Garnet Valley Jaguars Win A Nail Biter
Friday night at Garnet Valley, on Morris DeFrank Field, the Garnet Valley Jaguars and the Pennsbury Falcons played for a chance to move onto the District One semifinal game. It was going to be a tough battle on the ground since both teams are known to run. After all Pennsbury’s slogan is “ground and pound”.
The Falcons received the opening kickoff and returned the ball down to the 42 yard line. After a few plays, the Garnet Valley Jaguars’ defense stepped up and made a big play. Senior Pat McGroarty came up with a fumble recovery and helped the Jaguars set the tone for the game. Head coach of Garnet Valley, Mike Ricci, said “Any time we get a turnover it’s a big thing and our defense played great especially in the first half, we played great defense.” After the Jaguars went three and out they had to punt, but before the ball was punted away there was a face mask penalty which gave the Jaguars the football back and they continued to drive down the field.
On fourth down on Pennsbury’s 25 yard line the Jaguars went for the first. Junior quarterback Mark McHugh threw an incomplete pass on fourth down which gave Pennsbury the ball. The first quarter ended scoreless. Once the Jaguars’ offense received the ball again, senior Pat Cantrell of Pennsbury sacked McHugh on third down which forced the Jaguars to punt.
With nothing on the scoreboard yet the Jaguars knew if they scored first it would give them momentum. After getting downfield with senior Jared Bonacquisti and senior Tim Keyser, McHugh threw a high fade pass into the back of the end zone and wide receiver, Paul Dunn, came down with the 27 yard touchdown reception. Paul Dunn said “McHugh threw a great ball, and the line gave him an amazing amount of time, that made it a lot easier to make that catch. He put it in a position where only I could get it, and it worked out good.” McHugh also commented on the offensive line and said “Our line gave great protection, it was great to have that much time and when I threw it up, Dunn just brought it down.” The first score of the game didn’t come until 3:16 of the second quarter, and gave the Jaguars the lead, 7-0.
Before halftime with Pennsbury trying to answer back, the Jaguars’ defense continued to bring the pressure. Ryan Canzanese sacked Pennsbury quarterback Brandon Pepper. Pennsbury came up empty before halftime but the Jaguars weren’t done scoring. After a few lengthy runs by Bonacquisti and Keyser, McHugh threw a 29 yard pass to Marcellus Irving down to the one yard line. On the very next play, after a quick handoff from McHugh, Keyser dived into the end zone right before halftime. It was 14-0 Garnet Valley at the break.
The Jaguars received the ball to open the second half. After a kick return by Paul Dunn down to their 43 yard line, the Jaguars continued where they left off. Driving all the way to the three yard line McHugh fumbled the ball on the one and Pennsbury took over with the end zone at their backs. Third quarter ended still 14-0, Jaguars.
Pennsbury started to run the ball using their quarterback and Richie Applegate. Finally Pennsbury scored on an 11 yard touchdown run by Applegate but Pennsbury missed the extra point, which hurt them later. Jags still led by 8 points.
After the touchdown the Jaguars turned the football over after McHugh threw a pass over the middle. Coming down with the interception was senior Zack Stegers. Pennsbury took advantage of the turnover and scored using their quarterback Pepper. After the touchdown Pennsbury was still down by two points and decided to go for two and try to tie the game. On the two point conversion Pepper handed the ball off to Jordan Lollis and he was swarmed by a hound of Jaguars as the two point conversion failed. Coach Ricci said “That was the biggest play of the game. They did an awesome job.”
Pennsbury tried an onside kick but the kick failed after the football bounced out of bounds easily giving the ball to the Jaguars. Pennsbury still had all their time outs but had to stop the Jaguars from getting at least two first downs. The win was sealed for the Jaguars after Bonacquisti and McHugh rushed for a few first downs. The final was 14-12, Garnet Valley. Pennsbury finished the season with a record of nine wins and three losses.
Next week the (12-0) Garnet Valley Jaguars will play their final home game of the year. After week three all playoff games are at neutral sites. Neshaminy is the next test for the Jaguars after beating Ridley by a score of 31-3. Coach Ricci said “It’s going to be another challenge, these teams that we are playing are all good teams, and Neshaminy is a great team. They beat Ridley pretty soundly and anybody that beats Ridley soundly knows they are a good football team.”
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