CB East Pulls Away from CB West
To Run in the October 27 Bucks County Herald
Both CB West’s (4-5, 1-4 SOL Continental) and CB East’s defenses stonewalled routine plays all throughout Friday night.
“We’ve been practicing all week reading the guards and fullback. We kind of knew what they were going to run before they ran it,” commented East linebacker Mike Glauber, who finished with three tackles for loss or no gain. “Everything opened up and it was perfect. I hit my gaps.”
But the difference in this defensive duel? East (7-2, 3-2 Continental) could score on non-routine plays.
The Patriots got a dozen points on a safety, Barney Amor’s 50-yard field goal and a 70-yard touchdown bomb from Matt Szczypiorski to Wes Verbit in their 23-6 win at a standing room only War Memorial Field.
After a shutout first quarter that produced just 58 total yards, CB East struck first with Amor’s 50-yard howitzer two plays into the second quarter. Their lead soon extended to 5-0: linebacker Nick Ventresca blew up a West third down screen pass, forcing the Bucks to punt from deep in their own territory. The errant snap went out of the end zone.
Patriot cornerback Evan Dorsey later killed a West drive with a jump ball interception. “To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to get it,” admitted Dorsey. “Their kid ran a hitch then went across the field. I just got in front of it, jumped up and caught the ball.”
West’s previously bottlenecked offense finally broke out midway through the second quarter, starting with Josh Crecca’s nifty option pitch that Griffin Shields took for 23 yards. It was the start of a 14 play, 74-yard drive, that featured a 4th and 14 conversion, and ended on Jake Reichwein’s touchdown plunge from the one with 8 seconds before halftime. East blocked the point after try.
East adjusted in the second half. Chad Guzzi raced 62 yards on the opening play, setting up Amor’s 20-yard field goal which gave the Patriots an 8-6 lead. On the Patriots’ next drive, Verbit hauled in Szczypiorski’s 3rd down pass and raced 70 yards for a touchdown.
“We got loose. Wes is a dynamic player and Chad is a downhill, hard runner,” noted East coach John Donnelly. “We made adjustments, came out double tight and hit a quick one on them.”
“It went towards me. I just did my job, shook the cornerback and caught the ball in the air,” said Verbit, who has 776 receiving yards on the season.
East forced the ball over on downs and the offense took advantage, marching 42 yards on nine plays. Jake Ventresca swept two yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion made it 23-6.
West showed life on their next possession, when Nick Ferrentino caught a 36-yard pass on 4th and 17. The Bucks advanced to the East-15 but Ryan Plack’s fourth down sack put the game away.
The Patriots held the Bucks to 60 rushing yards, and CB West averaged just four yards per passing attempt.
“We adjusted at halftime so I got in on inside blitzes. They were having some trouble picking it up and I got in on the quarterback,” said Glauber, East’s leading tackler this season.
“We played our defense,” Dorsey added. “We did what we were supposed to do and what we practiced this week.”
It was the sixth time this season that East has held an opponent to 13 points or less. “They’ve had a lot of tremendous games,” Donnelly praised his defense. “I’m not surprised. I think our defensive staff did a great job of putting guys in position. But at the end of the day, it’s the players who have to go out there and play. We had checks to certain formations.”
Guzzi’s 108 yards on 13 carries led all rushers. Jake Ventresca rushed for 54 and Verbit snagged four balls for 101 yards. Ferrentino caught four passes for 66 yards.
West has held five opponents to 14 points or less and the Buck defense can hold its head high. They surrendered just 168 total yards outside of Verbit’s and Guzzi’s big plays. West closes their season Friday at Souderton.
Next Saturday’s regular season finale with East and Pennridge takes on extra importance. Pennridge is fighting for their playoff lives; the Patriots are fighting just as hard to host a first-round game. Talented seniors like Verbit, Glauber and Plack would relish just one more game at Patriot Field to show their skills.
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