Lions Blank Marsh Creek in Final Contest
The New Hope Solebury Junior PeeWee Gold Lions traveled to Marsh Creek last Saturday to take on the much improved Marsh Creek 5 Eagles in a Bux-Mont battle. The Eagles were coming off a 25-6 drubbing of Lenape Valley 6 and it was hungry for a big win at home to finish out their season. The Lions and their stout defense would have none of it. As has been the pattern over the past two weeks, the Lion’ combined stout defense with timely offense to secure a hard fought 6-0 victory.
The Lions defense finished the year allowing a miserly 43 points, propelling the team to a 6-4 record (statisticians are still checking on this but it appears that this is the first time a NH-S team has ever won six games). Four of those victories were shutouts for the Lions.
The Lions received the opening kickoff and it looked good for Lions as Cam Tealer burst over the right side for five yards behind the blocks of Jake Harraka, Max Adar and Matt Kilgariff. But after the Lions picked up an initial first down the drive stalled as a holding penalty set the Lions back.
Now it was the Lion defense’s turn to take the field and take it they did. On the first play from scrimmage, middle linebacker and defensive captain Jack McKenna ripped through the line to drop the Eagles running back for a five-yard loss. The rest of the Lion defense was locked in as well with defensive tackle Tommy Valletto blasting through the “B gap” to stuff an Eagle ball carrier at the line of scrimmage and Tealer coming up from his corner spot to stop a sweep attempt in its tracks. An incomplete pass on fourth down gave the Lions back the ball.
This time the Lions vaunted O2 took the field. On its first play Tyler “The Bus” Brennan rumbled for five tough yards behind the blocking of Josh House, Chris Braun, McKenna, and Jake Perkins. Brennan carried at least four Eagle defenders on his back for the last two yards of the run. But O2 couldn’t capitalize on its strong start, and the Lions turned the ball back over on downs to the Eagles.
The Eagles came out throwing but Blaze Hutkin was ready for it, blowing by his man to record the Lions’ first sack of the game—it wouldn’t be their last. After off-tackle try was thwarted by a big hit from defensive tackle Colin Patrick and after a defended pass, the Lions once again took over on downs. Unfortunately a missed connection on the snap led to a Lions turnover and once again the Lions defense took the field.
This time the Eagles nearly struck pay dirt as the they swept around the left side for big yardage—only a touchdown saving tackle by Tealer denied them. The Eagles chipped away moving the ball steadily until once again Valletto burst through to make a big hit for a loss in the Eagles backfield. Then it looked the drive was over when House first forced and then appeared to recover an Eagle’s fumble—it was not to be as the officials ruled it was still the Eagles ball. While the Eagles kept the ball, two more plays strong play by the Lions pushed them back further.
The Lions once again sought to gain the advantage on offense with Tommy Lupo gaining positive yardage on a 26 blast but the Lions turned the ball over again on the next play and the defense was back on the field yet again.
Still the Lions were up to the challenge and they got the ball back with no harm done and the half ended with the score 0-0.
The Eagles took the ball on offense to start the second half and once again the Lions defense stood tall. Andrew Wheelan joined the hit parade, teaming with cornerback Harraka to make big hit on the Eagles QB. Then DE Lucas Lasher and Harraka teamed up to thwart the Eagles big back #39 as he attempted to go around the right end and the Lions got the ball back on downs.
It was the Eagles turn to play tough defense as the turned back a Lions scoring effort despite a great blocking on the outside by Perkins and Tealer and a heroic effort by Lasher to dive for the first down marker that fell just short.
Now the Lions were running out time and needed to step up their already impressive efforts and get the ball back for the offense to make one last go at the goal line and avoid an overtime period. Wheelan answered the call with a big hit. On the next play, Connor Schmutz sealed the middle from his nose tackle position while Lupo came up to help him on the stop.
The Lions then made three plays that turned the momentum in their favor. First, Wheelan burst through on a well-timed blitz then Patrick and Valletto crashed in from their tackle positions to stop the Eagles running back for a loss. Finally Valletto burst through yet again for a big sack and the Lions had the ball and their fate back in their hands.
The Lions began to methodically move the ball down the field behind the running of Mike Fitzgerald, Tealer, Lasher and McKenna. They were eating up not just yards but the clock as well as the offensive line of Perkins, Hutkin, Chris Braun, Brennan, Harraka, Adar, and Kilgariff began to dominate the line of scrimmage.
The Lions moved the ball down to the Eagles fourteen yard line before a questionable call presented them with a second and long at the twenty. With the game on the line, Fitzgerald coolly stepped into the pocket and threw a high strike to Alec “Mr. Clutch” Coburn, who made leaping grab to give the Lions a fourth and less than one for a first down. A quarterback sneak gave the Lions a first and goal at the three.
From there a busted play turned into a golden one as Fitzgerald ran into the end zone for the winning score with just 18 seconds left on the clock. The Lions defense then thwarted the Eagles last second attempts to even the score as Lasher snuffed out their hopes with a game ending sack.
After the game the proud smiles on the faces of the boys said it all as they enjoyed a successful end to a wonderful season.