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Garnet Valley’s line paves way for offensive explosion

NETHER PROVIDENCE >> The Garnet Valley offensive line is often overshadowed by the Jaguars’ abundance of skill players creating havoc all over the field. And that is just fine with the grunts.

The boys on the line are doing well in their spot outside the limelight, more than happy to grind away at the opposition’s defense each week with little fanfare.

Garnet Valley’s opponent Friday was Strath Haven, and the Jaguars’ offensive line once again pounded away on a Central League foe in a 42-14 runaway victory.

“I was really pleased with the intensity and the physicality we played with and that starts at the line of scrimmage,” Jaguars coach Mike Ricci said.

The Jaguars amassed 471 yards on 60 carries behind a stellar performance from that line.

Danny Guy (163 yards), Cole Palis (138 yards), and Colin Robinson (115 yards) took full advantage of superior line play by thrashing through, over, and around the Panthers’ defense.

“Our coaches do an excellent job of getting us ready,” center Tommy Mahoney said. “We prepared like crazy all week, and it paid off. It was a whole team effort and it wasn’t just the line. The backs did a great job, too.”

Mahoney (6-3, 250) was flanked by guards Jake Erley (6-3, 250) and Ryan Shomo (6-2, 290), tackles Kyle McCullough (5-10, 240) and Esso Adigwe (6-0, 275), and tight ends Jon Ricci (6-3, 215) and Adam Oldrati (6-1, 175). Together, the unit pounded the Strath Haven defense, which allowed the runners to take advantage of a lot of room to move.

“The backs give us credit in the locker room and tell us good job, but we really don’t worry about it,” Mahoney said. “We really just focus on our jobs, don’t overlook anyone and get ready for the next game.”

On the Jaguars fourth play of the game, Guy dashed 43 yards for a touchdown before Robinson added another rushing score to quickly give the Jaguars a 14-0 advantage. Guy and Robinson each added another touchdown before Palis and Austin Patton closed the scoring with touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.

With quarterback Ryan Hamby out and running back Matt Lassik limited due to injury, it was a good night for the Jags to display their entire arsenal.

“We feel good about the backfield we have,” Mike Ricci said. “We have some guys back there who we feel really confident running the ball with. (Quarterbacks) Cole and Ryan have been working together all summer and throughout the season. Ryan is the first one to congratulate Cole, just like Cole did for Ryan when he was in there.

“I was thrilled with the way Cole played. His decisions were great tonight. He’s a great athlete and when he’s in the open field he’s tough to bring down.”

Strath Haven’s offense managed touchdown runs by Zach Hussein (87 total yards) and Ryan Daly (66 yards), but Strath Haven struggled to consistently gain ground on the Jags staunch defense.

Cade Brennan and Griffin Salus each tallied a sack and were among many stellar performers on the Garnet Valley defense. Brennan was a menace on the defensive line and a constant source of pain for the Panthers’ offense.

“As a defense we have a bend-but-don’t-break mantra,” Brennan said. “We made stops when we needed to and the offense put the ball in the end zone. Overall, we played a good game. We have sayings ‘oneness’ and ‘togetherness’ and we always rally around each other. When we stick together anything can happen.”

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