NEWTOWN >> Prior to August 23rd’s season opener, the Council Rock South football staff indicated it was concerned about its ability to stop Cheltenham senior running back Jamir Barnes.
As it turned out the Hawks did do a pretty good job of holding him somewhat in check, but what they didn’t even begin to have an answer for was Cheltenham’s wide receiver/defensive back Lateef, a.k.a T.J., Harris.
On a night when its speed and play-making ability was on complete display, Cheltenham defeated Rock South, 36-13, to beat the Lower Bucks County team for the second year in a row.
Although it took a while for it unfold, it was complete domination by the end as Rock South couldn’t do anything offensively until the visitors already had the game well in hand.
The key moment of the evening came early in the first quarter when Rock South blocked a punt and seemed destined to take the lead with a first-and-goal at the Cheltenham 9 yard line.
After a run was stopped for no gain, Rock South made the decision to try a pass towards the corner of the end zone.
Enter Harris, who cut in front of the receiver, intercepted the ball and took off on a sensational 99-yard return for a touchdown.
A host of Rock South would-be tacklers appeared to have the angle on Harris, but he was able to simply outrun most of them and also left a few more in his wake when he cut back across half the field around the 50 yard line.
Just like that it was Cheltenham that had a lead it would never relinquish in a game in which it slowly but steadily pulled away.
With its defense in total control, Cheltenham increased its lead to 13-0 at the half on a 1-yard sneak by Adonis Hunter. This capped a long drive in which Barnes did his best running on the day. Also in the second quarter, Harris recorded his second interception when he picked off a bomb, once again right in front of the Cheltenham end zone.
Early in the third quarter the lead was up to 20-0 when Hunter connected with a wide open Sidiqq Williams on a 22yard seam pass against what was now a reeling Rock South defense.
After Rock South was able to pick up only one first down on its ensuing possession, it was here where Harris then applied another killer blow when he returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown down the left sideline.
For good measure, Harris also completed the scoring in the fourth quarter on an 18yard pass from Hunter, who was a very efficient 7-for-8 for 127 yards.
One of the few bright spots for Rock South were the eight tackles recorded by lineman David Nolter. Sal Mastromarco also ended up with a pair of late touchdown receptions, but by that time Cheltenham was well into cruise control.
Cheltenham (1-0) 6 7 13 10 - 36 Council Rock South (0-1) 0 0 7 7 - 13 C-Harris 99 int. return (kick failed) C-Hunter 1 run (Moreland kick) C-Williams 22 pass from Hunter (Moreland kick) C-Harris 70 punt return (kick failed) CRS-Mastromarco 24 pass from Caldani (Keylin kick) C-Moreland 27 field goal C-Harris 18 pass from Hunter (Moreland kick) CRS-Mastromarco 37 pass from Striffolito (kick failed)