CB South Stays Perfect After Defensive Dandy
To Run in the 9/22 Bucks County Herald
In Norris-town, opposing offenses get treated rudely.
The CB South Titans held an opponent to six points for the third week this season on Friday. It is a big reason why South is 4-0, after topping previously unbeaten CB East 27-6 (3-1) in both team’s SOL Continental opener.
“We’re all great friends,” said leading tackler Nate Norris. “We’re all on each other’s backs in practice making sure we’re having a good practice. No one is selfish on their team and everyone does their job.”
Keying the linebackers, and Titan defense, are the Norris brothers. Senior Nate and sophomore Matt unofficially combined on eight tackles for loss or no gain in the rivalry win.
“We have chemistry and always have,” said Matt. “We’re going out there and trying to give 100% on every play to get the best for our team and get the win.”
“During the offseason, we both work out together and push each other. During the season, you don’t want your brother to beat you,” Nate reminded, “so you try and get more tackles and have a better game. But once the game is over, we’re both happy with how the other plays.”
“They get it. They get how to play the game,” praised CB South coach Tom Hetrick. “We tell them that they are box guys until they spill and when they spill, they figure out a way to get there.”
Barney Amor ended a seven play, 37-yard drive by hitting a 33-yard field goal and giving CB East a 3-0 lead with 3:00 left in the first quarter. The Patriots, boasting an excellent defense of their own, forced a three-and-out but punter Sam Thompson, who averaged nearly 44 yards per boot, pinned the Patriots to their 20.
South’s John Madara recovered a second down fumble on the East 15 and Nate Norris bulldozed his way into the end zone from four yards out to give South a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter. It was the Titans’ turn to force a three-and-out and Thompson, South’s quarterback, threw a first play bullet to Jason Horvath that went for a 41-yard touchdown.
Wes Verbit’s nifty 32-yard catch and broken field scamper set up a second Amar field goal with 3:00 remaining in the second quarter, cutting the Titan lead to 12-6 at halftime.
Thompson hit running back Tyler Watson on a screen pass on South’s opening second half drive that yielded one of the few poor plays for the Patriots’ defense. Watson broke three tackles and raced 52 yards for a touchdown; the conversion put the lead at 20-6.
“I thought the defense played really well. They’re a mammoth offensive line and I thought we did a great job,” noted CB East coach John Donnelly. “They had the one big play on the screen where we had (Watson) for a tackle for loss and then missed a ton of tackles. Their kid made a good play.”
East’s quarterback Matt Szczypiorski answered two series later, completing six straight pass attempts at one point before turning the ball over on downs. South iced the game late in the fourth when big Titan defensive tackle Noah Collachi picked off an East pass and rumbled 55 yards for a late score.
The Patriots outgained the Titans 244-204. East’s defense yielded just 19 points all season coming into the game; South was held to nearly half their average yardage.
“Everyone is flying to the ball and working at practice. Everyone is hawking the ball,” explained East senior defensive end Ryan Plack. “Eleven hats on the ball is what we preach. I think it’s good form and everyone knowing their job.”
Plack contributed to three tackles for loss. “I think it was our defensive scheme and angling,” he explained. “We play a 4-2-5 so it’s easy to read. We go against their kind of offense all of the time so I think we were ready for it. There were a couple of big plays- that one screen pass where we couldn’t make a tackle. But besides that, I think we’ll be all right.”
The four Patriot turnovers were too much to overcome.
“I’m proud of the grit of our team and we’re still a good football team,” Donnelly feels. “We did a lot of good things and it’s a game of mistakes and whoever makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. But I thought we moved the ball well tonight. The three fumbles were killers because every time we were moving the ball. That first score, we gave them a short field and they capitalized on it.”
Szczypiorski completed 18-of-30 passes for 166 yards. Verbit snagged six balls for 88 yards while Jack Elias gained 52 yards on 13 touches for East.
“(East) is going to show you all kinds of things and looks,” said Hetrick, “but when all is said and done, we have our base alignment so that you need to be able to make it easy enough to understand and have adjustments to get people to the position where you are balanced up and defend the entire field. That’s what they do: on any given play they make you defend the entire field.”
Thompson completed 7-of-11 passes for 118 yards. Nate Norris, although the defensive MVP, doubled as the game’s leading ground gainer with 42 yards on 10 rushes.
Nate says playing both platoons “has definitely gotten better throughout the season. As we play more games, we get better acclimated to it and the weather cools down,” he explained. “At the end of the game, I felt pretty good and my legs were still fresh.”
But Nate’s calling card is defense. The Titans have surrendered just 31 points in four games to SOL opponents. “We have eleven guys who have a pretty good football IQ,” said Hetrick. “Our defensive backfield has made major strides. We have good cover guys that we trust which allow us to do things in the box and have those two linebackers play the box. We think we have a defensive front four that are stout, smart and active. As a group of eleven people, I couldn’t have been more proud of them.”
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