Defense carries New Philadelphia to victory

Darrin Lautenschleger
Updated: Saturday, September 15, 2012

CAMBRIDGE  With all the fireworks the New Philadelphia offense produced in the season’s first three games, the defense probably was a bit overlooked.

Not now.

The Quakers shut off the end zone on a dramatic goal-line stand in the third quarter Friday night and forced three consecutive fumbles to hold Cambridge scoreless in the second half of a 34-10 win over the Bobcats.

“We had to show them what we were made of and that we were tough,” said New Philadelphia senior defensive back Hunter Joseph, who had two fumble recoveries. “Holding a team that scored 70 points last week (in a win over River View) to 10 points is a big thing for us, and they didn’t score in the second half either.”

The win leaves the Quakers unbeaten at 4-0 and 1-0 in the East Central Ohio League, while Cambridge is 2-2, 1-1.

Clinging to a 13-10 lead, the Quakers turned downright defensive when Cambridge reached first and goal at the visitors’ 6-yard line.

Two running plays got the ball to the 1, and then New Philadelphia’s linemen stopped Bobcat quarterback Caleb Tingle twice on attempted sneaks that went nowhere.

“Our class lost to Dover in the eighth grade on a situation like that from the 1, and we decided we weren’t going to do it again tonight,” said senior linebacker Justin Ward. “We really got a great push up front and they just couldn’t get past that and get it in.”

And the Quakers certainly did not flinch when backed up just outside the goal line as they took over the ball.

On second down from the 2, junior quarterback Caleb Beans rifled a pass up the seam to junior tight end JoVohn Morrow, who turned on his sprinter’s legs to outrace the Cambridge defense for a 98-yard touchdown play and a 20-10 lead.

“It was a huge 14-point swing for us right there, because if Cambridge scores, we are suddenly playing from behind,” said New Philadelphia coach Matt Dennison. “And that play was because of our offensive line. They made the blocks and protected and we didn’t hesitate to call the pass right there.”

From there, the Quakers stripped the ball on three straight possessions to force Cambridge turnovers. Jamal Johnson, who rushed for 210 yards on 23 carries, cashed one turnover in on a run and Ward added another as the Quakers dominated the fourth quarter.

For the game, Beans completed only six passes, but he finished with 268 passing yards and all of the receptions were for 25 yards or more. Morrow had three catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

The teams battled to a near draw in the first half, each scoring on a 28-yard touchdown pass tossed by a quarterback named Caleb. New Philadelphia held a 13-10 edge at halftime thanks to two field goals from senior kicker Adam Hershberger, covering 30 and 31 yards.

Beans put the Quakers on the board first in the opening quarter when he rifled a TD pass to Morrow on a similar play to the big second-half score, as Morrow slipped off the line and streaked untouched up the middle of the field. Cambridge countered on its next possession with Tingle finding Erik Snell just inside the end zone on a near-desperation throw on a third-and-22 play from the New Phila 28.

But the second half belonged to the Quakers, who head to Canal Fulton next week for a showdown with Northwest in a nonleague battle.

“We played very physical tonight, and we knew we would because Cambridge prides itself on its toughness,” Dennison said. “We stepped up our game a notch in that area and we can be very happy with that.”