Central Penn Piranha begin new era in Lititz

By on May 21, 2014

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After making a play-action fake to Ron Hunter, Piranha quarterback Mark Jarmon drops back to pass, eventually finding Darren Echols for a touchdown strike during action last Saturday at Grosh Field.

After making a play-action fake to Ron Hunter, Piranha quarterback Mark Jarmon drops back to pass, eventually finding Darren Echols for a touchdown strike during action last Saturday at Grosh Field.

om Laubach and former Indianapolis Colt Raheem Brock brought minor league football to Lititz Saturday evening when the Central Penn Piranha opened their preseason with a 10-7 win over the Brooklyn Seminoles at Grosh Field.

“We came out on top,” Laubach said. “We scored on the first offensive play and got sloppy after that. Too many penalties. The defense played well. They put us in good spots but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities.”

The Piranha are not a new commodity and win regularly on the field. They have won eight league and three national championships since their founding in 1995.

“The team’s always been successful on the field but I don’t think we’ve been that great in social media, marketing standpoint,” Laubach said. “We want to get some crowd behind us. This is the perfect little community for us, a sports town, if we can get the crowd to us. The goal (is) one thousand people a game. We’re going to get out in the community and get involved with charities and different things that are going on. I think this is a great town for a minor league football team.”

The Piranha kicked off to open the game and quickly showed why they have been dominant for many years. After stopping the first Seminole possession by sacking QB Jerrold Wilson, the offense started spectacularly, as Laubach mentioned, by scoring on their first play from scrimmage. QB Mark Jarmon dropped back to pass on 1st and 15 at their own 47 yard line and hit Darren Echols down the home crowd sideline for a touchdown and an end zone flip.

“It is a play that we ran a couple of years ago against the New Jersey Lions,” Echols said. “We knew it was going to be effective because a lot of teams key on our run. It was small play action pass and the DB got caught looking. Jarmon threw a perfect pass and I had to do my tradition. I flip after each touchdown.”

Neither team scored for the rest of the first half but the Piranha defense gave the Seminoles few reasons to believe they would. On Brooklyn’s first play from scrimmage after the CP touchdown, the defense forced a fumble by Wilson. They sacked Wilson three times in the first half. Safety Mike Baldwin thwarted the Seminoles best drive of the half by intercepting Wilson’s pass into the end zone by leaping over his opponent and a teammate. By halftime, the Piranha still clung to their 7-0 lead.

A local band called BluJay performed for the crowd through halftime.

Ryan Bechtold, speaking for his bandmates Randy Bechtold and Corey Salzano, explained how the team found them and got to play for the opener.

“We played a few previous shows at La Piazza,” he said. “The Coach and a lot of the team members were there. I got to meet them. He said he wanted us to play. It was cool.”

The Seminoles’ first possession of the second half ended with a punt that Echols fielded in a risky position with the ball bouncing and defenders around him. The risk paid dividends when as he returned the punt from near the 20, over the 50 and to the Brooklyn 46 yard line. The Seminoles added to the total yards by dragging him down with a horse-collar tackle for a 15-yard penalty. Starting at the 31, the Piranha moved the ball to the 18 yard before kicking a field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Quiet for much of the first half, the crowd began the traditional “Defense” chant, sometimes on the own and sometimes urged on by the PA announcer or offensive lineman Corey Clarke. The crowd reached its loudest late in the fourth quarter after the Seminoles scored to make it 10-7. Following a CP punt that pinned the Seminoles back against their own end zone with 1:43 left in the game, the crowd created noise by stomping and cheering each time the Seminoles came to the line. Four plays later, cornerback Eddie Scipio broke up Wilson’s pass to ensure the win.

“At first, I thought it was going to be another comeback (to) the sticks,” Scipio said. “They ran a cross and I jumped on it. The quarterback was eyeing the receiver the whole way. Once he threw the ball, I tried to jump on it. I didn’t even see Cedric (Graham) coming across or he could have had the pick. Hopefully, I’m going to get a couple of those this year.”

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