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Tozzi, Ground Game Helps Penncrest Finish Chichester

Tagged under: District 1, Gameday Hub, News

| September 2, 2023

MIDDLETOWN: Last season the Penncrest Lions struggled and went 1-10 however in several of those games the Lions either had a lead or were close before things snowballed and got out of hand. All off-season QB Nico Tozzi and his teammates had one word in mind: FINISH. On Thursday evening the Lions did just that and amassed 350 yards rushing as a team on their way to a 48-28 win over the visiting Chichester Eagles giving the Lions their first 2-0 start to a season since 2013.

“All off season we’ve been saying that we’ve got to finish games.” Tozzi said. Lions coach Paul Graham echoed those sentiments saying, “In the offseason we’ve about that we are going to be finishers we are going to be conditioned, we’ve really made an emphasis on conditioning and being physical.”

Graham went on to add “Last week at Sun Valley things got tight on us after we got up early and we were able to pull.”

After forcing the Eagles to punt on the game’s opening drive the Lions ground game got to work an 11-play 58-yard drive that was capped with a Tozzi one-yard-keeper. A botched snap on a punt set the Lions up with the ball on the Eagles’ 25, six plays later Matt Ferry added to the lead with a two-yard scoring run.

Chichester’s defense got the Eagles on the board first when Walter Jones IV intercepted Zach Mullin and returned it 45 yards for the score to cut the Lions’ lead down to 14-6 but the Lions responded right back with another scoring drive that Ferry capped with another two-yard touchdown run to put the Lions ahead 21-6 with under a minute to go in the first half.

Disaster struck for the Eagles on the ensuing play from scrimmage Danny Kelly was intercepted by Orion Kolleh. On the next Lions play Tozzi showed the arm strength that made him a Catholic University baseball commit by connecting with Kolby Poole for the 28-6 halftime lead.

On the opening drive of the second half Ferry once again found the endzone for the Lions this time from 5 yards out extending the lead to 35-6. Ferry finished the game with 124 yards rushing.

Kelly connected with Derrick Robertson for a 57-yard touchdown strike to bring the Eagles to within 35-12. But Ferry and the Lions responded with another touchdown this time of the 7-yard variety.

In the fourth quarter Kelly would add a scoring run from 8 yards out and a touchdown pass to Bajzhir Resse. Matt Malley added a 35-yard touchdown for the Lions on his way to a 124-yard performance.

Next week the Lions will face a tough challenge when they take on Central League powerhouse Garnet Valley.

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