CB South Rolls Past CB West
CB South (1-0) senior running back Joe Bechta took the opening kickoff 91 yards to the house, and scored on a seven yard sweep late in the fourth quarter as his Titans beat the visiting CB West Bucks 40-14 (0-1) on Friday’s opening night. The game marked Chas Cathers’ debut as West’s head coach.
In between, three more Titans scored four first half touchdowns .
“We want to spread the ball because we think we have some playmakers,” said South coach Tom Hetrick.
Junior quarterback Sam Thompson ended South’s second drive by calling his own number at 4th and 1 at the West 23, taking the ball up the middle, breaking a tackle and running into the end zone. A textbook 40 yard screen to senior fullback Matt Helmsley started the drive, which began at the South 15.
Barely two minutes later, fullback Nate Norris rushed up the gut and streaked down the left sideline for a 60 yard touchdown, giving the Titans a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After forcing another West three-and-out, Thompson coolly flicked the ball to Addison Grant on a third down crossing route; Grant raced 52 yards for the score.
“Just a lot of reps in practice,” is how Thompson developed chemistry with so many weapons.
South recovered a West fumble on third down, giving the Titans first and goal on the 10. Two plays later, Norris pounded it in from the one.
West blocked their second straight PAT, a lone first half bright spot when facing a 33-0 deficit. West had 24 total yards in the first half, a validation of an outstanding defensive effort from South.
“We were all about our assignments. We play gap assignment football,” said Titan senior nose tackle Dan Marks, who had several tackles for loss. “We’d go in there, do our thing and clean up.”
He continued, “Everyone contributed. We’re all a unit. We all work our butts off in practice and go out there twice a day.”
“We were pretty confident coming in that we had a pretty good defensive front,” echoed Hetrick. “I think we have a lot of active people who can circulate through. We like to keep them fresh and on the move.”
West did come to life after intermission. The Bucks scored Cathers’ first touchdown with 1:05 left in the third. Junior wide out Kevin O’Hanlon made a beautiful diving 35 yard catch, followed by a 39 yard grab on a fade one play later to set up senior quarterback Eddie Shields’ one yard scoring plunge.
“I think the kickoff return got us down to begin with, but it’s a testament to our character,” said Cathers. “They came out and continued to fight. They didn’t give up on each other.”
Cathers continued, “We’re looking for guys to give 100% effort. It’s a game of tackling and blocking, and the effort part is something that sets you differently. Effort is what we’re trying to instill in these kids and I think it showed in the second half.”
Thanks to a recovered onside kick on the heels of a South unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Shields hit O’Hanlon on a 5 yard out route one play later, and O’Hanlon took it the 15 extra yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 33-14. West pressure also later stopped Thompson on a fourth down deep in Bucks’ territory.
O’Hanlon had eight catches for 119 yards. Cathers also had to be pleased with sophomore running back TJ Rakowsky, who showed quickness despite a South front that yielded just six yards rushing.
Shields completed 12 of 23 passes for 147 yards. Thompson rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries and completed 13 of 30 passes for 188 yards. He was hurt by several dropped passes. Bechta carried nine times for 45 yards.
“There is leeway,” explained Thompson. “We have many options within one play. The line will pass block but we can still do a quarterback draw. The line does a great job with that. Receivers do well run blocking.”
There is still plenty for both teams to clean up. The two teams combined for 19 penalties. But the game puts to bed questions about South’s offense in a post Josh Adams world. Their star running back last year is now at Notre Dame.
“The big question this year is: What is CB South’s offense going to be like,” said Hetrick. “Since January, we said that we would put the defense in a position to have to defend the whole field and truly be in a position where you never know where we’re going to hit you.”
And for West, who would like to forget their 2014 season, tonight marked a chance to get back on the playing field.
“They’ve been working hard in the offseason,” Cathers praised. “They’re excited to get on the field and start playing again and they’re definitely excited about continuing the season, fighting the hard and winning some games.”
Don Leypoldt’s book Keystones and Wishbones: Faith, Values and Football in the Delaware Valley is now available on Amazon! The book features interviews with over a dozen NFL veterans, all with Delaware Valley ties.
Click here to order
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Share This Post: