Bucks Rally Falls Short Against Owls
To run in the 9/29 Bucks County Herald
Two late interceptions were too much to overcome on Friday night as the host CB West Bucks fell to the Bensalem Owls 28-21. Although the Bucks rallied from a 21-0 halftime deficit to knot the game at 21 with 9:36 left in the fourth quarter, the Owls scored a go ahead touchdown and snuffed out two potential game tying drives. Both teams exited with 3-2 records.
“You have to play four quarters,” CB West coach Chas Cathers said. “Bensalem, right now, is playing hungry and the team that plays the hardest for four quarters is going to win. We came out very flat in the first half and you can’t do that.”
It was an odd night for the CB West defense. Bensalem had six plays of 29 or more yards, yet the Bucks held Bensalem to just 114 yards on their other 44 plays.
The Owls struck first late in the first quarter. Drasaun Moore connected with wide receiver Isaiah Murray on a 10-yard touchdown pass, on a drive set up by Moore’s 62-yard run. A 51-yard halfback option pass to Moore, followed by Keith Parrish’s 30-yard sweep brought the ball to the CB West 7 on Bensalem’s next drive. Moore scrambled in for a touchdown.
Moore called his number and raced in from 30 yards out with 14 seconds left in the first half to spot the Owls a 21-0 lead at intermission.
“I thought we got back on the right track in the second half,” Cathers felt, “but at that point, we were playing from behind and it was too late.”
CB West came out firing in the second half, marching 64 yards on nine plays in their opening drive and ending with Jake Reichwein’s three-yard touchdown plunge. After the West defense then forced their first three-and-out of the game, set up with Reichwein’s huge third down sack of Moore, the Bucks struck again. Quarterback Josh Crecca hit wideout Kevin O’Hanlon on a 30-yard touchdown fade.
“They were pressing so we put on a fade,” O’Hanlon described. “We stacked them and I tried to get over top. It was a perfect throw.”
The Bucks tied it two series later: linebacker Luke Benson broke up a fake punt to force a fumble that teammate T.J. Rakowsky pounced on.
“I saw the ball on the ground and started running. I thought I missed the tackle,” Benson admitted, “but I forced the ball out so I got a little lucky on that one. My teammates recovered it, we came out on offense and did our thing.”
Crecca found O’Hanlon for a 13-yard completion on third-and-13 to extend the drive, which running back Griffin Shields ended with a 15-yard touchdown run at 9:36 left in the game, tying the match at 21.
“We went into the locker room with the mentality that if they can put up 21 points, then so can we,” Benson said. “We came out really wanting to win and do anything that we could. We just didn’t come out on top.”
Bensalem was held to just 99 yards in the second half, but they had one more drive left. With three minutes remaining, Moore hit Murray deep in the end zone with a 24-yard completion, giving Bensalem a 28-21 lead.
Moore’s 131 yards on 18 carries led all rushers while Parrish also went over the century mark. The defensive MVP was Bensalem’s defensive end Saleem Martin, who recorded five tackles for loss and helped to hold CB West to 89 rushing yards. O’Hanlon grabbed seven balls for 135 yards as Crecca completed 9-of-16 passes.
“We were hitting the short pass game. Our quarterbacks were trying to get the ball out quick,” O’Hanlon noted. “The line was blocking and we were trying to hit them underneath and over the middle.”
Crecca got more snaps under center yet Ryan Moylan is also an important part of the CB West quarterback rotation. “Both are great aspects,” O’Hanlon praised. “They can both run and both throw the ball. We’re just trying to work them both in and see who can keep going.”
CB West also has a stable of four running backs who have rushed for over 100 yards on the season. “T.J. Rakowski is a really hard downhill runner. Griffin too- they were both hitting the holes tonight,” Cathers observed. “Luka Munari showed really good effort last week against North Penn so we wanted to give him a chance.” Munari led CB West with 35 yards on 11 carries.
The Bucks hope to return to the team that opened 2016 with three straight wins. “I think we’re still that team,” Cathers concluded.
West Trying to Kick Cancer: Senior kicker Kenny Doak gives West a special teams weapon. Doak drilled three kickoffs for touchbacks against Bensalem, and he is a perfect 14-for-14 on extra point attempts this season. “It’s kicks, a lot of squats and power lifts,” explained Doak on how he builds his leg strength.
But this season, Doak and kicker Clarke Bittner are using their talents for an outstanding cause. “We teamed up with kick-it.org, which is a program to raise money for kids with cancer,” Doak explained. People donate for every point the kickers score and “for every point, the money goes to charity,” Doak continued. “We have a website. It’s a big thing because one of our coaches’ Dads has cancer and we wanted to give back. We’ve already raised close to $1500 and we want to get to $2,000.”
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