Central Bucks East’s Anthony Giardano last took a snap in a varsity game nearly two years ago.
In his team’s opening-game victory over Quakertown, the junior quarterback looked as smooth as if it were yesterday.
Giardano, who played tight end last season and was last under center late in his freshman season, threw for three touchdowns and 330 yards in the Patriots’ 27-13 victory over Quakertown in the season opener for both teams Aug. 23.
It was all about repetition for Giardano and his teammates.
“We actually have been going over these plays since December,” said Giardano, who completed 13 of 18 passes. “We just went out and executed everything well.
“But this was a team effort. Our line and running backs did a great job, and our defense really helped us out.”
All-state running back senior Jack Ventresca, who gained over 1,400 all-purpose yards last year, left the game early with an ankle injury. He gained 10 yards on two carries.
“It looks like Jake will be fine,” said CB East head coach John Donnelly. “Anthony came up with a big game for us. He’s a gamer and knows the offense well. He has a big-time arm and plays with a lot of moxy.
“We had four trips to the red zone early and came away with two scores.”
Giardano connected with fellow junior Will Silverman for a 71-yard touchdown strike on the game’s second play.
The Patriots’ Connor Loveless recovered the first of three Quakertown fumbles – an interception made it four turnovers overall – early in the second quarter that led to the first of two Michael Smigley field goals. Silverman, who had six catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns, later caught a 15-yarder from Giardano that gave CB East a 20-6 advantage midway through the third quarter.
The duo’s final connection was a 68-yarder that gave the Patriots a 27-13 cushion in the fourth quarter.
“Timing was everything for us,” Giardano said. “We were in sync. We got a lot of momentum early and kept it going.”
Quakertown did manage to stay close behind the running of Tyler Merwarth, who ran for a team-high 68 yards and scored on a one-yard plunge. Josh McGovern added 45 yards on the ground, and he found also the end zone on a one-yard dive.
But the Panthers were bottled up most of the night. Donnelly credited the play of Loveless and Jack Duffy on defense and offensive lineman Jack Duffy, Nick Sebal and Griffin Trail, who all graded well.
“We did a nice job on defense as they are a good football team,” said Donnelly about his unit’s showing. “We did a lot of good things, but we still have things to improve on.”
Donnelly knows his team will have another major test at Hatboro-Horsham Friday night, while Quakertown will host Souderton.
“They are a good team and will be ready,” added Donnelly about Hatboro-Horsham, which lost to Central Bucks West in its opener. “They will be very athletic and aggressive. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”