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Lions Roar Early, Often in Second Straight Rout

Written by: on Saturday, September 7th, 2013. Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.


donweek22013For the September 12th Bucks County Herald

Scoring touchdowns on the first two plays that they touched the ball, the New Hope-Solebury Lions (2-0) cruised to a 49-7 home conference win against the Morrisville Bulldogs (1-1) on Friday night.

The win featured huge contributions from all three phases of Coach Jim DiTulio’s team.

Offense?  Quarterback Connor Hayden hit wide receiver Jason DeVenuto in stride on a seam route that resulted in a 55-yard touchdown on NH-S’ first play from scrimmage.

Running back Joseph Dwight needed just nine carries to amass 113 yards and three touchdowns.  Dwight carried or caught the ball on all but one play in the drive leading to NH-S’ third score.  He also took it to the house on a 30-yard sweep in the second quarter that put NH-S up 42-0.

“I got big blocks from everyone,” Dwight credited.  “I’ve been playing with these for four years straight but this is one of the first games where I’ve really followed my blocks.  Frank Covino is always out there and he led me there.  He gave me a big block and I was in the end zone.”

But the defense played just as strongly, holding Morrisville to merely 54 yards on 31 first half plays.  The Bulldogs had six three-and-outs in their nine first half possessions.

“We thrive on defense and we’ve really, really been working hard on creating turnovers and swarming to the ball,” commented DiTulio.  “We’ve been preaching that and I thought we did a really nice job in the first half shutting them down.  Sometimes in high school football, that misdirection can be a challenge.  I thought our kids played disciplined.

“We watched a lot of film.  Our players watch is all week long.  I’ve got great coaches and they worked their tails off for me.”

What can’t be lost in the storyline is the third phase: special teams.  On the second play that NH-S touched the ball Dwight, who ran for 112 yards and two scores in the Lions’ Opening Night 35-0 win, took a punt 42 yards for a touchdown.

“Last year, my biggest problem was just catching the ball,” he admitted, “but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of fixing that.  Now, I’m just looking for the alley.  Everyone is doing a great job blocking.  I couldn’t do it with out them!”  Dwight had a second 40-yard punt return in the second quarter, which set up a 3 play, 16-yard touchdown drive that made the game 35-0.

The Lions are also blessed with a Division I prospect in senior kicker Danny Sutton.  Four of Sutton’s kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.  His leg constantly forced Morrisville to start deep in their own territory.  That, plus the three-and-outs, gave NH-S short fields all evening long.

“I played soccer my whole life and then Pop Warner started here when I was in fourth grade,” Sutton said.  “I tried that.  After one game, my coach wanted me to start kicking field goals.  A bunch of us tried but I made it and ever since I’ve been playing.”

Sutton is 12 for 12 this year on extra points.  “I work squats, weighted lunges, a lot of stretching and practicing every week,” he replied on how he builds leg strength.

Morrisville marked the second straight convincing win for the Lions.  “Tonight our young guys got a chance to not only get in but, once we settled down they got a chance to execute,” DiTulio noted.  “And that’s big because our upperclassmen get a chance to watch and support them as well.”

“I think the game really does slow a little bit,” Dwight observed.  “We have 14 seniors and we’ve all been there since the beginning.  We all know each other.  We all know our strengths and we play off of them real well.”

The Bulldogs scored their touchdown midway through the third quarter.  Promising sophomore running back Tahmeir Scott went 15 yards for a score, capping an impressive 97-yard drive.  Junior running back Justin Young-Hayward carried 11 times for 57 tough yards.

NH-S knows that the party ends soon.  They face defending state quarter-finalist Bristol next Friday in what could be the biggest game of the 2013 season.

But for one night, said DiTulio, “There is no doubt we’re extremely proud and happy.”

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