LANGHORNE – In a Suburban One National League skirmish between previously unbeaten Truman and Neshaminy many thought might develop into a defensive battle, the Skins turned out to be the team setting the tone.
Using a combination of sustained drives and big plays, Neshaminy (4-1, 2-0: SONL) scored on five of its six first-half possessions. Defensively, the Skins stopped Truman’s big-play ability, limiting the visiting Tigers to a lone score – a 33-yard touchdown jaunt by speedy Sayyid Saunders – at the end of the first quarter on their way to a 56-7 rout Saturday afternoon at Harry E. Franks Stadium in Langhorne, Pa.
“We watched a lot of film and we knew we weren’t going to get a lot of deep balls so we were going to run it right down their throat,” explained Neshaminy quarterback Brody McAndrew. “And that’s exactly what we did today.”
Celebrating Homecoming, the Skins got on the scoreboard first, assembling a 10-play, 64-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Neshaminy senior Joel Stills just 4:40 into the contest. Stills registered three touchdowns and 95 yards rushing on six carries, helping his team to a 30-7 halftime lead.
On their next possession, the Skins needed just two plays to reach the end zone. This time, Stills broke through off right tackle for a 74-yard TD burst that put the home team on top 12-0 with 3:40 still to play in the first quarter.
“That was a huge momentum booster for us,” added McAndrew. “We took that and we just rodae that out the rest of the game.”
With 1.1 seconds left in the first quarter, Truman (4-1, 1-1: SONL) got on the board, capping an eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive when Saunders raced 33 yards around the right end to paydirt.
The second quarter was all Neshaminy however, as it outscored the Tigers, 18-0 in the frame.
Stills started the second quarter scoring off with a 2-yard touchdown run that capped an 8-play, 63-yard drive with 7:39 left in the half.
While Truman took the ball down to the Skins 22 on its next possession, Skins linebacker John Hughes was able to stop Tigers split end Javeer Peterson three yards short of the first, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Two plays later, McAndrew lofted a nice pass down the middle that a streaking Mike Garlick hauled in at the 25 and took the rest of the way for a 77-yard scoring strike that stunned the Truman faithful. When Cory Joyce picked up the ensuing blocked extra point and took it in for two, you got the feeling Neshaminy could do no wrong.
When Saunders fumbled the second-half kickoff and Skins linebacker Emmanuel Ampofo picked it up for a 7-yard return for a touchdown, you got the feeling the Tigers couldn’t do anything right.
By the end of the third quarter, Neshaminy would score two more touchdowns, the first, a 1-yard plunge by McAndrew that put the Skins on top 44-7 and triggered the Mercy Rule and the second, a 5-yard TD scamper by reserve running back Chris James.
A one-yard TD plunge by backup quarterback Billy Clark in the fourth quarter sent the score to its unbelievable final.
It was hard to believe because Truman had shut out three of its first four foes, including the previous week’s 42-0 win over SONL rival Council Rock South.
“We knew they were going to be ready to play and that they were going to come out here and put on a good show,” said Tigers head coach Mike LaPalombara. “We came trying to put on a good show, as well.
“But our ultimate goal is not this game, not the next game but to get enough wins to make the playoffs. “That’s what I just told the kids and we’re trying to get ready for next week, now.”
Next, Truman travels Thursday, Sept. 28 to Council Rock North, which fell to 1-4 with a 35-13 loss to Pennsbury. On the same night, Neshaminy travels to Abington.
NOTES: On his only touch in the game near the end of the fourth quarter, Neshaminy junior Savaughn Hebron saw what appeared to be a 65-yard touchdown run down the left sideline negated when he decided to tumble into the end zone. Officials ruled him down at the one yard line and tacked on a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Skins would score anyway, two plays later.
TOP PHOTO: Neshaminy senior Joel Stills ran for three touchdowns and 95 yards on six carries in the first two quarters, helping Neshaminy to a 30-7 halftime lead. The Skins went on to a 56-7 rout of SONL rival Harry S Truman, which had come to Heartbreak Ridge unbeaten on the season. (J.S. Garber – For 21st-Century Media)
Neshaminy 56, Truman 7
(Sept. 23 at Neshaminy)
NESHAMINY (4-1, 2-0: SONL) 12 18 20 6 – 56
TRUMAN (4-1, 1-1: SONL) 7 0 0 0 – 7
N — Joel Stills 2 run (kick failed)
N — Joel Stills 74 run (run failed)
T — Sayyid Saunders 33 run (Kevin Buckland kick)
N — Joel Stills 2 run (Matt Leonhauser kick)
N — Mike Garlick 77 pass from Brody McAndrew (Cory Joyce run)
N — Leonhauser 37-yd. FG
N — Emmanuel Ampofo 6 fumble ret. (Leonhauser kick)
N — McAndrew 1 run (Leonhauser kick)
N — Chris James 5 run (run failed)
N — Billy Clark 1 run (run failed)
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