PW claims American title
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.
Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Jose Vega is pulled down by Springfield’s Martin Vido and Malik Ball during Friday’s