Farmer’s big day carries Peddie School past Hill

POTTSTOWN >> If flags weren’t flying, Keshon Farmer’s feet were.

In the second half, Peddie School’s fleet running back took over a game that the Hill School had led at halftime. In a snap of the fingers, or in this case the sonic boom of Farmer’s big plays, it was all Falcons down the stretch. Farmer gained a staggering 182 yards on the ground in the third quarter in just five carries, 271 for the day (on 21 attempts) and the visiting Falcons soared to a 42-23 victory over the Rams Saturday afternoon.

“No. 2 is speedy,” said Hill School all-purpose back/receiver A.J. Bates, no slouch himself when it comes to speed and big plays. “We fought hard. They had a lot of good athletes.”

“Give them credit; they’re the better team,” said Hill School coach Dave Rackovan, whose team has competed very hard but remains winless at 0-4 overall. “They wore us down. They’ve got some great skill players. We just couldn’t tackle them in space. And they’ve got a big Division I line.”

In this Mid-Atlantic Prep League opener, negative yards were assessed on 18 penalties. Peddie School (3-1 overall) had 12 of them worth 110 yards. Aside from the stoppages, there was no stopping their top skill guys, Farmer and Juwan Dolbrice, both of whom were difficult to deal with in space.

From a 17-14 halftime lead, Hill School saw any semblance of momentum evaporate when Farmer and Dolbrice took flight. Farmer was the catalyst. His 22-yard burst on the Falcons’ first play of the third quarter came right before quarterback Mason Winter hit Dolbrice in the flat and Dolbrice took it 60 yards to the house to give Peddie School the lead.

The Falcons’ defense immediately got fired up following that score and made things difficult for the Rams after quarterback Clayton Oliver and the Ram passing game had been the difference in the first half. A punt pinned Peddie School deep, but from his 5-yard line Farmer sped 93 yards, getting knocked out of bounds at the Hill School 2 by Bates. Dolbrice scored his second of three touchdowns to make it 28-17 with 6:38 left in the third quarter.

Oliver, playing admirably despite a broken right (throwing) hand, led the Rams back within 28-23, hitting Bates for 56 yards and Peter Cleveland for a nice diving 8-yard TD grab. Oliver’s two-point run was ruled just short, though to some it appeared he had crossed the pylon.

But here came Farmer again, blasting 38 yards on the next possession to make it a 12-point game late in the third. Trying to make things happen downfield, Oliver was picked off twice after that, throwing four interceptions in all. Dolbrice scored from 29 yards for the final margin with 10:49 left in the fourth quarter.

It had started well for Hill School, which has been in every game this season. Their defense came out on fire, stopping Peddie School early on fourth down to start a good field position trend that led to a 10-0 first-quarter lead. They got an interception and a fumble recovery.

They never got their ground game going against the big and physical Falcon defense, but Oliver and Co. had rhythm at times. Bates caught first-half scoring passes of 29 and 11 yards.

Winter’s 58-yard scoring connection with Alonzo Addae put Peddie School up 14-10 with 1:51 left in the first half. But Hill School then put together an impressive drive to re-take the lead before the break. It started with Bates’ 30-yard run on a reverse. Freshman quarterback Syre Gruber, in for one play when Oliver was shaken up, scampered 22 yards despite having dropped the ball on a shotgun snap. That put the Rams in the red zone, and from there Oliver found Bates in the end zone.

It just wouldn’t be nearly enough.

“We left a lot of points out there,” Oliver said.

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