Academy Park’s Buchanan, Wright get competitive juices flowing in blowout

YEADON >> Clarence Buchanan and Teddy Wright always try to one-up each other in practice and during the course of a game.

It’s not easy to separate them, either. Academy Park’s dynamic defensive back duo can usually be found on the sideline talking strategy and who knows what else.

They even share the same styles.

“We have the same cleats,” Buchanan said, rocking the Knights’ blue-and-silver color scheme. “And we dress alike all the time.”

Buchanan had three interceptions entering Saturday’s Del Val League opener at Penn Wood. Those picks are a badge of honor for the All-Delco.

“I know I have to catch up,” Wright said.

Wright did his best to keep track with Buchanan Saturday at Kerr Field. Together, AP’s shutdown DBs recorded three interceptions and two touchdowns in a 49-7 victory.

Buchanan came away with two INTs, including a 73-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter to cap a dominating second-half performance by the undefeated Knights (6-0, 1-0). Wright had one interception and scored on a 20-yard rush. It’s not often that Wright gets the chance to touch the ball on offense.

“But I knew when he scored,” Buchanan said, “that I had to score, too.”

That friendly rivalry is all well and good when the Knights are cruising. The Knights have outscored their opponents by 199 points (232-33) this season.

But sometimes the competition can become disruptive to a team with aspirations of winning a second District One Class AAA title in three years. It’s important for both players to stay grounded.

“On the field, it’s a great thing because they make each other better and they make the defense better,” AP coach Jason Vosheski said. “But I think sometimes, off the field, it’s detrimental because it gets to the point where it takes away from the accomplishments of what everyone else is doing. That’s a bad habit when we start pointing the finger at ourselves.”

The defensive line of Toga Porte, Darrian Burnside, Corey Simmons and Davante Harris, for example, deserve as much credit as Buchanan and Wright for Saturday’s performance. They call themselves the fantastic four, and they played a huge role in limiting Penn Wood running back Tayvon Ruley to 72 yards on the ground after Ruley got off to good start in the first half. The D-line held one of the county’s leading rushers to zero or negative yardage on 13 of his 23 attempts.

While the final score wouldn’t indicate it, the Knights were lucky to have a 14-7 halftime lead. Penn Wood quarterback Javon Lindsey-Terrell (19-of-36, 209 yards) drove the Patriots deep into Knights territory in the waning moments of the second quarter. A circus catch by Raheim Bowens (seven catches, 95 yards) set the Patriots up with first and goal, but the Knights forced Lindsey-Terrell to throw an incompletion on the next play as time expired. Earlier, Lindsey-Terrell hooked up with Isaiah Council on a 30-yard wide receiver screen, which resulted in the Patriots’ only score of the day.

“They found some holes in the beginning and they executed their offense in the first half,” Vosheski said. “They had a couple of great plays that gave them great field position. But our defense held strong. That’s a testament to those guys.”

At intermission, the Patriots were outgaining the Knights in offensive yardage, 185-128. The Knights also committed nine first-half penalties.

“Our coaches weren’t too happy with our performance in the first half,” Simmons said. “For us to go to 6-0, we had to turn it up a notch. We had to stop playing yard ball and start playing AP football.”

A lightbulb went on in the third quarter. Four plays into the period, DeAndray Covert caught a pass from Taylor Moors and dashed 43 yards to the end zone. On Penn Wood’s first offensive snap, Wright picked off Lindsey-Terrell, and on the next play, Jawan Collins scampered 14 yards on an end around to give the Knights a three-touchdown cushion.

Two touchdowns and one turnover in the span of one minute, eight seconds. And just like that, the Knights were in complete control.

“I don’t like to make excuses,” Vosheski said. “We’ve only played one full game and that’s going to be a problem down the road, whether it’s next week (against Chichester) or whenever.  It could be a Saturday thing, but honestly I don’t know. Nick Saban said that you can only get up for so many games a year, but at some point it’s going to bite us — or any team — in the rear end if we don’t show up.”

Jermaine Wesley was present and accounted for. The senior running back rushed for a season-high 170 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights, who accrued 250 yards on the ground. Nykeal Jalloh and Marion Holmes excelled on the offensive line for AP.

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