Rested Patriots prove too much for Panthers.
Niedzielski, GA heat up against Cheltehnam
It’s a new season, but Germantown Academy’s first in three seasons without Kyle-McCloskey under center.
McCloskey, now a freshman at Villanova, was on the sidelines Saturday afternoon when the Patriots hosted Cheltenham, but only because he is sick and unable to play for the Wildcats.
But McCloskey got a good look at his replacement, Colton Niedzielski, and came away impressed.
The 6-foot-5 senior was not the star of the show when the Patriots topped the Panthers, 14-3, but he was solid.
And at this stage, that’s all Patriots head coach Matt Dence is looking for.
The 6-foot-5 senior went 8-for16 for 101 yards and one you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it touchdown as the host Patriots (2-1) kept the Panthers (0-5) winless.
“I thought Colton did some really good things today,” Dence said after GA won for the second time in three starts. “He made some good throws on third and fourth downs that kept drives going.
“We’re expecting a lot from Colton, but we’re not going to rush him.”
Niedzielski got the Patriots rolling on GA’s first possession, driving the team from its own 8-yard line to an early touchdown.
The key play on the drive was a 48-yard pass play to Mike Reilly, although sophomore running back Trae Vance’s 41 yards on the ground didn’t hurt either.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Niedzielski said, “but I think I’m holding up well.
“We struggled to execute here and there, and there were places where we could havemade a better play. We’re hoping to seemore consistent execution from everybody.”
The lead shrunk to 7-3 when Panthers kicker Justin Grady nailed a 24-yard field goal 26 seconds before halftime.
But Cheltenham would not score again, as the Patriots controlled the ball for the bulk of the second half.
Then when Niedzielski had his moment not to be believed, it was obvious it was GA’s day.
In the final four minutes of the third quarter and the ball at the Cheltenham 3-yard line, the GA quarterback stumbled as he received the snap from center, but still had the ability to toss a touchdown pass to Mike Reilly to give the home team the put-it-away score.
The Panthers huffed and puffed, but ultimately wound up running only 16 plays in the second half.
“We’re still a team that when a good thing happens, we’re looking for a flag,” said Panthers firstyear head coach Ryan Nase. “I’m extremely happy with our effort today. I felt we might have trouble playing in the heat, but the guys held up well.
“And the things that went wrong are fixable.”
GA held the ball for the game’s final 6:41, then celebrated a well-earned triumph.