UPPER PROVIDENCE >> The one coach effectively, if succinctly, summed up the spirit of the just-completed contest.
“This was an unbelievable high-school game,” Rich Knox, head coach of Springside-Chestnut Hill, said after seeing his Blue Devils prevail over Pope John Paul II, 32-27, in Saturday’s non-league meeting of unbeaten teams. “It’s a shame either team had to lose this one.”
It was a testament to both squads’ resiliency. Seeing an early lead reversed into a 20-7 deficit early in the third quarter, PJP (2-1) came back with a pair of scores in about a six-minute span to regain a 21-20 advantage. A recovered fumble on the kickoff after the lead-gaining score put the Golden Panthers in good stead to pad their lead toward victory.
But SCH (3-0) rose up on defense to make PJP turn the ball over on downs at its 25. What followed was a back-and-forth lead change three times, the Devils getting their ultimate game-winning score on a 30-yard TD toss from quarterback Aidan Dooley to wideout Ivar Thorpe in the final half-minute.
The hosts were unable to cash in on one final possession, sustaining a loss that contrasted with their dominating performances in previous games with Archbishop Carroll (43-14) and New Hope-Solebury (51-0). But their head coach took pride in the Panthers’ mindset.
“I’m proud of the effort,” Rory Graver said. “Springside-Chestnut Hill is an Inter-Ac school, it has three Division 1-type players on the team.
“Being down 20-7, we could have folded. But this effort will go a long way for us as the season progresses.”
SCH ran an offense fueled primarily by Dooley’s throwing arm and corps of receivers. The senior signal-caller had TD tosses to Tommy Shelinsky (49 yards) in the first quarter, Thorpe (33 yards) in the second, Danny Reagan (two) in the third, then repeats to Shelinsky (66) and Thorpe (30) in the fourth.
It was all part of a 265-yard aerial show that saw Dooley complete 13 of more than 25 passes with only one interception, Kese Williams’ swipe late in the third quarter that set PJP up to score on D.J. Clarke’s 10-yard pass to Boyd Skarbek that returned the Panthers to a 21-20 lead with 9:05 left.
“We didn’t get down,” Knox said. “Our quarterback made throws, and that was the distance.”
Pope John Paul, by comparison, saw both its running and passing games contribute to its scoring in equal measure. Along with Steele Depetrillo scoring on its opening possession. Josh Little had a three-yard TD run that gave the Panthers their final lead of the afternoon (27-26). In the air, Clarke hit Kese Williams (three) and Boyd Skarbek (10) prior to Little’s run.
“This is what we’re trying to do non-league,” Graver said of scheduling powers like SCH. “We’re preparing ourselves for that tough (PAC) Frontier Division schedule. Games like this will go a long way toward doing that.”
Springside-Chestnut Hill 32
Pope John Paul II 27
Springside-CH 7 7 6 12 – 32
Pope John Paul II 7 0 7 13 – 27
PJP – Depetrillo 1 run (Rist kick)
SCH – Shelinsky 40 pass from Dooley (White kick)
SCH – Thorpe 33 pass from Dooley (White kick)
SCH – Reagan 2 pass from Dooley (kick failed)
PJP – Williams 3 pass from Clarke (Rist kick)
PJP – Skarbek 10 pass from Clarke (Rist kick)
SCH – Shelinsky 66 pass from Dooley (pass failed)
PJP – Little 3 run (pass failed)
SCH – Thorpe 30 pass from Dooley (pass failed
First downs 12 16
Rushing yards 64 139
Passing yards 265 256
Total yards 329 395
Passes C-A-I 13-28-1 24-33-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-60 13-77
Punts-Avg. 2-25.5 24.5
SPRINGSIDE-CHESTNUT HILL – Colavita, 11-55; Dooley, 5-11; Thorpe, 2-0; McFadden, 1-(-2).
POPE JOHN PAUL II – Little, 19-68, 1 TD; Clarke, 13-37; Williams, 4-22; Depetrillo, 4-7, 1 TD.
SPRINGSIDE-CHESTNUT HILL – Dooley, 13-28-265, 5 TDs, 1 INT.
POPE JOHN PAUL II – Clarke, 23-33-256, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
SPRINGSIDE-CHESTNUT HILL – Shelinsky, 8-176, 2 TDs; Thorpe, 2-63, 2 TDs; Reagan, 2-25, 1 TD.
POPE JOHN PAUL II – Little, 11-77, Williams, 8-85, 1 TD; Depetrillo, 1-16; Skarbek, 2-22, 1 TD; Reed, 1-30; Kenning, 1-8.
Interceptions – SCH: Markey. PJP: Williams.
Sacks – SCH: Karp.
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