FAIRLESS HILLS >> While Conwell-Egan junior RB Patrick Garwo reached the end zone five times in the Eagles’ season-opening win over Bicentennial League rival New Hope-Solebury, the standout for the defending District 12-AAA champions didn’t have quite a career day last week down the shore against Archbishop Carroll.
The Patriots’ defense held Garwo to 75 yards rushing on 11 carries and Egan saw the tables turned on them when AC senior RB Dahmir Ruffin torched them with five touchdowns of his own including a game-tying TD catch with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.
CEC head coach Jack Techtmann is not worried about the loss to the Patriots.
“It would have been nice to get the win because we’d get points for every team that they beat but they’re 5A and we’re 3A. We’re not competing for the state playoffs with them,” explained Techtmann.
“We know what we have to do; we lost a couple last year and we still got to states.”
Last week, the Eagles had a 24-17 lead in hand when Carroll tied the score at 24-all with 21 seconds to go in regulation. Turnovers killed Egan’s chance to win the game, said Techtmann.
“We turned the ball over four times – once at the five (yard line), once at the 10,” the coach said. “You can’t do that. If we punch those two in, it wouldn’t have been close.
“But we didn’t; we turned it over. That’s something that we have to correct and we have to work on.
“We’re a ball-control team; when we take a long time and we drive the football, we have to convert on our possessions. When we take a 7- or 8-play drive and turn the ball over at the five yard line, it gives them the opportunity to come back.”
And that’s exactly what happened. With 21 seconds left in regulation, Ruffin latched onto his third TD pass, this one a 6-yard aerial from Patriots sophomore QB Kamal Gray that sent the game into overtime.
“We’re young. Right now, we have eight underclassmen starting on offense and the same numbers rating on defense.
“There are a couple freshmen out there and we have to be patient. They’re going to make some mistakes once in a while but they play really hard and they’re really good athletes.”
Bright spots for CEC football included freshman fullback DaJuan Harris, who came through with 102 yards rushing and a TD on 15 carries. Junior Terome Mitchell added 76 yards rushing and a score on eight carries.
While junior quarterback Alex Goldsby hasn’t been a world beater thus far, Techtmann likes what he sees from the first-year starter under center.
“We have some pretty good talent at the skill positions and Alex makes really good decisions.
“He made one bad decision last week he threw a pick but he’s a junior. It’s the first time we’ve had a kid come through and be in third year in the program. Before that, all our quarterbacks were one year or two years so it’s nice that he’s been with the offense since he was a freshman.”
And the offensive line, said Techtmann, is performing better than expected. In two games, the Eagles have amassed over 700 yards rushing including more than 400 in a 55-14 win over New Hope.
“It’s better than I thought it would be at this point in the season. J.T. Lavish is playing really well. And our center Gino Turchi has been there. Chauncey Krattee was solid. And Quameer Francis is a really good player.”
Defensively, Egan’s front four is its strong suit, though the backfield comes to the table with not a whole lot of experience. Sean Stokes is a first-year junior and Andrew Garwo is a freshman. While the Eagles came through with picks by Trey Mitchell and sophomore Bennett Waters, Gray completed 11-of-22 passes for 144 yards and four touchdowns, all of which AC registered in the fourth quarter and overtime when the game was on the line.
“They had some big plays; they’re a good football team and they’re much-improved. Dan Connor is a good coach and we knew they were going to be better this year.”
Next, Egan takes on Inter-Ac rival Episcopal Academy Saturday night at Truman. This is the third straight year, the Eagles have faced EA and they’ve never been able to beat the Churchmen, losing by eight points last season.
After that, it’s on to West Catholic next Saturday, Sept. 16 at Drexel. While the Burrs lost their opener to Pottsgrove, they torched Roman Catholic, 24-0. The last time the sides squared off, West turned the ball over six times and lost 28-6 in their first league loss in over a decade. Both teams went to states in 2016 – Egan in the 3A bracket, West in 2A.
Later this month, Egan travels to Schuylkill Valley Friday, Sept. 22 before returning home Sept. 29 vs. Lansdale Catholic.