Rams Top Bucks: Improve Their Playoff Hopes

Written by: on Friday, October 7th, 2016. Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.


donweek62016Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson.

When visiting CB West faced first-and-goal at the Pennridge-6 late in the first quarter, all Ram captain Joe Robinson did was register a tackle for loss, then a sack, and then another sack.

The Bucks, who had had the ball as deep as the Ram 1, were instead forced to try a 42-yard field goal attempt, which missed.

“When they got the ball down to the one-yard line, I wasn’t happy about it obviously,” said Robinson as his Rams (4-3; 2-1 SOL Continental) topped CB West (4-3; 1-2) 30-21 on Friday night. “I saw a hole open up to the quarterback and got a couple of sacks. It got our defense all pumped up and off the field.

“To have goal line stands is amazing for our defense,” Robinson concluded. “Our guys prepared all week.”

“We stunted a lot more and brought Robinson,” noted Pennridge coach Jeff Hollenbach. “He and Nick Tarburton. Those two are some of the better linebackers in the area.”

It was the second straight drive that Robinson and the Ram defense stood stout. CB West gained 68 yards in their opening five plays, and 27 yards the rest of the first half. Robinson’s sack on 4th and goal killed the Bucks’ first drive.

“The whole team felt that we need to dominate the rest of the season and win the next three games,” said defensive lineman Alex Schmidt, who registered two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble. “That motivated everyone to keep fighting.”

The Rams got on the board with Matt Mauer’s 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter. A Pennridge three-and-out and Ryan Cuthbert’s 21-yard punt return gave the Rams the ball at the West-12. Fullback Tarburton scored on a one-yard run.

With 1:38 in the second quarter, Pennridge quarterback Jagger Hartshorn found Austin Herrlinger in stride for a 48-yard touchdown pass to build a 17-0 halftime lead for the Rams.

“There was a guy who wasn’t on me, Jagger saw me and threw it,” said Herrlinger, whose two receptions went for 74 yards. “I knew I had to catch it. I got the touchdown. The line set it up. They’re a big part of our offense and I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them.”

CB West scored in their opening second half possession; quarterback Ryan Moylan found wideout Kevin O’Hanlon on a 10-yard fade route to cap a nine play drive. Pennridge responded with a 12-play scoring march of their own; Hartshorn rolled left on fourth down and connected with Anthony Kelly for a 27-yard scoring strike.

After a Schmidt fumble recovery snuffed out a West drive, Hartshorn bolted up the middle on a fake sweep for a 21-yard touchdown, giving Pennridge a 30-7 lead.

CB West struck late. Corey Cepeda’s blocked punt gave the Bucks a short field to set up Max Ojert’s one-yard touchdown plunge. After kicker Kenny Doak recovered the onside kick, and three Buck passes moved down to the Pennridge-4, Jake Reichwein pounded into the end zone from two yards to make the score 30-21.

Pennridge entered the game tied for the 16th and last playoff spot in Division One. The win over 11th ranked CB West will help their playoff positioning. Both schools still have to play highly ranked CB South and CB East, making for must see TV in the SOL Continental.

The Rams have also grown from their gauntlet of a schedule: the combined records of the three teams to defeat Pennridge are 21-0.

“It teaches us mental toughness and how to get through things,” said Robinson. “For us to roll into our League schedule after that is perfect, but this is only step two of step five (games).”

Both teams were held to roughly half of their per game rushing averages. Hartshorn’s 59 yards on 10 carries led all runners.

“I thought we played physical football on defense and that was one thing we wanted to do: to play a physical football game,” said CB West coach Chas Cathers. “We had some assignment breakdowns which hurt us. We have to capitalize when we have an opportunity in the red zone. We had some mental mistakes which really hurt us.”

Both teams also found success through the air. Moylan completed 5 of 6 passes for 113 yards; teammate Josh Crecca tossed for 102 yards on 11 completions, with O’Hanlon grabbing seven balls for 100 yards.

“We worked all week to know which quarterback is more passing or running. We understood what to do to stop them and,” added Schmidt, a Division I recruit, “evidently it worked.”

Hollenbach was impressed with the fleet Hartshorn’s performance in the pocket: he went 7-of-16 for 147 yards and no interceptions.

“Jagger came to play tonight,” assessed Hollenbach. “He threw better tonight. I’ve been trying to get him to stand in the pocket more and read the defense, since defenses are trying to take away the run. He did that and that really helped.”

A strong Ram defense and a balanced offense means that Hartshorn may have an extra game or two- in the post season- to work on his pocket presence.

Point After: Friday was Pennridge’s Pink Out. Hundreds of fans at Helman Stadium donned pink to support cancer victims. “We have a couple hundred kids up there…I just love what they’re doing,” Hollenbach said. “It translates to the team but it is also just a good, positive high school experience. I’m thrilled. My family has had cancer so it’s very meaningful to me.”


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