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Defensive stand saves short-handed Upper Darby


RADNOR >> Obadiah Asare, Derick Korboi and the rest of the Upper Darby defensive line knew what they had to do.

With 24 seconds remaining and Radnor on the edge of field goal range — and 29 yards from winning the game — the unit left no doubt. It sacked Pat McDermott on the final two plays of the game to seal Upper Darby’s 10-7 victory Friday night in Central League action.

“We let up a score, we came right back,” Asare explained. “We did our job, we won the game for the team. That’s all we need, we’re going to come back next week and do the same thing. We’re excited.”

The Royals (3-4 overall, 3-3 league) have won three of their last four games. Last week, it was a shutout of Conestoga. This week, it was a defensive domination of the Raiders (2-5, 1-4). Upper Darby had six sacks in the contest and was in the backfield all night.

With limited offensive personnel due to injuries — the Royals dressed just 48 of 64 eligible players — the defense was going to have to excel in order for Upper Darby to win. And that’s exactly what happened.

“They all went to the ball,” Upper Darby coach Rich Gentile said. “I was just so happy to not see them wait (until) the guy caught the ball, then try to make a play. The ball’s in the air and they flew to the ball.”

Upper Darby yielded 238 yards of total offense, including a mere 28 on the ground. Asare, Korboi, Dan Snyder, Jeremy Keita and James Ennis Jr. were beasts up front. That came to fruition on the final two plays of the game.

The final play was finished by Korboi and Ennis.

“I knew I was going to get there, I was there for the sack,” Korboi said. “My man (Ennis) made the tackle, I made the sack. That one felt so good. That’s an awesome job by him.”

The Royals struck on the opening drive of the game, scoring on a well-designed draw play to Nasir Greer, who raced in from 23 yards out on third and long. That score held until late in the third quarter when Samuel Beweh hit a 25-yard field goal to extend the lead.

Radnor, buoyed by a jump ball that was deflected into the hands of Jack Treangen, got its touchdown two minutes into the final period on McDermott’s 11-yard pass to Tucker Ballbach. The Raiders got the ball back with 6 minutes, 46 seconds left. They made it 62 yards down the field, then started going backwards.

“I’m looking for the ball, I’m waiting for the ball, I’m going in. No matter what… I’m shooting,” Asare said. “I knew I was going to get the sack. I knew I was going to get it.”

Due to injuries, Upper Darby had to use Greer (45 yards) and Keita (28 yards) at tailback. Quarterback Nathan Rimel, often not throwing to his top options, passed for 190 yards. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Royals racked up 15 first downs and helped limit the second half to just five combined possessions.

That shortened the game and helped Upper Darby hang on.

“Defensively, offensively, they all came together,” Gentile said. “And we did what we needed to do to win.”



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