Gratz more like it, fellas

ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER GW ROLLS Central's Sam Reid tries to pull down George Washington's Akinyeli Everage as Central's Brian Moseley (28) and GW's Zak Hanna (70) move in during the third quarter of yesterday's Public League AAAA Gold contest. The home team, George Washington, cruised to a 20-0 victory.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER GW ROLLS Central's Sam Reid tries to pull down George Washington's Akinyeli Everage as Central's Brian Moseley (28) and GW's Zak Hanna (70) move in during the third quarter of yesterday's Public League AAAA Gold contest. The home team, George Washington, cruised to a 20-0 victory.
Posted: September 29, 2013

THE SIMON GRATZ football team did not get off to the start it wanted for the season. Losses to Ben Franklin and Overbrook lingered next to a win over Martin Luther King. After a 26-7 beatdown of John Bartram High School yesterday, the Bulldogs are sitting in a better position at 3-2.

Their win over host Bartram was fueled by what they did the week before. On Sept. 20, Gratz took down division favorite Mastery Charter North in an upset, 32-28. This gave the Bulldogs new life.

"That helped us tremendously because we were down a little bit from being 1-2, but now that we are 3-2, it really picked us up," running back Shawn Williams said.

"It was a morale booster," quarterback Musa Al-Sulaimani, said. "They were one of the top teams. 3-0. We have to just carry that out for the rest of the season."

The win has given the Bulldogs more confidence moving forward.

"We expect to do better now," Al-Sulaimani said. "We have to take that win from Mastery and take this win and take it along. We can't take any team lightly. We have to stay humble and hopefully we can go all the way and get the championship this year."

"Everybody started to get momentum," Williams added. "We started to get in it and get confident. We are feeling really confident about our season now."

"It got our confidence back up a lot," wide reciever Nydair Rouse said. "It made us really ready for this week, and made us look forward to the playoffs. We know now that we are in the mix."

Gratz was ready to play when they headed to Southwest Philly yesterday. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 26-0 lead until Bartram managed to find the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

The offensive trio of Al-Sulaimani, Williams and Rouse led the offensive charge. Al-Sulaimani threw for three touchdowns, none of which was shorter than 26 yards.

"I was able to get the ball out of my hand quickly," the junior quarterback said. "The offensive line blocked great today, too. We were able to do our thing on offense."

"Everybody played together," Williams added. "We came together as a team and played well. We came to win."

Williams dialed up 15 yards on seven carries, as well as two touchdown receptions.

"I'm a hard worker," Williams said. "I work with the team and try to get everybody in it so we can get the wins, and it worked."

Despite the score, Rouse believes there's room to improve.

"I don't think we played as good as a whole," he said. "We should have put up about 60 on them. We need to get better with attitude, and be dedicated to the sport. It has to start Monday."

Gratz had two four-and-outs within the Bartram 10-yard line that could have put the game way out of reach, but the Bulldogs could not convert.

"We started off very flat," coach Erik Zipay said. "Then we started to pick it up and do the little things. We are pretty tough, we just have to continue to do the little things well."

Even though they may not be 100 percent thrilled with yesterday's performance, the Bulldogs are looking to the future, and like what they see.

"We have a lot of quality players," Zipay said. "We'll get it together sooner or later. We are going to put a game together. We're getting ready."

"Two wins in a row means we are on a roll," Rouse added. "Here we come. Whoever is next, be ready."

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