Throwback Thursday: The Defense Rests
One of the joys of high school football is analogous to a line from the movies when Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.” It is not always the case, as upsets do not seem common anymore; and favorites usually come through, but you really are not sure of just what will play out when you attend a high school game. Of course, the same is true in most sports at all levels.
I like offense. Not runaways, but a lot of scoring where both teams seem to have a shot for the win throughout the game. I have also enjoyed defensive games as long as the non-scoring is based on the strong defenses, and not mistakes or penalties. And also as long as it is not just constantly three-and-outs; there must be some good offense as well. But overall I like scoring in games; crossing the goal line by run or pass just seems to be the apex of a game.
On Friday November 19, 2010 I journeyed to the closest stadium I visit at Council Rock North in Newtown, PA for a District One 4A quarter final playoff match between Central Bucks West and Council Rock South. The Golden Hawks of C R South were enjoying the best season in the school’s 9-season history to that point and made the playoffs for the first time. The Hawks were 10-1 with a sole loss to Abington 45-35 on their slate in a game I saw three weeks prior, and a great game. I also saw the Hawks beat Souderton 24-17 in the District One opening round at Rock North the prior week, November 12th. The Golden Hawks were averaging 30.6 points per game on offense, and allowing 11.7 on defense coming in to this game. The Hawks ran a very smooth triple-option ground-oriented offense. Vince Bedesem had been Head Coach at C R South since the school opened in 2002, and still is in 2014.
Central Bucks West was enjoying their best season since 2004 in their second year under Brian Hensel entering the game with a 9-2 record, having lost to Souderton 34-24 and North Penn 38-21 in a game I saw. The Bucks were averaging 34.5 points per game on offense and allowing 17.3 on defense coming in. West’s multiple offense featured both running and passing.
Rock South received the opening kickoff, drove the length of the field and scored on a 1-yard plunge by Whitely. Rock’s fine kicker Solis then kicked the first of every PAT attempt that he would try. West’s first possession resulted in a three-and-out and punt; the only punt this game would see. Rock then repeated their long drive routine with fine QB Billy Fleming capping it with a 2-yard plunge; with Solis PAT it was 14-0 Hawks at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the West offense sprang to life and a 16-yard run by Poeske (PAY-ski); and an Edwards kicked PAT made it 14-7 Hawks. Then, on one of the rare miscues of the night, an errant pitchout by Fleming was recovered by the Bucks and they were back in business.
West’s star running back Rasheed Williams then galloped 28-yards, and with Edwards PAT it was knotted at 14.
Rock South responded with an aerial, Fleming to Gallo, 34 yards to retake the lead 21-14. Then C B West emulated the first two Rock possessions and put on a long drive with a 2-yard Udinski to Poeske pass capper; Edwards PAT; 21-all. The Hawks then put on another drive, this time in big run chunks, with Fleming keeping the final 4 yards; Solis remained perfect 28-21 Rock South. There would be no quit in either team this night. Featuring Williams runs, the Bucks again answered with Rasheed lugging the final 7 yards. Both kickers remained perfect, 28-28 with 3 minutes left in the half. Council Rock South then put on a 54-yard drive in 7 plays to score with 6 seconds left in the half to enter the locker room with the edge 35-28. The second quarter had seen 49 points scored and a total of 964 yards from scrimmage gained!
This pace was bound to slacken, and it did. Despite a lot of offense again in the third period there was only one score, a Rock South Dimirgian 59-yard bolt; and with another Solis PAT, a 42-28 lead for the Golden Hawks. In the fourth stanza, Solis hit a 29-yard FG to put what I thought was the game out of reach for West. It was 45-28 with 8 minutes left in the game. While I was correct there were three more scores; for CB West a Udinski 1-yard run made it 45-35 and with time left. Then Rock South’s Dimirgian scored on a 4-yard run to make it 52-35. West still wouldn’t quit, and Udinski hit Bell with a 13-yard strike to make it 52-41. West then missed the only missed PAT of the night by either team; I believe it was just a kick attempt, but I had left early to avoid the big crowd exit and don’t know for sure. The final was 52-41.
I had seen a 93-point game! The Council Rock South Golden Hawks had scored on 8 of their 9 possessions including taking a knee on their last. They averaged 8.7 yards a carry for the night. They had 526 yards rushing. The bulk of the rushing breakdown was – Dimirgian 237 yards, Fleming 105, and Donnelly 131. My last written note for the game was, “The Hawks are going to need it next Friday when they host North Penn.”
A story for another time, I was correct in my assessment; as cagey Dick Beck and the North Penn Knights used their offense for defense that next week and Rock South couldn’t score without the ball. Long ball-control drives, plus a good defense, led the Knights to a 28-14 victory and the District One Championship, which I did take in.
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