NEWTOWN – Council Rock North senior Michael Welde had just raced 88 yards for a touchdown that drew the Indians even at 14-all with 1:13 remaining in the first half in the annual rivalry duel with the Golden Hawks Friday night in front of a packed house at Walt Snyder Stadium.
Instead of deflating CR South (4-6, 3-3: SONL), the electrifying TD run by Welde seemed to ignite North’s sister school.
“We weren’t really worried because we knew what we had on our side,” said Hawks senior running back Elias Mayo. “We let up two big plays but we knew who the better team was so we kept thinking, just keep putting pressure on them and we knew we’d come out on top.”
Instead of settling for a 14-14 draw at halftime, South tallied a 23-yard field goal to take a 3-point lead into the locker room then scored 21 unanswered points after the intermission while the Hawks’ defense pitched a shutout in the second half , earning the Birds a 38-14 triumph and another year’s possession of the Unity Cup.
On a night that saw New York Giants offensive guard and CR South alum Justin Pugh inducted into the Council Rock Athletics Hall of Fame, Hawks quarterback Christian Jabbar threw three touchdown passes including a pair on 4th-down and two to Nick Gallo, who caught a 47-yard scoring strike from Jabbar in the second quarter to draw the South within a point and a 35-yard TD pass from Christian in the third quarter to put the Hawks up 24-14 just six plays into the second half.
After turning the ball over on its first possession in the game, South put the ball into the end zone on three of its first four drives in the second half. The Hawks’ defense forced the Indians to punt on their first three second-half touches before sealing the game on an interception by senior Nick MacDonald.
According to CR South head coach Vince Bedesem, the Hawks made no defensive adjustments after the break.
“We just played our style of defense,” said the coach. “We kept everybody in front of us and we played hard.”
While South forced a turnover on downs on North’s first possession, the Indians notched their first big play of the game when junior wideout Fred Germana made a leaping 26-yard grab of a fourth-down pass from quarterback Adam Charen, setting up North’s initial touchdown. From there, Welde went around the right end for a 2-yard TD scamper that put the Indians on top, 7-0 just three plays into the second quarter.
The Hawks answered with a 3-play, 65 yard scoring drive that was capped by Gallo’s first touchdown catch. The extra point was missed however, keeping the Indians on top.
Three plays later, North fumbled at their own 29 and that opened a door for South. The Hawks flew right in, needing just three plays to take their first lead in the contest after Mayo bulldozed 18 yards up the middle dragging tacklers at least the last nine yards into the end zone.
“It was our last game so we wanted to make sure it counts,” said Mayo. “We left it all out there on the field.”
For the game, Mayo recorded 92 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries while Gallo registered 142 yards and two scores on six catches.
For North, Welde finished his final game in an Indians’ uniform with 162 yards rushing and a pair of TDs on 24 carries.
“You think you have a handle on him and all of a sudden, Welde has eight (yards), Welde’s got 12,” stated Bedesem. “All of a sudden, Welde’s got 88.”
With just 1:13 showing on the second-quarter clock, the sides looked destined to go into the half even. Junior kick returned Bradley Kraut gave South a big boost however when he returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield. A 23-yard pass from Jabbar to Gallo, coupled with a personal foul in North set the Hawks up on the 12 yard line.
That set Witten up for a field goal and he drilled it.
“Big plays like (Welde’s) happen but we just had to keep our mentality of always trying to score,” explained Mayo. “We set ourselves up on the kick return and just went from there.”
In the second half, South won the field position battle, forcing a pair of three-and-outs and holding the Indians to just three first downs. That helped the Hawks begin their final two touchdown drives at midfield and ensure the Unity Cup’s continued residence on Rock Way.
In the fourth quarter, Jabbar capped a 7-play, 50-yard scoring drive with a 15-yard, fourth-down TD pass to classmate Jake Diaz then, on a drive that started at the 49, he took the ball to the house himself on a 1-yard touchdown plunge, sending the score to its 38-14 final.
CR South finishes the season at 4-6 overall with league wins over Abington, Bensalem and North. The Hawks opened their campaign with a win over SOL American Conference rival Cheltenham.
The Indians (1-9, 06: SONL) completed their second straight 1-9 season, going winless after opening their 2017 campaign with a 14-13 triumph over West Chester East.
Council Rock South 38, CR North 14
(Oct. 28 at CR North)
CR NORTH (1-9) 0 14 0 0 – 14
CR SOUTH (4-6) 0 17 7 14 – 38
CRN – Michael Welde 2 run (Billy Robinson kick)
CRS – Nick Gallo 47 pass from Christian Jabbar (kick failed)
CRS – Elias Mayo 18 run (Andrew Vera pass from Jabbar)
CRN – Michael Welde 88 run (Robinson kick)
CRS – Andrew Witten 23 field goal
CRS – Gallo 35 pass from Jabbar (Witten kick)
CRS – Jake Diaz 15 pass from Jabbar (Witten kick)
CRS – Jabbar 1 run (Witten kick)
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