West Handles East; Sets Up NP Clash
To run in the October 11th Bucks County Herald
So much for “throw out the records in rivalry games.”
In the 50th meeting of CB East and CB West Friday night at War Memorial Field, West looked every bit the unbeaten team (7-0, 4-0 Continental) they are in a dominating 45-10 win.
“To be frank, we don’t talk about outcomes,” admitted West coach Rob Rowan. “We don’t talk about wins or losses. We focus on what type of effort and energy are you playing with.
“How we prepare Monday through Thursday ultimately determines how we play Friday night. That’s where our whole world is,” Rowan continued. “The guys played with tremendous energy and effort. They were executing at a high level.”
The “W” gave West their first CB sweep since 2013 and marks the latest they have been undefeated since the Mike Pettine Dynasty.
“This is huge,” said running back Jack Fallon, who went over 1,000 yards rushing in the first half. “That was our number one goal this season: we wanted (the CB Cup) and we want to be the best in the District.”
Jack Neri’s one-yard touchdown quarterback sneak capped West’s opening drive. Will Silverman’s 35-yard kickoff return and 17-yard reception from Anthony Giordano set up Michael Smigley’s 33-yard field goal which cut the lead to 7-3.
East co-captain Griffin Trail stopped Joshua Jackson short on fourth down and for a minute, East had momentum. But on the next play, Payton Davis intercepted a long Giordano pass.
“It’s like everything was in slow motion,” Davis remembered. “I stopped and read where the ball was going. I went high and made a play. It was a huge momentum swing since Jack scored two plays later. It was my first pick and it was big for the team. He all got hyped.”
In the next two plays, Fallon raced for 40 yards and then scored from the East-3, making the lead 14-3.
“As soon as I took the ball, I bounced it and saw the free safety coming in,” Fallon described. “I told myself I’d lay a hit in and that’s what I did.”
“All week we tried to focus on us and block out the outside noise,” added center and co-captain Michael Cuozzo. “We really came together. Our chemistry (on the O line) worked really well. We’re a tight group. We preach all week on staying on blocks and getting guys out of the way.”
West hung 24 points in the second quarter. Fallon’s touchdown ended an eight play, 67-yard drive. Neri hit Fallon on a 48-yard pass to set up Fallon’s seven-yard scoring run with 3:00 left.
“I went to the flat and no one was there,” Fallon offered. “I took it and saw green.”
“Coach does a great job of sprinkling in play action at the right time,” Cuozzo commented. “Being a one dimensional team is obviously not ideal.”
West’s Ben Mullikin hijacked an East screen pass for a pick-six just 12 seconds after Fallon’s score to make it 35-3.
“We just played our game,” Davis said. “It was doing our job, playing our keys and doing our reads.” West limited East to 117 yards on 26 pass attempts.
Playing defense, Neri intercepted his second pass of the half and Bailey Moyer connected on a 43-yard field goal with eight seconds left. The 38-3 halftime lead insured a running second half clock.
Nick Tumolo’s 32-yard touchdown run in the third made it 45-3 West. East crossed the goal line in the fourth quarter on Pat Volko’s three-yard run.
“Defensively, it was clicking on all fronts,” Rowan said. “We had a tremendous pass rush going. We had four picks in the first half. They were locked in. I don’t know what else to say except we are preparing as well as we can and that is dictating the outcome.”
Volko’s 60 yards on 11 carries paced East. The Patriots (3-4, 0-3 Continental) host rival CB South on Saturday. A win would regain momentum and keep their playoff hopes alive.
For West, Neri connected on seven of ten passes for 134 yards. Fallon picked up 228 yards on 17 carries and three catches.
West has their work cut out for them on Friday, when they host juggernaut North Penn (6-1). But a pair of Jacks, so far, beats most hands in the SOL Continental.
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