Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 Game One: Hanover 14, Patrick Henry 6

,In actuality, the final score was Hanover 2, Patrick Henry 1.

On a tropical Friday in Ashland, the young men of Hanover and Patrick Henry High Schools fought off humidity, rain, including a third quarter monsoon, cramps, and more. And in the end, Patrick Henry committed one too many mistakes, giving the Hawks their third straight win over their county rival and the first-ever win at Patrick Henry.

Mistake #1---Recipient: Hanover---A 4th down punt turns to disaster for Patrick Henry when the snap goes above new kicker/punter Hayden Dyer's head. Hanover recovered the loose ball at the PH 40. The Hawks proceeded to march it down the field, and senior Jayquan Kates punched it in from four yards to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead at the 5:36 mark of the opening quarter.

Next possession for PH?

Mistake #2---Recipient: Hanover---On a third and long, quarterback Brandon Cash calls the spread screen play to the left side used earlier for a gain. Under pressure, his throw is a bit high, but receiver Raquis Morris slipped and fell on the wet turf as the ball sailed over him, leaving only one person wide open. Unfortunately for Patrick Henry, it was Hanover DB Bryson Kemler. He makes the interception and scampers 38 yards untouched for six. Rachel Moore's extra point followed, and suddenly Hanover was up 14-0 on the road with 2:46 left in the opening quarter.

The rest of the first half was essentially tit for tat, with the Hawks still up 14-0 at the half.

Hanover won the opening toss and elected to defer, so the Hawks come out to start the second half up two scores and with the ball. But, instead of cashing in on the opportunity and go up by 17 or 21.......

Mistake #3---Recipient: Patrick Henry---Hanover's big 6' 5" senior quarterback, Josh Wells, a four-year starter, made few mistakes last night. But his big one gave PH new life as Vincent Derricott picked off a Wells throw in the middle of the field to give the Patriots the ball near the 50. After little production during the drive, Brandon Cash tried something he'd tried to no avail several times in the first half, as he went for the deep ball. This time, his receiver, Jamison Kenny, was WIDE open down the left-hand side. Cash's pass was short, so Kenny had to wait for it, giving Hanover's Steven Fogleman time to catch up to Kenny. Kenny fought for the last 15 to 20 yards of real estate, breaking Fogleman's tackle attempt, and runs into the end zone for PH's first points of the game.

The extra point, though, was blocked, so the Pats found themselves down eight.

The rest of the game was a combination of a monsoon, a rain shower, and Groundhog Day. Early in the second half, the Patriots were penalized for illegal procedure and on our radio broadcast I noted that the young Patriots line had gone the entire first half without a flag.

Unfortunately for PH fans, the offense as a whole made up for that and more in half number two. I believe I counted five or six illegal procedure or motion penalties during the second half, constantly causing Brandon Cash and Company to start sets of downs with 15 yards to go, or, marching forward progress back.

The best chance for the Pats to tie the game came late in the 4th quarter, as the Patriots drove the ball all the way to the Hanover 15. But instead of moving forward, a penalty and a sack led PH backward, forcing them to a fourth and long near the 30. Cash went for freshman D'vante Derricott in double coverage near the left end of the end zone and the young man almost made the grab. In fact, two officials had to confer before the final call was made.

When the referee's arms signaled incomplete, the Hawks defense charged back to their sideline, fired up by dodging a huge bullet. Hanover's offense was able to drive into PH territory, eating up clock, but gave it up on downs at the PH 30 with just over a minute to go.

Patrick Henry was out of timeouts and had 70 yards of wet turf between them and a possible overtime. Play #1 is Cash complete to Jamison Kenny near the left sideline for 16 yards and a first down. He couldn't get out of bounds, though, so once the chains were moved, the clock was restarted.

But rather than being at the line ready to start the next play, it took the PH offense about eight seconds to get off the next play. Later, after the relentless Hawks defense stood up Cash in the backfield for a loss, the clock continued to run, and I noted one Patriot receiver actually jogging back to the huddle. And the clock is moving toward 20 seconds left. I was befuddled. It would be another 10 seconds or so before PH finally snapped the ball, Cash was caught again for a sack, and the clock read 0.0.

Patriot fans that had stayed to end (some had left after the Derricott play was ruled incomplete) had to feel disappointed with the lack of clock management, which also happened once late last year.

So the series record for these two teams is Patrick Henry 4-3. But the Hawks, the defending Division 5 Regional Champions, have won the last three, and start their season, as they did a year ago, with an advantage over their county rival if both teams find themselves in playoff contention again this year.


---In seven years of broadcasting, I've never seen a driving rain like the monsoon that opened up for about ten minutes in the third quarter. It took no time for it to change the time as one punter lost a handle on a snap during Hanna's biggest blow of the night. And don't forget fans, those metal bleachers are very tricky when wet!!

---The Hanover defense, especially in the first half, operated 1 to 1 1/2 steps quicker than PH's offense. They swarmed the ball, and caused Brandon Cash to throw into double coverage on several of his long pass attempts. Credit Cash that his throws, though too long, were positioned so his receiver would get them, or no one would. How ironic then to see his one TD pass be short, causing Kenny to wait for it and create the ensuing battle between Kenny and Fogleman discussed earlier.

---Josh Wells, starting his fourth season as Hanover quarterback (an almost unheard of statistic in area high school football), managed the game pretty well. His stats are in no way impressive, but his positive contributions to the game couldn't be tracked in a box score, including his ability, being so tall, to gain another yard by just falling foward, being strong enough to drag a defender with him while doing so.

---Big games on defense for Hanover by Aaron Phillips, Steven Fogleman, Kenny Fryman, and Blake Jones. I don't expect many teams to ring up big numbers on the Hawks this season.


---The coaches have to be pleased with the performance of the freshman, D'vante Derricott. Six carries for 38 yards, showed signs of good speed, held onto the ball, and almost came up with the catch that could have led to a tie game. In case you weren't at the game, he wears #15. Get used to seeing it.

---Brandon Cash was beaten up by that relentless Hawk defense. Most blitzes were not picked up and Cash threw most passes with white jerseys flying toward him. He went down behind the line several times, fought cramps and problems with what looked like his left ankle or foot. Credit Cash, though, as he kept coming back for more and more and more.

---And finally, oh to be 16 again! I couldn't see the PH student contingent from the booth, but across the way I got a kick out of watching the Hanover student section yell, scream and cheer, all the while taking a shower provided by the "Water Pik of God". Umbrellas? We don't need no stinkin' umbrellas!!!

NEXT GAME: Patrick Henry at Atlee, airtime 7:05pm on WHAN-AM (1430), kickoff at 730.

Atlee was shut out by Colonial District member Deep Run Thursday night, 35-0.

See you at the field, or on the air, on Friday night!

---Rob Witham :)

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