Souderton’s offense can’t match Nasir, Plymouth Whitemarsh

FRANCONIA — It’s a cliche among cliches, but Friday night, Souderton and Plymouth Whitemarsh’s football game came down to a matter of inches.

Plymouth Whitemarsh travelled up to Souderton and the two teams waged a battle that went down to the wire and beyond Friday night. Ultimately, the Colonials prevailed 20-14 in double overtime against the host Indians.

“It’s absolutely true and it’s all of these small details that make football so great,” PW coach Dan Chang said. “It can go one way or another with such little changes. Some went our way, some didn’t and we just have to keep rolling.”

Tailback Nafeese Nasir was tremendous for PW, scoring all three of their touchdowns and accumulating 196 rushing yards on just 16 carries and facilitating a Wildcat-based attack.

Souderton had a promising late drive falter when quarterback Joey Curotto went down with a severe right leg cramp facing a third down in PW territory. A bad snap forced a big loss of yards and a punt to thwart the chance, which came inside the final two minutes.

Both defenses held up in the first overtime period with Souderton getting an incompletion on fourth down and PW escaping on a missed 35-yard field goal try. A first down touchdown run by Jamar White was called back on a penalty, then two straight runs lost yards, effectively taking the Indians out of field goal range.

Things didn’t improve in the second overtime when Big Red lost the ball at the four, giving PW a chance to steal the game. Nasir did just that with his three-yard score on third down.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and we knew that coming in,” Souderton coach Ed Gallagher said. “He went out in our game last year with an injury and we contained him to a point last year. We’ve been worried about him. How do you do that? First snap goes over his head and we take bad angles and he’s off running.”

Souderton ate up 307 yards of offense and picked up 20 first downs, but was stymied once it got inside the 25.

Curotto threw for 137 yards and completed 13 of his 22 attempts. He also gamely returned to the game in overtime despite moving with a clear limp and in pain as Gallagher said he was having trouble even turning to hand the ball off.

PW’s first offense snap was almost disastrous and turned out to be miraculous. A high snap sailed over Nasir in a Wildcat set, but the speedy Colonial was able to scoop it up and found a lane up the left sideline.

Once he hit the seam, Nasir was gone, rocketing away from everyone for an 87-yard touchdown to add more hurt on Big Red.

Nasir’s success taking a direct snap fueled PW’s entire offense scheme for most of the first half with only tailbacks Blaise Gravinese and Jake Winterbottom getting touches until a late second quarter drive. With two touches, Nasir went over 100 yards and sat at 172 yards rushing at halftime.

Just as vital was a pass deflection he made on a 4th-and-9 play on Souderton’s drive immediately following his long TD run. With two stops of Souderton on fourth down on the Indians’ first two drives, the PW defense allowed the offense to keep running the Wildcat.

Big Red got a fourth-down stop of its own right after the pass breakup and found the third time was the charm on offense. By pounding the ball on the ground, Soudy finally broke through on a 14-yard run by Blake Gular to temporarily knot the game.

The stalemate didn’t last too long as PW’s three-headed rush attack churned up yards and ended with a 32-yard sprint by Nasir to put the Colonials up 14-7 with 7:16 left in the half.

A 34-yard field goal try by Nate Verson clanged off the crossbar at the end of the first half, adding yet another tough break to Souderton’s night.

Souderton did well to contain Nasir in the second half, but aside from a scoring drive on their first possession of the second half, the offense couldn’t capitalize. Gallagher pointed out that the 14 point effort just wasn’t enough.

“We moved the ball up and down the field and didn’t get in the end zone,” Gallagher said. “We scored 14 points and we must have had close to 300 yards (of offense). We moved the ball up and down the field and couldn’t finish drives. The kids are giving a great effort, I told them to get their heads up, we gave a great effort tonight.”

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