Gratz toomuch for Ger­man­town Academy in opener.

The Review - - Front Page - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

FORT WASH­ING­TON » All week, Ger­man­town Academy tried its best to sim­u­late the speed and ath­letic abil­ity Si­mon Gratz was bring­ing to the field Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Sim­u­lat­ing it and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it first­hand are two very dif­fer­ent things and the Pa­tri­ots quickly found out what they were up against. A slow start, a pass­ing game that couldn’t quite find the­mark and plenty of missed tack­les added up to a long af­ter­noon for GA.

The Pa­tri­ots also had no answer for the Bull­dogs’ se­nior quar­ter­back, Amir Gil­lis and in turn, started their sea­son with a 31-7 loss.

“When you play a re­ally good team that played a good team the week be­fore and you don’t make plays, it be­comes an is­sue,” GA coach Matt Dence said.

Gil­lis, a Tem­ple re­cruit who also plays safety for Gratz, fin­ished 18-of-25 for 325 yards and four touch­downs while adding 47 yards on the ground with a rushing touch­down. Gratz led 24-0 at half­time and 31-0 be­fore GA got a late touch­down pass for its first score of the sea­son.

A ter­rific ath­lete, Gil­lis mixed deep throws down the field with shorter passes that let his skill-po­si­tion team­mates use their quick­ness and speed to gash GA’s de­fense. His best throw of the game was a 44yard strike to re­ceiver Rich Brown with 5:27 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. Brown also made a great catch leap­ing above a cov­er­ing de­fender’s reach to haul in the pass.

“We sim­u­lated as much as we could, we have some good young skill kids who re­ally tried to give us a good look and they did,” Dence said. “It’s first-game stuff, I think if we get off to a good start and it could be a to­tally dif­fer­ent game. You have them third-and-long and they throw a 55 yard touch­down.”

Gil­lis’ first three touch­down passes were 55, 38 and 44 yards and on the fourth, he hit Jawan Rodriguez for a 40-yard gain be­fore go­ing back to Rodriguez for a 15-yard scor­ing pass.

“He made a lot of plays with his feet and there were a lot of bro­ken plays to­day,” Dence said. “We have guys in the sec­ondary who played their tails off, but they haven’t seen it. Hope­fully, we get bet­ter.”

GA, which is com­ing off a share of the In­ter-Ac ti­tle last sea­son, is re­plac­ing some key play­ers across the board. Se­nior Colton


Si­mon Gratz 31, GA 7

Up next for GA: The Pa­tri­ots host Fa­ther Judge Satur­day at 1:30p.m.

Niedziel­ski made his first start at quar­ter­back tak­ing over for the grad­u­ated Kyle McCloskey (Vil­lanova) and had his share of up and down mo­ments.

Niedziel­ski com­pleted 7-of20 passes for 73 yards and a touch­down, but he also threw an in­ter­cep­tion and the en­tire pass­ing game just seemed a half-sec­ond off all game.

“We were close on a lot things, it did feel like were a half-sec­ond off and that will come­with time,” Dence said. “Colton is a first-year starter but he han­dled him­self well. He showed poise but he could have rec­og­nized a col­laps­ing pocket a half-sec­ond sooner a cou­ple times. It comes with time and we’ll get that fixed.”

Run­ning back Dono­van Ganges ran hard for GA, pick­ing up 57 yards on 12 car­ries.

GA’s lone score came with 5:46 left in the fourth quar- ter. Sopho­more wide­out Tayshaun Mack, a Philadel­phia res­i­dent who ac­tu­ally lives near Gratz, made a fan­tas­tic catch in the cor­ner of the end­zone, get­ting one foot down be­fore go­ing out of bounds for a 20-yard score.

“I was sup­posed to do a lit­tle speed-out but (of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Greg Is­daner) told me change into a fly,” Mack said. “He toldme to run and go up and get it. My main fo­cus is to catch the ball first and when I see it in my hand, then I look down and find the side­line.”

Mack fin­ished with 31 yards on three grabs while se­nior Mike Reilly had three catches for 38 yards.

De­fen­sively, GA se­nior Tan­ner Long had a solid game as he made 12 tack­les and­was all over the field. GA hosts Fa­ther Judge next Satur­day and Dence said he ex­pects his play­ers to see their mis­takes on film this week and take the steps to cor­rect them.

“We just missed tack­les that we’re used to mak­ing,” Dence said. “My ex­pec­ta­tion, and what I told them, is that they work at it and fig­ure out what was wrong, what we can fix and we make them next week.”


Ger­man­town Academy’s Colton Niedziel­ski had a solid first game at quar­ter­back for the Pa­tri­ots.

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