“The ball is out, the Trojans have it,” said the PA announcer after a hard hit by Jalen Smalls on the tailback which forced a fumble. Jackson Intrieri was able to recover the ball for the Trojans at the Lions 18 yard line. It was a scoreless first quarter but it was halfway through the second quarter when the Trojans were in business. A few plays after the forced fumble, Smalls was back on the field taking the ball in the endzone for a 8 yard touchdown run. Wissahickon had its first points of the season, and its first lead, but it didn’t last long.
The next drive, Penncrest QB Jimmy Cage led his team 80 yards down the field ending the drive with a 14 yard touchdown pass to David Cage. Although QB Cage did great work to march his team into the endzone, it didn’t come without some help. Trojans defensive end Michael Gorman was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct due to taunting the opposing running back after a big hit in the backfield. That resulted in the Lions moving into Trojan territory. Two plays later, roughing the passer was called, and the Cage led offense was in the redzone, just like that.
“Penalties always hurt … self inflicted wombs in football are the biggest setback for any team that’s scratching to move in the right direction,”Coach Fleming said after the game.
Despite there being just 21 seconds remaining in the first half after the touchdown drive by Penncrest, Wissahickon found a way to turn the ball over. A bad hand-off exchange between QB Nick Santo and RB Jalen Smalls led to a fumble recovered by Penncrest on the 16 yard line.
Penncrest kicked a field goal as time expired to take a 10-7 lead heading into the locker room.
The second half was controlled by Penncrest. Wissahickon came out of the locker rooms slow. A three and out including a holding penalty. Their next offensive drive ended quickly after QB Nick Santo couldn’t handle the football and fumbled. Penncrest took advantage of the turnover as running back Kam Vaughn ran for a 15 yard touchdown. Vaughn led the Lions with 10 carries for 38 yards.
The second half didn’t come without opportunities for Wisshickon, they just weren’t able to capitalize on any. Their only second half points came from a 35 yard field goal from kicker Nate DeVincent.
“The guys saw it in the second half… we were able to rebound and push forward, they saw that we could move the football, they saw that we could make stops on defense… the guys understand that this is a game we let slip away.”
When asking about the Nick Santo’s performance at quarterback, Coach Fleming said, “he’s moving in the right direction. He made some good throws. We will review it on film and he will be better prepared next week. He is moving in the right direction for where I need him to be as a quarterback.” Santo finished the game 4-17, 72 yards.
All in all, there are a lot of improvements that must be made if this Wissahickon team wants to have any success this season, but tonight was a step in the right direction. Wissahickon will take on Council Rock North next Friday night at home.
Stats via Tyler Sablich- PA Prep Live