By: Noah Stomsky | August 25, 2023
August 25th, 2023 is a day Wissahickon changed the past. 363 days ago Wiss lost their first game of the year to Council Rock North, fast forward to today they beat CRN and won their first week 0 game since 2017. Last season Wissahickon won only one game in ten games, today they won in their first game. Wissahickon let everyone in the district know that they weren't the team they were last year.
"I was kind of proud of the guys there, we're not really focused on last year you know our team did a great job of laying foundation on how we want to do things moving forward, and these guys came in starting December they worked extremely hard the last eight months here. We haven't really accomplished anything yet we're kind of at the same spot we were last year," said Head Coach Rory Graver.
"I'm not really concerned about that stuff, we just kind of focus on the now the present, not about the past, not about the future, about the now," said Graver on winning the first week 0 since 2017.
27 seconds was all Wissahickon needed to score. Wissahickon's Mr. Do It All #11 Jaden McLean found himself in the end zone on the second play of the game. A big return to set Wissahickon up at the 30 was everything they needed. A 10-yard screen set Wiss up at the 20 then a play later and Clean was back in the end zone. A 20-yard sweep to the right was the first of two scores for Wissahickon with 11:33 remaining in the first. This happened to be the first of the two touchdowns that Clean scored on the day. His second touchdown came six seconds into the second quarter. A four-yard pitch with Clean lowering the shoulder and running over the defender into the end zone gave him his second score of the game and Wiss the 13-0 lead.
"We've been working. It's expected," said McLean on how he feels about his physical touchdown.
Clean wasn't the only one who had a day. Harvey-Sheppard totaled two touchdowns for Wissahickon as well. Both coming off sweeps. A 17-yard sweep and a 9-yard sweep pushed Wiss's lead from 14 to 27 in two minutes and 21 seconds. Wissahickon controlled the ground game all day consistently and successfully running the ball with running backs Clean, Sampson, Lee, and numerous WRs. While Wissahickon had success with other running backs, Sampson found himself in the role of power back. Two seasons ago Wissahickon had a power back in Jeremiah Clark then lost that last season. This year Sampson has adopted that role and has shown it already. Using his strength he barreled his way into the end zone at the end of the half extending the lead to 28-7.
"I feel great, I couldnt' do it without my linemen so first shout out my linemen and lets focus on next week," Sampson said on how he feels being the power back as a freshman.
Sampson had the option to either play at one of the best public teams in Philly at Imhotep but decided to attend and play for Wissahickon over the summer.
"I felt like Wissahickon is a family here and Imhotep, no shade but the academics are better at Wissahickon and I came here last year and me and my mom thought it was the best decision to stay here."
Wissahickon's air attack wasn’t at full strength, and while QB Nolan Pounds threw a touchdown, he canceled it out with a pick; however, his legs made up for the mistakes throwing. A wizard in the pocket and a master at faking the hand off Pounds was able to make defenders miss and escape the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. Ex-Neumann-Goretti QB Jaden Randall was sidelined for the first week with a broken finger so tonight was all about Pounds. His only touchdown pass came a third of the way in the second quarter with eight minutes remaining when he found #13 Westcott streaking down the middle of the field wide-open giving Wissahickon a two-score lead.
"I don't really think it's a battle as much, Jaden (Randall) just really got here and they got two different play styles. They're two great Quarterbacks we're going to use them both," McLean said on how he feels about Pounds and Randall QB situation.
As Wissahickon won the game, it would be a shame to overlook CRN's Will Scibona who scored the first two touchdowns against Wissahickon. Scibona only scored once against Wiss last year and was the first player to score on Wiss last season. Council Rock scored two more times against Wiss. One from #3 Logan Atkinson on when he bounced to the outside for a three-yard TD run, and when QB Gio Cozza pushed the ball in himself at the one-yard line.
Wissahickon starts off 1-0 and travels to Hatboro Horsham for their second game of the year next week looking to start a winning streak.
"We got the opportunity to go 1-0 against a really good Hatboro-Horsham so we got to be prepared for them," concluded Coach Graver.
Council Rock looks to bounce back and get their first win of the year away against an Abington who they lost to a year ago.