Jaguars Win Opening Round
The 6-4 Pennridge Rams came into this game looking to upset the undefeated, 10-0 Garnet Valley Jaguars on Garnet Valley’s turf. The Rams are ranked as the 15th seed in District One and the Jaguars are ranked as the 2nd seed.
With the foggy mist swirling around the field, the Pennridge Rams received the ball first. Quarterback Brad Herrmann carried the ball several times. Nearing mid-field on third down and seven yards to go, Herrmann was sacked by Eric Warden which made it fourth down, and the Rams punted the ball away. On the Rams first offensive series they did take major time off the clock, almost ten minutes.
Once the Jaguars offense touched the ball they scored in just two plays. On the second play of the Jaguars’ first offensive series Jared Bonacquisti ran right up the middle for a 55 yard touchdown run. The touchdown and after an extra point kicked by Dan Acchione, gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead.
Pennridge’s next offensive series had some trouble getting a first down, but on fourth and eight the Rams decided to fake punt and easily got a first down. The fake punt was for over 20 yards. The first quarter ended 7-0, Jaguars.
Later on in the same series Pennridge decided to not punt but go for it again on fourth and eight but could not complete for a first down. The Jaguars continued to pound the ball using their three running backs, Bonacquisti, Marcellus Irving, and Chris Palaio. With just six minutes to go before halftime Irving added on to the Jaguars’ lead after scoring on a 24 yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0, Garnet Valley. “It kept the momentum going, I saw the hole and went, the offensive line created it.” Irving said.
The Pennridge Rams went for a first down again before halftime on fourth down with four yards to go, but was held short and the football was back in Garnet Valley’s hands. After some incompletions Garnet Valley went for it on fourth and seven and quarterback Mark McHugh’s pass was incomplete.
The Rams could now try to score with just two minutes to go before halftime. As Pennridge’s quarterback tried to go deep right before halftime, Garnet Valley’s Pat McGroarty intercepted the football to end the first half of the first playoff game. The Jaguars took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
To open the second half Pennridge attempted an onside kick, but the onside kick failed. Later in the third quarter Pennridge started to heat up, running with Jesse Knepp and Matt Pattison. With just over a minute to go in the third quarter Herrmann sneaked into the end zone to cut the Jaguars’ lead in half, 14-7.
With Tim Keyser, one of the biggest running threats for the Jaguars, not playing due to an injury, the other running backs stepped up. In the fourth quarter running back Palaio scored on a 27 yard touchdown run to make the score 21-7 with eight minutes left in the game. Palaio said “I practiced the past three weeks, the one week I didn’t play, I knew Keyser was going to be out and we (Bonacquisti, Irving) were going to get more touches on the ball and we just had to make plays.”
Nearing the end of the game Pennridge continued to drive down the field as Herrmann was controlling the Rams offense. In the red zone Herrmann fumbled the ball and was recovered by Regis Whittington to seal the win for the Jaguars. After a tough battle with Pennridge the Jaguars won by a final score 21-7. Head coach Mike Ricci said “I thought Pennridge played great. I thought they had a great game plan. I thought they came out fired up and ready to roll, and they executed a great fake punt. They did a great job and they really deserve a lot of credit.”
Next week the Garnet Valley Jaguars will host the Pennsbury Falcons in the second round of the playoffs. Jaguars’ coach Ricci said “Both of those teams are great teams, and we’re going to have our work cut out for us no matter who we play.”
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