New Hope tops Faith to claim soccer title
It seems like a pretty good formula for Central Bucks West: get the ball to Marvin Todd, and good things will usually happen.
The Bucks senior weapon at running back, as it turns out, is an opponent’s nightmare. Todd’s skills were on display in full view on Friday night in the opening round of the District One Class AAAA playoffs. The victims, as it turned out, were the members of the Plymouth Whitemarsh defense, who saw Todd gash them for 276 yards of offense and six touchdowns in a 50-26 CB West victory.
“We respected our opponent tonight and did what we had to do,” Todd said after his performance. “I just tried to get everything they gave me.”
The Colonials simply had no answer for the 6’0”, 185-pound speedster. Todd burned them for four touchdown runs of at least 20 yards, a big reason he averaged more than 12 yards a carry. His first touchdown came from two yards out and knotted the score at seven following a solid opening drive by Plymouth Whitemarsh.
For a while, though, it looked as if this was going to be the Colonials’ night. Their lines controlled the flow of play for much of the first half, giving the Bucks defensive front, including Max Cascerceri, Shane Donovan and Vance Sears, fits.
The Colonials struck first with a four-yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Connor Hanlon, and, following Todd’s first touchdown, got a 75-yard kickoff return by Naleese Nasir that set up a Jose Vega touchdown run. Hanlon then found James Rodgers for a 34-yard touchdown pass, and just like that, it was 20-7 midway through the second quarter.
“The coaches told us to take it one play at a time and that’s what we did,” Todd said about the deficit.
Indeed, the Bucks didn’t panic. Two plays into their ensuing possession, Todd got free down the near sideline and bolted 48 yards for the score. What followed was an outstanding defensive stand that saw CB West force four straight three and outs, followed by a turnover on downs. The Bucks took full advantage, going ahead late in the first half on a touchdown run by senior quarterback John Fitz.
“We had a terrific work week at practice,” Fitz said. “We’ve been down before and it wasn’t anything different.
“It felt great,” he added about the go-ahead touchdown. “The crowd was behind us.”
And there were more sparks to come. On the first offensive play of the third quarter, Todd again went down the near side 62 yards for the score. Teammate Corey Schott, who had 16 receiving yards, then returned a punt 50 yards, and Todd scored on the next play from 20 yards out to make it 35-20.
The Colonials made it interesting with a pick of Fitz by Nasir, who returned it 95 yards for a touchdown. But PW was unable to convert the ensuing two-point conversion, which CB West made them pay for by going 50 yards for another score, this time from a yard out by Todd. The Bucks senior then put any remaining doubt away midway through the final period with a 48-yard touchdown prance.
Todd, who had 230 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 46 yards, credited the line for his efforts.
“We have some guys who are only 200 pounds on the offensive line, but they have a nasty streak in them,” head coach Brian Hensel said of a group that includes Shane Dortone, Ander Warfel, Cooper O’Connell, Connor Steele and Declan Mandeville.
“I think Marvin’s a special athlete and I think everyone on the team knows he’s a special athlete,” he added.
Fitz ran for 102 yards on 16 carries, while Thalen Sayres (24 yards), Brent Hudicka (61), Jacob Schiela (six) and backup quarterback Eddie Shields (17) also contributed to CB West’s 436 rushing yards. Through the air, Fitz was 10-of-13 for 143 yards, 81 of which were hauled in by wideout Mark Ciaudelli.
The defense, meanwhile, dialed in and held the Colonials to negative yardage in the third quarter and just 201 yards of offense in the contest. Luke Durkin additionally had an interception for the Bucks.
“The offense just fed off of that,” Hensel said of the defense. “They stiffened midway through the second period and they never stopped.”
At 9-2 overall, CB West, the seventh seed in the District One field, will face No. 15 Perkiomen Valley, a 26-6 winner over second-seeded West Chester Rustin, on Friday at War Memorial Field.
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