Lions Downed By Braves In Opener
The NHS Mitey Mite Lions gave a tough, experienced Souderton Braves Squad all they could handle last Sunday at Romanowski Field before succumbing to the Braves and losing the contest 28-6.
The game started well for the Lions as they received the opening kick-off and began an impressive season opening drive from their own 35-yard line. Quarterback Phillip Weinseimer started the drive with a quick sneak behind the blocking of Justin Lehman for a seven-yard gain. Fullback Chris Kolen bulled ahead behind Kyle Sullivan and Christian Gormley for a nice gain and the Lions had their initial first down of the season.
The Lions’ ball-control offense mixed off-tackle runs by wingbacks Brian Scotto and Brian Dougherty with strong outside gallops by Weinseimer to move the ball deep into Braves’ territory. However, the Braves’ defense stiffened and Lions turned the ball over on downs at the Braves’ six-yard line.
The Braves showed why they will be the team to beat this season on their next offensive series as they stunned the Lions’ defense with two big plays to take a 7-0 lead.
The Lions’ offense tried to answer right back as the Lions passing game was unveiled. Tight End Kyle McLaughlin made his first catch of the season and dragged Braves’ defenders with him for a twenty-yard gain. Scotto made a short reception as the first quarter ended but the Braves’ defense stiffened again in their territory and once more the Lions were on defense.
On this offensive series, the Braves initially tried their luck with their passing game but the Lions would have none of it. First, cornerback Nathaniel Zalewski nearly picked off an errant Braves’ pass and then defensive end Joey Capriotti and defensive tackle Ethan Koroski sandwiched the Braves’ quarterback for a big loss. The Braves went back to the run however and sprung their fullback for a long touchdown. After the Braves missed their extra point try the score stood at 13-0.
This time the Lions had difficulty moving the ball on offense and turned it back over to the Braves. The Lions’ defense was up to the task this time and shut down the Braves’ attack hard. A defensive line jail break of Will Daugherty, Ralph Miller and Koroski lead to another quarterback sack for the Lions. In what must have felt like a bad case of déjà vu for the Braves’ QB, Capriotti chased him down for another sack.
The Lions got the ball back and were driving for a late score but could not punch it in as time ran out on the first half with the score remaining 13-0 in favor of the Braves.
The Lions opened the second half on defense and shut down the Braves immediately and got the ball back for the Lions’ offense. This time the Lions struck pay dirt as Weinseimer burst through a huge hole on the left side of the line created by tight end Tanner Richmond, tackle Fiona McKenna and guard Albert Miller. The speedy Lions QB went untouched 50 yards for the Lions’ first TD of the year and moved the score to 13-6.
On the ensuing kick-off the Lions converted on an onside kick attempt and the once again the offense took the field. It looked the Lions would pull within one point as once again Weinseimer went over the left side of the Lions for a long touchdown but it was not meant to be as a motion penalty nullified the score.
The drive ultimately stalled and that seemed to take a little life out of the undermanned Lions’ team—only 17 suited up to play on the hot summer day and the Braves were able to run off two more scores.
These Lions are a tough bunch however and the team rallied for one last drive behind Quarterback Benny Garritano. The QB tossed a perfect pitch to wingback Zalewski who sprinted the around the right side to pick up big yardage. Then Garritano took off on a brilliant broken field ramble that went for a 25-yard gain down to the Braves’ 15-yard line. The Lions could get just one more play off as time expired with the score 28-6.
The Lions may have come out on the wrong end of the score last Sunday but they showed flashes on both offense and defense that should lead to better results as the season rolls on.
Photos from the game are here:
Non-flash photo gallery (free downloads)