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Partly Cloudy,74°
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Clarke holds off Malverne
Kathy Leistner/Herald
Clarke junior Joe Truono played a key role in last Saturday's 30-26 victory over Malverne with two touchdowns.

Clarke and Malverne combined for more than 500 yards rushing and eight touchdowns through the first 47 minutes of their Conference IV gridiron battle last Saturday, but it was a goal-line stand by the Rams in the closing seconds that sealed their 30-26 home victory.

The Mules turned to young Charles Jenkins, Jr., who had pounded out 87 yards on 11 carries in the second half running mostly through the heart of the Clarke defense, on fourth down from the Rams 4-yard line. The sophomore, forced to the outside by the Clarke defense, was thrown out of bounds by junior cornerback Nestor Haddo to end the last-minute threat.

“That’s what we were trying to do throughout the game,” Rams coach John Boyle said of stringing out Jenkins Jr. “It just took us to that last play [to make it happen].”

Leading by 16 points at the half, a goal-line stand in the closing minute was probably the last thing on Clarke’s mind, but a spirited comeback led by the bruising Jenkins, Jr., and junior quarterback Jamal Aaron Hill (20 carries, 166 yards, two scores) included three touchdown drives of at least 60 yards. The final drive that began at the Malverne 37 was sparked by a 34-yard catch and run from sophomore Maxon Jean. “We felt like it was out game to win,” Mules coach Kito Lockwood said. “We had a few blown assignments and a few mental errors [in the first half] and got in a hole early.”

Clarke’s offense was led by senior running back Andrew Eannucci, who pinballed his way to 123 yards rushing and one score on 18 attempts. Junior Joe Truono added 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Truono, who was fed a solid workload with senior Justin DiFillippi out because of injury, gave the Rams a 30-20 lead with a 1-yard plunge midway through the fourth, capping a nine-play 80-yard drive in which he had five rushes for 36 yards.

Eannucci had a highlight reel run on the drive, breaking three tackles on the way to 24 hard-fought yards, while senior quarterback Jake Louw (120 yards passing) connected with senior receiver John Fogarty (three catches, 47 yards) on a 16-yard completion.

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