The NHS Junior Pee Wee Gold Team posted its first shutout of the year defeating the Lansdale Cannoneers 26-0. It was truly a team victory with five separate Lions putting points on the board, and nine different players running the ball. Every Lion made the box score with either a carry or a tackle.
The Lions received the opening kickoff and the offensive line took charge right away with Tyler Brennan, Jake Harraka and Tommy Cappriotti opening a huge hole on the first play. Then Ryan Keating at offensive tackle and Jake Perkins at tight end led the way on three big Lions off-tackle running plays — the team’s signature 45 blast — for big yardage down to the Cannoneers’ thirty yard line. Max Adar and Matt Kilgariff took over as they sealed off the edge and helped quarterback Mike Fitzgerald sprint down to the Cannoneers two yard line. From there, Jack McKenna burst over the goal line for the game’s first score. (Kudos to Kilgariff who toughed it out all day on a bum ankle.)
After a booming kickoff from standout Colin Patrick, it was time for the Lion defense to take over. It quickly became clear that the Cannoneers were not going to go quietly when they completed a big pass over the middle, with only a tackle by Alec Coburn preventing a score. The momentum swung back to the Lions after Middle Linebacker McKenna was able to simultaneously tackle the Cannoneers’ tailback, strip him of the ball and recover the fumble.
The Lions then went on a long, gutty, if mistake-filled, drive that consumed nearly seven minutes. The Lions committed penalties that got them into trouble but made big play after big play to get them all the way down to the goal line. Perhaps the key play in the drive was a huge run around the right end by Lukas Lasher which brought the Lions within striking distance. From there Fitzgerald pushed the ball over the goal line behind Capriotti and Brennan. Fitzgerald then found Coburn in the back of the end zone for the extra point and it was 13-0
It was time for the Lion Defense to take over again and this time they shut down the Cannoneers down right away. Holding strong for the Lions on the defensive line were Chris Braun at nose tackle, and Patrick (with two key tackles for loss) and Perkins at tackle. Defensive ends Blaze Hutkin and Harraka stayed home and made big plays on the edge while shutdown corners Cam Tealor and Cappriotti turned away the Cannoneers’ big play threats.
At the end of the first half, the Lion’s “O2” hit the field and the big plays kept coming. First Brennan followed blocks from Hutkin, Kilgariff and Braun up the middle for big yardage (a play unfortunately called back, but for Lions’ fans, it still counts!!). Then QB Coburn took the ball himself around the end for fifteen yards. Finally, Tommy Lupo burst around the left end, through two would-be tacklers and nearly found the end zone before being tripped up as time expired in the half.
The Lions came out firing in the second half. Once again they were on D and this time it was the linebackers who came up with the big plays. Tommy Valleto, Andrew Wheelan (Wheelan was a blitzing machine), and Tommy Lupo each made big plays off tackle to stuff the Cannoneers’ running game. Those plays forced the Green team to punt and the Lions were ready. McKenna led a jailbreak through the Cannoneers’ line to block the punt and Brennan recovered.
The Lions went back on offense and put another drive together behind the running of Lasher and Tealor at wingback. Lasher sealed the deal with a two- yard plunge — his first touchdown of the season — and the Lions had a 19-0 lead.
Back on D, the Lions shut down the Cannoneers yet again, getting the ball back for the offense just inside Cannoneer territory. On the first play of the drive, Valletto took the ball off tackle on a tough 8- yard scamper. Then it was time for Tealor to the shut the door on the visitors with scintillating sweep around the end and into the endzone. After Lasher punched the ball in for the extra point, the Lions were done scoring for the day but not creating highlights.
On the last play of the game the Lion’s launched their vaunted “Max Attack” at the Cannoneers, as Adar rumbled for a tough two-yard run up the middle.
The Lions have next week off before taking on the Horsham Hawks on October 3rd at the NHS home field.