Pennridge pulls away Irop 4udnhrwown
A lot has been made of the predicament the Pennridge football team was in last wHHNHnd. 7KH 5DPs KDd Wwo games in three days, which certainly is a challenge.
BuW WKis 7KDnNsJiYinJ WKH 5DPs wHrH WKDnNIuO Wo KDYH the opportunity to clinch the OHDJuH WiWOH DJDinsW 4uDNertown and reach the Class AAAA District One title game with over Spring-Ford on Saturday.
Everyone wanted to weigh in on the importance of an outright Suburban One LHDJuH ConWinHnWDO ConIHrence Championship. Many wanted to bring an 83-year tradition to a halt to focus on districts. However the firsW JoDO WKH 5DPs PDdH this season was to win a league championship. So on 7KDnNsJiYinJ PorninJ WKH 5DPs roOOHd ouW WKH firsW team offense and defense and captured a 28-13 win oYHr WKH 3DnWKHrs Dnd iWs firsW
league title since 2004.
“It was important for the seniors,” Rams’ coach Randy Cuthbert said. “I am not going to tell them they cannot play against Quakertown. And winning the OHDJXH wDs WKH firsW JRDO wH talked about at the beginning of the year.”
There was one glaring absence to the Rams’ offensive attack. Junior running back Mike Class was sidelined with what Cuthbert called, “resting,” however he would not guarantee the 2,000-yard rXsKHr wRXOG bH RQ WKH fiHOG Saturday in the district semifiQDOs.
“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. He 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.”
Seniors henny Crawford and John him saw an increased workload with the absence of Class. him racked up 79 total yards and found the end zone twice, one running and one receiving. The fullback Crawford carried 20 times for 91 yards and powered his way into the end zone from four yards RXW. AIWHr WKH 3DQWKHrs fiQisKHG WKH firsW TXDrWHr wiWK D 6-0 lead, Crawford’s second TXDrWHr SOXQJH SXW WKH RDPs on top and they never looked back.
“WH FDPH RXW flDW DQG iW was obvious,” Crawford said. “They wanted it, but wH rHJrRXSHG DIWHr WKH firsW series and came together. It was a lot of fun getting the ball and helping the team win.”
The Rams eventually pushed the score to 28-6 before the Panthers’ Mike Sawyer broke away from the Rams’ second team defense for a 70-yard catch and run in the final minute of play. The Rams’ offense may have been missing Class’ 31 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 Panthers to scramble all morning. hyle Bigam recovered a fumble and Jeremy uander and Andy draff each recorded a sack. Other than the 70yard score in the final seconds, the Panthers 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.”
It is defensive efforts like the one this Thanksgiving that the Rams will need to slow down the balanced attack of the Rams from Spring-Ford. Whether him is the featured back on Saturday or he is back to his best position as a lock-down cornerback, the RDPs DrH FRQfiGHQW WKHy can come out victorious against all odds.
“-RKQ is vHry XQsHOfisK DQG you need guys like that,” Cuthbert said. “He plays running back, wingback, and he is one of the best defensive backs in the area. Whether Class plays on Saturday or not, I believe we can still win.”
It is easy to focus on Class’ eye popping numbers, but the Rams know the reason they are the Continental Conference Champs and in the mix for District One championship is because of their ability to step up when their number is called. him and the Rams are not going to back down now. They are thankful for the opportunity.
“No one can replace Class,” him said. “He is the best player in the state. I believe in my abilities to make some plays and my teammates believe in me. I am going to get an ice bath tonight, eat a lot of protein, and get some sleep.”
Pennridge’s John Kim rolls over Quakertown’s Dan Frasch during Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving Day game at Alumni Stadium.
Pennridge’s Micah Stutzman tackles Quakertown’s Pat SanAngelo during Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day action.
Pennridge’s Kyle Bigam tackles Quakertown’s Mason Schmauder during the Thanksgiving Day game.