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Upper Dublin Advances with Gem over Upper Darby

Written by: on Saturday, November 21st, 2015. Follow Armand Vanore on Twitter.


Fort Washington, Pa., The Upper Dublin Cardinals put on an offensive display while putting the clamps on another Central league opponent in their District One playoff domination of Upper Darby, 45-14 last night at Cardinal stadium.

Dublin coach Brett Stover got his offense rolling  immediately by using completely different personnel groupings on their first three series, all of which produced touchdowns and confused the Royal defense.  They were able to score touchdowns on six, three and four plays drives which created a huge hole for the Royals to come back from and time still left in the first quarter. Running back Stacey Gardner benefited from these groupings and scored from 19 and 17 yards while showing a real ability to juke defenders once he got into the second level.

The Royals came into this game as a real threat averaging 50 points/game over their last three and having maybe the best running back in all of SEPA (Isaiah Bruce). Darby’s game plan from the outset was to get Bruce churning yards behind their offensive line like he has done all season. The key to their success especially over the last couple games was their ability to put major points on the board in the second half of games. They were able to pile 10 TD’s over a two week period in the 3rd and 4th quarter alone and this obviously had the Cardinal defensive coaches concerned. To their credit Upper Dublin’s defensive front four was able to keep Bruce in check (aside from his two huge TD runs) by playing extremely disciplined while containing the edge all night. They were able to contain Darby’s offense with seven, three and outs.

Down 21-0 late in the first quarter Darby got back on track when Bruce made a highlight reel 61 yard TD run.  However any momentum that they were about to muster went out the window with Upper Dublin’s next possession. Quarterback Ryan Stover generated a 10 play drive punctuated with a picture perfect play. Stacey went around the edge doing an in route taking three Darby defenders with him and Jack Rapine coming off his tail with an out pattern leaving him wide open and Stover hitting him in stride for a 23 yard touchdown.

This Upper Dublin team has something going on here. They have balance on both sides of the ball in addition to their being one of the most disciplined teams anywhere in Eastern Pa. Their offense will be very hard to prepare for because they use an incredible amount of formations, an extremely tight knit offensive line and outstanding skill players that can score from anywhere on the field. Quarterback Ryan Stover at this point may have the best arm in all of SEPA (Archbishop Wood’s Anthony Russo may have something to say about that) and has size (6’4″), mobility, touch, a quick release, the ability to throw it long effectively and finally a real feel for pocket pressure. He overthrew on some of his targets in the first half but normally with an arm like his that should translate into more completions at the next level due to the speed factor at the next level.

The win propel the Cardinals to advance and host next week’s District One, AAAA semi final as well as a perfect 12-0 record. Coach Rich Gentile’s Royals (10-2, 7-0 conference) playoff run ends but they still have a very important Thanksgiving day conference battle looming with Haverford. The winner of that game wins the Central league outright. Gentile has done an outstanding job with this team by winning eight straight after getting shut out 28-0 to State College in week three.

Tidbits– Bruce’s 4th quarter TD gave him 35 for the year which tied a Delco Football single season record. He broke three tackles on his 61 yard er during the first quarter. He had seven touchdowns in their win last week vs. Council Rock North. Dublin’s entire offensive line (Henry Winebrake, Jack Rapine, Kane O’Connor, Zhaire Lee and Marco Leone) showed excellent technique and athleticism in their run blocking scheme which assisted Gardner, who had 86 yards on his first four carries in the first quarter. For the most part Upper Darby’s DB’s did an outstanding job on the Cardinal receivers which gave Stover a much tighter window to work with. As always, Rapine played all over the field on both sides of the ball. The first of his two receiving TD’s was off a tipped ball. He made multiple tackles from his WILL position and plays the game with a ton of energy. Stover’s final numbers (13-24, 3 TD’s). Danny Boggs garnered 140 receiving yards.

Scoring by Quarter

1st Quarter

DUBLIN- Gardner-19 run- (PAT- Spirt)

DUBLIN- Gardner- 17 run- (PAT-Spirt)

DUBLIN- Rapine-5 pass from Stover- (PAT-Spirt)

DARBY- Bruce- 61 run- (PAT- Blocked)

2nd Quarter

DUBLIN- Rapine- 23 pass from Stover- (PAT-Spirt)

DUBLIN- Lee- 1 run- (PAT-Spirt)

3rd Quarter

DUBLIN- Spirt- 27 FG

DUBLIN- Boggs- 86 pass from Stover- (PAT-Spirt)

DARBY- Bruce- 43 run-

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