ANC hangs tough but can’t solve New Hope

BRYN ATHYN >> Out of every possible outcome when New Hope-Solebury and Academy of the New Church met on a football field Saturday morning, defensive slugfest was likely very low on that list.
Yet, that’s exactly what happened in a game that didn’t even feature a double-digit total score. A single big play by New Hope turned out to be the difference maker in the battle between Lions.
A 88-yard run by Jack McKenna set up the only touchdown as New Hope stifled ANC in 9-0 win.
“We were not executing on offense, we couldn’t protect our quarterback when we needed to and he needed to get the ball off a few times a little earlier,” ANC coach Ty Klippenstein said. “We didn’t have much of an inside running game or outside running game. 2nd-and-15 is a hard situation to be in, we needed to be in 2nd-and-3 or 2nd-and-2 and we didn’t have many of those.”
New Hope coach Jim DiTulio was expecting his team to need a lot more offense to beat ANC for the first time. Instead, both teams hit hard, tackled well, got to the ball quickly and for the most part, didn’t allow big plays.
Through three combined drives, neither team had much going until ANC’s Kyle Mattison booted a 52-yard punt down to the New Hope one-yard line, putting the visitors in a tough spot. Two runs got them a little breathing room, but they still sat on their own eight facing a 3rd-and-3.
Then McKenna got the ball, got to the outside and got down the field in a hurry. Only a tremendous effort by Cameron Tealer to chase McKenna down stopped a sure touchdown, though the Lions got their score on the next play when Nick Garritano hit Blake Hildebrandt for the score.
“It’s a power toss we run and we run it a lot,” DiTulio said of McKenna’s run. “It’s about being patient and waiting for your blocks to develop. We felt going in we could get the edge on them based on their defense and that’s exactly what happened. He strung it out and we outnumbered them on the edge.”
The score came with 1:34 left in the first quarter and would stand that way until a fourth-quarter safety gave New Hope the rest of its points.
ANC’s issues on offense came from a number of areas. The line wasn’t able to generate consistent push up the middle, so many runs were for minimal or no gain through the tackles and outside runs didn’t have time to develop.
The passing game was hindered by a handful of dropped balls and a few balls not thrown fast enough. ANC wasn’t tagged for many penalties, but facing a multitude of long second and third downs was just as tough to overcome.
“All of those things together mean we have a zero on the scoreboard,” Klippenstein said. “Our defense played pretty well. We only gave that one touchdown and a few other first downs.”
Klippenstein said both defenses came into the game with good plans, got their guys in the right places and knew what was coming. That seemed to lead into the slugfest type of game that developed.
ANC took a big blow late in the third quarter when quarterback Charlie Coyle had his left leg rolled up under him when he was tackled on a keeper. The senior was forced to leave the game, though he did leave the field under his own power, and finished it out on crutches with his left leg and ankle iced and wrapped up.
Not only did the injury take one of ANC’s most important players off both sides of the ball, but it put backup quarterback Matt McCabe in a tough spot as well.
“Last year we said we had a bunch of tough guys and college-level players making plays for us but it was still true that he was the most important player for us,” Klippenstein said. “Without him, we can’t get the ball to these guys and it’s even more true this year. If we don’t have Charlie, it makes it so much harder for us to do the offensive things we want to do.”
Defensively for ANC, Matt Wasco, Brayden Boyesen and Bryson McCurdy were very strong off the line and getting after New Hope’s backs. Towering Marcus Littles had two pass deflections at the line and Seamus Hogan made some solid plays from the safety position.
It’s unknown how long Coyle will be down, but it’s a team sport and Klippenstein said it’s time for the rest of the team to rise to the challenge. The thin Lions have been hit hard by injury the last few weeks but a few players seem like they’re close to returning.
“We need our other guys to take the bull by the horns and say I’m going to make this my team,” Klippenstein said. “That has to happen but unfortunately, we don’t have that many guys to be able to do that.”

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