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Eric Schweitzer shifts to higher gear in second half for Babylon

Babylon's Eric Schweitzer picks up some yardage against

Babylon's Eric Schweitzer picks up some yardage against John Glenn. (Oct. 12, 2013) Credit: Bob Sorensen

Even though Eric Schweitzer is Babylon's leading rusher, it didn't bother the slashing senior that he had only seven carries in the first half of Saturday's Suffolk IV showdown against host Glenn.

"Defense was more important. I didn't care about getting the ball as much," said Schweitzer, also a linebacker.

Priorities shifted in the second half and Schweitzer answered the call. He had 14 of his 21 carries, 115 of his 132 yards and two of his three touchdowns after intermission to help Babylon pull away from rival Glenn, 36-21.

Babylon (5-0), the defending Long Island Class IV champions, had its hands full with Glenn (3-2), which took a 14-0 lead after capitalizing on a fourth-down face-mask penalty to extend a drive and a muffed fumble on a kickoff that set up another score. They needed Schweitzer's grit on defense -- plus his 1-yard TD run after the Panthers recovered a fumble deep in Knights territory -- to take a tenuous 15-14 halftime lead.

"We made some adjustments," Schweitzer said.

They seemed to work. Schweitzer broke free down the right sideline for a big gain and used a stiff-arm to discard the final tackler on a 32-yard scoring run that produced a 21-14 lead with 7:41 left in the third.

Babylon looked to be in control later in the quarter when Jake Carlock (five catches for 78 yards, three rushes for 13, an interception and one huge sack that caused a fumble) made a spectacular all-out dive to snare Nick Santorelli's sprint-right pass for a 17-yard touchdown and 29-21 lead after Schweitzer ran in for a two-point conversion.

Glenn, however, got a spark when sophomore Chris Forsberg (14 carries, 121 yards) bolted 72 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 29-21 with 1:26 left in the third.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Schweitzer doused the flame. He took a pitch from Santorelli, raced around right end and broke tacklers down the left sideline for a 29-yard gain. He also drew a late hit and the subsequent 15-yard penalty set Babylon up at the Knights' 31. Schweitzer carried three more times on the drive, concluding it with a 10-yard run for his third touchdown of the game and 10th of the season.

Carlock had also scored his 10th on his catch that required some improvisation. He was supposed to be open in the middle of the end zone, but the pocket broke down, forcing Santorelli to scramble to his right. From beneath the goalposts, Carlock raced into the right corner to make the grab.

"I wasn't open at first and when I saw Nick scrambling, I kept coming across the field," Carlock said. "Nick threw a great ball on the run."

Schweitzer praised Carlock and wide receiver Ray Wardell for clearing the way on his game-breaking sweep. "They threw some great downfield blocks," Schweitzer said. "I did get into a rhythm in the second half. When that happens, I see the holes better and make better cuts."

Babylon coach Rick Punzone wants to see more of what he saw in the second half. "They showed us a different look, a three-man front, and we had to adjust," Punzone said. "We haven't been pushed like that all season. We needed it."

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