by Jonathan Vander Lugt
Elsewhere in the Inter-Ac, Springside Chestnut Hill and Germantown Academy each had good weeks. SCH beat the Hill School (Pottstown, Pa.) 26-0, while the Patriots torched the Pennington School (N.J.) for a 40-14 victory.
Pieces fall into place for SCH in win
Springside Chestnut Hill, after weeks of deliberation, finally settled on Aaron Angelos to man the Blue Devil offense. He responded with 149 yards and a pair of scores on 10-of-17 passing.
“He had a good game,” SCH coach Rick Knox said. “He extended some plays, and showed a lot of escapability. His playmaking ability is going to make us hard to defend.”
That ability was evident on a 53-yard touchdown strike to Miles Hugee. Angelos bought enough time with his legs after a collapsed pocket to allow Hugee to get behind the Hill School’s secondary, and he let it fly for a big play.
On the other side of the weeks-long quarterback battle was senior Jack Elliott. Elliott is more of a standard, pro-style quarterback and probably a smidge more polished than Angelos, but the latter’s raw playmaking ability was a bit too much to pass up.
Nonetheless, not having to worry about play at quarterback has allowed him to wreak havoc on defense. As a linebacker, Elliott led the defense with nine tackles, while his brother Pat followed with eight. Each played an integral part in a stellar defensive effort.
“We played great,” Knox said. “We only gave up a total of 101 yards. The Hill School was really big up front and had some impressive skill players, so I was happy to see us shut them down.”
“We’re rotating guys to keep them fresh – other than a few guys, we’re not really playing anyone both ways for the whole game,” Knox said. “That helps a lot.”
No kidding. It’s been a theme in SCH games throughout the year, but the Blue Devils are as deep along the offensive and defensive lines as they’ve been in recent memory.
That advantage shows up everywhere on the field – in the run game that tallied 151 yards on 33 carries against the Hill School, on defense, where it allows SCH’s other playmakers to effect the game, and on the overall roster in that it helps prevent injuries.
“The only injury we’ve really had is when Ke’Shawn Williams broke his collarbone against Roman Catholic,” Knox went on.
Even that was a freak injury – one that occurred on an awkward fall, rather than as a result of fatigue or poor mechanics.
“Other than that, we’ve had no major injuries,” Knox said. “We’re strong up the middle. If you can play good run defense in high school football, you’re going to win games. Our o-line is doing a really good job blocking up front. A lot of the stuff that I envisioned at the beginning of the season is definitely coming true.”
GA finds good and bad in big win
For the first time in recent memory, Germantown Academy seems to have found a stable of backs that it can rely on for consistent production. A week after Trae Vance broke the century mark against Cheltenham – the first GA back to do so since at least 2015 – he shredded Pennington for 177 yards and three scores on 20 carries.
“He eats football. He wants to learn all the time,” GA coach Matt Dence said of his sophomore.
“We think he can be a number-one back,” Dence said. “He’s proven that in the past couple of weeks.”
“He’s just scratching the surface of what he can be,” Dence said. “He’s tough to bring down one-one-one, and always seems to get two or three yards after contact. He runs downhill, and understands what he’s supposed to do.”
Elsewhere, Lacey Snowden chipped in with 76 yards on 10 tries. It’s the third week in a row that the freshman has tallied more than 40 yards in support of the Patriot offense.
“Lacey’s a good change-of-pace back, too. He’s got great burst,” Dence said. “Between him and Trae, they were pretty fun to watch.”
It’s a good thing that GA was able to rely on the run game, because it struggled in other facets against the Red Raiders.
“We turned the ball over, and I definitely think we should have played better in the first half,” Dence said. “We gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown, and those things on special teams bother me. We let them hang around in the first half more than we should have. We didn’t punt the entire game – we either scored a touchdown our turned it over. That was a first, for me.”
The Pats turned the ball over four times, three in the first half. In addition to giving up the touchdown on a return, one of Colton Niedzielski’s three interceptions was taken back for six. GA put some distance on Pennington in the second half, but by then, Dence saw things that his team needed to work on.
“As coaches, we’ve got to find ways to make Colton and our receivers as comfortable as possible,” Dence said. “I think it’s just a matter of reps. Colton prepares really well, and he’s got the respect of the huddle. He had three picks, but I think it’s just a matter of him and his receivers getting on the same page. We have some really young guys out there.”
The Pats’ last nonconference tilt is this weekend against West Catholic, and 2017 marks the second year in a row that GA has capped its non-league slate against the Burrs.
“It feels similar to what it was last year,” Dence said. “We lost our opening game, and then won three in a row to go into a game against West Catholic where we really needed to learn who we were … This year I think we’ve seen better competition. West is a very well-coached team, and they’ve got a lot of talent. It’s going to be a hard-fought game. Last year, I really feel like our win against them prepared us well to head into conference play.”
In other local football news, La Salle College High School football kept on rolling on Friday, beating Father Judge 34-0. As usual, the Explorers fed the ball to just about everyone on offense – nine different players saw touches against the Crusaders.
Joey Burnham and Octavious Carter led the way on the ground, with 75 and 66 yards, respectively. Carter chipped in with 56 more through the air and Troy Holland led with 58 yards receiving. La Salle has a bye week this week before three road games to close out the regular season.