Men­nridge pulls away from 4uak­er­town

North Penn Life - - Sports - By An­drew Mar­cus amar­cus@mont­gomerynews. com

A lot has been made of the predica­ment the men­nridge foot­ball team was in last week­end. The oams had two games in three days, which cer­tainly is a chal­lenge.

But this Thanks­giv­ing the oams were thank­ful to have the op­por­tu­nity to clinch the league ti­tle against 4uak­er­town and reach the Class AAAA District lne ti­tle game with over ppring-Ford on patur­day.

bvery­one wanted to weigh in on the im­por­tance of an out­right pub­ur­ban lne League Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onship. Many wanted to bring an 8P-year tra­di­tion to a halt to fo­cus on dis­tricts. eow­ever the first goal the oams made this sea­son was to win a league cham­pi­onship. po on Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing the oams rolled out the first team of­fense and de­fense and cap­tured a 28-1P win over the man­thers and its first

league ti­tle since 2MM4. “ft was im­por­tant for the se­niors,” oams’ coach oandy Cuth­bert said. “f am not go­ing to tell them they can­not play against nu­ak­er­town. And win­ning the league was the first goal we talked about at the be­gin­ning of the year.”

There was one glar­ing ab­sence to the oams’ of­fen­sive at­tack. gu­nior run­ning back Mike Class was side­lined with what Cuth­bert called, “rest­ing,” how­ever he would not guar­an­tee the 2,MMM-yard rusher would be on the field patur­day in the district semi­fi­nals.

“We have some great play­ers that may not be the head­line grab­bers like Mike is,” Cuth­bert said. “The num­ber one thing is safety and health. ee has a lot of foot­ball left and we are not go­ing to rush him back. We are go­ing to need ev­ery­one to step up and ex­e­cute.”

pe­niors henny Craw­ford and gohn him saw an in­creased work­load with the ab­sence of Class. him racked up T9 to­tal yards and found the end zone twice, one run­ning and one re­ceiv­ing. The full­back Craw­ford car­ried 2M times for 91 yards and pow­ered his way into the end zone from four yards out. Af­ter the man­thers fin­ished the first quar­ter with a 6-M lead, Craw­ford’s sec­ond quar­ter plunge put the oams on top and they never looked back.

“We came out flat and it was ob­vi­ous,” Craw­ford said. “They wanted it, but we re­grouped af­ter the first se­ries and came to­gether. ft was a lot of fun get­ting the ball and help­ing the team win.”

The oams even­tu­ally pushed the score to 28- 6 be­fore the man­thers’ Mike pawyer broke away from the oams’ sec­ond team de- fense for a TM- yard catch and run in the fi­nal minute of play. The oams’ of­fense may have been miss­ing Class’ P1 rush­ing touch­downs, but the de­fense was in­tact and its per­for­mance was what they have to come to ex­pect. A trio of se­nior de­fend­ers forced the man­thers to scram­ble all morn­ing. hyle Bigam re­cov­ered a fum­ble and geremy uan­der and Andy draff each recorded a sack. lther than the TM­yard score in the fi­nal sec­onds, the man­thers could only muster 22 yards in the sec­ond half.

“We did not make it this far with one man,” Craw­ford said. “We came here as team and our de­fense is play­ing well. We know how to get it done.”

ft is de­fen­sive ef­forts like the one this Thanks­giv­ing that the oams will need to slow down the balanced at­tack of the oams from ppring-Ford. Whether him is the fea­tured back on patur­day or he is back to his best po­si­tion as a lock-down cor­ner­back, the oams are con­fi­dent they can come out victorious against all odds.

“gohn is very un­selfish and you need guys like that,” Cuth­bert said. “ee plays run­ning back, wing­back, and he is one of the best de­fen­sive backs in the area. Whether Class plays on patur­day or not, f be­lieve we can still win.”

ft is easy to fo­cus on Class’ eye pop­ping num­bers, but the oams know the rea­son they are the Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence Champs and in the mix for District lne cham­pi­onship is be­cause of their abil­ity to step up when their num­ber is called. him and the oams are not go­ing to back down now. They are thank- ful for the op­por­tu­nity.

“ko one can re­place Class,” him said. “ee is the best player in the state. f be­lieve in my abil­i­ties to make some plays and my team­mates be­lieve in me. f am go­ing to get an ice bath tonight, eat a lot of protein, and get some sleep.”

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