49 Point Bucks: West Football Rolls Over South
For the October 7th Bucks County Herald
It would be unfair to call C.B. West’s Friday 49-7 statement win at C.B. South “lucky sevens.”
True, the Bucks had seven possessions. And on plays as dramatic as senior RB Rashaad Williams’ 96 yard touchdown run and as mundane as QB Ward Udinski’s one yard scoring sneak, West (4-1, 1-1) scored seven points on all seven possessions.
But when a team runs up 535 total yards, there is more skill than luck involved.
“We decided we were going to come at them with whoever we had and just attack them,” said junior RB Jake Poeske.
The Bucks opened the game with a 70-yard drive involving three conversions of third-and-six or longer. Poeske (PAY-ski) ended it with an eight-yard touchdown run.
After West co-captain Tyler Maconaghy smothered the pitchman, forcing a six yard loss on a South third down, the Bucks got the ball back. Udinski hit 6’4” WR Bill Bell for a 37 yard gain on third down; Poeske scored on a 20 yard touchdown run two plays later.
A South punt pinned West to their own five, setting the stage for Williams. The speedster racked up 204 yards on the ground Friday, getting 96 of them with his touchdown burst two plays into the second quarter.
The Titans (2-3, 0-2) then advanced to the CBW-20, where they were stopped on downs. The stand was keyed when junior LB Oskar Duva tackled South’s fastest player, RB Bobby DiPasquale, in space for no gain on third down.
West responded with a 13 play drive, capped by Udinski’s sneak, which gave them a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Utilizing Udinski’s feet- the 6’3” senior picked up 85 yards on 10 carries to go with a 6-for-8, 153 yard passing night- was a key to coach Brian Hensel’s game plan.
“We knew it was time for him to get a little bit of the running game in,” said Hensel. “He’d worked hard in the offseason getting faster and stronger. I thought he did a good job of going with that tonight.”
While West won the offensive and defensive phases, South won the special teams battle. Josh Williams returned the second half opening kickoff 52 yards- it was one of three Titan kick returns of 39+ yards – to the CBW-30. South marched them to the end zone in six plays, with FB Ben Torres scoring on a one yard plunge.
“(South) had some tough injuries tonight and that made things really difficult for their front. To their credit, they came out in the second half and wouldn’t be denied,” Hensel noted.
Udinski immediately answered, hitting senior TE Max Stella for a 25 yard gain, and Bell three plays later on a 28-yard touchdown pass to put West up 35-7. Bell finished the night with three catches and 97 yards.
Rashaad Williams ended his night with a 36 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore RB Sherrod Higginbotham’s touchdown scamper late in the fourth ended the scoring.
West might party like it is 1999, the year that they won their final state title under legendary coach Mike Pettine. After enduring a tough 2009 season where they went 1-10, offensive coordinator Chris Cleland- a starter on the 1992 state champs- runs a machine that averages over 400 yards and 42 points per contest.
“The attitude of the team,” credits Stella on the difference from 2009. “Coming in this year, we knew we had chances to win and that we could play with people that, outside of the Central Bucks community, didn’t think we could. It was totally an atmosphere change.”
Williams averages 9 yards a carry; Poeske averages 7.5. The two combined for 15 touchdowns this season. Udinski, who is getting 1-AA looks, has completed 59% of his passes and averages 18 yards per completion.
South is still trying to find its identity- are they the team coming off of two straight ugly losses or the team that racked up 93 points in their week 2 and 3 wins?
“Our offense is a wide open, spread offense. That is what we run. We have to be able to throw the football because that is what Matt does,” observed first year South coach Dave Rackovan. “We’re not in sync. We were in sync and that’s the frustrating thing about it.”
6’5” junior QB Matt Johns is a good candidate to run South’s offense, which true to its word spreads the ball around. Senior WR Josh Williams, TE Steve Oprendek, junior RB Chris Veale and WR Dan Bechta all have double-digit catches on the year…rare halfway through a high school football season.
Assessed Rackovan, “Bobby (DiPasquale) just came back from an injury. We’re trying to move Josh around to fill some holes. Chris Veale is going both ways and he gets beat up. People think we throw the ball all over the place but it’s not. You have to be able to run it.”
“The key was getting the right pressure at the right time,” responded Hensel on how West stopped the South attack. “We put some kids in some tough positions to step up and perform. They were able to perform tonight.”
Poeske assessed, “This year, we’re just fired up. We have all of the energy. We have good skill players and a great line. We’re playing well.”
Sidebar: Brian Hensel will forgive Max Stella for missing a week of workouts.
Stella has distinguished himself as a two-way starter for West. As a tight end, he has snagged a dozen balls while averaging over 17 yards per catch. As a linebacker, the 240 pounder returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown against Wissahickon.
But he is starring off the gridiron as well. Stella volunteered a week of his summer to assist Hurricane Katrina victims.
“I went down to Slidell, Louisiana with my church to build playgrounds for a school that got destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. They didn’t have anything for their kids,” Stella explained. “Going down there and being able to help out that community was huge, because everyone there needs it.”
He continued, “I learned to not take stuff for granted and thank God for everything I have because in a moment it could be taken away.”
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