BUCKINGHAM >> Two out of three.
That was the number of aspects in Central Bucks East’s game performance that gave head coach John Donnelly satisfaction Saturday. As for a key third one … well, it made a strong case for joining the other two.
The three aspects — offense, defense, special teams — factored in the Patriots’ 42-6 victory over Methacton on East’s 1LT Colby Umbrell Field. They were all key to the Patriots running their season record to 3-0 on a sweltering 90-degree midday affair at Patriot Stadium,
“Absolutely,” Donnelly said in addressing his team’s conditioning level. “We knew it was going to be hard, that the heat would take its toll on both teams. We showed resiliency.”
Methacton, seeking its first win in the third week of the season, played East strong in the first half after spotting the Pats touchdowns on their first two possessions. But the home team kicked itself into a higher gear in the second half, scoring all four times it touched the ball.
“I thought it would work out better,” Methacton head coach Paul Lepre noted. “We came ready to play and made it tough in the first half. We stood our ground, and we thought we could get into the second half with an opportunity.”
But East literally ran away from the Warriors down the stretch. It got rushing touchdowns from four different players, the longest a 57-yard jaunt by freshman Jake Ventresca in the final minute after the Patriots brought the running-clock into play at the start of the fourth quarter.
Its punt team got things rolling for East just three minutes in. On a fourth and 21 at the Methacton 12, a blocked punt was recovered by Matt McKenney and trucked into the end zone.
The Patriots upped their lead to 14-0 little more than five minutes later, quarterback Matt Szczpiorski hooking up with Connor Powers on a three-yard pass play with 4:32 left in the first quarter.
“That was a real momentum swing,” Donnelly said of the blocked-punt TD. “We work diligently on all special teams, and today it showed up.”
The rest of the first half saw the teams go back-and-forth, neither one able to hit the end zone. A 44-yard field goal attempt by East’s Barney Amor inside the seven-minute mark, which missed the uprights, was the closest the Pats were able to get to padding their lead.
Methacton’s defense was prominent in that play, Chris Huber’s interception of a Szczpiorski pass at his 35 thwarting one East drive. But its offense was held to four-and-outs four times, with only one first down to the Warriors’ credit in the first half.
“We have the ability to have control of a game,” Lepre said. “We’ll keep working and hope to keep the attitude to battle.”
East took the second-half kickoff and marched 68 yards in one minute on four plays, the capper a 27-yard pass from Szczpiorski (12-for-14, 131 yards) to Wes Verbit. Jack Elias followed with a seven-yard burst through his right tackle at 6:21, and Luke Borrajo brought the mercy rule into play with his three-yard TD run through left guard 15 seconds into the fourth.
Methacton averted the shutout with a drive running almost nine minutes. Jason Eckman (12-for-27, 130 yards) passed the warriors downfield, finally connecting with John Keenan (four catches, 39 yards) on a 16-yarder with 2:56 left.
East answered with Ventresca’s 57-yard run through his right tackle inside the final minute. Though Methacton got the ball one final time, the clock ran out before it could get any plays from scrimmate.
“The guys here, I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Lepre said. “Every one we put into battle, they battled their butts off.”
NOTES >> East had a combined 395 yards total offense (245 ground, 150 air) to the Warriors’ 168, 149 of which came through the air. … Ryan O’Toole headed Methacton’s receiving corps, with 93 yards on his five receptions. Dylan Henry had another 17 yards on three receptions.