East Whiteland – After suffering its first loss of the season a week ago, Great Valley came out on fire against Octorara on Friday evening, scoring touchdowns on their first four drives and building a huge first-quarter lead.
Holding Octorara to just two first downs in the first, the Patriots (1-0, 3-1) kept the pressure on for the rest of the game en route to a 48-0 win in the Ches-Mont League American Division opener for both teams.
Great Valley senior wide receiver Ryan Hubley, who caught eight passes in the first half for 137 yards and two touchdowns, said, “We were excited to get at it again after last week.”
Last week, Great Valley suffered a 42-26 loss at home to Glen Mills, and the Patriots were eager to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd Friday.
Great Valley head coach Dan Ellis said, “I’m proud of the way we responded tonight after last week. We didn’t execute against Glen Mills. … The thing I was most pleased about tonight was our physical play, up front, on offense and defense.”
Ellis was particularly pleased with the work of his offensive linemen, including senior left tackle Matt Gemmell, junior left guard Xander Utecht, junior center Grayson Jenkins, senior right guard Nick Ryan and junior right tackle Cade Reat. The Patriots’ offensive line was blowing open big holes for the Great Valley skill players to run through.
On their first drive of the game, the Patriots marched 70 yards in nine plays for a touchdown. Senior quarterback Robert Geiss his three different receivers for a total of 51 yards. Senior running back Mark DeRobertis scored standing up on a one-yard run up the middle.
On Octorara’s first drive, the Braves (0-1, 1-3) gambled, going for the first down on fourth-and-one from their own 43 yard line, and came up short, giving the ball back to the hosts. Geiss hit Hubley for a 34-yard pass, then threw a nine-yard touchdown pass in which the senior wide receiver was all alone on the right side of the field.
“I snuck right out of the backfield,” said Hubley. “Our linemen did a great job blocking tonight, particularly on screen passes.”
Two plays later, DeRobertis intercepted an Octorara pass, returning it to the Braves’ 35. Geiss hit Hubley for a seven-yard reception, then the Great Valley QB took off on the next play for a 28-yard touchdown run to give the hosts a 20-0 lead with 5:24 to play.
Octorara ran a three-and-out, punted to Great Valey, then the Patriots scored again on a 42-yard, five-play touchdown drive to make it 26-0 with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Octorara head coach Jed King said, “Our kids didn’t quit and I’m proud of that. Our defense kept hustling, but we kept giving Great Valley the ball in bad field position [for us]. We turned the ball over, but I told the kids, ‘The biggest fumble would be to give up on yourselves.’ Great Valley has some talented kids, and they’re well-coached, Dan Ellis does a nice job over there.
“We had a bunch of players who were injured and couldn’t play tonight – [back] Scott Burridge and [lineman] Don Black were two guys who were out. But Brandon Jackson and Damien Fahy made some nice runs tonight, and [senior] Nick Raabe played well for us on the defensive line.”
By halftime, Octorara trailed 34-0, Great Valley had a 16-5 advantage in first downs, and behind some good blocking the 6-foot-1 Geiss had completed 14 of 19 passes for 239 yards and ran for 83 yards on seven carries.
Four plays into the second half, DeRobertis returned a Brave fumble 47 yards for a touchdown. With two minutes left in the third quarter, Geiss hit senior wide receiver Anthony Liberato for a 28-yard touchdown to complete the night’s scoring.