WARRINGTON >> Vince Lombardi would’ve been very proud of the Pennsbury High School football team’s performance in a 27-9 victory over host Central Bucks South Friday night, Oct. 30 in a Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference game. Whenever the Falcons needed a big play, they simply ran it through the Alley.
Sometimes, they passed it through him, too. As a result, senior quarterback Mike Alley turned in a career night with 180 yards and two touchdowns rushing, as well as 63 yards and two more touchdowns passing. He even threw a two-point conversion for good measure as Pennsbury essentially clinched a berth in the upcoming District One Class AAAA playoffs.
The Falcons (7-2 overall, 5-1 SONL) had to overcome a sluggish start to do it, however. Upset-minded CB South (3-6, 2-4) fought toe-to-toe through a scoreless first quarter and kept the pressure on through the first half.
After 24 minutes of play, the teams were separated by just five rushing yards (106-101 in Pennsbury’s favor) and 41 total yards.
Pennsbury didn’t help its own cause by gifting the Titans a pair of first downs on penalties during a 10-play, 63-yard drive that led to a field goal. Ronnie Ridolfo’s 24-yarder less than two minutes into the second quarter gave South a 3-0 lead.
And Pennsbury might’ve been behind heading into intermission were it not for two clutch passes by Alley.
Facing third-and-18 from South’s 24, the quarterback hit Vinnie Ratamess in stride on a medium range crossing pattern. The senior tight end split the defensive backs and strode into the end zone untouched. It was Alley’s first pass attempt of the game. The Falcons’ extra point run failed, so they led, 6-3.
With time winding down in the first half, Pennsbury faced another tough spot, fourth-and-12 at South’s 25. This time, Alley lofted a fade pass to Rob Daly in the right corner of the end zone. Daly out-fought a defender for the ball and held onto it for another Falcons touchdown. Alley passed to Luke Snyder for the conversion and Pennsbury led, 14-3, at halftime.
The Falcons’ ground-and-pound game began to pile up yardage in the second half as Alley recorded touchdowns of 39 yards late in the third and 53 yards midway through the fourth. Fittingly enough, he took both plays around the end of the formation – one to the right and the other to the left, benefitting from devastating seal blocks in each case.
Alley carried 16 times and passed just five times, leaving plenty of touches for his backfield mates. Fullback Chris Rupprecht tallied 107 yards on 20 carries, while Daly and Daulton Hose combined for another 48 yards on 15 attempts.
The victory, though universally predicted, was nonetheless crucial to Pennsbury’s playoff aspirations. Seven wins pretty much guarantees a playoff berth. Eight wins could earn you a home game in the first round or beyond. And after the previous week’s close loss to North Penn, Pennsbury didn’t want to go into the Neshaminy game riding back-to-back defeats and possibly needing a win just to qualify for the 16-team District One field.
The same North Penn squad downed Neshaminy, 22-17, Friday night. So the Redskins (6-3, 4-2) are now the ones who may need to beat Pennsbury just to assure themselves of a playoff berth.
Pennsbury 27, CB South 9
(Oct. 30 at CB South)
Pennsbury (7-2) 0 14 6 7 — 27
CB South (3-6) 0 3 0 6 — 9
CBS — Ridolfo 24 field goal
P — Ratamess 24 pass from Alley (run failed)
P — Daly 25 pass from Alley (Snyder pass from Alley)
P — Alley 39 run (run failed)
CBS — Iannuzzi 8 pass from Thompson (kick failed)
P — Alley 53 run (Knop kick)
Pennsbury’s Chris Rupprecht carries the ball for a gain against North Penn. gregg slaboda photo
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