Daniels’ pick is Knights’ best medicine

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Matthew DeGe­orge mde­ge­orge@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @sports­doc­tormd on Twit­ter

SHARON HILL >> Academy Park quar­ter­back Sky­lor Fil­lis had just thrown in­ter­cep­tions on con­sec­u­tive drop­backs. Ch­ester had trimmed a three-touch­down lead to seven points within the first three and a half min­utes of the sec­ond half.

The Knights de­fense needed some­thing dras­tic to stem the tide. So Brian Daniels stepped up.

Daniels’ in­ter­cep­tion mid­way through the third quar­ter didn’t lead di­rectly to the score­board. But it calmed a fre­netic pe­riod on the way to a 35-22 Knights win over the Clippers.

“I just got to my drop, I saw the ball in slow mo­tion,” Daniels said. “I jug­gled it a lit­tle bit and I caught it.”

The in­ter­cep­tion didn’t trans­late to points. In fact, Academy Park coughed the ball up one play later when Ed­ward Soloku fum­bled a re­verse. But AP’s de­fense tough­ened af­ter that, scor­ing the next 14 points to open up what had been a 21-14 game, aided in no small mea­sure by Daniels’ pick.

“That in­ter­cep­tion was real big be­cause our of­fense was mov­ing kind of slow,” Fil­lis said. “Ev­ery­one kind of had their head down be­cause we weren’t play­ing the way we thought we should have. And he just came through and made a big play and it switched the en­ergy in the game. Ch­ester had the en­ergy, and it gave us the en­ergy back.”

“It was a game-changer,” Daniels said. “It changed the mo­men­tum for our of­fense and for our whole team.”

The in­ter­cep­tion sig­naled a re­mark­able turn­around for Academy Park (7-1, 3-0 Del Val) in the pass de­fense depart­ment. Last week, Chichester’s Nate De­cenzi blis­tered them for 317 yards and four scores, the yardage an Ea­gles pro­gram record. This week, they shut out Tahree Fuller-Bryan through the air, the Ch­ester sig­nal-caller go­ing 0-for-13 with the pick be­fore ex­it­ing in the fourth quar­ter.

Fuller-Bryan ran for two touch­downs, but AP ad­justed well to the threat of a usu­ally strong Ch­ester pass­ing at­tack. Part of it was com­pen­sat­ing for the ab­sence of Devon Covert, who limped off in the mid­dle of last week’s game and forced AP to re­group on the fly. Nafees Fox dep­u­tized in the se­condary this week, and the re­sults were an ob­vi­ous im­prove­ment.

“We just worked on play­ing the ball and get­ting to our drops and be­ing ag­gres­sive,” Daniels said.

It looked like Ch­ester (2-6,

1-2) had ev­ery rea­son to pack it in at half­time. The Clippers trailed 21-0, the last blow a heart­break­ing 78-yard run by Soloku to the house with 17 se­conds left in the half. Fil­lis and Zion Bradley also ran for scores in the first half, and Filis was

4-for-5 through the air, AP out­gain­ing the Clippers 219-69 in the open­ing 24 min­utes.

But the Clippers an­swered the call af­ter the break.

“Coach was say­ing that wasn’t re­ally us,” de­fen­sive cap­tain Aasim Muham­mad said. “So we had to come out bet­ter, do our as­sign­ments, play foot­ball and have fun do­ing it. And we ex­e­cuted it.”

AP gave them an open­ing with a lack­adaisi­cal open­ing drive of the third, start­ing with a fum­bled kick­off. Tah­mir Reese pres­sured the en­su­ing punt, smoth­ered by Mo­ham­mad for a to­tal dis­tance of mi­nus-6 yards. Fuller-Bryan charged in from the five on the next play to make it 21-6. Af­ter Muham­mad picked off Fil­lis and re­turned it 32 yards to the eight, it took two plays for Fuller-Bryan to twist into pay­dirt and make it 21-14.

Ha­keem Ba­con fol­lowed with an in­ter­cep­tion, but the Daniels pick and Soloku’s fum­ble made it three turnovers on five snaps. That gave enough room for Bradley to go to work.

The run­ning back car­ried 17 times for 111 yards. His 28-yard score with 10:28 to play was a master­piece, get­ting to the sec­ond level, drop­ping his shoul­der to deke a tack­ler then ac­cel­er­at­ing past an­other.

“Zion’s speed is a good ad­van­tage for our of­fense,” Fil­lis said. “He fits in per­fectly with what we’re try­ing to do.”

PETE BANNAN – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Academy Park quar­ter­back Sky­lor Fil­lis, right, of­fers run­ning back Zion Bradley con­grat­u­la­tions af­ter he scored in the first quar­ter against Chichester last week. Fil­lis and Bradley (two TDs) both scored Fri­day night against Ch­ester.

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