Defense carries S-F to district final
Spring-Ford extended its history-making football season at least one more week Saturday afternoon, and the Rams’ defense had a lot to do with it.
Spring-Ford may have defeated Pennridge, 35-24, in a District 1 Class AAAA VHPLfiQDO WR DGVDQFH WR WKH district championship game against Coatesville on Friday at 7 p.m. at Downingtown West, but somewhat FDPRUflDJHG Ey WKDW KLJK score was some solid play by the defense. That effort included three turnovers against Pennridge that included a fumble recovery RQ WKH KRVWV’ fiRVW SODy IRRP scrimmage and two big second-half interceptions.
Mason Romano, a 6-foot0, 210-pound junior defensive tackle, recovered the fumble that helped SpringFord take its early lead. Romano also shared a sack with 6-3, 200-pound senior defensive end R.J. Sheldon. wameer McDowell, a 6-5, 220-pound senior defensive end, also registered a sack.
hyle Hoffner and Travis Daywalt pilfered passes at critical stages of the game for the visiting Rams.
Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker was happy with those types of plays.
“Our defense is clutch,” said Hoffner, a 6-1, 185-pound senior linebacker. “They (Pennridge) are a big, tough, physical team, so we had to buckle down and stop them.
“We have a bunch of guys coming off past games in the playoffs. Everyone stepped it up.”
The seventh-seeded Spring-Ford squad won its third straight district playoff game after victories over darnet Valley and Ridley to start the postseason run. Spring-Ford did so against a Pennridge ballclub that just won the Suburban One Continental Conference championship Thursday morning with a victory over Quakertown. Pennridge featured the likes of 6-5 senior quarterback Alex hrivda, junior running back Mike Class, who had run for more than 2,000 yards this season, and some other solid skill players.
Hoffner’s interception came with 2:24 remaining in the third period and Pennridge in Spring-Ford territory. Spring-Ford held a 28-24 lead at the time, and Pennridge was on the move after recovering an onside kick.
Spring-Ford converted the key turnover into a touchdown at the other end of WKH fiHOG ZKHQ TUDRWHREDFN Hank Coyne found McDowell on a 25-yard strike RQ WKH fiRVW SODy RI WKH IRURWK quarter for a 35-24 lead.
Spring-Ford complemented its offense with the defensive work that also included some plays up front by 6-1, 220-pound junior defensive tackle Robby Varner and senior Ben Schein in the secondary.
The onside kickoff return gave Pennridge some extra momentum at that point, so Spring-Ford’s players knew they had to dig deeper to remain aggressive.
The Spring-Ford coaches and players prepared diligently all week to prepare for another stout opponent in Pennridge.
“It comes down to knowing who is going where and preparing for the game,” said Schein. “So the work we did during the week determines the outcome of the game.”
McDowell was thrilled with the victory after he turned in another productive contest on both sides of the football.
“It is amazing, a good feeling,” said McDowell. “We knew they were a good running team. We knew we had to get pressure against them whether they were running or passing. We couldn’t let them get open.”
Brubaker felt his team forced Pennridge into diffiFUOW VLWUDWLRQV LQ RRGHR WR SLFN US fiRVW GRZQV DQG FRQWLQUH GRZQ fiHOG.
Pennridge’s Mike Class is wrapped up by a host of Spring-Ford defenders during Saturday’s District One Class AAAA playoff game Saturday at Poppy Yoder Field.