MORE COVERAGESyracuse football rolls to 33-7 win over Colgate in Dino Babers’ SU debutEric Dungey has career game after meeting his brother, who returned from the Army, for 1st time in 2 yearsTransfer wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo dazzles in Syracuse football debutWATCH: Dino Babers’ press conference after his 1st game as Syracuse’s head coachGallery: Syracuse rolls to 33-7 win over ColgateSyracuse-Colgate football: A graphical breakdown of the Orange’s dominant winStorify: Syracuse community reacts to Dino Babers’ 1st game as head coachSyracuse football poll: Vote for player of the game and grade SU’s performance Syracuse (1-0) dominated Colgate (0-1) in a 33-7 win in Dino Babers’ first game as SU’s head coach Friday night.Eric Dungey threw for 355 yards, Amba Etta-Tawo had 210 receiving yards and Moe Neal scored a 49-yard touchdown run on the first carry of his career.After nearly nine months of waiting, Babers’ team was finally on the field. Here’s what we learned from the game.Eric Dungey will still runSix plays into Syracuse’s second drive of the game Eric Dungey faked a handoff to running back Dontae Strickland out of shotgun and ran it himself up the middle. Then he dropped back to pass but chose to scramble to 1 yard short of a first down. Dungey quickly got under center, snapped the ball and kept it himself yet again, this time running around the left side of the line for the first.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLess than a week removed from Babers’ statement that he had to “strip down” Dungey and convert him into a “thrower first” and coming off an offseason where Dungey vowed to stay in the pocket more, Dungey ran the ball 10 times for 25 yards.“It’s not my focus,” Dungey said. “My job is to throw the ball.”He had more carries than any of the team’s running backs, and Moe Neal was the only one with more rushing yards than Dungey. Neal had nine carries, Dontae Strickland had nine, Jordan Fredericks had four and Zack Mahoney had three. Dungey’s longest run of the day came a few plays after his spurt of three when he kept the ball on the option, raced around one defender and stiff armed another before trotting out of bounds at the Colgate 22 for a 12-yard gain. Half of Dungey’s runs came on that drive.“Dungey’s legs are a valuable part of what he does,” Babers said. “We’re not taking his legs out of the game. We just want to make him the Russell Wilson of the ACC. We want him to be smart and get down when he does those runs and not stay up and take an unnecessary shot.“It would be unfair to him and unfair to the team to not give him an opportunity to bring those legs into the game because his legs are special. You’re just making him normal, and we don’t want to be average.”Red zone offense needs to improveSyracuse’s first-team offense was able to charge down the field on most of its possessions. And while it scored on seven of its 10 possessions, four of those scores were field goals.Of those field goals, three came in the red zone — a difference of 12 points if touchdowns and PATs were scored instead.“Having the ability to not score touchdowns in the red zone greatly affected the game,” Babers said, “and that is something we need to clean up.”Jessica Sheldon | Photo EditorOn the first trip, Syracuse had 1st-and-goal at the 8-yard line but stalled. Dontae Strickland ran for no gain. Dungey lost two yards and Jason Emerich committed a false start to push SU back to the 15 on third down.Then Dungey threw his first incompletion of the game — a throw over the middle for Ervin Philips that was knocked away. Kicker Cole Murphy trotted onto the field.The next time, a holding penalty on lineman Omari Palmer changed a 3rd-and-2 to 3rd-and-12. A 5-yard pass and field goal ensued.One drive later, Etta-Tawo made a 40-yard catch to bring the Orange to Colgate’s 23-yard line. A pass to Steve Ishmael put SU in the red zone. But again, the offense stalled.Devin Butler will playBabers wasn’t sure on Wednesday if freshman running back/wide receiver Devin Butler would play at all this season. “He’s right on the cusp,” Babers said, citing depth at both spots as a reason Butler might redshirt.But when Steve Ishmael was called for a personal foul on SU’s first drive of the third quarter, it was Butler who came in to replace the veteran. Butler stayed on for three plays, came off, then was back in for one play in the drive.Butler didn’t record a statistic but did come back into the game late in the fourth quarter with the likes of freshman Sean Riley and Adly Enoicy. He lined up a outside receiver each time, though he did practice with the running backs for part of training camp. Comments Published on September 3, 2016 at 12:57 am Contact Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org | @jmettus Facebook Twitter Google+
“It was the single most influential thing in my life,” he said. “I’d be more content in life if he were still around, but I wouldn’t be as driven.” Michael Guardado was just 45 at the time of his passing, but left his son a lifetime of values that A.J. uses as motivation to achieve lofty goals. “He believed I was capable of things I didn’t think I was capable of, and everything I achieve now is kind of incomplete without him here to see them,” Guardado said. “I remember holding his hand the night he died and thanking him for everything he taught me and for being my dad.” “A.J. is the top student-athlete I’ve ever coached in my 12 years at West Covina,” coach Donnie Stephens said. “He is everything you want as a leader.” Guardado is a positive person even in the worst of times, and again credits a family member for his outlook on life. “My grandma (Carmen Orona) was such an optimistic person and taught me there’s a silver lining in everything,” Guardado said of Orona, who died in 1999 at age 65. Guardado, along with teammate George Munoz, recently became the first Bulldogs in school history to win four consecutive league individual championships. The feat is something Guardado is proud of, but he has his goals set much higher for runs in the CIF, Masters and state meets. His best showing was a second-place finish last season in CIF at 130. The West Covina standout looks for a big showing in this weekend’s Coastal Division meet at Marina High. “It would be big for me personally to win CIF because of all I’ve been through,” Guardado said. “If he doesn’t win, it won’t be because he wasn’t prepared or out-worked,” Stephens said. If his exploits on the mat weren’t enough, Guardado is poised to attend either Stanford, Harvard, Pennsylvania or Columbia. Guardado wants to major in either psychology or sociology and would like a career in the field of mental health. He is so well-liked even wrestlers from rival schools admire him. South Hills’ Thomas Williams, top-ranked in the state at 112 pounds and co-MVP of the San Antonio League along with Guardado – they have a combined record of 72-0 – had nothing but praise for his counterpart. “A.J. is a class guy on and off the mat,” Williams said. “He’s amazing because I’ve never seen him giving anything less than his all on the mat and has an incredible work ethic.” Guardado treasures the relationship with his older brother Gilbert, 21, that has grown especially close since their father’s passing. “Gilbert does the things for me that a father would do, but he is still my brother and a sort of peer/mentor for me,” A.J. said. Guardado proudly boasts the initials of his parents on his head gear as a way of honoring the people he credits for being the person he is today. “Family is a really important thing to me, and it’s helped me get through the tough times,” he said. If Guardado places this weekend, he will have been All-CIF each of his four years at West Covina. Guardado pointed to his drive as the difference in his remarkable senior showing. “I am always analyzing my matches to find little ways to get better and eliminate mistakes. I can’t stand walking off the mat knowing I could have done better,” he said. It’s that kind of mind-set that makes Guardado even more valuable to his teammates and coaches. “He has become an assistant coach for me, and I ask him for his ideas on strategy all the time,” said Stephens, who believes Guardado’s selflessness and work ethic are the reasons for his popularity among teammates and even opponents. “When you see someone work so hard like A.J. does, it’s very gratifying to see him enjoy some of the success he’s had.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WEST COVINA – A.J. Guardado gives one reason for his phenomenal success on the wrestling mat and in the classroom. Family. The West Covina High School senior is 36-0 with 24 pins and is ranked No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section in the 135-pound division. He has a 4.1 grade-point average in honors classes, but Guardado wants very little of the credit for his achievements. Guardado, 18, said the death of his father Michael in November 2003 was the defining moment in his upbringing.