Cards pull out another close victory
LEVITTOWN— Upper Dublin’s season hasn’t been for the faint of heart thus far. Two weeks into the season, the Cardinals twice have found themselves in a goal line stand to preserve a win.
And in those two games they’ve walked away victorious.
Friday night in Levittown at Harry S. Truman High School, the Cardinals were backed down by the Tigers to the 11-yard line while holding onto a 28-21 lead with less than two minutes remaining. But, the Tigers would go no further. A bobbled pass in the end zone allowed the Cardinals to regain possession, when they went three-and-out and punted to allow the Tigers to take over at the 40-yard line with 1:46 left on the clock.
On the first play from scrimmage, the Cardinals’ corner Matt Thompson cut the route short and earned himself an interception, sealing the 28-21 victory and putting Upper Dublin at 2-0 on the season.
“It’s never easy at Upper Dublin,” coach Bret Stover joked. “I don’t know what it is, but my kids just don’t quit.”
Less than two minutes from kickoff, Truman had already painted seven on the board when Justin Fant went 73-yards for a touchdown just three plays into the game.
The Cardinals returned the favor with a nine-play, 65-yard touchdown drive led by junior quarterback Ryan Stover and capped with a five-yard catch by Thompson, who had two catches for 14 yards and the big interception.
However, the tie would last just a matter a seconds on the game clock
when the Tigers’ Brandon Hill took the Upper Dublin kickoff return 89 yards for a touchdown to give them a 14-7 lead with 1:39 left in the first.
Back again came the Cardinals to start the second, this time with running back Kaleif Lee finding some room to move, rushing for a 57-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-all just eight seconds into the second quarter.
“My lineman just did their job,” Lee said, who had 85 yards on 11 carries. “I just cut up field and saw the hole and got loose.”
Both teams combined for just two first downs the rest of the first half, but Truman’s Fant came up clutch once again with 0:04 left on the clock, he reeled in a little flip pass and took the ball 66 yards for his second touchdown of the game — Fant finshed with 135 yards receiving.
“They had a kickoff return, two big passes and that’s it,” Stover said. “The triple option, which is their bread and butter, we contained.”
Twice the Cardinals were able to force fumbles on the Tigers’ reverse play in the backfield, a testament to the defense collapsing from the sides and making those options seem less than plentiful.
Meanwhile, quarterback Stover proved to be cool and capable in the pocket for the Cardinals, leading a 74-yard touchdown romp on the first drive of the second half — capped in big part from a 50-yard reception by Corey McLoud.
Truman’s turnovers again came to haunt them in the fourth when the Tigers’ started way back in their own zone at the three-yard-line, and the Cardinals forced a fumble and regained on the 18-yard-line. A quick pass interference call on the Tigers’ put the Cardinals halfway to the goal line and Stover gave Upper Dublin their first lead of the game with a 9-yard pass to John Lee to go ahead 28-21.
“I have tremendous trust in the passing game and the running game,” Ryan Stover said. “We’re going to move the ball and I believe we can score almost every time we touch it.”
Now 2-0, the Cardinals will put their money where their mouth is when they take on Abington next week in a revenge match from last year’s District One playoffs.