Council Rock North faced a stacked deck in their match-up with gridiron powerhouse Neshaminy. The schedule read Friday the 13th. A full moon hovered over Walt Snyder stadium. The 'Skins sought vengeance after losing by the mercy rule to Downingtown West the week before. Despite all these odds, the hometown team fought valiantly before succumbing by a 48-31 score.
The evening started ominously enough for the Indians when Neshaminy scored on its first three possessions while holding North pinned deep in its own territory. With less than three minutes run off the game clock Neshaminy scored its first touchdown. After two running plays and a screen pass to open the contest, quarterback Brody McAndrew dropped back and lofted a 38-yard TD pass to running back Gavin O’Connor who had run a wheel route up the left sideline. Jack Hughes extra point kick gave the ‘Skins a 7-0 lead.
Having stymied the Indians’ offense, Neshaminy went to work once again on North’s 49-yard line. Calling mostly on their running game, Neshaminy took just seven plays to reach the end zone. Dave Miller picked up 17 yards on the drive that culminated in a 7-yard run by John Hutchinson.
The ‘Skins rounded out their first quarter heroics when McAndrew wound up and fired a 35-yard pass to the left corner of the endzone. Wide receiver Ian Sheehan, who also doubled as a kick returner and cornerback, leaped high over two Rock defenders to make a miraculous grab to give Neshaminy a 21-0 lead.
The New Hampshire bound McAndrews would end up the evening completing 8 of 11 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Sheehan, led all receivers with 4 catches for 153 yards, He was on the receiving end of all three of McAndrews touchdown bombs.
Just when it looked like Council Rock was ready to surrender, they found a spark of life early in the second quarter. Starting a drive on their own 44-yard line, the Indians staged an 8 play, 66-yard march that ended with all-purpose Tim Gibson scoring on a 10 yard run. Dillon Sheehy carried most of the rushing load, picking up 36 yards and three crucial first downs. He would wind up with game high rushing honors with 114 total yards.
From here on the game looked more like a heavyweight title fight with each team exchanging knockout punches. Neshaminy immediately answered the Rock’s score with a 7-play drive that covered 75 yards. The key play proved to be yet another McAndrew to Sheeham aerial that ate up 52 yards. Greg Orleski provided the final honors, diving in from one yard out.
The half wound down with Council Rock scoring on a 51-yard pass from Jack Owens to Evam Mancinelli. Neshaminy immediately countered with Dave Miller scoring on a 3-yard run. Miller carried the ball 4 times during the ‘Skins march, good for 46 yards. He would lead the Redskins in rushing with 74 yards on 12 tries.
Down 34 to 12 at halftime the Council Rock braintrust appeared to adopt a “damn-the-torpedoes-full speed ahead” attitude. The strategy worked as the Indians opened the second half with the most impressive, sustained drive of the night. Starting on their own 26-yard line, they knocked 8 minutes off the clock with a 21 play drive that concluded with a 9-yard pass from Jack Owens to sophomore Kristian Valeriano. The march included 3 fourth down conversions.
Toward the end of the third quarter, the Rock then put up a strong stand to momentarily stop the Redskins on their own 10-yard line. Unfortunately for the hometown fans, the Indians could not advance the ball and were forced to punt. Once again, the McAndrew to Sheehan magic worked for Neshminy with Sheeham making another great TD catch. This one covered 26 yards.
The shootout continued with Tim Gibson scoring for CR on a 17-yard run and John Hutchinson reeling off a 53 yard TD scamper for Neshaminy. Probably the most dramatic tally of the evening came with back-up quarterback Noah Kapusta throwing a desperation 18-yard touchdown pass to Kristian Valeriano as time ran out in the fourth quarter,
With the 48-31 win, Neshamny proved they had regained their old winning ways. Council Rock, though coming out on the short side of the score, showed they had plenty of character and fire power.