Conestoga Is Going For It All
Just five days ago the Garnet Valley Jaguars defeated Haverford by 13 points on the road after the game was postponed on Friday night. For the Conestoga Pioneers they also won their game on the road against Upper Darby, shutting them out 17-0. With just four days between games and a short week of practice, the Garnet Valley Jaguars were ready to play their first home game of the season.
Receiving the ball first was the Jaguars. On the Jags’ first series, after a pitch to senior running back Marcellus Irving, he fumbled and Conestoga’s linebacker, Kyle Morrison recovered the ball near midfield.
After Conestoga’s offense gained about 25 yards, they also turned over the football. In the second quarter the Jaguars continued on offense using running back Marcellus Irving and junior running back Alex Warden. The Jaguars stumbled though, on fourth and five on the 17 yard line the Jaguars went for it and was penalized due to an illegal shift. Conestoga declined and started their second drive of the night.
The Conestoga Pioneers continued to use their running attack with junior Blair Brooks who gained 13 yards and senior Leighton Dennis as the Pioneers marched all the way down to the two yard line. Number five, junior Gene Gibson, drove his way into the end zone for a touchdown to cap an 83 yard scoring drive. After the kick, the score was 7-0, Conestoga.
The Jaguars tried to answer back on the next drive before halftime but couldn’t. The Jaguars went into halftime down by one touchdown. To start the second half the Jaguars’ kicker Dan Acchione booted a spiral which gave Conestoga’s junior Dexter Bridge trouble. He muffed the kickoff and Connor MacNeal recovered the fumble for the Jaguars at their own 13 yard line. The Jaguars had the momentum but couldn’t take advantage of the turnover. After another penalty and an incomplete pass on fourth down, the Pioneers again received the football back from the Jaguars. Head coach of Garnet Valley Mike Ricci said “We had a couple great opportunities inside the 20 yard line, we had penalties that killed drives, and we can’t afford to do that.”
Both teams continued to go back and forth but neither could find the end zone. The Pioneers brought pressure, got through the offensive line and started to sack Jags’ Mark McHugh. In the fourth quarter with the Jaguars defense having trouble getting off the field Conestoga made the score 14-0. After a long 28 yard run down to the goal line by junior Gene Gibson the Pioneers’ quarterback Bill Flatley rushed into the end zone on a quarterback sneak.
Down by 14 points with only 9 minutes to go in the game the Jaguars knew they had to get on the score board quick. After Kyle Moore took the Jaguars kickoff to the 43 yard line the seniors stepped up. Mark McHugh threw over the middle to Marcellus Irving and Irving took off for 69 yards after the catch. McHugh went again to the air near the end zone and connected with senior wide receiver Ryan Woods for a 9 yard touchdown reception, which cut the lead in half, 14 to 7 with Conestoga still leading.
With only 6:04 left on the clock the Jaguars would have to stop the Pioneers’ offense. Pioneers’ head coach John Vogan couldn’t have been happier of how the Pioneers winded down the clock. Mixing up the offense on this drive with Bill Flatley throwing, and rushing with Blair Brooks the Pioneers took 5:57 off the clock before handing the ball back to the Jaguars with 7.7 seconds left on their own 10 yard line. On the drive the Pioneers converted on two third downs and one fourth down.
With 90 yards to go and only 7.7 seconds left McHugh couldn’t find a wide receiver open and when the pressure came the ball was dumped off to an ineligible receiver to end the game. The Pioneers shocked the Jaguars on their home opener with a 14-7 win. After the big win quarterback Bill Flatley said “This was a huge game, we came in here prepared, and we knew what we had to do. We had to come here on their home opener and just take it from them, and that’s what we did.” Since Flatley led his team to beat the defending Central League Champions when asked about the possibility of becoming the Central League Champions of this season, Flatley yelled, “We’re going for it all”.
Next week the Jaguars try to bounce back in the win column as they travel to Penncrest on Friday night at 7pm. The Pioneers will travel to Marple-Newtown as they play their fourth game in a row to start the season on the road.
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