Conestoga thwarted by Garnet Valley

Tredyffrin — Celebrating the return of coach Mike Ricci, Garnet Valley went on the road Friday evening and spoiled Conestoga’s senior night with a 27-14 Central League victory.

The Jaguars (8-2) took control of the game early. After recovering a fumble on the Pioneers’ first series, the visitors pieced together an 11-play, 79-yard drive that concluded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Steve Flanagan to receiver Zachary Nelson.

After forcing the Pioneers (7-3) to go three-and-out, the Jaguars offense struck again. On their second drive, they punished the opposition’s defense with their running game. Garnet Valley grabbed a 14-0 lead, after Flanagan scored on a one-yard run. He finished the night with two passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, 48 yards on the ground, and 91 yards in the air.

“I just committed to my reads tonight,’ Flanagan said. “It is just going through the routine and getting prepaired throughout the week. Tonight the guys made plays, the offensive line blocked well, and I just reaped the benefits.’

Before the second quarter came to an end, Derrick West added a one-yard touchdown run to give them the 21-0 advantage.

The Pioneers bounced back in the third quarter when Parke Schweiter snapped off a 29-yard run, giving the home team its first points of the game.

However, Garnet Valley answered Conestoga on their next drive. After West broke a 45-yard run to put his team inside the red zone, Flanagan rolled out and connected with his tight end Tom Cleary for a five-yard score.

Conestoga struggled to stop the Garnet Valley rushing attack all night. They allowed a total of 249 rushing yards.

“It starts at practice,’ West said. “We practice hard all week, we prepared for this big game. We came out and executed, and everyone did their job.’

It was a special night for Garnet Valley with the return of Ricci, who missed two games after taking a medical leave of absence.

“Conestoga is a very good football team,’ Ricci said. “Our defensive and offense did a great job. I was proud of all the guys tonight, especially the ones who had to jump in when people got injured.’

The victory gives the Jaguars a spot in the District 1 Class AAAA Playoffs, which start next week.

“The game is over. We enjoy it tonight but tomorrow, we turn the page and get ready for next week,’ Ricci added.

The loss was Conestoga’s first at home this season and it snapped its three-game winning streak. It also marked the fifth straight time the Jaguars beat the Pioneers, all by double digits. Despite that, the Pioneers are poised to end their playoff drought.

“We did not play well in the first half tonight,’ Conestoga coach John Vogan said. “It is a disappointing loss, but it is not a discouraging loss. Garnet Valley is an excellent football team. We will put this one behind us. It has been six years since we have been to the show. We’re excited and we need to bounce back and be ready.’


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