Not pretty, but Germantown Academy gets the job done

By Jonathan Vander Lugt
For The Times Herald
WHITEMARSH >> If there’s one thing to take away from the Germantown Academy Patriots’ 27-24 win over Episcopal Academy, it’s that even when they’re not playing at their best, they’ve become a team that isn’t to be trifled with.
They will, however, have to clean up their mistakes if they hope to have a shot their first Inter-Ac title since the players were in kindergarten or earlier — 2004 — because none of the rest of the teams in the league are pushovers either.
Those mistakes would include three interceptions from the left paw of quarterback Kyle McCloskey, and 11 penalties.
“That’s two weeks in a row where we’ve made a lot of penalties,” GA coach Matt Dence said. “I’ll have to see the tape and what we’re doing wrong, and what we missed, but I thought we had way too many penalties against these guys.”
Some of those infractions were pretty costly — two pass interferences eventually led to a pair of Episcopal touchdowns, and a late hit and an incidental facemask on the same drive ended up granting the Churchmen another three points.
That’s 17 points scored on drives where major penalties were committed. The math isn’t too hard—most scoring drives are probably around 60 to 70 yards, meaning that a 15-yard penalty gifts the offense with 20 percent or more of the work they need to do.
But, “besides the turnovers, I thought we really executed,” Dence said, about the team’s offense. “We thought we could get some coverage formations to get guys some space.”
GA tallied 413 yards of total offense, 283 through the air, and 130 on the ground, a week after its feature backs couldn’t even get two yards per carry.
They were largely without first-stringer KJ Cartwright, who after running for just 25 yards on 14 carries last week, was out for most of the game due to a mixture of nagging lower-body injuries. Nick Picariello did an admirable job in relief, notching 59 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
McCloskey threw all three of the Pats’ touchdowns, and the game was close throughout. GA took the lead early after scoring on each of their first two drives, but the Churchmen hung in there with a field goal and 21-yard touchdown scamper by QB C.J. McNally.
The teams traded turnovers later in the second quarter — a fumble for EA, and a pick for GA, before Vince Capone knocked in a 43-yard field goal (that probably had five more yards in it) to close the half.
GA came out in the third quarter gunning: only two of their 15 plays called weren’t designed for McCloskey.
“We felt that our short pass game was like a run game,” Dence said. “We could get six, seven yards at a good efficiency, and we felt like it was worth it to run those plays, and try to pound it out.”
GA scored another touchdown in the quarter, and Capone knocked in another kick, this time from 28 out, to put GA up 27-17 with about five minutes to go.
The Churchmen weren’t about to fold though, and they marched down and scored in about a minute and a half to put GA fans on the edge of their seats.
But, you already know the final score. The Pats tallied enough yards to burn Episcopal Academy’s timeouts, and backup quarterback Colton Niedzielski fell to a knee in the game’s final two plays to seal it.
“That’s a good team,” Dence said. “They went toe-to-toe with Malvern, and they’re going to win their share of Inter-Ac games. To come out with a victory here is huge.”

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