WHITEMARSH >> If a heart-pounding, comeback win in overtime isn’t a great way to start a conference season, then what is?
Germantown Academy would certainly say as much—especially after its 16-13 victory over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at GA’s Carey Stadium.
“Coming out and being 1-0 is a whole lot better than being 0-1,” Dence said.
Sure, it’s obvious, but in a year when the Inter-Ac seems to be wide open, each win a team can sneak by with is going to count double.
“Everybody’s good (in the Inter-Ac),” Dence said. “I’ve been saying it for months.
“This is one of the best leagues in the area.”
Time will tell how the league plays out, but for now, the Pats have left week one tied for first. They did it on the back of—who else—Kyle McCloskey, who knotted the game with a 22-yard run late in the fourth and won it with a 10-yard touchdown catch-and-run he delivered to Mike Reilly in the first overtime frame.
“He’s a special athlete,” Dence said.
McCloskey’s 22-yarder was largely an improv jaunt, featuring a circuitous route to pay dirt and SCH defenders bouncing off of him like pinballs.
“We’ve got to find ways to free him up even more,” Dence said. “He makes our offense go.”
That said, the offense didn’t for three quarters. GA had eight drives through the first three frames, and seven ended in punts. The other ended on a second-quarter field goal fake that went nowhere, turning the ball over on downs.
“We’ve got to do a better job of executing,” Dence said. “We’ve got to figure out what we’re doing as far as trying to free up some receivers, because this is two weeks in a row that we’ve been velcroed by defensive backs.”
McCloskey stayed relatively mistake-free but threw for only 119 yards on 16-of-27 passing.
The game’s first three frames were relatively nondescript. As mentioned, GA’s offense struggled, but SCH mitigated the Pats’ woes by failing to execute as well. The Blue Devils brought the ball into GA territory each time they drove in the first half, but were only able to come away with a field goal that closed the second frame.
Jordan Young broke loose for a four-yard score early in the fourth for SCH’s only touchdown, putting the Blue Devils up 10-0, and GA’s first dent in the deficit came on the next drive when Nick Picariello’s 29-yard run set up a 33-yard Vince Capone field goal.
McCloskey’s score came on the next Patriot drive, and after a pooched kickoff that gave GA the ball back, a subsequent strip to put it back in SCH hands, and Blue Devil QB Matt Rahill’s third interception of the game, GA managed to do enough to set Capone up from 44 out to attempt a game-winner.
He missed, and SCH couldn’t do anything with the 30 seconds they had on the clock, sending the game to overtime.
“When we pooched the kick and recovered it,” Dence said, “I thought, ‘all right, we just need to go 15 yards to kick a field goal and get out of here.’”
“We had a couple of chances to score at the end,” Dence went on. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t, but SCH is a good team too.”
The Blue Devils’ turn in overtime was nothing short of a disaster. Rahill wound up carrying the ball for the Blue Devils’ first three plays, with the sum of them being 12 lost yards. Jack Myers nailed the 39-yard field goal to give SCH a temporary lead, but McCloskey’s connection with Reilly on the first play of GA’s turn ended the game.
Reilly led the team in receiving yards, with 50 yards on four receptions. Picariello led the way on the ground with 58 on nine carries, and McCloskey tallied 42 on 10 tries. Up next for the Pats (5-1, 1-0) is a 7 pm date at Episcopal Academy next Friday.
“We’ll see how perfect we can be,” Dence said.
The Pats have a long way to go before they reach that point, but that’s the challenge Dence has laid out.
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