Hatters best East football in Defensive Battle
By Don Leypoldt
To run in the September 30th Bucks County Herald
It’s a shame one of the heavyweights had to lose the fight.
In the home corner was the Hatboro-Horsham defense, which forced three turnovers and held C.B. East to just 27 yards on their first five drives.
On the visitors’ side was a just as tough Patriot defense, who held the Hatters to a mere 95 total yards.
In the end, Hatter LB Dominic DeFazio’s second interception of the night was too much to overcome and Hatboro-Horsham (2-2, 1-0) out-slugged East (0-4, 0-1) 14-7 in a game where both schools proved to be better than their records.
Stout defenses ruled most of the first half. East and H-H combined for just 61 total yards and one first down on the game’s first ten drives.
The drives did not lack for drama however. DeFazio picked off an East pass and returned it to the CB-36 midway through the first quarter. But Patriot DB Ryan Pater wrapped up H-H running back Brett Saverio for a four yard loss on fourth down.
The Patriot defense reared its’ head again on a short field two drives later. The Hatters’ DL Tom Gieringer pounced on an East fumble at the CB-22. Facing a fourth and two, the East line stopped Matt Hollenbeck cold on a quarterback sneak.
“The whole defense, the offense, this is a family team. Everyone is a family. Every guy is out there giving us their all,” noted Patriot captain and DT Lance Rosina.
Despite the goose eggs on the scoreboard, Hatboro-Horsham was winning the field position battle. Connor Poston punted six times- all either went at least 40 yards or landed inside the CB-20.
An East late hit penalty on a punt gave H-H a short field at the CB-30 midway through the second quarter. Hollenbeck capped a six play drive with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown; the point after try was blocked.
While the Hatters held East’s tailback Justyn White (20 carries/110 yards) in check for the first half, senior Jake Schwartz (9 carries/43 yards) provided the Patriots with an effective change of pace. Pat Trymbiski’s 30 yard deep out pass to Jared Grapes may have been the highlight of East’s answering drive, putting the ball at the HH-2.
Schwartz pounded through the Hatter line for a touchdown one play later, giving the Patriots a 7-6 lead; Schwartz ran six times for 34 yards on the drive.
“I think our line stepped up and pulled through,” commented senior Schwartz. “We just clicked. There were no mental errors. Everyone came together as a big family and a big team. Without the line, there would be no running game. All eleven guys went to the ball like they were supposed to.”
Despite a defensive stalemate in the third quarter, there were omens which portended the game’s turnover-based outcome. East bobbled, but recovered, two punts and mishandled two more shotgun snaps.
The miscue virus finally hit midway through the fourth quarter; DeFazio picked off his second pass of the night and returned it 26 yards to the CB-3. Two plays later, Nick Dovidio (9 carries/40 yards) smashed in for a touchdown. Poston’s nifty grab of the conversion gave H-H a 14-7 lead with 6:07 left in the game.
The Hatters have declared home games a “Blackout”; the majority of their fans donned black t-shirts. Getting the ball back at the CB-38, Justyn tried to White-out the Blackout. His four runs brought the ball down to the HH-9. On a fourth and seven, Hatter Casey Saverio knocked down Trymbiski’s end zone pass.
The East program encountered no dearth of challenges in September. The Patriots were outscored 97-31 in their first three games.
Patriot fans can point out that East’s opening three losses came against a grueling schedule. Two of their opponents were ranked in one major newspaper’s Southeastern Pennsylvania top 15; the third foe was a Council Rock South squad which won their first three games.
Upheaval occurred off the field too. On September 18th, less than 24 hours after the Patriots’ loss to defending District 12 champion George Washington, East head coach Tim Michael unexpectedly resigned. Michael, still a social studies teacher at East, felt that he was not being effective and that his coaching style was not getting through to his players.
The C.B. East athletic department quickly announced that they would not search for a permanent coach until the conclusion of the season; coaching duties will be split among their current assistants.
““I can tell you that my job hasn’t changed at all,” stated defensive coordinator Mike Barainyak. “My job is to call the defense. Every coach gets their say.”
White has been a bright spot on a balanced offense. He rushed for 217 yards in his first two games, averaging seven yards per carry.
Hatboro-Horsham, like East, has also faced a difficult schedule. The Hatters’ tough defense allowed just 10 points per game during their first three contests, but their ground based attack had yet to score more than 13.
H-H’s leading rusher-Darrell Neville, who sat out tonight- averages just under six yards a carry. Dividio has run for 6.8 yards per carry on his 29 runs.
The Hatters travel to undefeated Quakertown next week while C.B. East ventures to juggernaut North Penn. Nonetheless, the Patriots still have positives that they can take with them on the trip to Towamencin.
Said an emotional Rosina, “By far, it was our best week of practices. Everyone has complete faith in the coaches. We couldn’t wait to get out here. Every one of the guys out there, I couldn’t be prouder of them. They were unbelievable. Everyone fought to the final whistle.”
“I can’t be more proud of them. Everything that we asked of them, they gave us,” echoed Barainyak. “It was a tremendous effort on both sides of the ball. Yes, we made mistakes but you can’t doubt effort. It was 110% from the boys.”
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