C.B. East Nips Pennridge as “Ds” Dominate
For the October 13th Bucks County Herald
Pennridge head coach Randy Cuthbert starred at running back at Duke.
C.B. East head man John Donnelly played tight end at New Hampshire.
On Friday night, Donnelly’s Patriots (3-3, 2-1) went to Pennridge and beat the Rams 7-0 (3-3, 0-2). One would never guess that offense was the coaches’ platoon of expertise, based on the two defenses’ outstanding performance.
“The coaches prepared us real well. We set up different defenses that we felt could stop them and we came in real confident,” noted East senior LB Weston French.
“They would have a big play and the attitude would change on the sideline until we hit a big play,” countered Pennridge captain DL Cory Cowdery. “That’s what this game was: back and forth. It was tense, then you loosen up and it gets tense again. It can change in a second.”
East pitched a shutout by making key play after key play; Pennridge held the Pats to just 166 yards and six first downs.
“We had a great week of practice on both sides of the football all three days and I think that spilled over into tonight,” Donnelly assessed.
“Our defense has played really well in the last two weeks and we’re just not making a lot of plays on offense,” noted Cuthbert. “We get a lot of opportunities down in the red zone and we’re not converting. That part of it is frustrating.”
Pennridge standout LB Brandon Cope opened the game with one of his three tackles for loss: an omen of things to come over the next 48 minutes.
The Patriots ended a litany of three-and-outs and fourth down stops by marching 70 yards on six plays midway through the second quarter. It was capped by RB Justyn White’s 36 yard second effort touchdown.
Ram QB Kyle Peters responded with a 32 yard bomb to senior WR Rocky Ferrier, taking the ball to the CBE-3. Ferrier, who grabbed eight balls for 148 yards, was a lone offensive star.
“He’s never played football at any level. Right when he came out in camp, you could tell he was a natural,” Cuthbert remembers. “He has learned a lot. He’s a threat, who is a tall guy who can run and has soft hands.”
But three times, the Pats stopped the Rams for no gain. Pennridge attempted a field goal with 3:00 left but it was blocked by White.
Pennridge’s opening play of the second half was a 41-yard bomb from Peters to Ferrier. The Rams advanced to the CBE-12, but senior DB Sean Reilly picked off a fourth down pass in the end zone to kill the drive.
East special teams proved as effective, if not as dramatic, in the second half. Despite going three-and-out in four of their five possessions, punter Eric Riva averaged a 37 yard net after halftime.
“We’re big on special forces,” said Donnelly. “Eric is our backup quarterback. A couple of guys have been hurt so he is our third or fourth punter but he did a phenomenal job tonight. You need to change field position if you can’t move the ball well enough and he did that.
And East’s “D” rose to the occasion all half, despite being on the field 40 plays to 15. White, who led all players with 13 tackles, killed a drive with a fourth down sack. Patriot senior DB Ryan Whitney broke up a fourth down Pennridge pass with the ball at the CBE-14. Teammate Ryan Pater picked off a Ram pass one drive later at his own 8. In Pennridge’s final drive, French sacked Peters to force third and long.
White’s 103 yards and Cope’s 71 yards led their teams’ ground game.
“We were trying to shut down the run and I feel we did pretty well,” commented Pennridge captain and DL Cory Cowdery. “(White) is a real good running back and obviously we had to control him. That was our main goal this week.”
Both teams entered the game coming off of losses, but with different momentum. Pennridge lost a last second heartbreaker to Souderton; East fought admirably against two-time defending conference champion North Penn.
The Rams have scored 110 points in their three wins and seven in their three losses. Offensively, the duo of fullback Cope and speedster Jesse Knepp have rung up 822 rushing yards this season to set up Ferrier.
Defensively, Pennridge has yielded 10 or fewer points four times.
East has had three different game high rushers this year and a fourth- quarterback Josh Bernard- owns the team’s longest run of 2010.
The Patriot “D” has now held all six opponents to below, or within two points of, their season scoring average.
“The number one thing is just hustling to the ball every time, so if someone misses a tackle, there are people around him,” described French, who entered the game as East’s leading tackler.
The three teams that have beaten East started off the year 14-1. With the return of White from a three game absence, the Patriots next take on C.B. West in the most anticipated rivalry game in years.
“That’s where it comes down to heart,” French offered. “I think we showed it real well tonight.”
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