DOYLESTOWN >> Offense was a struggle, but Central Bucks West certainly came to play when it hosted Central Bucks South on Friday night.
The fact the clash was between two sister schools and fierce rivals certainly added something to it, but both teams were playing for pride and aspirations for playoff games. Both the visiting Titans and host Bucks were also looking to snap losing streaks, so there was plenty to play for.
CB South eventually triumphed 14-7, but there was a lot to like about the Bucks’ showing.
“We have a good football team,” West coach Chas Cathers said. “We know how important these games are. It was important for us to come out with relentless effort and take the fight to them.”
South is a good team itself and one looking to get itself back on track after back-to-back losses to North Penn and Neshaminy. The Titans surrendered 42 points in each of those losses, so they were extra motivated to play well defensively.
West saw that first hand as South defenders flew to the ball, hit hard and hit in groups. The Bucks weren’t able to get much going on the ground or in the air, but their defense matched South’s.
The linebackers, including Jake Reichwein, TJ Rakowsky and Ryan Hieber, were tackling machines, no small task against South’s powerful runners like Tyler Watson and Nate Norris. Defensive back Shane Ehlo broke up a would-be TD pass in the endzone on fourth down of South’s second drive.
Up front, senior Corey Cepeda, junior Michael Taylor and senior Jack Benstead held their ground against South’s line and slowed up those runners for the linebackers to finish off. Ricardo Washington covered plenty of ground in the secondary.
“That’s a potent offense with a quarterback that can not only run the ball, but throw,” Cathers said. “We wanted to contain everything and swarm. We wanted to come out with consistent effort and give everything that we’ve got. The season is winding down and there’s no time to hold stuff back. It’s time to give it all and our kids definitely did that.”
The first half was a tough one for the Bucks, but they only trailed 7-0 at the break. Some things, like a South punt that hit off an unsuspecting Buck and allowed the Titans to recover, didn’t go their way, but two red zone stands by the defense kept West in it.
After the half, CB West found its way a little bit more and fought to tie the game, if only for a little bit.
“At this point of the season, we’re backed up in that corner and it’s do-or-die for us,” Cathers said. “We have no choice and it’s sink-or-swim. We’ll come out of that corner and we’re going to fight. We have a good football team and we showed some of that tonight.”
West faces CB East next week in a game that’s now a must-win for the Bucks to have hopes of slipping into the District I playoff field.
There are 18 seniors on the Bucks’ roster, but also many juniors and sophomores that are already key players. Cathers is putting his imprint on the program and regardless of how the Bucks fare the next two weeks, it’s a given they’ll do it fighting to the final whistle.
“You’re going to have ups and downs in a football game but our guys are resilient,” Cathers said. “They have a short memory and they know a game can change very quickly. Their attitude is great and that starts with our leadership and our captains at the top.”
SOUTH BACK ON TRACK
CB South was facing a potential disaster late in the game. A botched snap on a punt led to a 16-yard loss then compounding matters even more, a fumble forced by Rakowsky was recovered by Cepeda at the Titans’ 26 yard line.
A 14-yard rush by West quarterback Ryan Moylan had the Bucks on the cusp of a score and potentially tying the game. It was time for a Titans defense that had been picked apart the last two weeks to make a stop.
The defense did its job, forcing four straight futile downs and taking the ball back at the 11 with 3:02 left in the game and allowing the offense to run out the clock.
“We just knew we had to stop them there,” Titans running back/linebacker Nate Norris said. “We knew the offense would be able to get enough first downs to run the clock out. We just had to get that stop and came up with it.”
Putting the clamps on an offense was the kind of performance the Titans needed after the last two weeks. Norris, the team’s hard-charging, tackle-accumulating force, was his usual self and had plenty of guys helping him out.
“We wanted to be physical, get back to flying around and making plays,” Norris said. “We wanted to be making tackles behind the line. We just played assignment football, stay on your guy and go from there.”
CB SOUTH 0 7 0 7 – 14
CB WEST 0 0 0 7 – 7
CBS – Nate Norris 1yd run (Ronnie Ridolfo kick) 6:09
CBW – Jake Recihwein 6yd run (Kenny Doack kick) 10:42
CBS – Casey Sloms 32 pass from Jake Johns (Ridolfo kick) 8:05
1st downs 13 7
Rushes-Yards 39-159 29-97
Passing 12-23-1-0 5-10-0-2
Passing Yards 121 48
Total Yards 280 145
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 1-10 5-35
Punting 3-31.6 5-37.6
Rushing: CBS – Tyler Watson 22-107, Sam Thompson 5-8, Jack Johns 2-4, Nate Norris 7-34, John McSweeney 3-6; CBW – Griffin Shields 11-18, TJ Rakowsky 6-7, Ryan Moylan 8-58, Jake Reichwein 4-14
Passing: CBS – Johns 12-23-1-0-121; CBW – Joshua Crecca 3-6-0-2-25, Moylan 2-4-0-0-23
Receiving: CBS – Thompson 4-35, Cole Braccio 2-10, Casey Sloms 2-36, Norris 2-8, Watson 2-32; CBW – Kevin O’Hanlon 2-29, Reichwein 3- 19
Interceptions: CBS – Thompson, Watson