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CR South remains unbeaten


Last season, Council Rock North claimed the SOL Patriot Division while Council Rock South was the runner-up.

This fall could again likely feature Council Rocks in the top two spots in the division. While both teams won a game in districts last year, the two schools – they each entered Monday’s contests ranked in the top eight in District One 4A – could likely go further this postseason.

Both CR schools opened unbeaten in their first five games, an impressive feat since they played each other. The sister school was the only blemish on either record.

In a collision course game, the Council Rocks dueled to a 2-2 tie on a sweltering Sept. 5 night. North’s Corey Brennan answered a goal from South’s Declan Haines to produce a 1-1 score at the half. Frankie Rafferty put the Golden Hawks up again 2-1 before the Indians’ James Reynolds equalized it at two.

The rematch is on Oct. 12.

South entered press time 4-0-1 after cruising to a 6-0 Monday win at Harry S. Truman. Rafferty, who has a goal in every game and eight on the year, scored when the match was barely a minute old. Reid Vandermark quickly added a brace and the Golden Hawks entered halftime up 5-0.

“We’re bringing back the spine of the team. Our goalie, our center back, our center mid and center forward are all back,” noted South head coach Alan Nicholl. “There is no question that the experience is our 12th player and a huge strength of ours.

“I have five or six players who play together on VE’s club team. Now they are all at the high school level and on the same team,” Nicholl continued. “We’re really trying to use their experience together and their ability to seamlessly go from one line to another, connect the dots and allow the game to run as fluidly as possible. Their soccer IQ, savviness and understanding of each other is their strength.”

Rafferty opened South’s season with a goal in their 3-0 opening win against Archbishop Wood, followed it with a brace in a 2-1 win over Bensalem and followed that with a hat trick in a 4-1 victory against Neshaminy.

“Physically, (Rafferty) is very, very strong. He checks every box as far as a soccer player goes, let alone a striker,” Nicholl shared. “He has a voracious work rate and two terrific feet. If I were to point to his biggest strength, unquestionably, it is his work rate. He can go left and right, and he has a nose for the goal. It doesn’t matter where he is roaming the field.”

Rafferty’s prolific scoring generates attention, but the Golden Hawks have plenty of other weapons who don’t get the press.

“George Simon is a very technical player. He has breakaway speed and his skill in the small spaces is very advanced for a player of his age,” Nicholl observed. “I’ve been very impressed with his progression to take on that role of being a dangerous player and a very good distributor who is able to connect the dots from the midfield position. He has been an incredible asset for us this year.

South’s defense has yielded just four goals in five matches. “I’d also mention Denys Tsinyk,” Nicholl added. “He is a senior who played midfield last year who has transitioned into the fullback role for us. I felt like his calmness and experience, his comfort with the ball at his feet would be a real boost for us at the defensive position. I’m very happy with how he has stepped into that new role. He has given good composure to our back line, next to George O’Brien who is bringing all kinds of experience.”

The Council Rocks entered press time with late Wednesday crossover road games. CR South headed to Central Bucks East; CR North traveled to Central Bucks West.

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