Cards pull out another close vic­tory

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By RICK KAUFF­MAN

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.

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