Football: Killer “Ds” Lead South Past H-H
CB South (3-1) opened SOL Continental play Friday night by notching a 30-16 road win over Hatboro-Horsham (2-2).
The “W” happened because two “Ds” got “A” grades.
The first D was running back Dion Clifton, who picked up 196 of the Titans’ 342 yards on 24 touches. Clifton’s speed and cuts chewed up big chunks of real estate.
“I don’t like to get hit, so I’ll try to read my blocks and cut as fast I can, before anyone can get to me,” explained the junior. “I’ll try and break arm tackles and do the basics.”
“Dion is a warrior. He plays offense, he plays defense, he plays special teams,” lauded South coach Dave Rackovan. “He got hit tonight. I have so much admiration for what he does out there. He is a football player.”
The second D to earn an “A” was the CB South defense. They blanked the Hatters in the second half, holding them to just 80 total yards. Junior linebacker Kevin Deley and junior lineman Jack Mummert combined for four tackles for loss or no gain.
“They told us to contain,” said senior captain and defensive lineman Ryan Sullivan, who made a crucial stop for no gain on a third down. “We were worried about their quarterback. Our main goal was to clog up the inside, get as much push as possible and hopefully our linebackers will fill in as much as they can.”
The hosts struck first when sophomore quarterback Casey Walsh, who threw for 186 yards despite heavy pressure all evening, fired an 8-yard touchdown pass. South re-took a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter when their own signal caller, Matt Radwanski, scampered in on an 11-yard keeper.
A second Walsh touchdown pass helped to give H-H a 16-10 lead at halftime. But South opened the half with three straight touchdown drives.
“I always say adjustments are overrated,” chuckled South coach Dave Rackovan. “We talked at halftime about doing different things but we didn’t wholesale change our game plan. Our kids just decided that they needed to step up and play. I give Hatboro a lot of credit in the first half. They had a good plan and they controlled the football against us.”
On the half’s opening drive, Titan junior Dan Hollingsworth blocked a punt. Radwanski capped a three-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Clifton’s pivotal fourth down catch and conversion extended South’s next drive. “I wasn’t even thinking about (fourth down), I was just thinking about getting to the end zone. I know to always fall forward whenever two guys are coming at me,” he remembered. “I tried to dive for the extra yards.”
The 12-play drive ended when Josh Adams (14 carries, 64 yards) scored on a three yard run.
On the next series, Titan sophomore defensive back Luke Kohler intercepted a tipped pass. Already up 24-16, South added six more points with 8:00 left in the game when receiver Paul Weeks scored on an 8-yard reverse.
Those three scoring drives would have gone for naught had South’s defense not held H-H to just three first downs in their first three second-half drives.
“We kept playing our hearts out, definitely in the second half,” commented Sullivan. “The first half was a little slow but we got our stuff together. We knew we were a better team than that.”
Adams, who is averaging 7.6 yards a carry and is one of the most highly touted backs in the state, is South’s star. But on a night like Friday where he was not 100% physically, South is blessed with Clifton, who would be the feature back on most Continental teams.
‘Josh and I work together really well,” Clifton explained. “If I’m having problems with something, he’ll tell me, even out on the field. We’ll work together on the plays because we live close together. He is a really good teammate to have.”
The two backs are essential in South’s hurry up offense. “A lot of people really try and use the clock and do those things, which are a sound game plan,” noted Rackovan, “but we don’t slow down. Our tempo is always high.
Well, South did slow down once on Friday night…when Radwanski kneeled in the Victory formation to end the game.
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