Mennridge pulls away from 4uakertown
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.”