Quakertown Wins D Battle; Will Host Friday
By Don Leypoldt
To run in the November 19th Bucks County Herald
Three straight East passes. Three straight Quakertown picks.
There were plenty of defensive highlights from which to choose on Saturday, as the #12 Quakertown Panthers (9-2) “upset” the host and #5 CB East Patriots 7-6 in District One AAAA first round playoff action.
But junior defensive back Jack Chenowith’s interception with 1:48 left, sandwiched by senior Kyle Baskin’s two big picks salted the game away for the Panthers.
“The interceptions by Kyle, definitely,” said Panther senior lineman Chris Curry on the key moment of the game.
“I’d have to give it to Jack Chenowith because his was so clutch,” Baskin disagreed. “(East) was getting some momentum and he picked it off and it gave us some lift.”
The game didn’t appear to be a defensive standoff at first. After forcing a three-and-out, the Panthers took their opening drive 53 yards in 10 plays. Senior running back Rob Burns banged into the end zone from the CBE-5 on fourth and four, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
From then on, points would be scarce. The East defense surrendered just 120 yards for the rest of the contest. Quakertown averages over 400 yards of offense per game.
“Quakertown runs power and counter very well,” said East head coach John Donnelly. “We were tuned up to defend it. We felt we did a great job, as the score indicates, from a defensive standpoint.”
Yet the Panthers forced five turnovers and held East to just 22 passing yards on 11 attempts.
“We game planned and went to a different front with different personnel,” explained Quakertown head coach George Banas.
“The key was, last week, they beat us a lot on the ends. We had to bottle them up and we did that well this week,” said Baskin.
“They brought me into D End and I felt we had good contain on the edges,” added Curry, who had several big tackles for loss. “Our linebackers really stepped up when they plugged the holes. The corners had picks and it was just a good game all around.”
Jake Bovard’s punt pinned East at their own 4 early in the second quarter. When Baskin pounced on a fumble at the CBE-16, it seemed like Quakertown would be in business.
But the Patriot defense yielded just four yards, highlighted by linebacker Jack Lamb swatting a third down pass attempt. Quakertown’s 29 yard field goal attempt missed left in the blustery day.
Lamb burst for a 62 yard run on the Patriots’ opening second half drive, but Quakertown forced and recovered a fumble at their own 8.
After East forced a punt, Lamb connected with wide out Logan Nelsen for a beautiful 17 yard grab on third down. Senior running back Alex Gibson than ran off rushes of 11, 12 and finally a 25 yard touchdown gallop to get East on the board early in the fourth quarter. Gibson led all rushers with 146 yards on 22 carries; Lamb added 92 yards on ten runs.
But a fateful high snap on the point after try forced Lamb to throw a pass, which fell incomplete.
Baskin’s first interception killed a Patriot drive with 7:00 left. “I saw my man. He threw it out there both times and both times I was able to get it,” said the 6’4” Baskin.
And the Panther offense responded by generating life for the first time since their opening drive. They moved the ball to the East-11 when Patriot end Ryan Plack pounced on a Quakertown fumble.
East tried a gadget pass, which Chenowith intercepted one play later. When the Patriots did get the ball back with 1:02 left, they tried a third straight pass, which the 6’4” Baskin grabbed and put away the game.
These teams met in the SOL Continental season finale eight days prior. CB East emerged with a 24-23 win at Quakertown.
“We dropped another safety back and took out a lineman,” said Curry on Quakertown’s defensive adjustments. “The film was the same but we had to change everything up and start fresh.”
“Offensively, we realized that some plays just didn’t work and we added some variations,” Baskin added.
It ends a special year for East who opened a long awaited beautiful stadium. All three Patriot losses were by less than a touchdown.
“I told them that this stings horribly right now but when they get time to reflect, they will realize the huge strides that they made as a group and for the program,” Donnelly said. “That was my sole message to them after the game.”
Quakertown not only avenges a tough loss from week 10, but they also get to host #13 Neshaminy (8-3) on Friday after the Redskins beat Spring-Ford 31-16.
“This is one of the best feelings of my high school career,” a jubilant Baskin said minutes after the game. Maybe that feeling will continue this Friday night.
Don Leypoldt’s book Keystones and Wishbones: Faith, Values and Football in the Delaware Valley is now available on Amazon! The book features interviews with over a dozen NFL veterans, all with Delaware Valley ties. Click here to order:
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