CONSHOHOCKEN — The Archbishop Carroll marching band had little opportunity to perform Friday as Penn Wood marched to the beat of their own drummer. The visiting Patriots were unrelenting in pursuit of their first victory and seized the opportunity, topping Carroll, 23-7 in a defensive lockdown of the hometown Patriots.
"The entire team was involved tonight and we need that every week,' Penn Wood coach Troy Brooks said. "' This is your week,' I kept telling them. ... Now they know what they're capable of.'
Carroll had no answer for Penn Wood running back Tayvon Ruley, who walked in Penn Wood's first touchdown with 3:48 remaining in the first. He didn't stop there, however.
Ruley had 88 rushing yards on 11 carries, including four plays of 10 yards or more. The junior ran roughshod over the opposition.
"Last week I was really impressed with Tayvon,' Brooks said. "I like the way he runs. ... He's very good and I think he has a lot of upside to help.'
Carroll, meanwhile, never got the offense clicking. They collected just eight first downs — six of which came on consecutive plays on two separate drives — and had little production out of their backfield tandem of Shawn Springs and Austin Tilghman, who combined for 86 yards.
Quarterback Sean McMorran seemed unwilling to look downfield early and instead elected to use his legs. By the time the passing game was established, Carroll was in a 23-0 hole.
"I don't think Sean felt comfortable getting it out of his hands,' Carroll coach Joe Powel said. "I told him at halftime that we have to throw the ball down the field, to let it go, trust his receivers and trust his arm.
"He started doing that and we started completing some.'
Springs opened things up late in the fourth quarter by hauling in a 30-yard completion from McMorran, who found his running back later in the drive for a 15-yard touchdown. Earlier, Springs caught a ball while leaping out of bounds with one foot just touching the grass in the endzone. It was a brilliant reception that was unfortunately not seen with clear eyes by the referees and called back.
Carroll never seemed to get a break, but nevertheless, Penn Wood came prepared.
"We knew when they lined up in the I-formation that Austin was coming, and when they put Shawn in the back, you knew a toss was coming,' Brooks said. "When we went through film study, myself and the coaching staff, we try to do our best to give the kids what they're going too.'
The entire team and staff of the Penn Wood Patriots were on the same page for their first win. Teammates were screaming from the sidelines so loudly that many of them left the Conshohocken A Field with raspy voices.