“It was big play after big play for them,’ Jags coach Mike Ricci said. “It’s a shame. I was so proud of our guys, the way we came in and the way we executed on both sides of the ball. That’s a great team we played against and our guys fought right to the end. It’s unfortunate things couldn’t go our way in the fourth quarter, but I couldn’t be more proud of our group.

“They have a whole court of excellent skill players. Early on we made a couple of big stands defensively, holding them to a field goal (at the end of the third quarter). We needed a break in the fourth quarter and we didn’t get one.’

Pennsbury never made mistakes. The defense yielded a couple of big pass plays, notably a 35-yard catch by GV’s Bobby Clayton that set up quarterback Steve Flanagan’s 1-yard run in the first quarter. The deficiencies in the secondary in the first half were evident, but fixable. So, when the Jags tried airing the ball out in the second half, after falling behind by double digits in the fourth quarter, the Falcons (11-1) were there to cover up. Rob Daly had a pick-six and followed up that big play with another interception of Flanagan (6-for-18, 78 yards).

“We tried not to give them big plays,’ Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder said. “I know they’re a ground-oriented team like we are, but we saw them on some film where they were able to make some big plays down field with timely passing. They hit us with one that led to a touchdown. I think both teams probably wanted to limit the other team’s big plays. We both knew that both teams were going to get some yards.’

On offense, the Falcons didn’t just rely on Snorweah’s talent to carry them in a shootout, as was the case in the Downingtown game. Friday night, the Falcons had a balanced running attack highlighted by Snorweah, Alley (106 yards) and backup running backs Victor Delgado (three carries, 40 yards) and Raheem Thompson (13 carries, 42 yards). The Falcons mixed in an I-formation with their standard Wing-T schemes. The success on the ground allowed Pennsbury to scrap its aerial attack altogether, as Alley attempted only two passes.

“We knew we had to stop their run,’ Jags defensive back Steve Palis said. “We wanted to load the box and hopefully it would work out for us. Snorweah is a great player, and we tried to stop them as best as we could. Things just didn’t go our way.’

The Jags fed junior running back Derrick West early and often. He grinded out 93 hard-earned yards on 21 carries. However, the Jags’ other playmakers, including senior Zach Nelson, couldn’t get going. Flanagan, who is a threat running the ball in GV’s triple-option offense, was limited to 29 yards on the ground.

“It’s always frustrating when we let little things happen that work against us,’ said Nelson, who had 21 yards on four carries and three catches for 15 yards. “The final score doesn’t look like what happened in the game, which kind of stinks. They were real fast on defense. We were playing real well against them in the beginning, but something happened to us at the end. I don’t know.’

Ricci can’t say enough good things about his senior class. While the Jags fell short of their goals in 2014, the seniors left a lasting impression on the GV program.

“This senior class epitomizes everything we stand for in our program: selflessness, hard work, character and our big word is oneness,’ Ricci said. “These guys were a great group of leaders who not only said those things, but lived those things. Because of their example, all the other guys were able to get on their back and follow.’