FAIRLESS HILLS – Two parts of Pennsbury’s defensive backfield are moving on to the next level.
Announcing their intentions Wednesday, Feb. 4 – National Signing Day, right cornerback Anthony Pitt committed to Division II Shippensburg while strong safety and outside linebacker Victor Delgado is headed to PSAC East rival Bloomsburg.
Pitt and Delgado will be sorely missed.
While Rutgers-bound senior running back Charles Snorweah rushed for 2,805 yards and 39 touchdowns last season, much of the credit for the postseason run by the Falcons – one that earned them their first District 1 championship in eight seasons – goes to the defense.
In the D-1 title game, the Pennsbury ‘D’ held Coatesville junior quarterback Jordan Young to under 100 yards passing. The Red Raiders QB came into the game averaging over 200 yards tossing the football. He’d also thrown 20 TD passes including five in three previous playoff wins.
The Falcons held him scoreless through the air in this one.
Winning a championship was the greatest feeling, the players said.
“The district championship was awesome – knowing that we were only the second team in school history to do it,” said Pitt. “We tied the record for wins – it was amazing to go out like that.”
“It was a really good season,” added Victor. “I was proud of our team and our senior class really showed a lot.”
A year earlier after going unbeaten for the second straight season in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference, Pennsbury was eliminated from the postseason when it lost 31-21 in the district quarterfinals to North Penn, which came in as the underdog.
While Knights RB Nyfease West gained 176 yards on 23 carries, North Penn senior quarterback Austin Shearer torched the Falcon defense for three touchdowns through the air, completing 7-of-8 passes for 108 yards.
“We knew that our defensive backfield had to step up. We had guys like Rob Daly, Joe Strong, me and Victor come in; we made everything better,” said Pitt.
Pennsbury entered the season without the services of former cornerback Brendan Campbell, who earned First Team All-SOL National Conference honors the year before. Pitt played right corner with senior Joe Strong on the left. Rob Daley returned at free safety while Delgado, played strong safety and outside linebacker.
“Me being a two-year starter, I was the only one returning to the backfield besides Rob (Daly),” said Pitt. “We put it all together and had a great year.”
Pennsbury’s postseason run almost never was, however. In their opener with 15th-seeded Downingtown West, the Falcons needed a herculean effort from Snorweah to overcome Downingtown West. Charles rushed for an astounding 439 yards and seven touchdowns, helping Pennsbury to a 63-55 win over the Whippets.
Injuries played a part in the lackluster performance by the defense. Delgado, along with linebacker Daulton Hose and defensive end Joe Mauer were out.
After surviving the first postseason test with Downingtown, the Falcons were anxious to get back out on the field and play lockdown defense – the one that limited 10 regular season foes to an average of just 8.9 points-per-game.
The following week in a 45-15 district quarterfinal win over Garnet Valley, Pennsbury limited Jags QB Steve Flanagan to 78 yards on 6-for-8 passing. Rob Daly also came through with a pick-six and added another interception in the fourth quarter to seal it.
“People said our d-backs were weak but we proved them wrong in the playoffs,” said Delgado. “We came through and got the ‘W.’”
The following week in a 45-21 win over Upper Dublin, the Falcon d-backs held Cardinals quarterback Ryan Stover to 83 yards on 11-of-21 passing.
After seeing Stover gash them for 71 yards in the first half, the Pennsbury secondary limited the UD quarterback to just 12 yards on four completions after the break. At one point, the Falcons’ backfield forced six straight incompletions by Stover including a nice pass breakup by Daly on a toss to Gary Fields on the Cards’ second possession after the break.
“That was our motto this year,” said Pitt. “If something was messed up in the first half, we went in the locker room, adjusted it and came out and we shut them down in the second half.
“That’s what our whole defense was about – if we had a rough start in the first half, we came out in the second half and played ball.”
While they are going to play for separate schools, coincidentally, the two d-backs are headed to the same conference – the PSAC East. While Shippensburg went 5-4 in the conference last season, Bloomsburg, where Delgado will play, went unbeaten (9-0), returning to the PSAC Championship for the second straight season. While the Huskies won the title in 2013, they could not overcome Slippery Rock and a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit, despite forcing three second-half turnovers.
With Victor in the backfield, maybe Bloomsburg can re-take the title in 2015.
Shippensburg’s Raiders will host Bloomsburg Sept. 26 at Seth Grove Stadium. Last time the sides met, the Huskies got out to a 28-10 halftime lead then hung on to win, 38-30. Trailing 3-0 early in the game, Bloomsburg took a 7-3 lead on a defensive touchdown and never looked back.
With Pitt lining up for the Raiders and Delgado in the Huskies’ backfield, the upcoming skirmish between the schools should be another battle for the ages.
NOTES: Kicker Josh Leon has committed to Bentley University.
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