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Harris fires out, Interboro chills Glen Mills’ comeback

GLENOLDEN >> The game had ended, and Charles Harris’ helmet was off. In the chilly air at South Avenue Athletic Complex, the steam rising off the Interboro senior defensive tackle and the intensity still coursing through him gave the impression he could combust at any moment.

It was just moments before that Harris, all 5-8 and 235 pounds of him, had emerged from a pile with the football and the Bucs’ hopes for victory in his grasp. His fists still clenched like he was ready to be summoned into the game for one more snap, the recipe from the undersized Harris was simple.

“Just clogging the gap and keep ruthless aggression; ruthless aggression going up the middle,” he said. “That’s all I can do.”

What he did was contribute to consecutive stops of Glen Mills on third and fourth down in the final minute from the Interboro 12, stemming the tide of a comeback as Interboro escaped with a 15-14 Del Val League win.

The Bucs led 15-0 at half and appeared set to cruise to victory. But Glen Mills sprang to life in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns and was knocking on the door with less than a minute to play before Interboro rose to the defense.

Glen Mills (2-6, 1-3) took over with 2:13 to play at the Interboro 41 after a Bucs punt of just 12 yards. The twin engines of Tarik Bey and Quadir Gibson navigated them to the 13 for a third-and-3. But Bey’s quarterback sneak was stuffed on third down and, with 18.4 seconds and one timeout left, Glen Mills forged ahead with fourth down.
Bey hit the pile, the ball jarred loose and Harris held onto it for dear life.

“We know they’re a very physical team,” Harris said. “So we know we have to fire out low and hit them hard. We know we have to overcome that. We have to just fire out low and do what we can to make a stop because they have a very strong running back, and we know we have to clog up the middle.”

The final series stood in contrast to the resurgence that Bey spearheaded. The senior, who throws a crisp spiral downfield, failed to connect with open receivers in the first three quarters, due in equal parts to overthrows and drops. But he started clicking in the short game late in the third, adding a 15-yard scramble that set up Gibson for a three-yard dive with 9:39 to play to make it 15-8.

The Glen Mills defense promptly forced a punt, then the offense marched 80 yards. The final 44 were covered by a pinpoint corner route from Bey to Ka-Ron Thomas, one of those afflicted with the drops early, on a diving catch under heavy cover.

“The receivers started executing and putting more effort into every route,” Bey said. “In the first half, we had a couple of drops, (Thomas) did, but he came up big for us and made a big play.”

Interboro’s Mike Moore stuffed Gibson on the two-point run, though, leaving the Bucs clinging to a 15-14 margin.

Gibson rushed 19 times for 83 yards, while Bey toted 19 carries for 61. Bey threw for 118 yards.

The early lead for the Bucs (5-4, 3-1) was procured by the pass, hardly the norm for an eminently run-first attack. Quarterback Jared Dellipriscoli found Tim Convery for a 14-yard skinny post on third-and-11 on the first play of second quarter.

Joe Forte made it 15-0 four minutes later with a four-yard run, but it was set up by some fourth-down chicanery when Brett McLaughlin lofted a halfback pass to Convery for 25 yards.

The victory, though, was sealed via some very prototypical, blue-collar, Interboro football.

“It’s unreal. It’s my last home game as a senior, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Harris said. “It’s a great memory, something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”

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