LANGHORNE – When Pennsbury topped Neshaminy 3-1 Tuesday night, Oct. 10 at Harry E. Franks Stadium, it was a significant event – for a couple of reasons.
One – it was the second time this season the Falcons outpaced the Skins. Two – the hope is that any win at this point in the 2017 campaign elevates Pennsbury’s place in the District 1 Class 4A Power Rankings.
“We respect Neshaminy for the way they play; they always fight hard,” said Falcons senior forward Obi Ohuoha. “They have some players who can really play. We love coming here and playing them in their stadium – it’s what we live for.”
“Both teams – never say die attitude. We were both going it go at it until it was finished.
“Even when it was 3-1 and there was two minutes left, you could see they were still coming after us.
“That’s how much this game means – no one wants to quit.”
Pennsbury got a first-half strike from senior Arlyn Buondonno, who took a feed from junior Randy Dickersbach and converted, putting the Falcons up, 1-0, just nine minutes into the contest.
After the Skins deadlocked the score at 1-all 10 minutes into the second half on a goal by senior Mike Mandia, Pennsbury went back to work, recording the winning tally on a chip by sophomore Nyles Cayemitte off a free kick and adding an insurance goal on a penalty kick goal by Onuoha.
“This is a tough place to play. Hats off to my seniors; I know (the win) was important to them,” said Falcons head coach Tom Stoddart. “This is the first time we’ve been able to double up against them in a long time.
“It’s just a tough thing to do in this league where we have to play each other twice and keep a competitive non-league schedule to keep ourselves in the playoff running.”
As of Sunday Oct. 8, Pennsbury is ranked 18th in the D-1 4A standings. Ironically, league leader Council Rock North was listed at 27th in a field in which only the top 24 advance to the postseason.
The difference – for CR North – is that the Indians have not fared well in non-league play, dropping matchups with Archbishop Wood, Harriton, CB East, Holy Ghost Prep and LaSalle.
By contrast, the Falcons have gone 3-1-1 against non-league foes, topping Father Judge, CB South and PAC-10 member and 19th-ranked Methacton while drawing even with Ches-Mont League rival Downingtown West.
While Pennsbury may actually lose ground after toppling Neshaminy, Stoddart sees a silver lining after his team’s 3-1 victory in Langhorne.
“To come in here in game like this and have to play a team that is this talented is tough,” he said.
“The good news is if you can earn yourselves a win like we did tonight, it’s really going to prepare you for that playoff berth.”
Playing in place of Dickersbach was sophomore Joe Ficarotta, who earned the foul on the free kick by junior Matt Tennant and also gained the PK for the Falcons when he was brought down in the box 19 minutes into the second half.
“He was fantastic,” said Stoddart, of Ficarotta. “He earned the foul that created the second goal and he earned the PK with some really nice aggressive play inside the box.”
Pennsbury has league games left with CR South (Oct. 12), CR North (10-16) and Truman (10-18) and a non-league duel remaining with 11th-ranked CB East on Sat., Oct. 14.
After facing off at Neshaminy Thursday night, CR North – a state qualifier that finished fourth in District 1 in 2016 – faces Archbishop Ryan Sat., Oct. 14 before finishing the season Monday, Oct. 16 at home vs. the Falcons.
Pennsbury 3, Neshaminy 1
(Oct. 10 at Neshaminy)
Pennsbury (9-4-1, 6-3: SONL) 1 2 – 3
Neshaminy (5-9-1, 3-6: SONL) 0 1 – 1
NESHAMINY GOALS: Mike Mandia, from Matt Leonhauser, 50th minute.
PENNSBURY GOALS: Arlyn Buondonno, from Randy Dickersbach, 9th minute; Nyles Cayemitte, from Javier Sosa, Matt Tennant, 59th minute; Obi Onuoha, PK, 73rd minute.