BRISTOL TWP. – Truman seniors Sayyid Saunders and David Akinwande are standouts on the Tigers football team and they also run track. Saunders is the state runner-up in the 200-meter dash. Akinwande has his own agenda for competing in the sport.
“I’m not as fast as (Saunders); I just do it to stay in shape,” admitted Akinwande. “I’m nowhere near his level.”
Friday night at Henry Morgan Stadium in Truman’s Suburban One League (SOL) opener against visiting Council Rock South, Saunders took the ball on the second play of the game and raced 43 yards to paydirt, putting the Tigers on 70p, 7-0, just 43 seconds into the contest.
Saunders also scored on his fourth carry, a 17-yard burst that put Truman up 14-0 with 4:17 left in the initial frame.
Akinwande also displays some blazing speed on the gridiron. After notching 14 yards on his first four carries, he took the ball 47 yards to the house on the first play of the second quarter. The next time he touched the ball, Akinwande scampered 30 yards to the end zone, putting the Tigers up with 8:27 still to play in the first half.
“Our kids are just very fast kids – we have a lot of very fast kids who are playing really, really hard,” stated first-year head coach Mike LaPalombara. “And they play hard every single down.”
On Truman’s next possession, Saunders handed the ball off to junior Enzo Poulson on a reverse and the 11th-grade running back carried the ball 23 yards upfield. Four plays later, Poulson punched it in – from 36 yards out – putting the Tigers up 35-0 and ensuring a running clock in the second half.
While Poulson had to come out of the game after getting banged up on a third-quarter carry, his replacement – senior Habeeb Baba – took the ball 46 yards to paydirt, earning Truman a 42-0 win over the Golden Hawks.
LaPalombara says it’s the first Tigers’ win over CR South in nine seasons.
“It’s a big win for the school, the program and all the kids that played here before,” said LaPalombara.
For the game, Akinwande registered 107 yards on nine carries and a pair of touchdowns. Saunders notched 92 yards and two TDs on just six carries. Poulson came through with 48 rushing yards and a score on five carries. Baba added 46 yards and a TD on just one touch.
Defensively, junior defensive back Javeer Peterson added two interceptions that stopped the Golden Hawks deep in Truman territory. On his first pick on the last play of the first quarter he snagged the ball at the Tigers 10 yard line and returned it to South’s 47 yard line.
Peterson’s next pick – at Truman’s 15 yard line – stopped the Hawks’ attempt at putting some points on the board before the halftime whistle. Offensively he added two catches for 58 yards. His second catch, which came on the Tigers second possession of the second quarter, was a 31-yard gainer he hauled in just before stepping out of bounds along the right sideline.
Truman has shut out three of four opponents including a 48-0 season opening win over Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Methacton. The Tigers have limited their first four foes to an average of 165 yards total offense.
“It feels good,” said Akinwande. “It’s a lot different – people are really surprised at how good we’re doing. It’s all the work that we do in the weight room, all the work that we do in practice all week, we just apply it here.”
The Tigers have been equally as impressive on the other side of the ball. The team is averaging 380 yards per game in total offense and 327 yards rushing.
Next up is Neshaminy 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at Harry E. Franks Stadium in Langhorne. The 3-1 Skins rebounded from the previous week’s loss to Downingtown West with a 32-0 shutout win over Council Rock North (1-3), which has lost three straight after opening the season with a win over West Chester East.
TOP PHOTO: Truman senior Sayyid Saunders took the ball 43 yards to the house on his first carry and the Tigers never looked back on their way to a 42-0 rout of visiting Council Rock South Friday, Sept. 15 at Henry Morgan Stadium, Bristol Township, Pa. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media archives)
HARRY S TRUMAN 42, COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 0
(Sept. 15 at Truman)
Truman (4-0, 1-0: SONL) 14 21 7 0 – 42
CR South (1-3, 0-1: SONL) 0 0 0 0 – 0
T — Sayyid Saunders 43 run (Kevin Buckland kick)
T — Saunders 17 run (Buckland kick)
T — David Akinwande 47 run (Buckland kick)
T — David Akinwande 30 run (Buckland kick)
T — Enzo Poulson 36 run (Buckland kick)
T — Habeeb Baba 46 run (Buckland kick)