Garnet Valley Fights To The End 28-27
Coming into this game the Garnet Valley Jaguars and Penncrest Lions had identical records, 2 wins and 1 loss. The team to win this game knew they would be at least in second place in the Central League standings. This was a huge game for both the Jaguars and Lions, and it certainly was a fight to the end.
The Jaguars opened their season with two wins and last week suffered a tough loss to Conestoga. The past two weeks for Penncrest, they have been on fire. After losing by just three points to Downingtown West (40-37) to open the season, the Lions in just two games have outscored their opponents 80-7 beating Radnor and Marple-Newtown. The Jaguars knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task.
The Jaguars didn’t waste any time and scored first. After a long 32 yard run by junior running back Alex Warden and quarterback senior Mark McHugh getting the football near the goal line, senior running back Kyle Moore finished the scoring drive on a two yard touchdown run to open the game.
To open the second quarter the Jaguars’ seniors continued to show their leadership. On fourth down and four yards to go on the eight yard line, McHugh dropped back and threw an eight yard touchdown pass to senior running back Marcellus Irving; to give the Jaguars a two touchdown lead, 14-0.
After a big “somersault” catch by Matt Bundy from senior quarterback Matt Atkinson, the leader of the Lions in the backfield, fullback Jerry Boyer, fired right back with a touchdown run of his own to cut the Jags lead in half.
McHugh and senior wide receiver Ryan Woods started to connect. Nearing the goal line after two receptions by Woods, again Moore scored his second of the day for a three touchdown lead, 21-7.
Atkinson began to show the Jaguars’ defense he wasn’t afraid to throw the long ball. Atkinson connected deep throwing to Matt Bundy again. Bundy scored on a 54 yard touchdown reception. At the half the Jags were still leading 21-14. The Lions showed they would not go down without a fight.
To open up the second half the Lions took five minutes and eighteen seconds off the clock. On this drive the Lions continued using their running game using Boyer and senior Adam Yee. Just nine yards away from tying the game, again Atkinson threw the football in Matt Bundy’s direction, and he came down with the football for a nine yard touchdown reception and tied the game at 21 points each.
In the middle of the fourth quarter the Jaguars began to hurt themselves. On third down conversions they began to jump offside’s and give Penncrest the yards they needed for first downs. Atkinson, who didn’t rush with the football much, decided to take off for a 64 yard gain all the way down to the goal line. Atkinson stunned the Jaguars’ defense with the long run and Jerry Boyer finished the job. Boyer dove into the end zone for the touchdown and the lead. For the first time of the night the Lions were winning. Penncrest missed the extra point, which later hurt them. The Jaguars were only down 6 points, 27-21 with six minutes left in the game.
With only three minutes to go, the Lions began to control the game and it began to look like they might clinch it. On fourth and one at midfield Atkinson with pressure coming bobbled the ball and tried to hand the football off but was fumbled and sophomore, Kyle Keyser recovered the football. It was Keyser’s biggest play yet as he is only a sophomore. Head coach of Garnet Valley Mike Ricci talked about how tough Penncrest played and said, “Penncrest is a great team, we really worked hard to try and contain their offense. Their offense is great and we were able to do that when we had to.”
With the momentum shifting towards the Jags McHugh went to the air again to his wide receiver, Woods. A short pass to Woods led to a 49 yard touchdown reception after he shook a few defenders off. With that touchdown the Jags tied the game and then with everyone counting on senior kicker Dan Acchione, he came through with the extra point and gave the Jags a one point lead. On that big play Woods said “The play was set up real nice, we got a guy in jet motion, it just cleared out one on one with me and him. Mark put the ball right on the money; the down field blocking was nice too. All I had to do was run down the field and get into the end zone.”
In the past four games Mark McHugh has been easily finding his fellow senior, wide receiver Ryan Woods either deep or short. Woods who didn’t start playing football until eight grade said “Me and McHugh since freshman year we’ve always been me at wide receiver and Mark at quarterback. We’ve always have had a nice mesh going, we have always been working on plays even after practice we continue to work on stuff.”
Penncrest had the opportunity to try to put a winning drive together but the Jaguars’ defense brought pressure. Six foot seven Andrew Weber sacked Atkinson for a six yard loss as the clock continued to run. On a last effort by the Lions the offense couldn’t get the ball moving. The Jaguars came back to win 28-27. Coach Mike Ricci said “The difference between this week and last week; last week we didn’t make any plays this week we did. We had a lot of guys step up and make plays.”
Now that the Jaguars are back on a winning edge (3-1), they play against Springfield-Delco (2-2) at home on October 2 at 7pm. Penncrest (2-2) will travel to Upper Darby (1-3) and also play on October 2 at 7pm.
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