|High School Football:
Rancocas Valley Surprises Washington Twp
Friday, October 13, 2000
By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer
The Minutemen from Washington Township have been playing extremely good football this year. Known throughout the Olympic Conference as one of the tough games on their schedule, Rancocas Valley visited Washington Township knowing that they would have to play well and not make too many mistakes. Coach Jim DiCicco had his Red Devils operating his game plan to perfection as they took an early lead and convincingly defeat Washington Township. Both sides of the ball for Red Devils contributed to the 35-12 victory over a shell shocked Washington Township team.
The Minuteman was ready for some football and anxious to show their home crowd a good game. At the beginning of this game, most teams have been showing their support for Adam Taliaffero by holding up four fingers on each hand representing his Eastern football jersey number. Taliaffero continues to improve from his spinal cord injury and teams around the conference have been showing their support for a speedy recovery.
Every game is a winnable game no matter what the odds. The Red Devils entered the crowded stadium at Washington Township Friday night with hopes of making a good effort to stay close in this game. "If RV doesn't make too many mistakes, they could win this game", Josh Stocker mentioned as he made his way to the Red Devils side of the field. "Township is a very good team, but RV has a chance to win". Rancocas were on a two game losing streak and Washington Township were dead in their sights of thinking it could be stretched to three after this game was over.
When Township won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball, it was left up to the Rancocas defense to dash the hopes of keeping the Minutemen off the scoreboard on their opening drive. That's exactly what they did. After a punt by Washington Township, the Red Devils lined up their offensive starting at their own 21-yard line. Senior starting quarterback Lionel Bolen ran the offense setting the tone of this game on their first play of the game. Taking the snap from under center, Bolen found a streaking Tyrell Powell down the right side and leaped up over his defender and hauled in the pass. After coming down with the pass in bounds, Powell rumbled into the end zone to stun the Township crowd jumping out to an early 7-0 lead.
Football is defiantly a moment sport with player keying off of big plays to pump up their team gaining whatever edge of getting the most out of their players. That one play scoring drive by the Red Devils offense gained their confidence of scoring against this team and would carry over into the remainder this game. Washington Township would not be caught off guard again on a one play wonder'so you would think. After both teams were kept off the scoreboard in the first quarter, it was the defense from Burlington County that provided the spark again for Rancocas. Reading the Minutemen attempted pass, the defense came up with a big interception. Greg Rodgers stepped in front of a pass and found pay dirt for the 41-yard defense touchdown. The failed point after attempt did not kill that momentum Rancocas had build up.
Not panicking, Township went back to the basics and used their balanced attack to finally wear down their opponents on their way to putting points on the scoreboard. Marching down the field and finally giving the home crowd something to cheer about and setting off the cannon, Washington Township scored on a short touchdown run by Steve Ramick. The extra point attempt failed and the Minuteman went into the locker room on a positive note, but still trailed in this game.
Big plays by starting quarterback Bolen dashed any hopes of a Township comeback. Controlling the balance attack, it was Powell taking a handoff instead of receiving a pass for a 50-yard touchdown run that again stunned the crowd. Leading by a score of 21-6 in the third quarter, both teams would add a touchdown to their score. The Red Devils had the momentum the whole game which carried them to the victory on a night were the whole team playing like a unit working on the same page of their play book.
Photos by Art Redd