Abing­ton can’t climb CR South

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SPORTS - By Bren­dan Mon­a­han

ABING­TON » Coun­cil Rock South avoided the speed of Abing­ton quar­ter­back Tamir Berthau.

In the end, the stick-it run­ning style of South’s Chase Pat­ter­son sealed the team’s low-scor­ing 14-10 vic­tory.

“We want to main­tain our game of pound it and put it in the end­zone ul­ti­mately,” Pat­ter­son said.

The run­ning back used his build to run out the clock while main­tain­ing the game. He pushed the ball into en­emy ter­ri­tory as the con­test winded to a close.

Pat­ter­son scored the goa­head touch­down from the five-yard-line with over 11 min­utes left in the game. The run­ning back’s strength re­sulted in runs down the mid­dle of the field that in­evitably pro­duced the win.

Pat­ter­son scored South’s first touch­down about half­way through the third quar­ter and avoided the up­set while a Berthau-led drive ma­te­ri­al­ized into noth­ing as the game ended.

“When­ever we did a deep route, the D-line would get past our of­fen­sive line fast so run­ning was the only thing that we could do to try to beat them,” Berthau said. “So and it didn’t work out.”

The quick-paced game went both ways. Abing­ton used sev­eral runs in­clud­ing quar­ter­back keep­ers to lead at half­time. In the sec­ond quar­ter, Abing­ton’s on­side kick into the op­po­nent’s ter­ri­tory cre­ated a fourt­hand-short con­ver­sion and the team’s only touch­down of the game as time ex­pired be­fore half­time.

A score­less first quar­ter marked by hurry-up of­fenses led to a more pro­duc­tive sec­ond quar­ter for Abing­ton, which notched a long field goal to start the score 3-0.

Prior to the only firsthalf touch­down, Abing­ton re­ceived a ques­tion­able call. A dart into the cor­ner of the end­zone re­sulted in a missed op­por­tu­nity for the team. The crowd re­jected the ver­dict.

“It was a game we should’ve won,” Abing­ton’s Keith Hu­doka said. “We had ev­ery­thing rolling for us in the first half.”

Berthau said his team poorly ex­e­cuted. The quar­ter­back al­most beat Coun­cil Rock South at its own game — run­ning the ball.

Abing­ton held the mo­men­tum in the sec­ond quar­ter but lost it when South started rid­ing its most pro­duc­tive player that night. Berthau possessed that role for the op­po­nent.

“You come up on him,” Hu­doka said. “He’ll throw a dot of a pass, and if they give him enough room, he’s off to the races, and it’s hard to stop him.” HOR­SHAM » Abing­ton’s big names may be in the at­tack, but the Gal­lop­ing Ghosts aren’t go­ing any­where with­out their de­fense.

Thurs­day night, the Ghosts back line was put to the test by a game and de­ter­mined Hat­boro-Hor­sham side as the two top teams in the SOL Amer­i­can met at Hat­ters Sta­dium. There wasn’t much time to think, and a horde of pres­sure com­ing but Abing­ton was able to stand res­o­lute when it most needed to.

Abing­ton’s back line held its ground and the Ghosts scrapped out a 3-2 win to take sole pos­ses­sion of first in the con­fer­ence.

“Our con­fi­dence comes from the de­fense, in a way,” Abing­ton se­nior cen­ter back Ari­anna Mancini said. “When our de­fense isn’t strong, it af­fects the en­tire team. When we have num­bers come back and help us, it boosts every­body else up.”

With an at­tack spear­headed by Cam Lexow, Casey Touey and Kai­ley Horton, Ghosts coach Rick Tomp­kins isn’t wor­ried about his team gen­er­at­ing chances or putting away op­por­tu­ni­ties. His fo­cus at the start of re­cent sea­sons has been on the back and if the group can put it­self to­gether well enough to con­tend in the con­fer­ence.

The past cou­ple years in the SOL Na­tional, fac­ing un­re­lent­ing fire­power al­most every night, the Ghosts weren’t able to find com­mon ground de­fen­sively. Mov­ing over to the Amer­i­can seems to have helped, be­cause while every team is go­ing to play hard and fight for 80 min­utes, Abing­ton’s de­fend­ers have been able to learn by play­ing.

Abing­ton’s back line also in­cludes Ri­ley Crab­tree, Emily Friel and fresh­man Caro­line Hughes

“We’re def­i­nitely more com­fort­able to­gether,” Mancini said. “At first, it was like a JV kind of style, a lot of kick-and-run, but now the pass­ing is bet­ter and more ef­fi­cient. Be­ing cen­ter de­fense, you have to hold the line and Coach Rick is al­ways telling me to be the one to di­rect them.

“We can work on be­ing more tech­ni­cal with the pass­ing. We’re able to prac­tice mov­ing off each other and get more used to it.”

Abing­ton struck in the first five min­utes when Horton played an early ball in to Lexow and the Vir­gini­abound se­nior did the rest. Lexow touched past a de­fender then uncorked a wicked shot that found the back of the net.

While the Ghosts got a good show­ing out of pretty much ev­ery­one on the field, it was easy to say the same about the Hat­ters. If there’s one trait that’s de­fined the side thus far, it’s tough­ness. Hat­boro-Hor­sham doesn’t give up the ball easy and it will chal­lenge for every op­por­tu­nity in front of it.

It also means a lot to the play­ers, who left the field de­jected de­spite giv­ing Abing­ton all it could han­dle for 80 min­utes. For first year head coach Kelsey Da­ley, it wasn’t what she wanted to see.

“I told them every sin­gle girl on that field played their heart out and no­body should put their head down af­ter this game,” Da­ley said. “It was a great game, we ended up one goal short. I was proud of every sin­gle one of them and they should be proud of them­selves.”

The Hat­ters put so much pres­sure on Abing­ton that with about 12 min­utes left in a one-goal game, Tomp­kins had Lexow drop in next to Mancini at cen­ter Goals: A – Cam Lexow (Kai­ley Horton), Abby Bautista, Casey Touey; HH – Sophia Liott (Mag­gie O’Neill), Mads Fal­cione (Cam Hughes). Shots: A – 9, HH – 5. Saves: A – Ash­ley Hop­per 1, Liv Oliphant 2; HH – Mar­tine Royds 6

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