McCloskey leads Germantown Academy to win over Springside Chestnut Hill

As is commonly the case in football, it wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it’ll do for Germantown Academy.

The Pats rolled into the Springside Chestnut Hill red-hot, winners of all five to open their season, and looking to start the Inter-Ac slate off strong. Even though GA couldn’t get their running backs going and committed a bunch of penalties, southpaw signal-caller Kyle McCloskey helped them pull it out, 21-12.

“It’s huge,” GA coach Matt Dence said. “To start off the Inter-Ac season 1-0 is very important for us. Getting a win against a quality team on the road and maintain an undefeated season was our goal, and we achieved it.”

Well, duh. That’s not a particularly nuanced analysis, but Dence did provide a bit of insight in his post-game speech, telling his guys that he was happy with the fact that they still won against a good team despite not playing at their highest level, because it meant good things for when they are able to start to fire on all cylinders.

K.J. Cartwright, the Pats’ feature back, struggled to get anything on the ground. He ran for just 25 yards on 14 carries, and GA’s second back, Nick Picariello, ran for 21 on 10. That’s one thing that obviously needs to get shored up.

“I don’t know. I’ve got to watch the film on that,” Dence said. “It seems like the odd fronts always give us trouble.”

He struggled to further explain why the traditional running game just couldn’t get going.

“They had some pretty good dudes up front,” Dence said, after some hemming and hawing. “I don’t think that we blocked well at all … those odd fronts really give us trouble and we’ve got to work on that.”

They also committed nine penalties — four in the first quarter and six in the first half alone.

“I said to them (at halftime), cut out the penalties and we’ll win this football game,” Dence said. “I felt pretty confident in that.”

They did — they committeed just three in the second half: an iffy defensive pass interference, an offsides (though this one came on a fourth-and-three and could have done actual damage to the game’s outcome), and a delay of game that amounted to nothing.

Their defense played pretty well in the second half too. They, as Dence put it, “pitched a shutout” after allowing a pair of SCH scores in the first two frames (a pair of 23-yard Matt Rahill touchdown passes), holding the Blue Devils’ run game in check just as much as theirs was.

GA gave up just 20 yards on the ground throughout, keeping SCH backs Justin Telamaque and Jordan Young from doing any significant damage. They outmatched a Blue Devil offensive line sans Temple commit Darian Bryant (who missed the game due to a one-game suspension as a result of an ejection in their previous contest), stunting what SCH wanted to do on offense and forcing Rahill to make plays. He made some — he finished with a pair of touchdowns and 245 yards passing — but it wasn’t enough.

“We had a hard time running,” Springside Chestnut Hill coach Rick Knox said. “Our offensive line was definitely an issue, but I don’t know if it was solely because (Bryant) wasn’t in there. The guy that replaced him did a pretty decent job.”

That said, “Pretty much every pass play, somebody had something like faulty technique,” Knox went on. “There was definitely too much pressure.”

It didn’t help that GA had a playmaker like McCloskey on the other side of the ball. The southpaw signal-caller finished with 199 yards and two scores through the air on 11-of-19 passing to go along with 98 yards on the ground on 16 rushes. Simply put, his play was the only thing that GA’s offense had going for it throughout.

They’re going to have to get contributions from more than just him though, because it doesn’t get any easier from this point. Coming up, GA has the Episcopal Academy, Malvern Prep, and the Haverford School before closing their year against fiesty and always-tough rival Penn Charter. SCH has the same slate (but in a different order) and Knox put it pretty well:

“Every game is going to be like this,” he said. “All of the mistakes are compounded, and all of the successful plays are magnified.”

“That’s the way the Inter-Ac goes,” he continued. “You’ve got to make more plays and less mistakes. We were on the wrong side of that.”

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