“Next man up.” A common saying in team sports used when a starter is sidelined and their replacement is expected to step in and get the job done. That man in Mechanicville is running back Evan Chapman. Last week the sophomore was called on after lead back Marc DeBates went down with an injury against Holy Trinity. In that contest Chapman rushed for 181 yards and a score in the Raiders come from behind “W”.
Friday night against Watervliet Chapman doubled down gaining 278 yards while scoring twice to lead the Raiders to a 42-15 victory over the Cannoneers.
The game between these undefeated, longtime rivals started in a driving rainstorm and elements played a factor throughout the night.
After the first 12 minutes while both teams moved the football neither came away with points, the closest coming on a 32 yard field goal attempt by Waterviliet’s Connor Darmetko that sailed wide right.
Just one minute into the second period the Cannoneers got on the board in quick strike fashion. Quarterback Jared Ellis found receiver Matt Bell with a short pass that the ‘Vliet wide out turned up the sideline and then turned on the speed, out running Raider defenders for an 86 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
With 7:28 left in the half Mechanicville answered when Raider QB Daniel Motta ran it in from 10 yards out, and a Keegan McHale 2-point conversion gave the host squad an 8-7 advantage.
With 2:00 minutes left in the half it was Chapman’s turn taking the handoff and bouncing it to the outside and down the sideline for a 38 yard scoring run, and with another McHale conversion the Raiders went to the locker room leading 16-7.
The second half couldn’t have started much better for Mechanicville as they took the kickoff and methodically drove the football using five minutes of clock before Chapman punched it in from the two and with the Jake LaFountain point after the Raider lead was 23-7.
Two minutes later that advantage ballooned to 30-7 after a 12-yard scoring run by Motta.
On the next series Watervliet showed a pulse, using a 53 yard Ellis to De’Shau Mitchell connection to the one yard line, setting up a Colin O’Brien scoring plunge on the next play and the Cannoneers cut the lead to 30-15 with 2:29 left in the third.
In the final quarter it was all Mechanicville as the Raiders ground game ate the clock and produced points. Those points coming from DeBates as the big back scored on runs of four and nine yards, and Mechanicville secured the victory, their fourth in as many outings.
On this night the Raider ground attack was dominant with Chapman and Motta doing most of the damage. But in the second half Debates stepped on the field for limited yet productive carries.
The mantra of “Next man up”, in Mechanicville might soon be replaced with “Strength in numbers”, and with the depth of talent in the Raider backfield this Mechanicville squad looks more than strong enough.