Rock Slide: CR North Rolls over Hatboro-Horsham
Maybe it was the near full moon.
Maybe it was just great execution.
Regardless, Council Rock North (3-0) put together big play after big play- including arguably the most bizarre first quarter of the year- in soundly defeating Hatboro-Horsham (2-1) 56-26.
How bizarre? CR North retuned a kickoff for a touchdown, scored on a pick-six, blocked a punt for a touchdown, forced two turnovers, turned the ball over twice themselves and gave Hatboro-Horsham extra life when their defense committed a penalty after stopping the Hatters on fourth down…twice.
All in the first quarter, a quarter which took 44 minutes to play and put the Indians up 28-0.
North scored on the first play of the game when senior DaJuan Martin took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. He then snagged sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain’s pass for the two-point conversion.
McIlwain is getting Division I looks for his arm, but he showed his legs might be D1 caliber as well soon. On one of CR North’s first plays from scrimmage, McIlwain took a read option play 66 yards for a touchdown.
North wasn’t done yet. Sophomore safety Seth Leuz blocked a Hatboro-Horsham punt, which senior Josh McWilliams returned for a score.
“We practice blocking punts,” said Leuz. “It’s supposed to me the guy next to me takes out the end and I go under him. But that didn’t work on the last play.”
Leuz grinned, “I sort of made up my own and went around the end. It worked.”
He would be grinning again a few plays later when Leuz snagged his first interception for the year and return it down the left sideline 51 yards or a touchdown, putting the Rock up 28-0.
“I just happened to be in the right spot. It was tipped into my hands and I ran,” Leuz noted.
Hatter quarterback Jack Morris opened the second quarter by scampering for a 13-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 28-6. And it looked like Hatboro-Horsham would have some life after a bobbled North punt gave Hatboro the ball back at the CRN-13.
But big junior Connor Guzy sacked Morris on fourth down. Minutes later, McIlwain hit Martin on a swing pass that he took 72 yards to the house for his second score of the night. Martin hails from Toronto. If they all are as fast as the 5’9” senior, many SOL coaches will be booking Air Canada flights.
Rock still wasn’t done. Leuz was part of a tribe of Indians that blocked a second punt, which McWilliams picked up and ran 14 yards for his second score of the night, giving North a 42-6 lead. North’s first half point barrage finally ended, but not until McIlwain hit wide out Mitch Maisel for a touchdown.
McIlwain and Martin justifiably get the headlines in the Indian offense.
“Brandon and DaJuan like to throw to each other. They always play hard in practice,” Leuz noted. “We try to make them better by giving them a good scout defense. It makes us better too.”
But Leuz and his defensive mates are no slouches either. Leuz started last season as a freshman. Better known as a left handed pitcher, he started a Little League World Series game on ESPN2 when his Newtown, PA Little League won the state title.
This past August, Leuz pitched his Junior Legion team to a state title. The championship game was on a Wednesday; CR North football practice started on a Monday giving Leuz a four-day off season.
“Football gets me conditioned for baseball,” Leuz commented. “Baseball is a lot of work with running and acceleration. It helps my teamwork improve for football.
For Hatboro-Horsham, running backs Jeff Panara and Kingsley Nworu combined for 150 yards on 20 carries. Each back had a rushing touchdown in the second half.
The two teams now face tough tests in a short week. Hatboro-Horsham hosts CB South; North hosts Abington this Friday.
But on Monday, Leuz and his mates who were the big winners on big plays.
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