive, the Jets played tough defense bringing the Pros’ running game to halt for the next four possessions.

Dorsette, who was forced to throw the ball connected a couple times with Charlie Edwards, Devaughn Fritzgerald and Roberts. Realizing that they had to put a clamp down on Edwards, Fritzgerald and Roberts, the Jets moved into a blitz formation. Realizing the defensive form quickly, Dorsette decided to take the ball into the end zone himself. The quarterback sneak was executed perfectly by Dorsette who climbed the backs of his offensive linesman. That particular play, according to Pros head coach Shervin Johnson, should send a strong message to the other teams. If it didn’t, Johnson said the team’s other plays should shake them up.

Johnson said: “First game, it was a sloppy game. I think we could have done a lot of things a whole lot better. But then again, you don’t win championships in week one. This is the foundation, a little sloppy but it is a win and we will take it.

“The younger guys will be fine, but they will have to learn how to play through mistakes and not get frustrated. Ashley Roberts and our special teams were very good and our defensive pass rush with Eugene was good. This is an excellent start to the season. As the season progresses, the team just needs to work on playing through their mistakes and play cleaner football.”

The season opener went down to the final seconds, as the Jets tried their best to rush down field and score. After Fritzgerald broke a couple of tackles and ran into the end zone, putting the Pros up by six, the Jets decided to attack their defense on the first two attempts. On third and four, the team spread the field, sending two of their wide receivers long. The Jets was able to pick up the first down, but couldn’t make it into the end zone.

“Our special teams for the most part was the downfall in our game,” said Tito Bethel, head coach of the Jets.

“On the first special teams, when we kicked the ball off we missed the tackle and they scored off a punt return. So special teams, for the most part is what I think we need to work on. It was a bit of a sloppy play, in the final minutes, knowing that the guy who came in was new at quarterback, but for the most part he did an excellent job. There are just one or two things that we need to iron out to make sure that it is synchronized and everything comes together.”

The Jets started the game with Jermicko Clarke as quarterback. He was then replaced in the first quarter by Philmore Rolle. Big plays were made by Jamal Butler, who had four catches, one was 40-yard. Ramon Mott had a 50-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

For the first time the CAFL had an entertaining halftime, with the Urban Renewal Marching Band putting on a show. The league also honored all breast cancer survivors, with many of their players wearing pink for the cure.

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