Hamby’s air efficiency helps Garnet Valley roll

CONCORD >> The conditions Friday night at Garnet Valley weren’t exactly conducive to passing, which already isn’t quite Plan A for the Jaguars.

So when Matt Hamby dropped back to pass in the face of stinging rain and stiff wind, he made sure to make it count.
Hamby only attempted two passes, both on fourth down, both for long touchdowns to Jacob Buttermore, powering the Jaguars’ 34-18 Central League win over Springfield.

Buttermore added a running touchdown on a third-and-17 play that he busted for 44 yards, his exemplary sense of timing helping break open a close game.

Garnet Valley's Tim Bradley (94) picks up a fumbled kickoff and runs it 28 yards for a touchdown in Garnet Valley's 34-18 win over Springfield. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)
Garnet Valley’s Tim Bradley (94) picks up a fumbled kickoff and runs it 28 yards for a touchdown in Garnet Valley’s 34-18 win over Springfield. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

The pass plays were dialed up at the exact perfect moments. On fourth-and-6 in the second quarter, Hamby hit Buttermore on a go-route, feathering the pass over a pair of defenders for Buttermore to corral and waltz into the end zone for a 34-yard connection.

In the third quarter, the fourth-and-5 call from the 30 was a skinny post that Buttermore hauled in, skirted a defender and took to pay dirt.

“It was one of the most popular plays that we ran in practice this week, so I knew it was going to come down to one of those fourth-down plays,” said Buttermore, a Syracuse lacrosse commit. “I just focused on the ball as best I can because I know this wind is very strong and it’s cold, so I know my hands are going to hurt a little bit. The offensive line did a good job blocking, and Hamby put it on my hands perfect.”

Buttermore didn’t need help for his first score, taking a jet sweep on third-and-long and breaking free from several would-be tacklers to weave his way 44 yards and into the end zone.

The momentum benefit of that score was compounded when Ache Hall was dropped on the ensuing kickoff, spilling the ball into the arms of Timmy Bradley for a 27-yard fumble return that staked Garnet Valley to a 14-0 lead that was never seriously imperiled.

The image of a Garnet Valley defensive end streaking down the field proved all too familiar. Bradley credited his touchdown with the work of two linemates, Brendan Granahan and Rob Monachello, who popped Hall in kick coverage. Bradley did the dirty work in the third quarter, when he sacked Springfield quarterback Brandon DiChiacchio on a fourth-and-1 at the 26 with the Cougars attempting to capitalize on a punt beaten back by the swirling wind.

Garnet Valley quarterback Matt Hamby makes a pitch during the Jaguars’ 34-18 victory over Springfield in a Central League game Friday night. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)
Garnet Valley quarterback Matt Hamby makes a pitch during the Jaguars’ 34-18 victory over Springfield in a Central League game Friday night. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

And late in the fourth quarter, Granahan busted through the line on fourth down and batted down a DiChiacchio pass that landed in the arms of sophomore defensive end Joshua Ciarrocchi, allowing the injury replacement for Monachello to rumble 18 yards for the score.

“So exciting,” Bradley said of Ciarrocchi. “The kid works so hard during practice. I love seeing him come out and score a touchdown like that. It’s so exciting for us.”

The offensive game plans were polar opposites. Garnet Valley (4-1, 3-0) monopolized the clock and tried to ground out first downs, even as Springfield did an adequate job bottling up their main threats. Garnet Valley finished with 251 yards on 43 carries, but that’s skewed by 85 yards for Buttermore on six totes. Derrick West (22 for 79) and Ryan Hamby (16-64) were consistent, but never broke containment.

That made the game-breaking ability of Buttermore all the more devastating.

“I was more surprised that they did as much option as they did, it being wet and all,” said Springfield linebacker Nick Gorman, who collected a Danny Guy fumble caused by Joe Kennedy to set up the Cougars’ first score. “Their pass game, it surprised me because they got the balls off quick, good throws in the rain.”

Springfield (2-3, 1-2) meanwhile was forced to take to the air. They accounted for just 53 yards on the ground, 33 on one carry by Philip Shovlin, and couldn’t get the ball in the hands of Kyle Long.

That meant an unconventional route: Turning to DiChiacchio for aerial route. He hoisted 27 passes into the elements, and completed 14 of his first 22 for 133 yards before the GV defense tightened the clamps.

DiChiacchio hit Vince Puppio, who tip-toed 26 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. DiChiacchio and Dwayne Snipes notched one-yard running touchdowns, but each was set up by long pass plays to Dan Archibong.

Eventually, though, the Jags got the better of that matchup, too. Despite giving up every bit of 10 inches to the Temple commit, Ryan Manbeck held Archibong in relative check, limiting him to four catches for 50 yards on eight targets.

“It’s hard work, but I’ve got to thank all the D-line for getting into the quarterback,” Manbeck said. “… Just do your keys like Coach (Mike) Ricci always says. If you just do what you’re supposed to do, then you’re all good.”

“We just have to keep our heads up, pressure it, help out our secondary,” Bradley said. “If they get one lucky play, it happens. But other than that, we were just one fire tonight.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply