As Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, played with gusto by the late George Peppard, liked to say on the corny but funny action series “The A Team”, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Phillipsburg head football coach Frank Duffy could have uttered Col. Smith’s favorite line multiple times in the first half of the Stateliners’ 42-14 thumping of visiting Watchung Hills Friday night.
That’s because Phillipsburg’s offense ran play after play that looked like perfection – or the closest football things to it – in piling up 42 first-half points.
“I had some really good help from (the Stateliner assistants) up top,” Duffy said. “They did a tremendous job of reading what (Watchung Hills) was doing and giving me good plays to call.”
“Up top” was “on top” most of the first half. P’burg ran play after play that probably didn’t look better when the staff drew it up.
Take the game’s very first play from scrimmage, an inside handoff to senior tailbackJa’Quan Jones. Jones was pretty well bottled up by Hillsborough in last week’s game with 3 yards on 7 carries.
But on Friday, Jones bottled up a big play against the 0-5 Warriors. He took the ball, stepped through a hole, made a cutback and was gone. It was a 67-yard touchdown that was clearly going to be a score after the first 5 yards.
And for a team like Phillipsburg (3-2) that entered the game on a two-game losing streak and had been victimized by some odd early plays in both of those defeats, the positive boost that came from watching Jones roar clear through the Warriors’ secondary – Jones might the least likely back in the area to be run down from behind – was beyond enormous.
“When you have something like that happen early in the game, like Bridgewater-Raritan did against us (fumble return for TD on third play), something positive like that, it stays with you the rest of the game,” Duffy said.
It sure did for Phillipsburg.
The Stateliners tore off big runs by senior fullback Garrett Boures, who went 50 yards on Phillipsburg’s second play to set up senior quarterback Danny Fisher’s 3-yard TD run. There were later runs of 31 and 33 yards and passes of 25 and 72 for scores. Whatever the Stateliners did, it worked.
But Phillipsburg wants more.
“We can get a lot better, though,” Boures said.
Now that would really be seeing a plan come together.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.