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Cheers are delayed, but Garnet Valley takes care of Conestoga

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By Jack Keffer

For Digital First Media 

CONCORD — There were three deafening cheers from the Garnet Valley crowd Friday night, the last of which was accompanied by fireworks that signaled the 43-0 victory over Conestoga.

The other two came on a reverse punt return that Brandon DiCamillo returned for a touchdown and a screen pass that Dan Bradley took to the end zone by juking his way east-to-west across the field.

The Conestoga offense line struggled all night to protect Chris McGovern, but the Pioneers started well defensively. PJ Hewitt forced a fumble on the Jags’ first drive and then recovered a fumble on a backward pass on the next drive.

“(Conestoga) came out in a different front then what we were expecting,” said Kyle McCullough, a senior offensive lineman. “But we have been practicing against a three-three stack for the past couple of weeks now since we have been playing those type of teams. We felt like we knew what we were supposed to do, just had some unfortunate turnovers and mistakes that we need to clean up.”

Conestoga looked to take advantage and broke out for two big plays, including a 31-yard flea-flicker pass to Milton Robinson and a fake punt that Brett Northeimer ran 11 yards for a first down in the first quarter. The Jags defense locked down after that: They limited the Pioneers to 27 yards until halftime.

Garnet Valley quarterback Ryan Gallagher finally worked some magic and connected with Rory Glackin for 46 yards. He fell a yard shy of the end zone, and Colin Robinson took care of the rest to give the Jags a 7-0 lead to start the second quarter.

That was all the Jags needed. After Nick Westburg snagged an interception, Dominic LaBricciosa led a long, methodical drive by taking five carries for 38 yards in a downhill battle that ended with a Gallagher rushing score. LaBricciosa tallied one of his own to finish DiCamillo’s return efforts to make it 21-0 headed into halftime.

“It’s tough, we win a game, we come off it and we want to keep winning,” Conestoga running back Liam Kirk said. “It doesn’t matter what the team is like. That’s not going to change our thought process, that’s not going to change how hard we work. … We came out good in the first quarter, but we just have to play through it.”

The running back was battered all night, limited to 25 yards on 12 carries, but he did pick off Gallagher on a slant route to start the third quarter. The second quarter struggles carried over for Conestoga though, as McGovern was sacked three times and took multiple hits from the likes of Alex Westburg, Adam Oldrati and Cade Brennan.

“I think we had a wake-up call last week (against Radnor),” said Oldrati, who tallied a sack on a fourth down play in the third quarter. “We went to focus on the basics this week and played how we knew how to play.”

McGovern and Michael Prestipino continued to press for Conestoga (2-7, 2-6). The two connected on deep fade for 26 yards and again for 10 yards on a button hook route. Like Kirk, both McGovern and Prestipino are juniors.

Friday night belonged to the seniors though, as Garnet Valley (9-0, 8-0) remained undefeated on their quest for a Central League title. To do that, they will need to win at Upper Darby next week. For tonight, they will enjoy the fireworks.

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