The Carroll Times

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The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Carroll football goes scoreless against Neumann-Goretti

Back-up players, including QB, take the field as some first stringers sit out because of school rule violations
Carroll football goes scoreless against Neumann-Goretti

It was a rough afternoon of football in South Philadelphia on Saturday as the Archbishop Carroll Patriots fell to the Saints of Neumann-Goretti, 28-0. 

Because of violations to school rules, nearly 25 percent of the Patriot’s roster was left ineligible for the weekend’s game. Most notably star freshman quarterback Jay Boyd was left out of the lineup, which paved the way for sophomore backup Chris Sponburgh to make the start.

The shorthanded Patriots had their hands full from the get-go as the Saints ran in a 60-yard touchdown just two plays into their opening drive to make it 8-0 Neumann.  After that came the Carroll offense, led by Sponburgh, who, on his first varsity drive, marched his Patriots downfield and into field goal range. Kicker Gavin Wray, however, shanked his attempt left, leaving the score, 8-0.

On another quick-hitting drive, it was the passing game that got going for Neumann as the Saints completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. 

After a few punts back and forth, the Saints regained possession and ran the ball down the Pats throats. Following a couple hard runs, Neumann ran it in, making the score 20-0 Saints.

As halftime loomed, the Pats regained possession. Sponburgh connected with senior running back Hassan Bailey and senior wide receiver Jesse Ventre for back-to-back first downs as Carroll looked to gain some momentum. Though following a 10-yard sack, and a couple incompletions, it was bound to be another punt for the Pats, who went into halftime trailing 20-0.

It was Carroll’s ball to begin the second half, and, following a personal foul, the Patriots had the ball up at the 43-yard line. On second down, junior center Zach Jacobs snapped the ball past quarterback James Wright. This put the Pats at third and 26, subsequently ending the drive. 

The next drive for Neumann saw one of the few bright spots for the Patriots as senior defensive back Too Jemawhou picked off a Saint’s pass, setting up yet another Carroll opportunity and yet another Carroll punt. 

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Saints topped off their day with another touchdown. This time a 20-yard pass over the middle to make it 28-0 Neumann. 

The Pats had one last chance to drive downfield, and were able to march all the way to the 50-yard line before an errant Sponburgh pass fell into the arms of a Neumann defender, all but ending the afternoon. 

“It was basically just, like, I gotta step up, become a better leader,” a humble Sponburgh said. “I gotta, definitely look at the playbook more and just step up altogether.” 

Sponburgh’s performance was  nothing to scoff at, going against the Philadelphia Catholic League’s blue division champions. Not to mention, as runner-ups to the state championship last season, Neumann-Goretti boasts one of the most feared defenses in the city. For a sophomore seeing his first varsity minutes, the second stringer performed adequately. That was reflected by his coach’s reactions postgame. 

“Chris, yeah, overcoming adversity, getting thrown into the fire, he held us up,” said Carroll head coach Kyle Detweiler. “You could see there’s some flashes of the potential he has. We’re excited: he’s only a sophomore, I think you can see he got better as the game went on. He had some command in the pocket. He was standing in under pressure and delivering some catchable balls.”

Sponbrugh’s performance was noted by nearly everyone on the Carroll staff, on the field and in the box.

“The young kid did well,” said director of football operations Mark Mounayar. “I think he just had the one turnover there at the end, so hopefully he leads the competition at the position going forward.”

With the loss, the Patriots fall to 3-6 on the season, and 1-5 in Catholic League action. The club will head home next Friday to wrap up the season with senior night against Conwell-Egan for a 7 p.m. kickoff at the Conshohocken “A” Field.                                                     

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