MOORESTOWN TOWNSHIP - The Oakcrest High School football team had a solid game plan for Moorestown. The Falcons had plays drawn up throughout the week and ran specific schemes targeted at the Quakers.
But all that preparation and planning wasn't enough on gameday.
Third-seeded Moorestown defeated No. 6 Oakcrest 34-7 in a South Jersey Group III quarterfinal on Friday.
"I was a little disappointed with the effort," Oakcrest coach Chuck Smith said. "A lot of little things we coached to do, and it didn't happen."
The Quakers (6-4) scored on their first drive. After starting with good field position on Oakcrest's 41, it took Moorestown four plays before running back Delaney Wallace scored on a 13-yard run to go up 6-0.
The Falcons (5-4) responded with a solid drive of their own. Beginning at midfield, they slowly moved the ball, chipping away with 2- and 3-yard runs. The big play came on Brandon Bell's 15-yard run to Moorestown's 25-yard line.
But Oakcrest was stopped there. Two plays with no gain and a penalty forced the Falcons to go for a 31-yard field goal.
However, the ball fell short, hitting the bottom of the crossbar.
"The two touchdowns they had, they did the same play over," Oakcrest quarterback Dan Smith said. "They did a bunch of crosses and our coaches gave it to us all week to expect it."
The Falcons' defense settled after Moorestown's first score. They forced the Quakers to punt on the next drive, and then Bell blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt.
After a slow start, the Falcons looked as though they were going to make it a close game.
"We didn't come out full throttle like we usually do," Bell said. "There was no particular reason. We kind of made a lot of mistakes. There were little things we didn't capitalize on and they took advantage of it."
Moorestown quarterback Andrew Lisa was impressive. He connected with Sidney Ruffin for a 35-yard touchdown with 5 minutes, 5 second left in the second quarter to give Moorestown a 13-0 lead.
However, the backbreaker came in the fourth quarter. Facing 4th-and-14, Lisa stepped back to throw. When he saw Bell coming, he scrambled to his right and threw the ball moments before Bell took him down.
The ball landed in Zac Frantz's hands for a touchdown and a 27-0 lead with 9:58 left.
Lisa finished 10-for-20 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns.
"They pass protected extremely well," Chuck Smith said. "If you give that quarterback that much time, he is going to find receivers."
The Falcons had opportunities. They recovered two fumbles, but each time they only managed to run a few plays before Moorestown's defense shut them down.
Bell was the highlight on offense for Oakcrest. He had eight carries for 171 yards, including three separate runs of 34, 47 and 51 yards.
Bell's 50-yarder set up Oakcrest's only touchdown. He moved the Falcons down to the 35-yard line. After three unsuccessful plays, on fourth down, Dan Smith found Bell for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:19 left in the game.
"He's a special player. One of those guys that comes around every so often. Tough, strong, speed. He has desire," Chuck Smith said. "Put those things together and you have a really good football player."
The Falcons walked off the field disappointed. They came into Friday night's game with four straight shutouts and Moorestown had lost two straight.
Oakcrest thought it would have put up a better showing.
"I'm speechless," Dan Smith said. "Most disappointing is that I don't get to play with the senior class more than I thought I would."
Contact Susan Lulgjuraj:
Oakcrest 0 0 0 7 – 7
Moorestown 6 7 7 14 – 34
M-Wallace 13 run (Kick blocked)
M-Ruffin 35 pass from Lisa (Martinelli kick)
M-Lisa 1 run (Martinelli kick)
M-Frantz 31 pass from Lisa (Martinelli kick)
M-Wallace 24 run (Martinelli kick)
O-Bell 11 pass from Smith (Camey kick)
Rushing 36-278 31-202
Passing 7-38 10-213
First downs 10 15
Turnovers 2 2
Rushing-Adkisson 5-14, Smith 18-89, 8-171, Jetter 3-5, Santiago 2-(-)1 O; Wallace 16-113, Bonett 4-29, Frantz 6-38, Lisa 5-22 M.
Receiving-Clements 2-14, Roberson 1-7, Adkisson 1-11, Bell 3-6 O; Ruffin 3-74, Wallace 2-1, Martinelli 1-28, Bonett 1-43, Frantz 3-67 M.
Passing-Smith 7-18-2-38 O; Lisa 10-20-0-213 M.
Records-Moorestown 6-4, Oakcrest 5-4.