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Lions Sports

O'Hara's Alternative Air Route Bypasses Carroll

OHara Varsity vs Archbishop Carroll HS on 9/22/2012 2:00:00 PM
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 by www.delcotimes.com
 

H.S. Football: O’Hara’s alternative air route bypasses Carroll (With Video)

 

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MARPLE ­— After a game in which his team scored 56 points on 44 plays, Danny Algeo admits it’s easy to forget a play call or two. But one in particular set the tone for Cardinal O’Hara’s 56-20 rout of Archbishop Carroll Saturday afternoon.

It was a fade pattern ... from 35 yards out ... on a fourth-and-four situation ... in the first quarter.



As improbable as that call sounds, Algeo and the Lions rolled the dice and, afterward, were thankful they had. The conversion got O’Hara’s touchdown deluge going — with Thaddius Smith scoring five of them — in the final game before vaunted Archbishop Wood heads to Delaware County next weekend for the first game under the lights in O’Hara’s program history.

 

Lions quarterback Dashawn Darden said he hoped this win sent a message to Wood “that O’Hara doesn’t play any games. We’re for real.”

The Lions sure looked it on their second series of the game when, already leading, 7-0, Algeo’s team decided to go for it on fourth down deep in Carroll’s territory. Darden led Smith perfectly, except for Carroll defensive back Jake Keczik nearly batting away the pass. Instead, the ball was tipped by Keczik but found Smith’s hands and Smith found the end zone.

“When I saw (the Patriots) were playing back, I thought, ‘Nobody can stick our inside players, they’re too fast,’” Darden said.

Added Smith: “It was right in my view, so I just stayed on it. Got the job done.”

Had that play not gone the Lions’ way, who knows how a one-possession game could have gone?

In any case, O’Hara took down Carroll behind Darden making Smith his primary target. A Yeadon native, Smith pulled down seven catches for 157 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried seven times for one more score.

 

That made for five touchdowns, a personal-best for the junior, who said he’s scored multiple touchdowns in a game only once before.

“And that was last year,” Smith said. “This was the first time this year, and I only had one (touchdown) all year coming into this game.”

Darden looked impressive, too. The Norristown native completed 11 of 16 attempts to four receivers for 229 yards. O’Hara spread the ball, churning out 230 yards on 28 rushes. Smith, the Lions’ leading receiver, also led the way with 74 yards on seven carries.

Algeo said O’Hara (3-1, 1-1) will need to be two-dimensional in order to take down reigning PIAA Class AAA champion Archbishop Wood (3-1, 1-0) Friday. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday.

“I think to be really good, you have to be balanced,” Algeo said. “We have decent size up front, but we’re not gigantic. To blow somebody off the field, it’s not going to happen. We have to have balance.”

Or O’Hara has to be as good as it was against Carroll (1-3, 0-2) in the first half. The Patriots logged a loss or zero gain on 17 of 20 plays in the opening two quarters, managing minus-14 yards of total offense to the Lions’ 265.

It wasn’t until the third quarter that Carroll got on the scoreboard. Dan Bier took the kickoff out of halftime 93 yards for a score. O’Hara made it interesting on the ensuing kickoff, with Smith taking the return 15 yards before flipping it to Lamont Veal.

Or was it a fumble recovery?

Veal, who suffered a left calf cramp but swears he’ll be OK for next week, is convinced he picked up Smith’s fumble. Smith promises it was an intentional behind-the-back toss to Veal.

“I planned it that way,” Smith said.

 

The Lions hope their plans for Archbishop Wood go the same way.

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