The Garnet Valley Jaguars Are Central League Champions
On Halloween night the Garnet Valley Jaguars were just a win away from being crowned Central League Champions, but first the Jaguars had to get through the Ridley Raiders. Coming into this game the Green Raiders were the defending Central League Champions, and they were not going to give the title up without a fight.
To open the game the Jaguars went three and out after two incompletions. Once the Raiders touched the football they didn’t waste any time. On the seven yard line senior quarterback Andrew Pidgeon stepped back and threw a touchdown pass to senior Mike Maiers to put the Raiders on the score board first. Garnet Valley’s offense was still trying to find their tune and quickly punted the ball away again and Ridley answered again with a score.
Dillon Hayner caught a three yard touchdown reception from Pidgeon to give the Raiders a two touchdown lead, 14-0 to end the first quarter. Early in the second quarter Garnet Valley finally scored after a few first downs as quarterback Mark McHugh trotted into the end zone on a ten yard rushing touchdown and cut the lead in half for Raiders.
Then with just over four minutes to go in the game after Ridley was stopped on a short third down, the Jaguars felt like they had momentum. On the very next offensive series McHugh threw a dart to Ryan Woods for a 54 yard touchdown reception and the touchdown tied the game. Jaguars defense continued to bring the pressure on Pidgeon and John Skinner intercepted the ball just around midfield. Head coach of Garnet Valley Mike Ricci said “We did a great job, we don’t get flustered, and it’s a tremendous tribute to the leadership that the leaders have on both sides of the ball, we don’t get rattled and we comeback and find ways to get a win.”
The offense again took advantage of turnovers and after a few holes in the defense McHugh found his way into the end zone for a long 56 yard rushing touchdown for the quarterback. McHugh said “Pressure doesn’t bother me, I love being under pressure, the offensive line did a great job blocking, Bonacquisti had a great block and I looked back and I was gone.” The Jaguars scored three straight times which gave them a one touchdown lead. Just under a minute to go before halftime the offense had one more possession. McHugh threw an interception to Jake Cahill and was tackled by Jared Bonacquisti down near the 30 yard line. Bonacquisti saved a touchdown and the score stayed the same heading into halftime, 21-14 Jaguars.
In the third quarter it was mostly all defense, not as high scoring as the first two quarters were. The only touchdown in the third came late. On fourth and seven McHugh threw a floater to Tim Keyser and Keyser darted into the end zone for a 23 yard reception to give the Jaguars a lead, 27-14.
In the fourth quarter Ridley started scoring again this time running the ball in on a one yard touchdown run by John Harshaw, which made the game very close and cut the Jaguars lead to only six points. After the defense continued to pressure Ridley’s quarterback on third and fifteen, Ryan Canzanese sacked Pidgeon for a five yard loss and forced Ridley to punt.
With the score still very close the Jaguars knew they wanted to try and put this game away. After using Keyser to get down into the red zone, Bonacquisti scored on a five yard touchdown run with three minutes to go and put the Jaguars up big 34-21. Ridley would not go away. After Pidgeon led the team down the field the Raiders scored on a 20 yard touchdown catch by Alex Nicolino, with over a minute to go the score was now 34-28.
With not much time left Ridley attempted an onside kick but failed. To seal the deal Keyser dashed into the end zone on a 43 yard touchdown run and put the Jaguars up big, 41-28, which was the final score. The Garnet Valley Jaguars for the first time in the Central League won the Central League title. “We’re thrilled, it’s such a great league, we’ve played some great teams throughout the whole year and were honored to be Central League Champions” head coach Mike Ricci said. The Garnet Valley Jaguars finished the season undefeated, 10-0. The Garnet Valley Jaguars is the second seed and will host the 15th seed Pennridge next week. Tim Keyser said “This game definitely helped us get ready for the playoffs.”
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