Falcons Ground Eagles

Air Force used all three elements of its customary option attack to race to a three TD, first quarter lead and was never headed this afternoon in posting a ,42-20, victory over the Eastern Washington University Eagles and registered its first win of the 2004 season.

EWU Post game
Chris Field, AFAFalcons Staff Writer
THREE HEADED MONSTER. Senior fullback Dan Shaffer and sophomore fullback Jacobe Kendrick combined for 176 yards on the ground and one TD in leading the way for the Air Force rushing attack. Not since the San Diego State game of the 2002 season had the AFA FB game produced such a robust performance.
 Five AFA HBs combined for 128 yards, a pair of rushing TDsAFA HB #15 and another via a reception and QB Shaun Carney added another 62 as the Falcons' backfield amassed a healthy 366 yards in the running game.
 Short first quarter TD bursts by Carney and HBs Darnell Stephens and Eddie Moss staked Air Force to a twenty-one point lead it never relinquished.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.  Eagles' QB Erik Meyer, successfully probed the middle of the AFA secondary for two touchdown passes in the second quarter to pull the visitors within striking distance, but when DL Gilberto Perez blocked EWU's second conversion attempt the Falcons gained an emotional edge.
 After Meyer connected with Eric Kimble and Craig McIntyre for second quarter scores the AFA's freshman QBFalcons closed the scoring in the first half when Carney found Stephens on a perfectly executed swing pass, the halfback sprinted 21 yards to the end zone and Air Force established a solid 15 point halftime lead.
 The teams traded long touchdown drives on their initial possessions of the second half, after which Air Force held EWU scoreless for the final twenty-four minutes of play.
 Kimble ended the Eagles' opening thrust of the third quarter with his second TD grab of the game. The Falcons answered with Carney's nine yard toss to Justin Handley, as the sophomore from Stone Mountain, Georgia scored the first TD of his career.
 While the  Falcons were torched for 573 yards of total offense by California on opening day, defensive coordinator Richard Bell's squad was able to cut that figure to 403 against the visitors from the Big Sky Conference. Most of Meyer's completions on the day--and there 21 of them--were directed between the hash marks of the field at the soft spots in AFA's secondary.
 Coach Fisher DeBerry works tirelessly to field teams which excel in the kicking game. Punter Donnie Heaton and kickoff specialist Michael Greenaway give the Falcons a strong presence in both areas. Eastern Washington demonstrated the Falcons still have much work to do in kick coverage as Air Force repeatedly was victimized by solid punt and kickoff returns as evidenced by the fact that for the second consecutive week Heaton was forced to make a tackle.
 Carney led the Falcons on three productive first quarter sorties and helped Air Force to duplicate the precision it showed against Cal in the first half of last week's game.  Just as in last week game the Falcons experienced a lengthy period of little productivity as the Eagles defused the Falcons' option for most of the second quarter.
 ODDS AND ENDS.  DeBerry promised that his 2004 team would rely more heavily on the FB game than has been the case AFA Fullback Dan Sover the past two seasons. The combined play of Shaffer and Kendrick in the absence of injured started Adam Cole, may allow DeBerry to keep his promise.
 While the FB game may be awakening after a two year fallow period, the HB game may be receiving another shot of adrenalin from the joint presence of sophomores Justin Handley and Eddie Moss, each of whom scored his first career TD in today's game.
 Carney has completed 18 of 29 passes--a 62% completion rate--222 yards and 3 TDs as a true freshman.

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