Wissahickon rolls past U.merion
There weren’t shouts of joy and dancing girls surrounding Wissahickon High football practices this week.
After two disappointing losses in a row, the Trojans had watched their Suburban One League title chances disappear while their district playoff dreams were on life support.
To make matters worse, the handshake line following last week’s loss to Cheltenham erupted into a brawl and four Wissahickon players were suspended for Friday night’s meeting with Upper Merion.
Trojans coach Jeff Cappa knew his troops’ egos were so low they were looking up at the soles of their shoes.
So he presented them a challenge.
“It was tough to do when we were as down as we wHUH,” CDSSD VDLG, “EuW wH gave them a challenge of playing hard and playing wLWK LQWHQVLWy WKLV wHHN.”
By halftime Friday evening, the Trojans were in front by 42 points.
Yep, the challenge was met - and then some.
Wissahickon’s offense VFRUHG RQ IRuU RI LWV fiYH fiUVW-KDOI SRVVHVVLRQV, GUHJ McDonough scored on a 66yard punt return and Gordon Bentley found the end zone with a 102-yard interception return as the Trojans rolled to a 49-22 win over Upper Merion.
“I was real proud of our JuyV,” CDSSD VDLG. “)RU them to come back and play as they did tonight, I’m proud of them and our FRDFKHV.”
The Trojans showed they meant business from the outset, bulldozing 60 yards RQ fiYH UuQQLQJ SODyV WR WDNH a 7-0 lead just 2:09 into the game.
Then, after stopping Upper Merion on downs near PLGfiHOG, WKH 7URMDQV wHQW 57 yards on eight plays, with DDQ 0uUSKy VFRULQJ WKH fiUVW RI KLV WwR fiUVW-KDOI WRuFKdowns, a 13-yarder that put the visitors in front, 14-0.
“Our running game was real good and we were able to capitalize on it early, so wH VWuFN wLWK LW,” 0uUSKy said.
“We wanted to get back to what we do well, and that’s UuQQLQJ WKH EDOO,” CDSSD said. “We have a strong offensive line, but a couple of those guys were out (because of the Cheltenham extracurriculars) and some of our young guys stepped up and played real well.
“Plus, we moved (AllLeague lineman) Khalil Roberts back and forth between the right and left sides of our front and ran behind KLP D ORW RI WKH WLPH.”
The Wissahickon intensity was evident, even to the Vikings.
“(Wissahickon) came here, got physical with us and we didn’t match their physicality,” said Upper Merion coach Harold Smith. “Basically, they came here and smacked us in the mouth.”
With two scores already on the board, McDonough made it three when he latched on to a Kevin O’Sullivan punt at his own 34 and took it the distance. With 1: 51 left in the opening quarter, the Trojans were on top, 21- 0.
A little over two minutes later, it was 28-0 when Bentley stepped in front of a Carmen Fortino pass two yards deep in the end zone, headed to the right sideline and cruised 102 yards to put the visitors in front by four scores.
“We came out real fired up and it was a lot of fun,” said Trojans linebacker C. J. Virtu. “Any time your special teams and your defense can put points on the board, it’s a plus.”
Before the half ended, the Trojans would balloon the lead to 42-0 as Murphy struck paydirt from the 9-yard line and quarterback 5DQGy )UDQNHQfiHOG EuFNHG in from the 1-yard line with 2:13 left in the half.
To add insult to injury, the Trojans held the Vikings on three plays, starting at the Wissahickon two, in the closing seconds of the half.
Wissahickon sat its regulars in the second half, and Upper Merion showed some fortitude of its own, scoring on Michael Grant’s 95-yard kickoff return to open the half, a 54-yard hookup from Fortino to Tyreice Jenerette and Isaiah Aliciea’s touchdown run with 4:35 left in the game.
But by then, the Trojans had already bullied their way out of the doldrums.
“That really doesn’t matter,” said Cappa when asked if the win restored the Trojans’ playoff chances. “For us, it was a three- game season and this was the first one.
“Now we’re looking ahead to No. 2.”
CHQWUDO BuFNV :HVW fiUVWyear coach Casey Hughes is moving on to the second round of the District Class AAA playoffs with her squad coming off an impressive 2-1 victory over the Methacton Monday.
“AV WKLV LV Py fiUVW VHDVRQ coaching these girls I was a little nervous just because this is a spot I’ve personally never been in with this group before,” Hughes said. “But, it was great to see them respond and play with heart the entire game. It’s not easy to win these close games. All of these teams we are playing have a lot of talent. Our girls are really excited to be moving on to face Neshaminy next.”
Senior forward Heather ZHzzR VFRUHG WKH fiUVW JRDO RI the contest four minutes into the game giving the Lady Bucks momentum that they used to keep the pressure on WKH :DUULRUV LQ WKH fiUVW KDOI.
Methacton stormed back however with a game-tying goal at the 21st minute mark RI WKH fiUVW KDOI. ,W ZDV D SHQalty corner shot by junior forward Alexa Hoover that she was able to sneak past Bucks goalie Brianna DeAngelis’ outstretched stick.
With a minute left in the fiUVW KDOI, 0HWKDFWRQ KDG D golden opportunity to take the lead on a breakaway by senior forward Allie Torisi, but her shot sailed wide to WKH ULJKW DV WKH fiUVW KDOI came to a close.
The second half saw a more physical battle as both teams knew it was crunch time to get another score. C.B. West struck again and it was Zezzo with her second JRDO RI WKH JDPH fivH PLQutes in.
“I was seeing the ball really well tonight and my teammates did a great job of putting me in positions to be successful,” Zezzo said. “We practice our crossing passes in practice every day and it showed tonight.”
This game was as closely matched as you can get and Warriors coach Sarah Quintois was disappointed to not be moving on in the playoffs, but was proud of her team.
“It’s hard because we had a lot of new players this year,” Quintois said. “The cohesion just wasn’t there, but next year most of our girls will be returning which should give us a lot more chemistry. But at the end of the day this team never stopped battling and I give them all the credit in the world for that.”