NORTH UPSETS SOUTH IN CR BATTLE
By Don Leypoldt
Run in the 11/5 edition of the Bucks County Herald
“Throw out the records in rivalry games”, states an old cliché.
There is a reason we keep old clichés around. Saturday night in a packed and newly christened Walt Snyder Stadium is Exhibit A.
A last second field 38 yard Council Rock South (6-4, 3-4) field goal drifted right, giving the underdog Council Rock North Indians (3-7, 3-4) a heart stopping 20-18 win over their arch rivals.
Any rivalry game win is significant. CR North had the added bonus of playing playoff spoiler as the loss eliminated CR South from postseason contention.
“It was a tough year but this absolutely means everything,” said CR North junior quarterback Tyler Hamilton.
“It’s wonderful. There are no words to describe this. I’m so happy to go out against our rivals and our brother school,” echoed senior wideout Steve Williams.
The tough Indian defense forced a Golden Hawk three-and-out on the game’s opening possession. Senior running back Pete O’Hara ended the Indians’ opening ten play, 82 yard drive by catching Hamilton’s 3 yard pass for a touchdown. O’Hara picked up 39 yards on three carries during the drive.
The Golden Hawks responded by driving all the way to the Indian 29, but Joe Coates- the son of CR North head coach Tom Coates- sacked Golden Hawk quarterback Billy Fleming on fourth down, killing the drive.
Fleming, with 79 yards on 23 carries, was the game’s leading runner.
CR South got on the board halfway through the second quarter. Five strong Golden Hawk runs advanced the ball 39 yards to the Indian five. On third and goal, linebacker Lee Marvel hit running back Rus Chichkin for an eight yard loss. Chichkin, the Golden Hawks’ leading rusher on the year, was held to just 32 yards on 20 carries.
Taken out of touchdown range, Rich Bruno converted the 30 yard field goal.
“(CR South) has a great running game. Their power game is tremendous. Our idea was that if we could take away their running game- to some extent- and make them throw the ball then we could beat them,” said coach Coates.
CR North wasted no time in responding. Hamilton, who completed 9 of 21 passes for 164 yards, got 80 of those yards when Williams caught a hitch pattern and sprinted from the 20 to the end zone two plays after Bruno’s field goal.
“I grabbed the ball, saw a defender behind me, and ran. I finally got to use my feet,” said Williams.
“We thought we’d be able to pass the ball and our receivers made great plays. Steve Williams breaking tackles on the sidelines. Stuff like that made us win the game,” noted Hamilton.
But when smacked in the face, CR South hit back. Keyed by Fleming’s 35 yard pass to Dave Damirgian, Chichkin punched the ball in the end zone on an eight yard run, capping a nine play, 67 yard drive. Fleming hit Greg Welch for the two point conversion and a 14-11 score at halftime.
Marvel dramatically concluded the opening drive of the second half by catching a 24 yard touchdown pass from Hamilton and building a 20-11 lead. The junior quarterback also ran for 52 yards, creating an effective two-way threat.
Momentum quickly shifted back to the Golden Hawks. CR South forced a three-and-out deep in North territory. Getting the ball back at the Indian 40, the Golden Hawks pounded away until Fleming burst up the middle of the line for a four yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 20-18.
The touchdown drive would not have happened without the heavy lifting of B.J. Deola (11 carries for 76 yards- all in the second half). It was Deola who sparked a nine play drive in the fourth quarter that brought the rock to the Indian 5.
But a 22 yard CR South field goal attempt drifted wide right. On this Halloween weekend, it was an eerie omen.
The wide right field goal would rear its ugly head 5:09 later. CR South forced a quick three-and-out, and subsequently advanced the ball to the North 20. Bruno’s 38 yard attempt with four seconds left sailed just right.
CR South head coach Vince Bedesem had complete confidence in his kicker. “We got ourselves down to where we wanted to be. I’d rather put it in the hands of what we do every day,” he said.
The win gives North positive momentum going into 2009: a two game win streak, a rivalry win and the knowledge that many skill players return.
“I’ve been thinking about 2009 already with an eye on getting as many kids involved from the school as possible. (CR South) has a great program that has gone strong for years. We have to get up to their level,” said coach Coates. “We have skill kids but we need to get lineman out.”
Bedesem was able to focus on the positives from a CR South team that went toe-to-toe with conference powers Neshaminy and Pennsbury. “No disappointment as far as our kids our concerned. No way. We took a step forward in our program. We’re right there, we tasted it and we’ll be back,” he predicted.
But the real spirit of the evening was captured in the halftime dedication. Walt Snyder coached at Council Rock from 1968 to 1988, amassing 115 wins, 5 conference titles and an immeasurable positive influence. Over 110 friends, family and former players of the retired coach gathered for the stadium’s dedication.
One of those former players was Bedesem. “(He is) a super, super man. This dedication couldn’t happen to a better human being,” said the CR South coach.
Snyder himself summed up high school football the best. “When you coach, your philosophy is that you want to be a positive influence on their lives. The dedication proves to me that that really happened.
“It’s not about Xs and Os. It’s not about winning and losing. It’s about taking a young boy, coaching him into a young man and making him a productive member of society.”
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