A couple of key injuries forced Central Bucks South to shuffle its lineup this season.
Quarterback Jack Johns was switched to receiver following a shoulder injury suffered in a Week 4 win over Central Bucks East. And stout offensive tackle and defensive end Pat Fleisch has been sidelined down the stretch with a nagging foot injury.
But C.B. South still managed to clinch its second consecutive berth in the 16-team PIAA District 1 Class 6A playoffs. As the No. 9 seed, the Titans (7-3) visit No. 8 Pennsbury (9-1) in first-round action at 7 p.m. Friday in Fairless Hills.
Against the Falcons, Hetrick’s squad will turn to either senior Ryan Shoch or sophomore Josh Consoletti to play QB. Both have seen time over the last six contests.
“We have confidence in both of them,” Hetrick said. “If you’re taking the snap, we expect you to perform well.”
Shoch will likely get the nod. The 5-foot-9, 140-pounder completed 18 of 23 passes for 163 yards in a 21-20 victory over Central Bucks West in Week 8.
C.B. South halfback Ryan Watson has carried the ball 146 times for 783 yards and nine touchdowns. He is joined in the backfield by Connor DiLissio (63 carries for 284 yards and four scores).
Since moving to receiver, the 6-7, 205-pound Johns has made 13 catches for 186 yards and three touchdownss. “He’s a big, fast, and nice target,” said Hetrick, whose squad went 5-0 to start the season.
Brady Prezelski (24 catches for 215 yards and three scores), Sean Smith, and Collin Dompert are also solid pass-catchers. The charge up front in a spread attack is led by center Bobby Gorman and tackles Yurly Hryckowian and Kris Schaller.
“We have to spread the ball around, be efficient in the run game, and be effective in the pass game,” Hetrick said.
C.B. South’s 4-2-5 defense is headed by tackle Noah Collachi (48 tackles, with 17 solo stops) and inside linebackers Matt Norris (118, 76) and Matt Tobey (75, 45). Tobey has 6 1/2 sacks.
Collachi is joined in the trenches by ends Tristan Roman (38, 20) and Sean Charpentier (34, 13). Strong safety Kevin Gillyard (35, 13) and cornerbacks Cole Prezelski and Jason Horvath (three interceptions) anchor the secondary.
The Titans need to keep a close eye on Pennsbury’s Zach DeMarchis. The dual-threat quarterback has connected on 113 of 194 throws for 1,551 yards and 17 TDs. He has rushed 141 times for 1,140 yards and 15 scores.
“He makes you defend the whole field because he’s quick to take off and run,” Hetrick said. “He makes plays happen.”
The Falcons offense also features halfback Nasan Robbins and receivers David Burke, Austin Palmer, and Jason Cook. A beefy line includes tackles Matt Rosso (6-6, 270) and Brian Malinowski (6-4, 295).
“It’s playoff time,” Hetrick said. “We’re just going to pin our ears back and play as hard as we can,”
Game at a glance
No. 22 Central Bucks South at No. 11 Pennsbury, Friday at 7 p.m.
Twitter: Follow @ozoneinq for live updates.
Last meeting: In 2015, when they were rivals in the Suburban One League National Conference, the visiting Falcons topped the Titans, 27-9.
Solid effort: Former quarterback Jack Johns made six catches for 111 yards and three scores in last week’s 37-17 victory over William Tennent.
Towing the line: Pennsbury’s defensive front is led by Mike Gabora, Josh Atunrase, Jared Troyano, Matt Rosso, and Matt Lewis.
Familiar name: Matt Johns, who is Jack’s brother and shined at QB for C.B. South (class of 2012) and Virginia, is an assistant for the Titans.
Pick: Pennsbury, 28-14.