New Hope-Solebury Falls to Bristol in Inaugural Game
By Don Leypoldt
To run in the September 16th Bucks County Herald
Bristol Borough was founded in the late 1600s. That makes for a lot of history.
It was appropriate then that both New Hope-Solebury (0-1) and Bristol (2-0) made history of their own in the borough during Friday night’s rainy Warrior 29-14 win.
When the host Warriors kicked off to NH-S, it commenced the Lions’ first varsity game in approximately 70 years.
And when Bristol’s Woodrow Vorters (7 carries/70 yards) picked up five yards on Bristol’s first play of the second quarter, he broke Dan Smyth’s career Warrior rushing record.
Size and experience made the Warriors heavy favorites. Their offensive line averages 240 pounds while NH-S has just two players who weigh over 200. Bristol’s first play highlighted the discrepancy: fullback Tyler Bliss (7 carries/101 yards) blasted through the line for a 42 yard belly play rumble to start a seven play touchdown drive.
But NH-S, while undersized, clawed right back. Four tailback Julian Kaminoff (17 carries/75 yards) runs helped to advance the Lions to the Bristol four before consecutive quarterback sacks killed a scoring opportunity.
After a nifty Kaminoff 27 yard punt return- and with help from fullback Dominic Lanzetta (6 carries/30 yards) 25 yard run- the Lions marched to the Bristol 15. Marco Maltese’s (5 for 9, 37 yards) rainbow pass found end Michael Campion for a touchdown.
The teams entered intermission tied at 6; Bristol outgained NH-S by just 26 yards in the first half.
However, the Warriors’ size proved to be too much. Bristol opened the second half with Vorters breaking off a 30 yard run and Bliss taking the next carry 25 yards for a touchdown.
“Bristol obviously out-sized us and they just wore us down,” assessed NH-S head coach Jim DiTulio. “The bottom line is that they’re much bigger up front.”
When NH-S got the ball back, Kaminoff was forced to dive on an errant option pitch in the end zone for a safety, making the game 15-6.
The Lions snuffed out the next three Warrior drives by forcing turnovers. NH-S Linebacker Pat Carvalho and lineman Tyler Hendricks both recovered fumbles; corner back Bryant Andrews-Nino, one of just seven seniors on the Lion roster, made a nifty pick of an Eric Wade pass at the Lions’ 1.
But Bristol’s defense killed any kind of NH-S offensive momentum, forcing the Lions to just 19 total yards in the second half. A muffed punt gave Bristol a short field and let Marquis Bell (12 carries, 90 yards) waltz into the end zone from the three early in the fourth quarter. On Bristol’s next drive, Bell scampered 20 yards on a one play touchdown drive which gave the Warriors a 29-7 lead.
Kaminoff punctuated a late fourth quarter drive with a 37 yard end around for a touchdown. He also snagged Maltese’s two point conversion pass to establish the final score.
“The touchdown was a 43 blast and my line did a great job of blocking,” Kaminoff offered. “I got to the second level, made one cut to the outside and pumped my cramped legs as hard as I could. It seemed that we were having problems in the red zone so being able to punch that one in for my team meant a lot.”
“He was like that last year,” is how DiTulio analyzed Kaminoff. “He is a special player. We need to work him in the weight room a little more this year but he has talent.”
It’s hard to blame NH-S for falling to their downriver foe. After all, the Lions had to shake off rust. Not just opening night rust. Three generations worth of rust.
New-Hope Solebury played football in the late 30s but dropped it soon after. Not until this past Friday did they again field a varsity team.
The Lions were scheduled to open their 2009 season on Friday the 4th like most other District One teams. Their first foe would be Elkton (MD) Christian- however the out of state opponent dropped football during the offseason, leaving NH-S idle on opening weekend.
The cancellation meant that NH-S would face a tough debut. Vorters, who could point to his 20 touchdowns and Maxwell Club Regional Player of the Week accolades as highlights of his junior season, is arguably the best player in the Bicentennial Athletic League. In Bristol’s 23-18 win over class AA Kennedy-Kenrick on September 4th, the Warriors ran 68 plays to K-K’s 26 and outrushed them 285 yards to 10.
The Lions’ work on Friday was clearly cut out for them.
While the new opener made New Hope-Solebury’s first opponent a difficult one, it also provided an ironic twist. DiTulio attended Bristol High School and played under long time Warrior head man George Gatto. Gatto is in his 22nd season at Bristol’s helm.
“Obviously it was very emotional for me,” DiTulio recalled. “This is where I went to school. George was my coach in high school and I had the honor to work with for eight years. He is a first class guy. So emotions were high all week. I didn’t sleep much.”
Although DiTulio’s charges do not have a storied past to inspire them, they can look to bright things in the future. NH-S fields 34 underclassmen on their 41 player roster. The squad’s two best athletes- Lanzetta and Kaminoff- are a junior and sophomore respectively.
“Our goal is to get better as a team in every practice and every game. I want these kids to have fun with what they’re doing and I want to build the program up,” stated DiTulio. “I’m hoping we can generate some excitement. We have a good feeder system in tact and the goal is to build on that.”
Nor are the Lions completely inexperienced. NH-S fielded a junior varsity team in 2008 and the Lions rolled to a 7-1-1 record; Bristol provided their only blemish.
West Chester Rustin provides NH-S with one model of how a fledgling program can quickly turn around. W.C. Rustin fielded its first football team in 2006; three short years later, the team advanced to the PIAA state quarterfinals.
NH-S crosses the Delaware River on Thursday afternoon the 17th to play Princeton Day. DiTulio’s squad will have to wait until 2010 for a chance at a home game; all nine of the Lions’ contests this year are on the road.
“But our kids proved as a first year program that they didn’t just come down here and roll over,” said the coach. “They gave it their all and I’m proud of them. They worked their butts off and for the first half we played excellent football.”
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