Special Teams and Turnovers Prove Costly in Playoff Loss to Collingswood

Special Teams and Turnovers Prove Costly in Playoff Loss to Collingswood

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Special teams play and turnovers proved costly for the Pirates in their first round playoff loss to Collingswood Friday night, 24-22.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it, that was tough,” head coach Mario Patrizi said.”

Cinnaminson drops to 6-3 overall, while Collingswood moves to 7-2 and advances to face division rival West Deptford in the second round next Friday night.

The Pirates were the #5 seed and the Panthers were the #4 seed in the bracket.

These two teams met just four weeks ago as Collingswood handed the Pirates their first loss of the year 12-8.

Things got off to a rocky start Friday night for the Pirates as Collingswood jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a safety.

“You can’t come in here in the first week of the state playoffs and sleepwalk through the first half to a good team,” Patrizi said. “The effort was there. You can’t let that happen.”

A punt downed at the Pirates one forced Shaun Davilla into the end zone for a pass attempt. He was flagged for intentional grounding, which caused the safety.

Collingswood then scored on a Jovon Allie one-yard run and converted a two-point attempt to take a 10-0 lead.

A Frankie Stepnowski fumble recovery and return to the Panthers 19 set up the Pirates first score of the night.

Kevin Schoch ran it in from five yards out just three plays later to cut the lead to 10-6.

“Kevin’s a good kid,” Patrizi said. “He’s played well all year for us. He just wants to play. He’ll play running back or receiver.”

The ensuing kickoff was returned 96 yards by Abdul Bangura to give the Panthers a 16-6 lead.

Bangura struck again to open the second half with a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“That’s tough to watch,” Patrizi said. “You gotta tackle. We practice special teams from day one of camp and every week in practice. You gotta tackle.”

A two-point conversion gave the Panthers a 24-6 lead.

Cinnaminson cut the lead to 24-14 when Davilla hit Sean Harris on third and goal from the 20. Harris then hauled in a two-point pass.

Early in the fourth defensive lineman Kai Leibfried recovered a Panthers fumble and took it 15 yards for a score, cutting the Pirates deficit to 24-22.

“Our defense stepped up, we executed some offensive plays,” Patrizi said. “We had them on their heels because their play calling changed.”

That would be as close as the Pirates would get as a last-ditch effort to score led to a game-ending interception.

The offense turned the ball over four times on Friday night (two interceptions and two fumbles), by far a season high.

The 24 points allowed are also a season high.

Cinnaminson ends the 2016 season on Wednesday, November 23 with a home game against Liberty rival Delran at 7pm.

“That’s always a rivalry,” Patrizi said. “It hurts right now. Our expectations were pretty high this year and to get out of here one and done, it’s not what we planned on.”

A win clinches the division title outright for the Pirates.

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Jim is the creator and editor of Cinn City Sports. He also created At the Dish, Life With Tony and Enzo and is the owner of JAVFreelancing. He coached baseball for five years, three at his former high school (Holy Cross in Delran, NJ) and two at prominent Division III program Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He has worked for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ; Metro Networks in Bala Cynwyd, PA; and was the play-by-play announcer for the Camden Riversharks of the Independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for two seasons (2007-2008) on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, the student-run radio station at Rowan University. Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and minor in Journalism from Rowan University in 2008. While in school he was the Assistant Sports Director at WGLS for two years and the Sports Director for one year. He also covered the football, baseball, softball and both basketball teams for the school newspaper 'The Whit.' He is the former Sports Editor for the Cinnaminson and Moorestown Patch websites. Jim lives in New Jersey with his wife Nicole, sons Tony and Enzo and dog Phoebe. He can be reached at jimvassallo@cinncitynews.com