Wis­sahickon rolls past U.me­rion

The Colonial - - OPINION - By Den­nis C. Way

dway@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

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.”

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