PW claims Amer­i­can ti­tle

The Colonial - - OPINION - By Dave Hol­loway

There was no real con­cern about a let­down af­ter last week’s huge vic­tory be­cause the topic had been raised all week in prac­tices.

“There was an em­pha­sis that we couldn’t have a let­down,” Ply­mouth Whitemarsh coach Dan Chang said. “Ob­vi­ously, it was some­thing we wanted to ad­dress.”

And there was the lit­tle fact that Ply­mouth Whitemarsh ab­so­lutely needed to win )rLGDy nLJhW DW 6SrLnJ­fieOG.

“We talked all week about how we didn’t want to share that league ti­tle,” Chang said.

Still, the Colo­nials needed a punch in the mouth to get prop­erly fo­cused. Spring­fieOG’V .hDOLI HoSNLnV-Bey obliged, re­turn­ing the open­ing kick­off 77 yards to the PW 8-yard line be­fore quarWerEDFN BrenGDn DoyOe rDn it in for a touch­down on the firVW SODy IroP VFrLPPDJe.

BuW 3W DnVw­ereG LP­me­di­ately when Jose Vega capped a 62-yard drive with a 1-yard touch­down run to give the Colo­nials a lead they’d never let go.

Vega rushed for 195 yards and four touch­downs to lead PW to a 27-12 vic­tory and its third con­sec­u­tive Sub­ur­ban One Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship.

“We came out this week know­ing that we had to win to get this league cham­pi­onship and we came out and did what we needed to do,” Vega said. “We knew they were a phys­i­cal team and they were go­ing to hit us and try to take our pride. The game plan was to get the ball on the edges, but the line stepped up and made huge holes for the run­ning backs to run through.”

He wDVn’W wronJ DEouW Whe of­fen­sive line, but he was be­ing mod­est. Vega of­ten made his own holes.

“Jose played a heck of a game run­ning the ball,” ChDnJ VDLG. “He PDGe Fon­tact and then ran for another fiYe yDrGV FounWOeVV WLPeV WonLJhW. He’G PeeW D Juy DW Whe line of scrim­mage and still IDOO Ior­wDrG Ior fiYe yDrGV and that kept a lot of drives go­ing.”

Af­ter giv­ing the Colo­nials Whe OeDG eDrOLer Ln Whe firVW quar­ter, Vega broke a num­ber of tack­les, in­clud­ing a finDO one DW PLG­fieOG DnG bolted 64 yards for a touch­down to add some cush­ion.

He When DGGeG DnoWher SDLr of 1-yard touch­down runs – af­ter be­ing the work­horse on both drives – one in the sec­ond quar­ter and one early in the fourth to seal the vic­tory for the Colo­nials, who have not lost an Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence games in those three cham­pi­onship sea­sons.

“It was very sat­is­fy­ing,” Chang said. “Our kids bat­tled tonight against a very ShyVLFDO 6SrLnJ­fieOG WeDP and they made us work for ev­ery­thing we got. I thought the ‘D’ played very well tonight. We gave them two VhorW fieOGV on whLFh Whey con­verted points, but they played well.”

Af­ter the open­ing kick­off re­turn, the Spar­tans got a sec­ond touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter af­ter Doyle SLFNeG oII D Con­nor HDnOon SDVV DW PLG­fieOG DnG reWurneG LW Wo Whe 2-yDrG OLne. He When fought his way into the end zone on the next play to cut Whe 6SrLnJ­fieOG Ge­fiFLW Wo MuVW two points at the time.

The Spar­tans moved the ball and had a cou­ple of other op­por­tu­ni­ties. On the point-af­ter at­tempts af­ter both touch­downs, penal­ties cost them points. Then in the third quar­ter they turned the ball over on back-to-

back pos­ses­sions, in­clud­ing a fum­ble at the PW 17-yard line when they were driv­ing.

The Colo­nials have now won seven in a row af­ter ORsLnJ WKHLU fiUsW WwR JDPHs, both by con­vinc­ing scores. But this is where Chang ex­pected to be.

“We in­ten­tion­ally try to sched­ule some hard teams in the be­gin­ning of the year and test our guys,” he said. “It helps us when we get to our league sched­ules. We wanted to be able to run through our league.”

Chang won’t have prob­lems with get­ting his play­ers’ at­ten­tion this week, ei­ther. In each of the past two years, the Colo­nials have had early ex­its in the dis­trict play­offs. That’s some­thing they want to change.

“They are re­ally hun­gry for a play­off win,” Chang said. “Th­ese se­niors haven’t lost a league game in three years. We’ve kind of checked off that league cham­pi­onship and now they want some­thing else. Now they want to move on.”

In re­cent years, the phrase, “Same Ol’ GA” has been aimed at the foot­ball team on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The Pa­tri­ots have strug­gled might­ily, es­pe­cially against In­ter-Aca­demic League foes, and en­tered Satur­day af­ter­noon’s game at Spring­side Chest­nut Hill Academy hav­ing not beaten the Blue Devils since 2006, with a 15-game In­ter-Ac los­ing streak and a stretch of not hav­ing won more than one In­ter-Ac con­test in a sea­son since 2006.

Trail­ing by two touch­downs at half­time, GA came out roar­ing in the sec­ond half, piled 32 unan­swered points on the score­board, and ran away from the Blue Devils, 41-23.

Hayes Nolte tossed four touch­down passes — all to dif­fer­ent re­ceivers — the Pa­tri­ots blanked the Blue Devils in the sec­ond half, while com­ing up with three fourth-quar­ter turnovers, DnG GA KDG LWs fiUsW ,nWHU-AF win since beat­ing Epis­co­pal Academy, 27-13, back on Oct. 29, 2010.

7KURuJK WKH JDPH’s fiUsW three min­utes, it ap­peared the Pa­tri­ots were go­ing to breeze to a streak-snap­ping win.

2n WKH fiUsW SODy IURP scrim­mage, op­er­at­ing from their own 8-yard line, the Blue Devils botched an op­tion pitch and GA fresh­man GULIfin Hunn PDGH D WDFNOH in the end zone for a quickas-that, 2-0 lead.

Fol­low­ing the en­su­ing punt, the Pa­tri­ots went 45 yards on seven plays, the last a fourth­down, 35-yard hook-up from Nolte to Kashta Davis in the left cor­ner of the end zone.

It was 9-0 and the Pa­tri­ots were mak­ing it look easy.

But it would turn out to be any­thing but.

A lost fum­ble on GA’s next pos­ses­sion gave the home WHDP WKH EDOO DW PLG­fiHOG, DnG fivH SODys ODWHU TuDUWHUback Paul Doo­ley found his fa­vorite tar­get, Owen McA­doo, for a 5-yard score.

It was 9-6, and the Blue Devils were just get­ting started.

2n WKHLU fiUsW sHULHs RI WKH sHFond quar­ter, the Devils capped an eight-play drive with a 30yDUG fiHOG JRDO Ey WLOO 0FCRRO, and the game was tied.

And by half­time, chas­ing 14 points, the old re­frain was be­ing ut­tered with com­plete dis­gust.

But in­stead of curs­ing their fate, the Pa­tri­ots play­ers and coaches got busy plot­ting.

Play-mak­ing be­gan al­most im­me­di­ately — start­ing with a bizarre com­ple­tion to GA line­man Pa­trick Caw­ley, who had a Nolte pass bat­ted right into his arms. Caw­ley turned the gift into a 16-yard gain. Seven plays later, fac­ing another fourth down, Nolte lofted a prayer for Kyle Don­ahue in the back of the end zone. 2nH OHDSLnJ, finJHU-WLS FDWFK later, the visi­tors were within seven points.

Af­ter the GA de­fense forced a punt, Nolte and the Pa­tri­ots were back in busi­ness. And af­ter a 22-yard pass play to Don­ahue got them in range, a 22-yard touch­down run by Ryan Cal­houn got them within a point.

Mont­gomery Me­dia / SCOTT RO­MAN

Ply­mouth Whitemarsh’s Jose Vega is pulled down by Spring­field’s Martin Vido and Ma­lik Ball dur­ing Fri­day’s

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