Times Chronicle & Public Spirit
Reaves adds firepower for UD
UPPER DUBLIN >> Upper Dublin had one of the best offense’s in the area this regular season. In 10 games, the undefeated Cardinals averaged 35.7 points per game and scored fewer than 32 points just once.
After Week 7, they added a speedy receiver that can take the top off a defense. The chemistry between quarterback Colin O’Sullivan and wide receiver Staring Reaves is growing every week and has the top-seeded Cardinals offense flying higher than ever in the District 1-5A playoffs. The two seniors connected on a pair of long touchdowns in a 35-0 win over No. 16 Academy Park in the first round Friday night at Upper Dublin High School’s Cardinal Stadium.
“We’ve got all kinds of problems for people now,” Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover said. “You can’t just say, ‘OK we’ll play four across.’ OK, we’ll give it to Griff (Pensabene) short and he’ll pound you or DJ (Cerisier) will take a hitch and go 45 yards for a touchdown. Or you have Star who will run by you and now what are you going to do? It’s going to be a problem for people. Our offensive line did a great job keeping Colin clean. You have to keep Colin clean, have to give Colin time to let all those other guys work and those guys up front did a great job tonight.”
“Speed,” O’Sullivan said Reaves brings to the offense. “That kid is so fast. He can just make plays. If you put the ball in the air he’s going to go get it. That kid’s just a playmaker. Being able to have him on your offense with the offensive line we have to run the ball, it’s hard to stop both.”
Reaves, who was ineligible through the Cardinals Oct. 7 game against Council Rock South, caught two passes for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The first was a long, high arcing pass from O’Sullivan. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Reaves ran under it behind the defense and scored from 42 yards out to give
the Cardinals a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“I just saw all green,” Reaves said. “I just gave a little head shake to the inside and got out.”
The second was a 32-yarder. O’Sullivan went through his reads and got out of the pocket before finding Reaves down the right sideline. Reaves stayed on his feet and got around a defender to score and make it 28-0 midway through the second quarter.
“It was the third option on that play,” O’Sullivan said. “Came out and they shut down the first two. So I was just looking up and he’s faster than everybody, running by the defense. Being able to look up and have someone wide open is really nice.”
“Colin is amazing,” Reaves said. “When he rolls out, you know he’s going to put it there for you. He just gave me a little finger move and I just came back up and made the play.”
Reaves also made an impact in the secondary, which held the Knights passing attack to 52 yards. Late in the first half, Academy Park faced a 3rd-and-goal at the Upper Dublin five. A crossing pattern looked like it was complete for a touchdown, but Reaves stuck with the play and punched the ball out before the receiver could secure the catch. The pass was incomplete and the Cardinals maintained their shutout when Chris Kohlbrenner broke up a 4th-and-goal pass.
“That’s just me, I’m just a dog,” Reaves said. “I’m trying to make a big play. Coming into this game, we’re trying to allow zero points. I just had to make the play.”
“He’s got a nose for the ball,” Stover said. “He understands the game. That’s what’s so interesting about him. We’re still learning him and he’s still learning us. It’s a process. Hopefully we have a few more weeks to get to know each other.”
While Reaves was out for the first seven games of the season, he was making an impact at practice, which helped him when he got back on the field.
“He’s been a great scout team guy for us the first seven weeks of the year,” Stover said. “He’s dynamic playing the other team’s best player. He did his duty there and now he’s getting to contribute on offense and defense for us. He’s just a football player. He likes to compete. We’re happy to have him be a part of the family.”
“It was hard for me because I’m not really used to not playing,” Reaves, who had one touchdown in the regular season, said. “I had to grow up and just help my team out and get them to win. We’re undefeated, let’s keep it going.
“It helped me a lot. Every day I’m going at it with guys like DJ and guys like Quincy (Pauling) and (Nyfise McIntyre). It makes me better every time at practice. I feel like those seven weeks I didn’t play got me better.”
O’Sullivan and the Upper Dublin offense scored touchdowns on the their first five possessions, aside from a kneel down at their own five yard line before half. O’Sullivan went 9-for-12 for 166 yards and five scores. Cerisier had two touchdown grabs and Coleman Zamborsky had the other.
“When you have an offensive line that can just run the ball five yards a play, six yards a play,” O’Sullivan said after McIntyre carried the ball 16 times for 87 yards. “It opens up so much in the pass game because people have to keep seven, eight in the box. It’s awesome. I owe it all to those guys up front.”
Upper Dublin will face No. 8 Great Valley in the second round.
Academy Park did itself no favors with turnovers. The Knights turned the ball over four times — three fumbles and one interception. Two of the fumbles, including the first offensive plays of the game, were the result of the snap getting past the quarterback and bouncing 20-plus yards down the field.
“It’s been our M.O. all year,” Academy Park coach Jason Vosheski said. “When you turn the ball over as many times as we do and you play a good football team, you’re really not going to win. We played a good football team and we helped them.”
Terrence Oliver ran the ball 22 times for 136 yards to lead the Knights offensive attack.
Academy Park’s season is over with a 3-8 record.
“It was disappointing,” Vosheski said of the season. “We did play one of the hardest schedules. That’s not an excuse, it’s still disappointing for us on our end. Next year is a new year.”