WARRINGTON – Big plays will kill you every time. You can play your hardest, hold the enemy in check, and still get upended by a sudden lightning strike. Friday night, Sept. 1, Council Rock North got hit with four such devastating bolts in their 35-7 loss to Central Bucks South.
Indian head coach Matt McHugh succinctly summed up his team’s plight in his postgame comment. “They had some big plays tonight. They big-played us.”
The Rock, who staged a dramatic comeback to upend West Chester East 14-13 on opening night, started conservatively against a solid Titan team fresh off a 38-16 conquest of Abington. A Nick Muro kickoff return to their own 25 gave the Indians decent field position on the Rock’s first possession. Two runs by Mike Welde and an incomplete pass, however, netted only two yards and forced a punt.
Lightning bolt number one was delivered by the Titans 5’7,” 150-pound speedster, Ryan Watson. After CB South was thrown for a four-yard loss on its first run, quarterback Jack Johns went immediately to the air, dropping back and hitting Watson with a bubble screen. Watson then eluded two tackles and sped 56 yards for the Titans first score with 8:31 left to play in the first quarter.
Three minutes later, Watson delivered his second jarring blow. A booming Indian punt forced Central Bucks to start their second possession from their own 21 yard line. After a quick two-yard gain, Watson took a draw handoff from Johns, broke through the line, cut the grain and raced 73 yards for the Titans’ second tally.
Little wonder CB South head coach Tom Hetrick would praise his senior star after the game. “He had a great week last week. He’s a good athlete. He has a burst. He has what we call football speed.”
Recalling their dramatic comeback win over West Chester East the previous week in their season opener, the Indians were not ready to surrender. On their third possession of the night, they staged a sustained drive, starting at their own 31 yard line. With Welde and Rob Ranelli sharing the running load and quarterback Adam Charen mixing in screen passes and quick outs, the Rock moved all the way to the Titans’ 15 yard line.
Key to the 54-yard march was a third down screen pass to Welde, who raced to the 43 yard line. Another third down pass from Charen to Dylan Ceslak kept the drive alive at the CB South 37. After two runs netted only two yards, Charen took the snap, rolled to his left and then hit Jason Walter with a 24-yard pass.
The drive stalled as the Titan defensive line stuffed three straight runs, setting up a fourth down-and-five on the 15 yard line. Electing to attempt a field goal, Welde’s 32-yard try sailed just to the left of the goalpost.
The Indians threatened again on their next possession, driving deep into Titans’ territory. A facemask penalty and a pass to Ranelli moved the ball to the CB South 22. The drive stalled, however, when a Charen pass was tipped and intercepted at the Titans’ four yard line.
The next devastating lightning bolt came with 1:45 left in the second quarter. North started a drive at their own 24. A nine-yard scamper by Welde and a pass to Fred Germana moved the ball to the Indians’ 46. The drive ended when CB South’s Jason Horvath stepped in front of a screen pass and made his way 41 yards to the end zone.
The Titans unleashed their knockout blow on the first play of the second half. CB South took over on their own 35 yard line after the kickoff sailed out of bounds, A motion penalty moved them back five yards. Quarterback Jack Johns then took a shotgun snap, looked quickly down field, and then took off on a 70-yard TD run. Another touchdown run by Tom McLaughlin would put the Titans up 35-0 and start a running clock.
The Indians would finally get on the board halfway through the last quarter. Starting on their own 42, they mixed passes to Fred Germana and the hard running of Welde to set up a 7-yard TD burst by Ranelli.
Welde recorded a team high 71 yards on 19 carries. Charen completed 11 of 21 passes for 147 yards. Germana added four receptions for 48 yards.
All told, the Indians had put up a solid effort. They just could not stop the big plays.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North senior Mike Welde (28), left, gets set to straight-arm Titans defender Joe McSweeney (35) in Indians’ loss to CB South Sept. 1 in Warrington. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)
Central Bucks South 35, Council Rock North 7
(Sept. 1 at CB South)
CR NORTH (1-1) 0 0 0 7 – 7
CB SOUTH (2-0) 7 14 14 0 – 35
CBS — Ryan Watson 56 pass from Jack Johns (Brian Madden kick)
CBS — Watson 73 run (Madden kick)
CBS — Jason Horvath 41 interception return (Madden kick)
CBS — Jack Johns 70 run (Madden kick)
CBS — Tom McLaughlin 11 run (Madden kick)
CRN — Robert Ranelli 7 run (Michael Welde kick)