MARPLE >> A running clock with 12-minute quarters was the new feature at the 42nd Delaware County Hero Bowl all-star football game Thursday.
Instead of the usual stoppages, the clock rolled until the last four minutes of the first half, except for stoppages due to change of possession, timeouts, scores and injuries. That really moved the game along at Cardinal O’Hara, which already had received a light shower.
The contest began at 7:24 p.m. It ended at 9:31, the Red squad (Central League) hanging on for a 10-6 victory.
The first half took a shade less than an hour partly because there was only one score, a one-yard touchdown run by Danny Guy of Garnet Valley with less than a minute to go in the first frame.
The plan was too efficient for the players and coaches. And for the fans who weathered the elements and paid their money to sit on wet steel bleachers.
The lobbying for more clock in the second half resulted in a compromise; a running clock for the first four minutes of each quarter after the intermission, then the standard stops kick in.
That meant at least a few more plays for the players and the coaches who taught them plays during the week.
“I didn’t like it,” Blue team receiver Rahiem Bowens of Penn Wood said. “It made the game go very fast. We had to go fast, hurry up and make plays on the ball. It was just too fast-paced.”
Bowens, who caught a TD pass, thinks it limited possessions and impacted the outcome of the game.
“That hurt us,” Bowens said. “We did what we had to do but we came up short.”
The bottom line is you can’t rush the Hero Bowl. And you can’t be changing the rules once the game begins.
Cut back on the excruciatingly long halftime. Make sure the players are hydrated but limit the rest of it. A request had to be made to bring players back to the field during the intermission.
The pre-game introductions always are lengthy. However, that’s the price you pay for the exemplary work of police, firefighter and emergency services volunteers, county council dignitaries and the myriad of civilians who care.
The Red squad (Del Val and Catholic League players for the most part) got in the end zone first. Chris Mills setting up the TD run by Guy with a 38-yard strike to Carington Hooks, the silky receiver out of Haverford. Punter-kicker Jack Coary (Springfield) added the PAT giving the Blue a 7-0 lead with 19.7 ticks left in the first quarter.
The Blue squad got there last, Quadir Gibson’s interception and 32-yard return with the defense backed up to its own one-yard line, allowing the offense just enough time to score.
Bowens erased the shutout with a six-yard scoring pass from Andrew Rodriquez of Chichester with 46.4 ticks remaining.
Justin O’Donnell (Upper Darby) blocked the PAT attempt.
The third quarter scoring consisted of a 36-yard field goal by Luke Ciaverdelli of Marple Newtown with 3:45 left in the frame.
While the bottom line is important in some circles, the game is, and always will be, a win-win for all who threw themselves into it.
Try finding a worthier cause than the Hero Bowl. The proceeds from the event support the Hero Scholarship Fund of Delaware County, Inc., providing scholarship aid to the families of fallen first responders. The $5 price of admission is a bigger bargain than you find at Five Below.
Each year the Hero Bowl program contains a passage that’s fairly summed up the game through the years.
“It’s a blessing to play in this game,” Bowens, the Blue offensive MVP said. “You just want to come out here and give the fans a good show.
Everyone wins in this game. It’s an honor to be selected. Even if you play six snaps, five snaps, one snap, you’re still blessed to play in this game.”
Running clock or not.
Contact Bob Grotz at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @bobgrotz.