After backup role, Fitz fits in at C.B. West

Tailback Marvin Todd has rushed for 588 yards and seven TDs.
Tailback Marvin Todd has rushed for 588 yards and seven TDs.
Posted: October 11, 2013

After getting a six-game taste of being Central Bucks West's starting quarterback as a sophomore, John Fitz served mostly in a backup role last season.

"It was disappointing," Fitz said. "But the good thing about it was, it made me work and practice harder. It motivated me."

Happily back under center, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior has sparked C.B. West to a surprising 5-1 start. The Bucks have won five straight, including three in Suburban One League Continental Conference action, since an opening loss to Upper Dublin.

"For the first time in three years, I see a kid who's really enjoying the game," C.B. West fifth-year coach Brian Hensel said.

In last Friday's conference matchup against neighboring Central Bucks East, Fitz completed 16 of 23 throws for a school-record 310 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Bucks to a 42-34 triumph.

He also rushed 14 times for 64 yards and a score.

"The timing of his stepping up for us was incredible," Hensel said. "He just kept us in the game. He managed the clock, made good play decisions."

Fitz, a standout pitcher in baseball, has hit on 55 of 113 passes (48.7 percent) for 830 yards and nine TDs, with five interceptions, through six games.

Of directing C.B. West's no-huddle, spread scheme, the 17-year-old said, "I really like it. I make my own decisions sometimes. If they work, they work. There's a lot of freedom there."

Fitz, of Doylestown, went to camps over the summer at Boston College, Lehigh, Penn, Princeton, and Vanderbilt. In a four-day stop at Boston College, he worked with Eagles offensive coordinator Ryan Day.

"It really helped me with my mechanics and approach to the game," said Fitz, who also played defensive end during last season's 5-5 campaign.

Fitz, who also serves as a punter, can turn to any one of four receivers at West: Joe Ramos (20 catches for 270 yards, 4 TDs), Mark Ciaudelli (17 for 263, 3), Corey Schott (9 for 183, 1), and Matt Kilkenny (6 for 63, 1).

"I have a lot of confidence in each of them," Fitz said. "You know they're going to be in the right spot and catch the ball."

In aiding the Bucks' resurgence, senior tailback Marvin Todd, who transferred in from Harry S Truman, has carried 81 times for 588 yards and seven TDs. The offensive line is anchored by center Cooper O'Connell (5-11, 240), guard Anders Warfel (6-5, 300), and tackle Brian Miller (6-3, 250).

The squad's 4-3 defense, under second-year assistant Tony Romeo, is keyed by end Grant Udinski, tackle Noah Hill, linebackers Buddy Zanolini and Luke Durkin, and backs Ramos (five interceptions) and Kilkenny (three).

Next up for the Bucks, who are seeking their first league crown since 2004, is a Friday night conference game against Quakertown (3-3, 0-2) at War Memorial Field.

"The league is really up for grabs," Hensel said.

A righthander, Fitz will play baseball and study business at Lehigh. His brother, Matt, played football at C.B. West (Class of 2008) and Lehigh (2012). He was a running back and wideout for the Mountain Hawks.

Adams sidelined. Central Bucks South's Josh Adams, an electrifying junior tailback, will miss the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in last Friday's 35-28 home loss to North Penn.

Titans coach Dave Rackovan received official word of the feared diagnosis Wednesday morning.

"It's really a shame," Rackovan said. "He's a great kid, a great football player. But he'll be back and he'll be better than ever. He has a strong resolve."

Rackovan said he expects Dion Clifton, a 5-9, 160-pound junior and transfer from Archbishop Wood, to take over as the team's go-to ballcarrier.

How will the Titans (4-2, 2-1 Continental Conference) respond to the loss of Adams?

"That's to be determined," Rackovan said. "Our kids have a big challenge ahead of them. We have to get better at each position."


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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