Bucks County Herald

Bucks get past Patriots

DAVID CAMPBELL

Tarin Morris celebrated like it was 2014.

That was Morris’ freshman season at Central Bucks West and the last time, prior to Tuesday afternoon’s affair in Holicong, that the Bucks had defeated their archrivals, the Patriots of Central Bucks East.

“Finally,” CB West junior goalkeeper Dylan Smith said. “You see the East-West rivalry and it’s huge and it’s great to be a part of, but it’s good to be on the winning end of it, you know?”

Yes, finally. Morris scored on a breakaway in the 55th minute to give the Bucks a 1-0 victory in Suburban One League (SOL) Continental Conference action. After he snuck the game-winner into the CB East goal, Morris made a beeline to the Patriots’ track and ran down it with his teammates giving chase.

“Spectacular,” Smith said. “I saw Colin Burn collect it and we have a lot of confidence in him, obviously – (head coach) Stefan (Szygiel) does; we all do – and he slipped it right to ‘T’ (Morris), [who] beat their backs, who played really, really great the entire game, so that alone was huge, and that was an absolutely great finish out of Tarin.”

“I thought our energy was very good,” Szygiel added. “We didn’t finish chances in the first half. I thought we did enough in the second half. We moved Tarin Morris around. We tried to not let them figure out what we were trying to do with him. To an extent, I think he was able to find some good spaces and ultimately, he was able to get the game-winner.”

The triumph avenged a 1-0 loss to the Patriots on Sept. 18. The setback was CB West’s first after starting the season at 6-0.

“[We] played 10 times harder [on Tuesday],” Morris said. “That was our entire gameplan: win everything, every ball in the air, don’t play it down the middle.”

The middle is where CB East’s Will Eisold and Gabe Gomez roam, Morris said. Defense has been key to the Patriots’ resurgence after a 1-3 start that culminated in a 1-0 loss at Pennridge on Sept. 12. CB East had won four straight entering Tuesday.

“I feel like we came out flat,” Eisold said, “and this is just a good lesson to always be ready for your game, take your chances when you [get] them and do your job when you need to do it.”

The offense hasn’t alwaysbeen there for the Patriots, Eisold said. Tuesday was the fourth time they’ve been shut out this year. Of course, it doesn’t help when Smith is patrolling the other goal. Smith made what Szygiel called an “incredible save” on a close-range shot in the first half and then with 2:47 remaining in the contest, Smith corralled a CB East missile that most likely would have sent the game into OT.

“We just weren’t connecting our passes,” Eisold said. “We just couldn’t get the long balls down. Our through balls in the first 10 minutes were fine, but slowly, we let West dominate and, I don’t know what was wrong, but I feel like our communication dropped and then everything else dropped, as well. It was a good lesson.”

“We didn’t come out as hard as we should have,” teammate Nolan Case said. “We played as hard as we could the whole game the first game against West. And I feel we didn’t do that this game. We came out slow; in the second half, we picked it up a little bit, but it was too late and they had the momentum.”

The setback dropped the Patriots to 8-5 overall and 7-3 in the SOL Continental. The Bucks, at 10-4 and 7-3, are a game back of North Penn in the loss column in the conference standings.

“This win, hopefully, will propel us through the last four games of the season and in playoffs,” Morris said.

“When you get into the last third of the season, it’s about putting the pieces together and playing your best ball leading into the district playoffs,” Szygiel said.

CB West is only 4-4 after that 6-0 start, but Szygiel is hoping that the Bucks’ latest triumph lights a fire under his team.

“The guys are starting to buy in; the guys are starting to believe in what we want to try and do,” he said. “There is a lot of talent on this West team and they’re not necessarily use to there being expectations on them and frankly, the standard needs to be higher with them. They have to live up to that and I think this should be another step in that direction.”

Tuesday was, after all, the non-seniors’ first victory over CB East.

“That’s almost like conquering a mountain,” Smith said.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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