By Rich Flanagan
A year ago, Strath Haven dismantled Harriton by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and left the Rams with looks of frustration and dismay.
It’s the blueprint Kevin Clancy has preached for much of his tenure with the Panthers: win the battle at the point of attack. Fast forward to their matchup Friday night and Clancy’s team was again dominating upfront. The Panthers limited the Rams to 86 total yards of offense and did not allow a first down until the third quarter on their way to a 27-7 victory over Harriton.
It’s the second straight year Strath Haven (1-1, 1-0 Central League) has held Harriton under 100 total yards. The Panthers did not allow a run or pass of more than twenty yards for the entire game and limited the Rams to only seven points, a week after they tallied 36 in their opener. While his team only had one sack, Clancy could not have been more pleased with the way his defense dominated the game from start to finish.
“We had seen them a lot on film and they really run that wishbone well,” Clancy said. “They scored 36 points last week and it looks really good in their scrimmage. We controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and punched some scores in to eat clock and keep their offense off of the field.”
As the defense did its part, the offense controlled the tempo and kept Harriton’s (11, 0-1) on the sideline. The Panthers racked up 225 yards on the ground with running back Zack Hussein accounting for 95 of them as well as two rushing touchdowns, both of which came in the second quarter. Sean Daly provided a nice complement to Hussein by tallying 68 rushing yards of his own.
Hussein, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior, has taken over the backfield from Mekhi Hill and John Harrar and bought into Clancy’s mantra.
“If you control the trenches, you can control the game. We’re a winning team and we’re going to continue to strive to get better,” Hussein said.
Strath Haven pushed its lead to 27-0 after quarterback Jake Fisher found Thomas Foster off of play-action for a 39-yard hookup. That medial completion was set up by the Panthers’ ability to get off of their blocks and push defenders up field. Clancy, who picked up his 295th career victory, and his team now change their attention to another Central League foe, Lower Merion.