GV Tops CB South on Late TD
To Run in the November 11 Bucks County Herald
The Garnet Valley Jaguars are known for their run game. But it was Nick Juliano’s 11-yard touchdown fade to Colin Davis with 15 seconds left in the game that gave the 10-seed Jaguars a 21-14 win over the host CB South Titans in Friday night District 1 AAAAAA first round playoff action.
The Titans end their year at 8-3; the 9-2 Jaguars advance to play #2 Neshaminy next Friday.
CB South had a perfect start to the game, moving 40 yards in their first five plays. Garnet Valley bit on a fake sweep to Tyler Watson, giving quarterback Sam Thompson a hole that he could have steered the USS Nimitz through. Thompson ran 20 yards for a touchdown, putting the Titans up 7-0. When Watson picked off a Juliano offering on Garnet Valley’s third play, it looked like the rout was on.
But the Jaguar defense cranked it in gear, holding South to just two first downs in their next four possessions. Garnet Valley sacked Thompson on third down at the GV-38, forcing a punt during a key sequence.
South’s excellent defense matched their foes but the Jaguars’ option finally popped on their fourth drive. Jacob Buttermore opened with a 56-yard run.
“Our school of thought is that you assign people to each part of the option and deny people the ball through the options. Hopefully they head to the sidelines,” said CB South coach Tom Hetrick. “Overall, I thought we did a nice job but at inopportune times they were able to bust one and that hurt us.”
Seven plays later Juliano, on a fake belly play, ran for a nine-yard touchdown on fourth down with 7:50 left in the half. A 42-yard Jaguar field goal attempt that went wide left kept the 7-all tie at halftime.
The Titans opened the second half as successfully as the first: they held Garnet Valley to a three-and-out and then the offense went three-and-in: Thompson hit Jack Gardy on a 32-yard touchdown aerial on South’s third offensive play. South’s defense caused three-and-outs on the Jaguars’ first three possessions, followed by a series when defensive lineman Pat Fleisch blew up a fourth down play to give the Titans the ball at the GV-38.
“I was thinking I had to go all out for my team. It’s all about my team,” emphasized Fleisch. “My team got their assignments, I got mine and we made the play.”
An errant snap on South’s 32-yard field goal attempt gave the Jaguars the ball. Buttermore broke off a 53-yard run and Juliano connected with Davis on a 15-yard fourth down fade for a touchdown. That tied the game at 14 with 3:40 remaining.
Buttermore’s 183 yards on 18 carries led all rushers. Garnet Valley ran for 146 yards on 44 attempts when two big runs are removed. “We told the D-line at our team meeting that this game was going to be based on what they did,” Hetrick predicted. “They might not get the accolades but everyone knows what they did. They did a nice job. Garnet Valley is a very physical football team and they’re very well coached. The line stepped up.”
“Our scout team helped us out a lot,” said Fleisch, who entered the game with 6.5 tackles for loss on the year. “Our coaches set up a good scheme for us and we executed assignment football.”
“It was us working together as a team,” said an emotional John Madara. “We practiced hard all week. The scout team helped us to do what we did and it all came together. Sadly, it came to a loss but man, we tried our best and everyone here give it their all.”
Juliano completed just four of ten passes. Thompson’s 81 yards on 23 carries led South. He also completed 12 of 23 pass attempts for 178 yards. Casey Sloms’ five catches for 72 yards paced South.
Watson, who picked off his sixth pass of the year, went over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards. Thompson caps a season where he threw for over 800 yards, rushed for nearly 600, caught 10 balls as a receiver and even averaged 34 yards a punt as the team’s punter.
“(Sam) is a great athlete who can do some special things,” said Hetrick. “He made some great plays with his feet and with his arm tonight. He’s had a great football career here at South.”
South held their opponents to 14 points or less in eight games this Fall. Senior lineman Madara credited the scout team in practice for their success. “They always tried and made it possible to get the best look and always got us ready for game time,” he said.
“They key was the connection and the mojo we were having,” Fleisch said. “We’re all friends. All of our coaches are great. We have great schemes and scouting reports. But it was all about the coaches and the team.”
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