LOWER GWYNEDD >> To stop Antaun Lloyd is to stop Wissahickon’s lifeblood.
The Trojans’ star running back was pummeled by a swarming Plymouth Whitemarsh defense, managing a meager 15 yards on nine carries. Without Llyod’s typical effectiveness, Wissahickon struggled mightily to put together a productive afternoon in its 20-0 loss in front of a home crowd on an unseasonably warm autumn day.
“It was real frustrating,” Lloyd said. “We came into the game real confident. I believed in my team. I always believe in my team. I thought we were going to get this (win).”
“(Lloyd) is a really good player,” Plymouth Whitemarsh head coach Dan Chang said. “I thought our defense flew around. We were physical up front. Our defensive line was awesome. They were dominant.”
The run game was no issue for Plymouth Whitemarsh, however. They unleashed a one-sided attack from the get-go, mixing and matching a healthy dose of Dontae Wilson and Michael Iannarelli. They neglected to throw the ball even once on the Colonial’s opening drive, which was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run from Wilson. It was a prelude to what turned out to be a common theme throughout the game.
The Colonials gradually implemented some screen passes for quarterback Larry McLaughlin but gave the sophomore very little downfield attempts. Wilson and Iannarelli, after capturing an early lead, kept their legs churning and the clock ticking.
It was Iannarelli who struck pay dirt on the the team’s first drive of the second half, turning what appeared to be a tackle for a loss into a 42-yard touchdown sprint. Then Wilson added an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter for his second score of the game.
Chang said his offensive game-plan stays consistent from week to week.
“(Running the ball effectively) is always what we aim to do,” Chang said. “We want to be able to run the ball and I thought today we got something going.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh was also stellar on defense, routinely blowing up Wissahickon’s offensive line. But it’s evident that the Trojans also suffer from a lack of quarterback play, thus making Lloyd’s job more difficult in the process. Senior John Dickson began the year as the signal-caller but it was no secret that freshman Nick Santo was waiting in the wings.
It wasn’t a case of freshman takes over after senior graduates; it was senior takes a backseat to freshman, and thus Santo has since predictably taken over as the starter.
Of course, with a freshman starting quarterback there are bound to be growing pains.
Unfortunately for Wissahickon, they are sound quarterback-play away from having one of the more balanced offenses in the area. Lloyd, quick and low to the ground but not necessarily a downhill runner, is a capable pass-catcher who would benefit both on the ground and through the air if paired with a more developed quarterback.
The Trojans clearly see a future in Santo, but Lloyd, a senior being actively recruited, will have presumably moved on to college ball if and when the freshman quarterback comes to fruition.
“(Santo) has a good arm,” Lloyd said. “He just needs to get better timing.”
While inconsistent quarterback play is expected for now, the offensive line performance by the Trojans came as more of a shock. Lloyd, again, felt the effects the greatest.
“People were falling off, slacking, not staying on blocks long enough,” Lloyd said. “They were getting good blocks once in awhile but we needed it more often. We need to be more efficient. I’m not saying they’re a bad line because they do get great blocks, but it needs to be nine out of ten times, not five out of ten times.”
“I believe in Santo,” Lloyd continued. “I believe in my whole team. I believe in the (offensive) line. We just need to have a new mindset coming into this new week. We’ve all got to work hard. I believe in all of my teammates. I love all of my teammates.”
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 20, WISSAHICKON 0
Plymouth Whitemarsh 7 0 7 6 – 20
Wissahickon 0 0 0 0 – 0
PW – Wilson 1 run (Longo kick)
PW – Iannarelli 42 run (Long kick)
PW – Wilson 1 run (kick failed)
Rushing: Plymouth-Whitemarsh: Wilson 25-98, 2 TDs; Iannarelli 11-87, 1 TD. Wissahickon: 9-15; Mack 2-11; Bell 1-3
Passing: Plymouth-Whitemarsh: McLaughlin 5-9-0 ints., 21 yds., 0 tds. Wissahickon: Santo 5-11-1 int., 88 yds., 0 tds.; Dickson 1-2-0 ints., 14 yds., 0 tds.
Receiving: Plymouth-Whitemarsh: 3-12; Rocchino 1-2; Iannarelli 1-7. Wissahickon: Wright 3-72; Menhardt 1-3; Lloyd 1-3; Rivera 1-14.
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