Council Rock South Football nipped at Neshaminy
By Don Leypoldt
Langhorne- Some say that there are no moral victories in sports. Council Rock South’s (4-3,1-3 SOL National) 20-13 defeat at Neshaminy (6-1, 4-0) on Saturday goes down in the Loss column.
But there were many reasons for the Golden Hawks to leave Langhorne seeing the glass as half full.
One reason was the heavily favored Redskins needing a dramatic goal line interception with 30 seconds left in the game to seal the win in the 48 minute long battle royal.
Another reason was taking just 11 plays to accomplish what Neshaminy’s prior opponents could not do over their last nine halves- score. The Redskins had posted four consecutive shutouts, outscoring their opponents 135-0 in their last 18 quarters.
When the Golden Hawks went three and out to open the game, it appeared that the Redskins’ defense would dominate yet another victim. But two consecutive plays early in the first quarter made the packed crowd realize that Neshaminy would be in a dogfight.
On a 4th down at the CR South 36 in Neshaminy’s opening drive, sophomore linebacker Hunter Shull laid a vicious sack on Redskin quarterback Brian Titus, giving the Golden Hawks the ball in good field position.
On the next play, sophomore quarterback Billy Fleming gashed through the Redskins’ front four for a 21 yard gain. Fleming and junior fullback Braxton Ambrose moved the ball 56 yards on seven carries on the drive which ended when Fleming pumped and raced right seven yards for a score.
“I was looking for my wide receiver in the end zone. I pumped fake to get the defender to go over to him and it worked,” explained Fleming. Fleming is second on the depth chart to junior Terence McGovern, yet both receive ample snaps.
“Both quarterbacks are doing a super job of reading our offense. Terence obviously has a little more experience while Billy brings a fresh outlook in throwing the ball a little bit (more),” said CR South coach Vince Bedesem. “Both are very valuable to us.”
Momentum shifted in the second quarter when the Redskins recovered a botched handoff at the Golden Hawks’ 31 yard line. Fullback Jay Colbert (4 carries for 23 yards) powered in from the one to even the score at 7.
CR South faced another three and out on the ensuing kickoff, but a roughing the punter penalty gave them new life at their own 35. Fleming (5 for 10, 67 yards) moved the ball through the air this time- completing all three of his passes for 50 yards on the drive- and set up an Ambrose touchdown plunge. The PAT missed.
Redskin linebacker Devon Reedel killed a third quarter CR South drive by advancing a Golden Hawk fumble 24 yards to the CR South 45. Four effective runs by scatback Bryan Dean (9 carries for 50 yards) helped move the ball to the Golden Hawk 12. Titus slickly handed off to Colbert, who coasted 12 yards through a deceived defense for a touchdown. But the Golden Hawks blocked the PAT to keep the tie.
The huge Neshaminy offensive line- no starter is listed under 240 pounds- paved the way for blue streak tailback Quilan Arnold (12 carries for 86 yards) in the fourth quarter. Arnold carried five times on their final drive, capping it with a 22 yard scamper around the right side for a touchdown that gave the Redskins a 20-13 lead with 5 minutes left.
Fleming responded by coolly moving the Golden Hawks downfield all the way to the Neshaminy 10, effectively mixing runs and passes. Only when cornerback Matt Knorr intercepted his 4th and goal pass at the goal line with 30 seconds left could Neshaminy celebrate.
Bedesem’s veer attack shares the wealth. Tailback Rus Chickin averages 108 yards per game. McGovern has two 100 yard games this season. Senior bruiser B.J. Deola lugs the rock for a team best 5.6 yards per carry on 51 handoffs.
But it was Ambrose’s (15 carries for 52 yards) power and Fleming’s (25 carries for 100 yards) deception that enabled CR South’s option attack to outgain Neshaminy 253 yards to 185.
“When the lineman comes down you pull and when he goes up, you give the football,” says Fleming on his offense. “You just try and read him and gain as many yards as best you can.”
The contributions of CR South offensive lineman Justin Pugh won’t show in a boxscore. But the 280 pound Syracuse-bound behemoth neutralized Neshaminy’s defensive line standout, Rutgers signee Paul Carrazola, and permitted the Golden Hawks to move the ball.
“This is our football team and this is what we’re going to have for the rest of the year,” commented Bedesem. “We knew we would come out and fight these guys.”
The Golden Hawks’ final three games are against Harry Truman, William Tennent and arch-rival Council Rock North. These three programs have a combined 2-19 record.
While CR South will need to run the table in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, closing the year with such a streak is a very real possibility. Unlike their namesakes, these Hawks are just as comfortable moving on the ground as soaring through the air.
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