Council Rock North uses big second quarter to get past CB West (VIDEO)

DOYLESTOWN – While some teams might be able to slow Council Rock North senior quarterback Brandon McIlwain, in the end, the South Carolina bound signal-caller is going to get his yardage.

CB West limited McIlwain to just 23 yards rushing in the first quarter and kept the Indians off the scoreboard entirely in the frame. Brandon exploded for 151 yards and four touchdowns on keepers in the second quarter however, helping the Indians (5-3) to an important 33-15 Suburban One League (SOL) Continental Conference triumph over the Bucks Friday night (Oct. 23) at War Memorial Stadium.

After the heartbreaking 44-43 loss suffered in overtime in Norristown two weeks earlier, the Rock defense has recovered, allowing just 30 points to its last two opponents. While CB West scored on its opening drive in each half, the Indians kept the Bucks’ offense at bay throughout the rest of the contest.

“It was a total team effort,” said CR North senior linebacker Colin Drotar. “We slipped a little bit at the beginning of each half but we recovered on defense and made some adjustments and did what we needed to do.

“Fifteen points with our offense and with Brandon will win most games.”

Holding a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, CB West kept giving the Indians a short field with which to operate in the next period. Indeed, the first three touchdown drives recorded by the Rock in the second quarter covered just 104 yards – altogether!

“We were feeling pretty confident in the beginning but I think we lost our heads a little bit,” said CB West senior quarterback Eddie Shields. “After that first drive, we had some costly mistakes – turnovers – and you just can’t win games like that.”

After the Bucks went 3-and-out on a drive that began at their own 10 yard line, a short punt gave the Rock the ball back at CB West’s 38 yard line to begin the second quarter. Five plays later, McIlwain was in the end zone on a 14-yard scoring scamper that tied the score at 7-all.

Ultimately, it was two ensuing turnovers that became the Bucks’ undoing. First, Shields, after being chased out of the pocket, threw an ill-advised pass down the left sideline that landed squarely in the arms of Drotar at the Bucks’ 32 yard line.

“Mason Luff and I, we’re both inside linebackers and we stuffed the middle all night. Thomas (Hewitt) was getting pressure from the outside. Together, we kept the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, which is huge.

“That led to my interception. I think Thomas actually tipped it into my hands so I’ll thank him for that later.”

Five plays later, McIlwain was in the end zone again, helping the Indians to a 14-7 lead, one they would not relinquish.

Making matters worse for the home crowd fans, CB West sophomore halfback T.J. Rakowsky coughed the ball up on the first play of the Bucks’ next possession, giving Rock another short field at the 34 yard line. It took North six plays to score that time but the end result was the same – another rushing TD recorded by McIlwain.

Before the half had ended, McIlwain would score again, capping a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive that put the Indians on top 27-7 heading into the locker room.

McIlwain’s numbers for the second quarter: 151 yards rushing and four TDs, giving him 174 on 26 totes before the halftime gun.

“He’s tough and everyone knows he’s playing at the next level,” said Shields of his counterpart on the field in this game. “Anytime he gets the ball, every play becomes a possible touchdown.

“It’s hard to stop him.”

Coming back from the half, CB West mounted a 13-play scoring drive that encompassed 65 yards and drew the Bucks back within two touchdowns. A pair of fourth-down passes completed by Shields were key plays on the drive.

Facing fourth-and-six at Council Rock’s 47 yard line, Shields found junior wideout Kevin O’Hanlon open along the left sideline for a 7-yard gainer that moved the chains. With a fourth down and three yards to go, Rakowsky alertly grabbed a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage, giving the Bucks a first down at the ten.

Beating the defender to the right side pylon on the next play Rakowsky gave CB West new life, especially when he capped the scoring drive off with a 2-point conversion run up the middle.

Sophomore defensive back Zane Williams gave the Bucks even more to cheer about when he came up with his second interception of the night on North’s next possession, picking off a McIlwain aerial at West’s 25 yard line.

The Bucks followed the turnover up with an 11-play drive that had the home team all the way down to the Rock’s six yard line. But a fourth-down pass on the first play of the fourth quarter from Shields to senior Brandon McCauley in the corner of the end zone was well-defended by McIlwain and it fell incomplete.

Moments earlier, McCauley registered a 32-yard gainer on a catch-and-run that put the ball at the six. But a first down run by fullback Jake Reichwein gained just a single yard, an incomplete pass and a tackle for a loss by North senior defensive tackle Thomas Hewitt forced CB West into fourth down.

The Bucks never threatened to score after that and, after the sides exchanged punts, the Indians mounted a 14-play scoring drive that covered 82 yards on the gridiron. McIlwain carried the ball eight times for 56 yards on the drive, which was capped off by Choi’s 1-yard touchdown plunge up the middle.

On its next possession, CB West turned the ball over on downs at its own 17 yard line with Hewitt bringing Shields down in the backfield for his third sack of the night.

“We put a couple new blitzes in this week to work on getting pressure,” said Drotar. “Our D-line did a great job executing the blitzes and a great job reading the quarterback’s eyes to get a piece of the ball.”

With an upcoming road trip to unbeaten Quakertown (8-0) and a season-ending battle with sister school CR South, this was a game the Indians had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Q-Town outpaced the Golden Hawks 35-14 on Friday night so that puts North in a tie for second place with CR South as both teams are now 4-1 in league play.

CB West falls to 2-6 overall, 2-3 in the Continental Conference with a key matchup looming Oct. 31 at crosstown rival CB East. The Bucks finish the season Nov. 6 at home vs. William Tennent.

NOTES: An interception – one of three recorded by CB West defenders – by senior DB Rubens Isai ended North’s first possession. North senior Sean Yoder gathered in the Bucks’ fumble in the second quarter.

Council Rock North 33, CB West 15

(Oct. 23 at CB West)

CB WEST (2-6)     7   0 8 0 – 15

CR NORTH (5-3) 0 27 0 6 – 33


CBW — Noah Hill 2-yd. run

CRN — Brandon McIlwain 14-yd. run (Tyler Nowmos kick)

CRN — McIlwain 11-yd. run (Nowmos kick)

CRN — McIlwain 6-yd. run (Nowmos kick)

CRN — McIlwain 23-yd. run (kick failed)

CBW — T.J. Rakowsky 10-yd. run (Rakowsky run)

CRN — Brian Choi 1-yd. run (kick failed)

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