NEWTOWN – It’s tough to win a football game when you turn the ball over five times.
But that’s exactly what happened in Council Rock South’s season opener against Philadelphia Catholic League rival Father Judge Friday night (Aug. 26) at Walt Snyder Stadium.
Three interceptions and a pair of fumbles cost the Golden Hawks dearly and the Crusaders rolled up over 425 yards of offense including 155 through the air in a 40-0 thrashing by the visitors.
“We came in here knowing this was going to be a tough game. We knew if we played all out, maybe something good would happen,” said CR South starting QB Bradley Kraut. “At least we put up a fight but our offense just couldn’t get anything together.”
Meanwhile, the visitors’ offense was firing on all cylinders as Father Judge scored touchdowns on its first four possessions including two passing TDs by senior quarterback Robert King who hit 10 of 12 receivers for 144 yards. When he wasn’t burning South in the backfield, King slashed and juked his way through the front line on his way to a 97-yard rushing performance.
King threw for over 50 yards on four passes on the Crusaders first scoring drive which he capped with a 1-yard TD plunge less than five minutes into the contest. After the first of three interceptions by junior cornerback Steve Arrington, he used his feet to scramble 56 yards to the Hawks’ 1 yard line.
“He’s a quick guy – he can throw, run,” explained Kraut. “In practice, we were worried about him but I guess today, he just escaped us; he kept getting outside.”
“We were expecting him to come out passing because we knew he could throw. He played a very good game and we just came up short.”
With 3:55 still to play in the first quarter, FJ junior RB Andy Kou put the ball in the end zone again, handing the Hawks an early 14-0 deficit.
On Judge’s next possession, King opened the drive with a 43-yard pass to senior WR Justin Gies, who caught two TD passes on the night. King then beat a defender to the corner for an apparent touchdown on a QB-keeper but a holding call negated the score. The FJ quarterback answered back with an 11-yard TD strike to senior Jeremy Smith for a 20-0 edge with 22.9 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After a second pick by Arrington, Gies latched onto a 15-yard TD pass from King on the next Crusader series that put his team on top 27-0 only two and 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
While the 6-2, 180-pound King is verbally committed to Temple, Council Rock came to the table with Kraut, a 5-7, 185-pound sophomore who made his way to the varsity squad with the departure of quarterback Shaun Stackhouse (Cabrini/Baseball).
Kraut received his baptism into the varsity game by FJ senior defensive tackle Earl Volz on just the Golden Hawks’ second possession. On third down, the 6-1, 260-pounder stormed in and dropped Kraut for a 16-yard loss, forcing CR South to punt.
“They were just being aggressive, coming down hard in the A- and B-gaps,” explained Kraut. “The O-line, toward the second half, we started picking them up but they were just flying in.”
Except for a pass interference call on the Hawks’ first possession, CR South failed to gain a first down until its last drive of the first half.
That’s when senior tight end Shawn Mackin followed an 8-yard rush with an acrobatic 34-yard catch along the right sideline, giving the Hawks just their second first down of the first half. Now at the Judge 43 yard line, Kraut went back to Mackin along the same sideline at the 10, though this time, the pass was broken up.
South started moving its offense in the second half, though each time, the Crusaders managed to come up with a stop. After the Hawks drove the ball inside the Judge 30 yard line, the visitors came up with a fumble recovery by junior safety Ryan Jakeman.
After Gies grabbed his second TD of the game for a 34-0 Crusader lead, South drove the ball inside the visitors’ 40 with junior QB Christian Jabbar under center, though this time, Judge came up with a fourth-down stop to regain possession.
The Hawks returned the favor, stopping the Crusaders at South’s 5 yard line on the visitors’ next drive. However, Judge put the ball in the end zone one more time with junior quarterback Sean Cunningham scampering down the right sideline 63 yards to paydirt.
With the departure of 2016 CR South graduates including running back Brendan Patterson, who rushed for more than 1,100 yards last year, OL John Anderson, FB/LB Mike Stock, DL Giorgio Koulouris and CB Kyle Hickey – all, SOL Continental first-teamers last season – the Hawks have returned to the gridiron in 2016 with a youthful lineup.
“We are a very young team and we just got our first game out,” said Kraut. “Even though we’re young, we have to get that out of our mind and play like we’ve all been there before.
“We just have to pick our heads up and prepare for next week.”
Next up, CR South travels to SOL Continental rival CB West in a game that is set for 7 pm. Friday, Sept. 2 at War memorial Stadium in Doylestown. After that it’s back home Sept. 16 vs. CB South then a season opener also at home vs. Harry S Truman.
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter
Father Judge 40, Council Rock South 0
(Aug. 26 at CR North)
JUDGE 20 7 7 6 – 40
CR SOUTH 0 0 0 0 – 0
FJ — Robert King 1 run (Lieggi kick)
FJ — Andy Kou 1 run (Lieggi kick)
FJ — Jeremy Smith 11 pass from King (kick failed)
FJ — Justin Gies 15 pass from King (Isdell kick)
FJ — Gies 8 pass from King (Lieggi kick)
FJ — Sean Cunningham 63 run (pass failed)
First Downs 16 8
Yards Rushing 274 114
Yards Passing 155 25
Total Offense 429 139
Comp. Passes, Int 11-13-0 1-8-3
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 6-61 5-28
Punts-Avg. 0-0 3-27.6
Sacked-Yds. Lost 0-0 1-12
Rushing: King 5-97, 1 TD; Cunningham 10-63, 1 TD; Joseph 8-39; Kellam 2-11; Kou 4-8, 1 TD; Jakeman 4-33; Dooley 2-15; Coyle 1-13; Conway 1-4; Dorcellus 2-2; Weldon 4-(-2).
Passing: King 10-12-0, 144 yards, 3 TDs; Dooley 1-1-0, 11 yards.
Receiving: Gies 6-100, 2 TDs; Smith 2-31, 1 TD; Conway 2-13; Schaeffler 1-11
Interceptions: Arrington 3
Council Rock South
Rushing: Mayo 9-44; Diaz 7-42; Magrann 4-11; Kraut 7-6; Jabbar 3-9; Vaniver 1-5; Patterson 4-(-3).
Passing: Kraut 1-7-3, 25 yards; Jabbar 0-1-0.
Receiving: Mackin 1-25.
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