CB West Falls Short in District 1 6A Title Game

Central Bucks West saw its successful season come to an end in Friday’s District 1 6A title game against Garnet Valley, which captured its second district crown in as many years.

District 1 6A Final

Endings – they’re never easy.

And when West’s magical postseason came to an end in Friday’s District 1 6A final, there was no hiding the emotions the players were feeling as they exchanged hugs and quiet farewells.

“We knew it was going to end at some point, but it hurts,” senior Eli Boehm said. “Every season it hurts. The loss – it’s a loss, but the thing that hurts the most is just not being able to play with the same guys that we’ve been grinding with again.”

Don’t be fooled by the final score – it was a whole lot closer than 35-7. Although the Bucks may have been the number 11 seed in the 16-team tournament, they never played like it. That was the case again Friday.

“I think right now obviously the sting of being this close and not finishing is tough,” West coach Rob Rowan said. “I told them at the end – you’re never defined by one night. What they’ve been able to accomplish is just amazing.

“They’ve taken the program to new heights. Building a program is all about experience, and for our younger guys to get this experience – I think it’s only going to bode well for the future.”

The Jaguars scored with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, capitalizing on a West fumble and taking it 43 yards in three plays. The short drive was capped when quarterback Matthew Mesaros connected with Drew Van Horn for a 26-yard touchdown strike. The extra point by Timothy Comers gave Garnet Valley a 7-0 lead.

The Bucks were poised to even the score late in the half when – after a pass interference call on the Jaguars – they had the ball on the Garnet Valley 15. Three plays later – a pair of Boehm runs sandwiched around a Vinny Cherubini run – the Bucks found themselves with first-and-goal at the three-yard line.

That’s when the drive stalled as a result of back-to-back-to-back penalties that put the Bucks in a fourth-and-goal from the 30. They came up empty. The Jaguars took over with less than two minutes remaining in the half and capped a 70-yard scoring drive when Joseph Checchio leaped into the end zone from a yard out to send Garnet Valley into halftime with a 14-0 lead.

“We just made too many mistakes, and they capitalized on them,” Boehm said.

The Bucks - after a seven-yard Garnet Valley punt - got right back in the game with a 64-yard scoring drive that included a 17-yard run by Cherubini and culminated with a highlight reel play that saw Boehm turn a short Ganz Cooper pass into a 33-yard touchdown. The senior running back shed every would-be tackler in his path and leaped over one for a touchdown that made it a 14-7 game with 4:14 remaining in the third quarter.  

“At a point, I knew these were going to be my last runs of the game, and I just wanted to have fun while it lasted,” Boehm said. “I wanted to make it special.”

Boehm’s gutsy determined effort did not surprise his coach.

“He’s been doing it for three years, and we’re going to miss the crap out of him because he’s just an amazing, amazing football player,” Rowan said. “He contributed so much to this program and unquestionably left it significantly better than he found it.”

The Bucks forced a Garnet Valley punt on its next possession, but any thoughts of a comeback suffered a major setback when Garnet Valley’s Checchio – benefitting from his team’s aggressive pass rush - came up with an interception. On their first play from scrimmage, Jason Bernard took it 21 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 Garnet Valley advantage after three quarters.

“We had a mental error on a breakdown – Eli was running wide open, and we had a mental error on a protection,” Rowan said. “We gave up a sack, and the sack turned into an interception. The next play we had a missed tackle touchdown.
“You’re looking at legitimately a 14-point swing where you might have been 14-14 if we complete the pass. We ran the same play – it was wide open again, and we didn’t complete the pass. You’ve got to make those plays. We had a mistake, and when you have a mistake against a good team, they make you pay.”

Garnet Valley added a touchdown midway through the final quarter, and a late score gave the Jaguars their final margin of victory.

Although the ending was disappointing, the season certainly was not, and it’s safe to say that few if any would have imagined the Bucks would be playing in the district final.

“Especially when we started out 1-3, we had doubts about even making playoffs,” Boehm said. “But we completely switched things around.”

Although Boehm leaves behind quite a legacy, that is not what the senior running back will take with him from his high school football experience.

“I have brothers for life, guys that I’ll have forever, best friends,” Boehm said.

EXTRA POINTS: The Bucks were without junior standout Conor McFadden, an impact player on both sides of the ball who was sidelined with a broken collarbone…West sophomore AJ Gerace recovered a fumble in the first half. He is one of a strong group of underclassmen that will be returning next year…Central Bucks West (5-2 SOL) closed out its memorable season with a 9-5 record.

Central Bucks West     0-0-7-0   7
Garnet Valley           7-7-7-14   35