Photos from the playoff game are here.
Below is the write up from Kevin:
Lions Roar Once More
The NHS Jr. PeeWee Lions hosted the Lenape Valley Indians in a Bux-Mont playoff contest Saturday and didn’t disappoint the hometown fans, delivering a convincing 25-0 victory. The win lifted the Lions’ record to 8-0 and placed the team in the Division III National Conference Championship game.
Once again, Lions’ placekicker Dylan Smith boomed the opening kickoff, pinning the Indians inside their own 35-yard line. On the first play, defensive tackle Max Paz set the tone with a big hit at the line of scrimmage, stopping the Indians for no gain. Outside linebacker Alexander Young continued the hit parade with a big stop in the Indians’ backfield. Finally, Michael Duncan and Joey Gegeckas teamed up for big third-down stop and the Indians were forced to punt.
The punt was a good one—driving the Lions back to their own 25- yard line, but the 75 yards was not an obstacle as the Lion’s first offensive series of the game hit pay dirt. First, Owen McKenna followed Josh House up the middle for three yards, then Nick Garritano followed a block from Christian Scotto around the end to pick up the first down.
On the next play, Jesse Capriotti picked up seven big yards off tackle behind Justin Fischetti and Tommy Flavin and the Lions were setup near mid-field. The Lions’ Clay Asplundh went off tackle the other way to pick up the first down, behind Nick Vitelli and Anthony Ferlazzo. Garritano then followed McKenna around the left side and all the way into the end zone for a fifty-yard score. Once again, the Lions had drawn first blood and took a 6-0 lead.
Back on defense, the Lions came right after the Indians with an all-out blitz, but the Indians’ ball carrier somehow managed to break through. No worries, safety Aidan Mangan was there to limit the damage with a touchdown-saving tackle.
The Lions responded aggressively to giving up the first down and pushed the Indians back. First, James Scotto held tough to stuff an Indians’ sweep, then Hunter Jaronski came up to make another big hit for the Lions. Hunter Pala then broke up an Indians’ pass and forced Lenape Valley to punt again.
This time Max Pinado grabbed the punt on the fly and produced another breathtaking punt return, setting up the Lions in Indian territory. Garritano than zigzagged his way across the field for a 20-yard gain as the first quarter expired.
Christian Scotto gained seven yards on a quick out pattern to start the second quarter and the Lions found themselves deep in Indians territory once more. The team added to their lead as Garritano swept in for another score. Capriotti found the end zone for the first time this season on the extra point try as he followed a crushing gate block by Smith and Michael Cullen in for the score and the Lions were up 13-0.
The defense remained tough in the remainder of the second quarter behind plays like a huge sack by Matt Peshek from defensive end and the Lions took a 13-point lead into half-time.
NHS got the ball to start the second half but found the going tough on offense as the Indians toughened their defense up the middle and forced the Lions outside. The Lions responded, however, with defensive stalwarts Pinado and Flavin making big stops in the Indians’.
The Lions began to move the ball on “O” as the fourth quarter began and steadily marched the ball down the field behind an invigorated offensive line which was bolstered by the Paz’s contributions. The Lions’ offense salted the game away behind two big Tommy Lupo runs, the second going for 25 yards and a touchdown and a 19-0 lead.
The Lions’ “D” continued to play tough throughout the fourth quarter and stopped the Indians at every turn. They delivered the true knockout punch on the last play of the game when Asplundh came up from his cornerback position to rip the ball out of the Lenape Valley ball carrier’s hands and take it 75 yards the other way for a touchdown and pushed the final score to 25-0.
The Lions will next take the field in the Conference Championship game on 4:00 p.m. Sunday, October 24th at Palisades High School. The Lions will welcome back Brendan Smith for the big game.