WARRINGTON >> One last time, the Souderton football team huddled together at the end of a football field.
Seniors took their turn standing to deliver a quick message of thanks or encouragement the ceded to the next man up. That this huddle came after a disappointing end to the season made little difference.
This was their last time together.
CB South quarterback Sam Thompson accounted for five touchdowns — four rushing — and back Nick Giorgi ran for 149 yards to lead a determined Titans effort. The two, plus an ironclad defense, proved too much for Souderton in a 33-7 loss Friday night.
“We struggled, I’m not going to make excuses,” Indians coach Ed Gallagher said. “We were a bit undermanned tonight and their kids wanted it more, there’s no question about it. They came out and set the tone physically on both sides of the ball from the start.”
Neither team had any hopes of a playoff game, but both were playing to end the season on a high note.
It was evident from the first drive that South was motivated to close its season the right way. The Titans pounded the ball right down the field, going 68 yards in a bit less than four minutes.
The 10-play drive did not see a single pass attempt and the carries came between three runners. Thompson capped it off with a one-yard keeper and he and the end zone were only just getting to know each other.
Souderton shook it off with the following kickoff. Camerin Carroll fielded the ball at the 15, found a seam and was off to the races for an 85-yard return touchdown and a 7-6 lead.
“We got a little spark there with the kick return,” Gallagher said. “I’m thinking to myself they just drove it down the field and we all of a sudden are winning. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but they eventually wore us down.”
Big Red didn’t know it at the time, but that would be the sole offensive highlight of the first half.
After South punted and Souderton turned it over on downs, the Titans took over at their own 44 and rampaged back down the field. After a knee injury sidelined back Nate Norris on the drive, Giorgi filled in the stead quite well.
Giorgi caught an 18-yard pass from Thompson to get the ball down to the Indians’ 25. The next snap, Thompson showed some moves, slipping free of the pocket and into acreage, running 25 yards for his second score of the night with 1:20 left in the first quarter.
“I don’t think there’s one thing to put it on,” Souderton senior Blake Gular said. “I don’t want to say we underestimated them because we didn’t. It’s the last week of football, we know we’re not going anywhere after this so preparation maybe wasn’t as crisp as it was for a Pennridge or North Penn.”
Things did not improve on the next drive. After a 20-yard return by Carroll and a first down, CB South’s Tyler Watson picked off Joey Currotto at the Titans’ 45 and returned it just over midfield to close the quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Giorgi ripped off a 41-yard run to bring up a 1st-and-goal from the Soudy 2. Two plays later, Thompson made it three scores with a two-yard run off the right side.
After Souderton again turned the ball over on downs, the Titans manufactured another drive. This time, keyed by a 39-yard pass from Thompson to Stephen Iannuzzi, the Titans scored when Thompson hit Tommy Connelly for a three-yard score.
South, paced by Giorgi’s 90 rushing yards and Thompson’s 62 pass and 40 rush yards, took a 26-7 lead to halftime.
Souderton’s offense remained with its tires rooted in mud through the third quarter. Blake Gular ran for 17 yards on the first play of the second half but that drive fizzled out a few plays later.
“We had a little momentum coming in but what are you going to do,” Gular said. “We had a lot of guys dropping. It’s hot out, we had a lot of injuries and kids are already banged up playing.”
The one upside was that CB South didn’t add to its lead thanks to Souderton’s defense. Big Red forced two punts in the quarter but couldn’t even catch a break there.
After Souderton had a promsing drive thwarted when Charles McMeekins picked off Currotto, the Indians held and forced the punt. A tremendous play on special teams downed the ball about a foot outside the Souderton endzone.
The Indians didn’t concede a safety but they couldn’t gain more than a few yards and punted to open the final quarter. CB South took advantage and worked its horses again.
A 10-play drive ate up five minutes of clock and ended when Thompson ran in for his fourth rushing TD of the game on a seven yard keeper that put the contest away.
Injuries and inconsistency plagued the Indians all season. Every highlight seemed to be paired with something gone awry. But through all that, Gallagher said his team wanted to play for each other and continued to come out every day and work.
“There’s a lot of character and that’s what this is about,” Gallagher said. “There’s life lessons you can take from wins and from losses. As long as you keep fighting and keep getting after it, you’re going to be successful in life and that’s what going to be most important.”
Souderton was left to impart some final wisdom upon itself before taking its memories with it off the field.
“It’s just a family,” Gular said.
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