Mennridge falls short against p-f
ealftime of the District lne Class AAAA semifinal game between mennridge and ppring-Ford gave both flocks of oams a reason to be optimistic they were two quarters away from a trip to the title game next week.
ppring-Ford showed off its balanced attack and held a 21-18 lead. mennridge pulled within three points thanks to a touchdown in the final seconds of the quarter.
pprinkled into an encouraging finish to the first half for mennridge, was the untimely news their fullback and senior captain henny Crawford would not return to action with a head injury. The home team has not made excuses all season and was not going to start on paturday.
eowever optimism slowly faded, starting with the first play of the third quarter. ppring-Ford’s garred gones made one hard cut and T4 yards later had his oams on top for good. ppring-Ford’s P5-24 win at moppy voder Field ended the puburban lne Continental Conference Champ’s season.
ppring-Ford will play Coatesville for the district championship this Friday.
“We went in to the half pretty confident,” oams’ senior quarterback Alex hrivda said. “We have been down before. We have a lot of confidence. We just could not capitalize.”
The T4-yard score by gones was his first touch of the afternoon. penior running back vousef Lundi had already found the end zone twice in the first half and quarterback eank Coyne threw a touchdown pass in each half. fn the end, ppringFord had too many options.
“henny has been great for us all year at fullback and linebacker,” oams’ coach oandy Cuthbert said. “ft was a tough break, but injuries happen. These kids have been resilient and stayed closed. We lost today and that is disappointing, but it has been an unbelievable year.”
mennridge’s number one option, junior running back Mike Class, was questionable to play in the semifinal game, but dressed and received 2M carries. eowever with the loss of his lead blocker Crawford, and the big defensive front of ppring-Ford, Class was held to 58 yards, which included an 11-yard touchdown run. The score was the longest of the day, and a Class run never resulted in a first down.
“ft was difficult to run,” Cuthbert said. “They had some really big, athletic, strong guys up front. Their size was the difference.”
With Class being slowed for a variety of reasons, men
mennridge relied on senior hyle Bigam to break the big plays they have seen from their utility man all season. Bigam filled in at fullback for Crawford, but still did most of his damage outside the hashmarks. Bigam caught four balls for T2 yards, including the 28-yard touchdown prior to halftime, despite being triple-covered on the route.
“ft was eail-Mary and f just saw the ball and went up and got it,” Bigam said. “Their corner had his hands on it too, but f pulled it out. We expect to come out here and make big plays when we need to.”
At times it looked bleak for mennridge. They fumbled the snap of the first play of the afternoon. ppring-Ford intercepted two passes and was up two scores on three separate occasions. An interception and fumble recovery by mennridge’s linebacker Matt masquale kept hope in the heart, but in the end ppring-Ford survived.
“lur defense made some plays to keep us in the game,” masquale said. “But number one (Tate Carter), P9 (Lundi), and gones were good players. f was shocked to not see gones in the first half. We played hard, but it was not enough.”
mennridge possibly could point to the three missed extra points and one failed two-point conversion attempt. They could explain the loss with a few untimely injuries, or having to play two games in three days. But mennridge finished the season 12-2 and league champs because they never made excuses. They won as a team all season. kow, but with their heads held high, they have to lose as a team.
“We are not going to make excuses,” Bigam said. “We came out here and played as hard as we could and fell short. What hurts more than losing is knowing this group most likely will never play with each other again. We became a family.”