Germantown Academy runs over Penn Charter

WHITEMARSH — Helmed by a sophomore southpaw quarterback and led on the ground by a freshman runner, the Germantown Academy Patriots, at 3-6-1, had been through their share of growing pains heading into their 128th meeting against Penn Charter.

The meeting culminated a week of athletic matchups between the two schools, which prior to the completion of the football game had been split, 4-4, and a trophy, dubbed the PC-GA Cup, was to be given out to the winner of the overall standings.

So, to say that this game was the Pats’ biggest of the year would be an understatement. The stadium was packed and fans that arrived anywhere close to game time had to be quite creative when it came to finding a place to park, let alone a seat in the stands.

Motivated by the stakes of the contest, QB Kyle McCloskey and his backfield — freshman standout Isaiah Jones and senior Ryan Calhoun — did quite a number on the Quaker defense, tallying 260 yards on the ground between the three and another 167 through the air (18 of which went to Jones) in their season-ending 40-29 win.

“Last year (a GA win), we had to win to tie for the (overall) trophy, and two years ago (a PC win) it came down to football,’ GA coach Matt Dence said. “So you feel like it’s bigger than you — it’s bigger than just the football program.

“The school’s going to be rocking on Monday,’ Dence went on. “GA-PC week is a great party, and I love the party before the football game, but I wanted the party after … I’m very proud of these kids.’

The game wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. Germantown Academy took control early, dashing out to a 21-7 lead on the strength of touchdown runs of 11, seven, and five yards, respectively, by Jones. McCloskey and James McAfee got in on the fun with their 63-yard connection with 50 seconds left in the second to pad the Pats’ lead to 28-7 heading into the half.

The teams traded scores in the second half before Penn Charter narrowed the margin to 40-29 with Michael Hnatkowsky’s 17-yard toss to Frank McGlinchey and subsequent three-yard jog for a two-point conversion, but a Hnatkowsky pick into the hands of Brooks Cannell on the next drive and Anthony Bozzelli and Kwasi Ampomah’s 4th-and-22 sack on the following Quaker possession kept the game from getting any closer.

“(Penn Charter) does a very good job,’ Dence said, “but we got them with a couple of turnovers and some really big plays and that’s hard to overcome. ”

“They really played great today,’ McCloskey said of GA’s defense. “I have to give credit to them. They stopped them on a couple of big drives, which meant the whole world to the game.’

McCloskey himself meant a good deal, as the stellar sophomore finished with 167 yards on 7-of-17 passing and a pair of touchdowns to go with 61 on 13 carries on the ground.

“He’s only a sophomore, but he’s got the poise of a sophomore in college,’ Dence said of McCloskey. “Kyle’s a gamer. He’s going to come up with big plays.’

GA’s other youngster, Jones, punctuated his season with quite a day as well. After scoring on three of his first four runs, Jones went on to tally 102 yards on 16 carries, and grabbed another 18 through the air.

“I’ve known Isaiah since the seventh grade,’ Dence said. “I coach middle school basketball, and one of the reasons I took that job was because I wanted to know what makes him tick.’

“He’s a special athlete, and a special human being,’ Dence continued. “He’s an All-Inter-Ac player, but he’s also an All-Inter-Ac person … There’s no “me’ in him at all. If he didn’t get a carry today, he wouldn’t have been mad — he just wants to win.’

Despite being overshadowed a bit by the other two focal points of the offense, senior running back Ryan Calhoun turned in a solid afternoon as well. After taking GA’s first play for 54 yards, Calhoun wound up with 97 total on just 10 carries.

This is the second win over Penn Charter in a row for Dence and the Patriots (though the Pats trail 35-82-11 in the overall series), and with the victory, GA finished the year at 4-6-1.

“It’s a great rivalry,’ Dence said, “but if you look at the way it’s been overall, it’s a lot of losses for GA. To win two in a row, it’s pretty special. We didn’t accomplish all of our goals this season, but to send our nine seniors out this way is more than I could have asked for.

“Our future’s bright,’ Dence said. “We’ve got great kids and to see them be able to do this, it made us really happy.’

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