Inability to finish ends Interboro’s playoff run

EAST WHITELAND >> As emotions boiled over postgame, it was the guy with perhaps the roughest stat line who kept calm and showed the most maturity.

Interboro lost, 17-8, Friday to No. 4 seed Great Valley in the District One Class AAA quarterfinals. In search of their first postseason victory since 2012, the fifth-seeded Bucs squandered chances offensively and gave up two key plays defensively.

After the game, amid a speech from coach Steve Lennox, some players began shouting at each other. The frustration of this defeat — a game the Bucs led for a long stretch — was evident. Quarterback Dan Mea quickly calmed the fray.

“It’s an emotional game,” he said. “To put everything on the line and lose like that, it’s just heartbreaking.”

Mea missed on his first 11 passes of the game and finished just 7-for-26 for 68 yards. The senior did lead the Bucs inside Great Valley’s 10-yard line twice during the first half. Both resulted in turnovers on downs. They also got inside the 30 on two other occasions — to the same results.

A strong Great Valley defense keyed on the run in those vital spots. It forced the Bucs to throw. Opportunities were there, but an erratic Mea and some timely drops prevented results.

“We had our chances, we just didn’t execute the way we could’ve, should’ve,” Lennox said. “One time it would be one thing, another time it would be another thing — if that makes any sense.”

Interboro (8-3) scored its touchdown on Chase Pattinson’s 15-yard fumble return midway through the second quarter. A two-point conversion run from Chris Thomas gave the Bucs an 8-7 lead that held through halftime and into the third quarter.

With the defense bogging down on the Patriots (9-2), every yard was key. That was no more evident than on Thomas’ sack of Robert Geiss on third-and-10 from the Bucs’ 11. The play resulted in a nine-yard loss. Pat Sauer’s 37-yard field goal followed — and barely cleared the crossbar.

Great Valley had the lead. It wound up sticking.

“I was not nervous, to be honest,” Sauer said. “Thankfully for the wind, it (just) cleared.”

Geiss’ 66-yard screen pass to Ryan Hubley, on third and long, started the scoring on the third play from scrimmage. Mark Derobertis iced the game with a 50-yard touchdown run with 4:40 remaining.

At that point, reality set in on the Interboro side. Despite giving up just 237 yards of total offense, it would fall.

“Now we gotta get over this,” Lennox said. “Last week was a tough loss, and this is a tough loss, back to back. Kids played hard, I’m proud of the effort, it’s just that a thing here, a thing there. A thing, a thing. We didn’t finish the drives, we got down there and we didn’t finish. Normally, we’ve been finishing drives.”

Mea had difficulty staying calm in the pocket. His throws were high and wide. He knew it.

“I think I was having happy feet a little, have to settle down,” Mea said. “Emotions get too high, you’ve got to keep them under control. Play-by-play mentality.” Now, the Bucs must regroup. They still play Ridley on Thanksgiving.

They still have a chance to end their season — and the careers of the senior class — on a positive note.

Getting over this defeat, which followed a difficult loss to Academy Park for the Del Val title, will not be easy. But Mea, ever the leader, will not allow his team to wallow.

“We’ve got to be motivated to go out and win our last game,” Mea said. “It’s my last game as a senior, same for Steve (Royer), Chase (Pattinson), (Chris Hummel). We’ve got to come together as a team and get that final ‘W’ when it’s all said and done.”

Thomas led Interboro with 135 yards on 29 carries. Hummel had 32 on the ground and 36 on three receptions. Great Valley advances to the semifinals to face another Del Val team in top-seed Academy Park.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply