Germantown Academy pulls away from ANC in second half

FORT WASHINGTON >> During the hours they spend in the classroom, many of Germantown Academy football coach Matt Dence’s players take Advanced Placement classes.
While they all have different schedules, every football player is enrolled in one AP class once school is over. The teachers are Dence and his assistants and the class is AP Football.
The running of KJ Cartwright and the defense’s ability to force and capitalize on several turnovers helped the Patriots earn a passing grade for Week 4 with a 39-12 win over Academy of the New Church Friday evening.
“It was a turnover and momentum type of game,” Dence said. “When we turned it over in the first half, they made some plays to stay in it and they turned in over in the second half and we made some nice plays on it that was the difference.”
Cartwright, only a sophomore, ran for three touchdowns and 111 yards on 22 carries, capitalizing on some solid holes opened up by his young offensive line. His scores in the third quarter and early in the fourth helped put away ANC, which despite coming into the game with a thin roster, was right there until late in the second half.
GA’s defense was the difference maker, especially its linebacker corps. Griffin Hunn, Pat McGettigan, Tanner Long and Matt Gorman created havoc for ANC’s offense all game, with McGettigan recording an interception and Gorman making several huge defensive plays in the first quarter.
The second half turnovers really hurt ANC, which couldn’t play its deliberate pace and style.
“We’re a lean and mean team,” Lions coach Ty Klippenstein said. “We have 24 guys dress, we have maybe 13 guys who have played in a varsity game and it’s against a good team that’s 4-0. They do a great job and they hurry it up so they’re playing to one of their strengths and it’s one of our weaknesses.”
GA scored on its opening drive, relying mainly on the run, getting a score when Cartwright went in from two yards out. Gorman then made a stop in the backfield on fourth down on the ensuing ANC possession but the teams traded punts before the Lions took over when Charlie Coyle picked off Kyle McCloskey at the ANC 30.
ANC moved down the field, the key plays a 17-yard pickup by Kyle Mattison on a fake punt and 21-yard run by Seamus Hogan the next snap. Coyle then hit big tight end Marcus Littles for 13 yards to the goal line and again on third down from the four after scrambling around, hitting Littles for the touchdown.
“Our best lineman has a cast on, so you take a team that has 26 guys overall, any injuries are hard on us,” Klippenstein said. “It just makes it a bigger challenge for us.”
Momentum quickly went back to the Patriots a few plays later. ANC had forced a punt from GA and the ball hit in front of the returner, who froze for a half-second too long.
Klippenstein believed his guy didn’t touch the ball, but said he could have been wrong and wanted to watch the game tape. He also said his returner, who is a sophomore, didn’t help matters by letting the ball hit and take a bounce off the ground.
“We told him, he’s got to catch the ball, either you do it or you get away,” Klippenstein said. “It’s not a deflection of blame, the first thing we said to him is catch it or get away. He put the referee in a difficult position when he didn’t need to, but that’s something we can fix.”
The referee ruled the ball had hit the return man and was a live fumble, which GA senior Kwasi Ampomah was able to collect for the huge turnover. One play later, McCloskey hit Jon Haynes for a 26-yard touchdown.
“The coaches say play your assignment, do your job well and never give up on a play,” Ampomah. “The play’s never over until the whistle so that’s just what I try to do.
“I just had to go for it. I had to make sure.”
McGettigan came up with a pick on ANC’s next possession at the Lions’ 29 and returned it 21 yards where McCloskey was able to pick up the rest on a keeper for a 20-6 lead and a huge swing in just 1:14 of game time.
“I’m a feel guy, when you feel they’re on their heels you try to take that big shot,” Dence said. “It’s not always there. We took some shots, we mixed up taking some shots and establishing the run.”
ANC got right back into the game with its second possession of the third quarter when Coyle hit Mattison down the left side and Mattison outran everyone for a 65-yard score. GA retorted with a scoring drive of its own, riding the legs of Cartwright and a key 23-yard pass from McCloskey to Mike Patterson on 4th-and-10 from the ANC 25 to set up a two-yard run by Cartwright.
“We’re just worried about the next game and trying to go 5-0,” a very direct Cartwright said.
A five-yard score by Cartwright and a 12-yard run by Nick Picariello provided the final scoring for GA.
Germantown Academy has already matched its win total from all of last year, but the first lesson of AP Football is that nothing takes priority over the day at hand. The Patriots have developed a tunnel vision this season and they’re 4-0 because of it.
“If you stay in that tunnel vision, then you can’t get too far ahead,” Dence said.

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