Winebrake, Upper Dublin put brakes on Garnet Valley

UPPER DUBLIN >> The final result had long been sealed by the time Henry Winebrake burst through the line of scrimmage.

Six minutes remained in the fourth quarter, and Garnet Valley, facing a 32-point deficit, had a second-and-goal from inside the one yard line. What the scoreboard some 20 yards behind them said, though, meant little to the Upper Dublin defense in the moment.

“We’re not letting anyone score,” linebacker Jack Rapine said. “We don’t want anyone to get touchdowns.”

The next three plays summed up the futility forced upon Garnet Valley by Upper Dublin’s stout defense in a 35-3 rout. Twice, Garnet Valley ball-carriers were stood up at the 1, once by Winebrake, once by a gang tackle led by Kane O’Connor and Rapine. On fourth down, a corner route fell harmlessly to the end-zone turf, preserving what felt a lot like a shutout for the No. 3 seed Cardinals.

“It’s not wanting to let them score,” Winebrake said. “That was our goal, no touchdowns. That’s always what we look for.”

The goal was roundly achieved by the Cardinals (11-0), who advance to the second round of the District One Class AAAA tournament, where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Upper Darby next week.

The offensive stats make for grim reading for Garnet Valley (7-4). A total of 172 yards of offense. Fifteen pass attempts, far more than the run-heavy attack’s usual aerial propensity, with only five completed. No play from scrimmage longer than 14 yards. The top two rushing options — Derrick West (17 carries for 57 yards) and Danny Guy (12 for 35) — held in check.

All the evidence points toward a domination of the line of scrimmage, led by UD’s two-way linemen like O’Connor, Winebrake, Zhaire Lee and Isaiah Henrich, the latter before leaving on a stretcher in the third quarter.

“We were definitely focused on attacking their line,” Winebrake said. “It’s more not letting them come to us and going to them, crashing our ends down, stuff like that.”

GV’s only points were provided by a 32-yard Jacob Buttermore field goal with 2:26 to play in the second quarter. Even that came with a caveat: The Jags were marching to the Upper Dublin 6 before a deadball penalty on offensive lineman Ted Field pushed them back.

“We had a lot of big plays, but we had a lot of mental mistakes,” Jaguars defensive back Ryan Manbeck said. “And we can’t have that if you’re going to win and you’re going to beat a good team.”

“I think the defense is real good about flying around,” Winebrake said. “Everyone goes to the ball. No one gives up on the play. I think it’s a mindset that we have.”

That defensive rigidity put Upper Dublin in little jeopardy of squandering the 28-3 halftime lead it built. While Garnet Valley was busy punting four times in the first quarter, Ryan Stover was marching Upper Dublin to 501 yards of offense on the night. He started the parade 4½ minutes in with an 83-yard scoring scamper, one of four rushing touchdowns.

“Any time there’s a big yardage play, it gets our fans involved and it gets us excited for the coming plays,” Rapine said. “I think any time someone makes a play like that, it gives us momentum to do that again.”

Stover also hooked up with Cole Swiger for a 29-yard touchdown in the first quarter. His scoring runs covered 3, 2 and 1 yards, the final plunge at 5:39 of the third quarter banishing any lingering doubt.

Stover finished with 126 yards on the ground and 212 through the air, all but 21 of those in the first half. Kaleif Lee ran for 137 yards on 15 carries, while Michael Sowers grabbed five balls for 79 yards and Rapine hauled in three receptions for 92 yards.

A similar spark never materialized for Garnet Valley. Manbeck had several long kick returns, including a 49-yarder after Stover’s last touchdown to get the Jags into Cardinal territory, but that drive flamed out at the 26 when the offense turned to a counter draw on fourth-and-5. Matt Parker intercepted a rare errant Stover toss in the second quarter, but that momentum faded when it led to Buttermore’s underwhelming three points.

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