On the ground and on defense, Garnet Valley dominates

CONCORD — Friday evening, the Garnet Valley football players enjoyed a post-game fireworks display behind the stadium, after they triggered an explosive 68-6 victory against Conestoga.

“We had a great week of practice leading up to this game,” said Jaguars junior running back/defensive back Sean Gallagher, who scored in the first half on a 78-yard kickoff return and on a 51-yard screen pass. “Our scout team really did a great job all week of getting us prepared.”

“Our offensive line did an incredible job tonight,” Garnet Valley senior quarterback Kevin McGarrey said.

While Garnet Valley’s 68 points is not a school record — the Jaguars scored 76 against Harriton in 2011 — the hosts’ offense purred along so smoothly Friday that they did not have to punt until the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars led at halftime 48-6, and kept moving on the ground half despite many substitutions at half.

Garnet Valley’s (25)David Torrens avoids a Conestoga on the opening kick-off of the second half.

On Garnet Valley’s first offensive play from scrimmage, junior running back Shane Reynolds found a hole and broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run up the middle. Following a Conestoga, 3-and-out Garnet Valley ran four straight plays to the 4-yard line but lost a fumble.

Two plays later, Conestoga exploded for a quick score. Pioneer junior wide receiver Peter Detwiler got behind the secondary and quarterback Michael Costigan hit him in stride for a 98-yard touchdown, which cut the hosts’ lead to 7-6.

On the very next play, Gallagher returned the kickoff 78 yards for a TD.

Garnet Valley recovered a Conestoga fumble at the 33 and scored in three plays, Reynolds sweeping into the left side of the end zone from 15 yards out. Three minutes into the second quarter, Gallagher took a screen pass from McGarrey, and behind a wall of solid blocking, ran 51 yards to make it 33-6.

“It was a really good throw by Kevin – he and I have really been working on our timing on that play this week,” Gallagher said. “And I got a great block from Sam Morin.”

“Sean lined up in the perfect spot,” said McGarrey. “This was a play we had worked on all week – our scout team gave us a great look – and we got some great blocking tonight.”

Four minutes later, Garnet Valley put together a five-play, 65-yard TD drive, highlighted by a 44-yard run by Morin and capped by Brian Bradley’s 7-yard TD. With a minute to go before halftime, McGarrey hit Gallagher for a 19-yard touchdown to give the hosts a 48-6 halftime lead.

Garnet Valley took the second half kickoff and stayed on the ground, putting together an 11-play, 50-yard touchdown drive that took 7:18 off the clock. The bulk of the carries were by senior running backs David Torrens and Cullen Mink, Mink scoring from the six.

“We have a whole host of running backs, and they did a good job following the holes the offensive line made tonight,” coach Mike Ricci said.

Four plays later, Garnet Valley sophomore linebacker Drew Van Horn forced a fumble on a strip sack and raced 10 yards into the end zone. Conestoga fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Garnet Valley recovered it on the 35. Mink would score a 10-yard TD to set the final margin.

Throughout the contest, Garnet Valley’s defense put pressure on the Conestoga quarterbacks, often forcing them to run, and Ricci particularly praised the defensive work of senior inside linebacker Sean Williams, and defensive ends Morin and Brendan Henry.

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