Turnovers spark S-F over Methac­ton

The Colonial - - OPINION - By Don See­ley

dsee­ley]jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

Don’t dare try to un­der­es­ti­mate the value of turnovers to Ma­son Ro­mano.

A de­fen­sive end a year ago when he en­joyed the free­dom of a run-at-’em and wreck-’em ap­proach, the Spring-Ford ju­nior has moved inside to tackle and adapted well to his new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties ... jam­ming it up and cre­at­ing big plays, among them.

So with the Rams cling­ing to a nar­row 10-7 lead half­way through the third quar­ter of Satur­day af­ter­noon’s Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence game with stub­born Methac­ton, Ro­mano didn’t just come up with one big play, but two of them.

When team­mate wameer McDow­ell de­flected a Methac­ton pass at the line, Ro­mano was there to pull it in. Two snaps later, touch­down. Then, one play af­ter the en­su­ing kick­off Methac­ton fum­bled, and Ro­mano was there to pounce on it. Seven plays later, touch­down.

And, for all in­tents and pur­poses, game.

The Rams added an­other score in the fourth quar­ter and rolled up what would seem to be a rather one-sided 31-7 Homecoming win. But it was any­thing but un­til Ro­mano’s mo­men­tum-chang­ing — and game-chang­ing — plays on the de­fen­sive side of the ball.

“When we make a big play, like that in­ter­cep­tion (and fum­ble re­cov­ery), the whole team gets pumped up,” said Ro­mano, an un­der­sized but tena­cious 6-foot, 210-pound ju­nior. “Some days it’s the of­fense that picks us up, some days it’s the de­fense.”

This time, de­spite quar­ter­back Hank Coyne’s three touch­down passes and the run­ning tan­dem of vousef Lundi (109 yards) and Tate Carter (54 yards, 1 TD), it was in­deed de­fense for Spring-Ford, which im­proved to 4-1 (6-1 over­all).

The War­riors would use quar­ter­back Bran­don Bos­sard’s 66-yard run on the third play of the game to set up Dillen White’s three-yard touch­down on the fol­low­ing play. Com­bined with Jose Hol­land’s place­ment, it gave them a 7-0 lead just 1:41 in. But their three other firsthalf pos­ses­sions pro­duced just 38 net yards as the War­riors ad­vanced the chains just once.

Spring-Ford, mean­while, got back to even when Coyne (17 of 22 for 166 yards) found McDow­ell in the end zone for a 25-yard touch­down toss. The hosts then went in front when David Gu­lati con­verted a 31yard field goal.

But a three-point lead wasn’t any­thing to shout about.

“We came out in the sec­ond half and go three-and­out,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “But then our de­fense set us up to give us a lit­tle cush­ion.”

The de­fense, or Ro­mano to be spe­cific, set them up with those two turnovers.

“We seem to strug­gle if there is a lot of green (field) in front of us,” Brubaker said. “We don’t have that break­away speed (with stand­out tail­back Jarred Jones side­lined with a bro­ken wrist).

“But get­ting two short fields like we did can make all the dif­fer­ence in the world. That’s a mo­men­tum shift for sure. It puts (the op­po­nent’s) backs against the wall.” It did on Satur­day. “I give a lot of credit to our own de­fense for keep­ing it 10-7 at the half,” said Methac­ton coach Paul

amar­cus]mont­gomerynews.

com Play­ing the new brand of Ger­man­town Academy football un­der first year head coach Matt Dence has helped the Pa­tri­ots equal the amount of wins from last sea­son (three) in the first four weeks of ac­tion this sea­son. How­ever, on Satur­day Malvern Prep was able to get the Pa­tri­ots away from their game plan and it re­sulted in a 24-7 loss, the sec­ond of the sea­son.

The Fri­ars (4-2) found the end zone on the open­ing drive and in or­der to rally back the Pa­tri­ots (3-2) tried to play an up-tempo style of of­fense, some­thing they as­sumed their In­ter-Ac foe would not be pre­pared to de­fend. How­ever the fast pace air at­tack was not some­thing the of­fense was com­pletely com­fort­able with and it re­sulted in five turnovers.

“Put the turnovers on me,” coach Dence said. “We wanted to go up-tempo to make them ad­just and be­cause of that I don’t think Hayes (Nolte) felt com­fort­able with some of his reads. He is a heck of a quar­ter­back and those turnovers are on me.”

As se­nior wide re­ceiver Joe Tay­lor jogged out­side of the hashes and placed his toe on the line of scrim­mage he gave one quick glance into his ju­nior quar­ter­back Hayes Nolte. While the run­ning game was ef­fec­tive in spurts, the pas­sand-catch tan­dem knew they needed to make some noise if they were go­ing to rally from a 14-0 half­time deficit.

“The ground game was not get­ting the big chunks of yards that we needed,” Tay­lor said. “We had to go to the air, but time ran out. I trust Hayes can get me the ball in any spot.”

Tay­lor sat down in open space against the Fri­ars’ zone de­fense and reeled in four catches for 52 yards. How­ever the Fri­ars were not al­ways play­ing the same scheme and it forced a hand­ful of in­com­ple­tions and three in­ter­cep­tions. The Fri­ars’ se­nior Joe Car­lini had two in­ter­cep­tions and Eric Pur­nell came away with the clincher in the fi­nal sec­onds of play on pass just out of the reach of Tay­lor.

Nolte fin­ished 13-of-32 for 126 yards. Robert Gor­man scored on the open­ing drive of the third quar­ter af­ter the Fri­ars fum­bled the open­ing kick on their own 26 yard line. The Pa­tri­ots looked to de­crease the Fri­ars’ lead to one a score game early in the fourth quar­ter, but the Pa­tri­ots fum­bled on the one yard line and the Fri­ars’ Hunter Paulus re­cov­ered in the end zone for the touch­back.

Af­ter the un­timely turnover the Fri­ars used their de­cep­tive Wing-T of­fense to drive 80 yards for the fi­nal points of the af­ter­noon. It was Con­nor Bohs one yard run that sealed the win. Bohs had 109 of the Fri­ars 251 rush­ing yards.

“We re­ally wanted to get off to a good start be­cause they are a team that wants to get out ahead and con­trol the clock,” Dence said. “The Wing-T has be­come one of those of­fenses that only a hand­ful of teams run and run well. They did a re­ally good job dis­guis­ing it, but I am proud of our kids. We fought hard.” Lepre. “Our de­fense was on the field for a long time, but did a good job keep­ing us in (the game). Then in the sec­ond half we didn’t gen­er­ate much of­fense, and the two turnovers gave (SpringFord) the short fields. vou just can’t do that.”

The Rams ac­tu­ally went three-and-out on their first two pos­ses­sions of the sec­ond half. But McDow­ell de­flected Bos­sard’s pass into Ro­mano’s hands and he re­turned it 11 yards to the War­riors’ 27. Lundi took a hand­off nine yards, then Coyne found Gary Hop­kins in the right cor­ner of the end zone from 18 yards out with 5:28 left in the third quar­ter. Methac­ton took over fol­low­ing the kick­off on its own 36, but fum­bled on first down and Ro­mano re­cov­ered back at the 21. Coyne sneaked for three to con­vert a fourth-and-inches dilemma, then Carter took three straight hand­offs — the last one cov­er­ing a yard for six points and a 24-7 lead with 2:20 left in the third quar­ter.

“We were wor­ried about Bos­sard,” Ro­mano said. “We were wor­ried about his speed, about him get­ting out­side.”

Bos­sard, who was pres­sured and hur­ried (and sacked four times) that trans­lated into a 5-for-19 af­ter­noon, was cer­tainly on the run a good part of the day. He took 15 snaps him­self for 105 of the War­riors’ 139 yards on the ground. But his team sim­ply couldn’t ex­e­cute what it set out to do against the Spring-Ford de­fense.

“(Spring-Ford’s de­fense) did a great job tak­ing away what we game-planned for,” Lepre said. “We tried to make some­thing hap­pen.

“We went in with three dou­ble-tight (end) pack­ages, but we weren’t get­ting any push, weren’t get­ting any blocks. It just didn’t work out. We had to stay the course, but (Spring-Ford) took it away from us. And you have to give them credit be­cause their strength is usu­ally their of­fense.”

The of­fense — which capped the scor­ing on Coyne’s 22-yard pass to Hop­kins at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quar­ter. — did just fine.

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / JOHN STRICK­LER

Methac­ton’s Bran­don Bos­sard runs for a long gain set­ting up the War­riors’ touch­down dur­ing Satur­day’s Pi­o­neer Con­fer­ence game against Spring-Ford.

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