Neshaminy 42, Plymouth Whitemarsh 21
After a less-than-stellar regular season, Nate Hall and his Neshaminy teammates view the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoff tournament as a chance at redemption.
The Redskins, coming in as the No. 13 seed, took a step toward that end in Friday night's first-round contest against No. 4 Plymouth Whitemarsh, piling up yardage on the ground and posting a 42-21 victory.
Leading the way for the visitors, the 5-foot-5, 160-pound Hall, a senior tailback who transferred in this year from Bonner-Prendergast, carried 21 times for 129 yards and four touchdowns. He scored on dashes of 3, 2, 27, and 5 yards.
"We just came in here, did what we had to do," Hall said. "We were real focused. We didn't take anything for granted."
Next Friday in Warrington, Neshaminy (8-3) will take on No. 5 Central Bucks South (10-1), a first-round winner over No. 12 Haverford High.
For the second straight season, after capturing the Suburban One League American Conference title, the Colonials (9-2) were eliminated in the first round of districts.
With Hall and fullback Blake Sullivan running behind a surging offensive line, the Redskins totaled 319 yards on the ground. They went to the air only eight times.
Of Hall, Neshaminy junior fullback and linebacker Denny Lord said, "He can do a little bit of everything. He's fast, he's powerful, and he's tough to catch if he gets out in the open."
PW's bid at its first district playoff win since 1997 was hurt by injuries to a pair of starters. Defensive tackle Tre Scott and 1,000-yard rusher Terry Brown went down in the second and third quarter, respectively.
A defense that held the Colonials to 51 total yards in the first half was anchored by Lord and fellow linebackers Tosh Thompson, Steve Olenski, and Brian Toal. Up front, ends Luke Carrezola and Alex McKenzie turned in solid efforts.
After fullback Corey Kelly's 1-yard dive gave PW an early lead, the Redskins exploded for five straight scores. Hall's fourth score, on a left-side pitch, made it 35-7 late in the third quarter.
"We knew coming in that being the No. 13 seed didn't matter much," Lord said. "In the playoffs, anything can happen."
Neshaminy 0 21 14 7-42
Plymouth Whitemarsh 7 0 0 14-21
PW: Corey Kelly 1 run (Jared Seiler kick)
N: Nate Hall 3 run (Nicholas Tucci kick)
N: Hall 2 run (Tucci kick)
N: Cole Creighton 9 pass from Hugh Hart (Tucci kick)
N: Hall 27 run (Tucci kick)
N: Hall 5 run (Tucci kick)
PW: Kelly 3 run (Seiler kick)
PW: Pete Giorgio 4 run (Seiler kick)
N: Denny Lord 1 run (Tucci kick)