Wis­sahickon rolls past Up­per Me­rion

The Ambler Gazette - - LETTERS - By Den­nis C. Way

There weren’t shouts of joy and danc­ing girls sur­round­ing Wis­sahickon High football prac­tices this week.

Af­ter two dis­ap­point­ing losses in a row, the Tro­jans had watched their Subur­ban One League ti­tle chances dis­ap­pear while their dis­trict play­off dreams were on life sup­port.

To make mat­ters worse, the hand­shake line fol­low­ing last week’s loss to Chel­tenham erupted into a brawl and four Wis­sahickon play­ers were sus­pended for Fri­day night’s meet­ing with Up­per Me­rion.

Tro­jans coach Jeff Cappa knew his troops’ egos were so low they were look­ing up at the soles of their shoes.

So he pre­sented them a chal­lenge.

“It was tough to do when we were as down as we were,” Cappa said, “but we gave them a chal­lenge of play­ing hard and play­ing with in­ten­sity this week.”

By half­time Fri­day evening, the Tro­jans were in front by 42 points.

Yep, the chal­lenge was met - and then some.

Wis­sahickon’s of­fense VFRUHG Rn IRuU RI LWV fiYH fiUVWhalf pos­ses­sions, Greg McDonough scored on a 66-yard punt re­turn and Gor­don Bent­ley found the end zone with a 102-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn as the Tro­jans rolled to a 4922 win over Up­per Me­rion.

“I was real proud of our guys,” Cappa said. “For them to come back and play as they did tonight, I’m proud of them and our coaches.”

The Tro­jans showed they meant busi­ness from the out­set, EuOOGRzLnJ 60 yDUGV Rn fiYH Uun­ning plays to take a 7-0 lead just 2:09 into the game.

Then, af­ter stop­ping Up­per Me­rion on downs near PLG­fiHOG, WKH 7URMDnV wHnW 57 yards on eight plays, with DDn 0uUSKy VFRULnJ WKH fiUVW RI KLV WwR fiUVW-KDOI WRuFK­downs, a 13-yarder that put the vis­i­tors in front, 14-0.

“Our run­ning game was real good and we were able to cap­i­tal­ize on it early, so we stuck with it,” Mur­phy said.

“We wanted to get back to what we do well, and that’s run­ning the ball,” Cappa said. “We have a strong offensive line, but a cou­ple of those guys were out (be­cause of the Chel­tenham ex­tracur­ric­u­lars) and some of our young guys stepped up and played real well.

“Plus, we moved (All-League line­man) Khalil Roberts back and forth be­tween the right and left sides of our front and ran be­hind him a lot of the time.”

The Wis­sahickon in­ten­sity was ev­i­dent, even to the Vik­ings.

“(Wis­sahickon) came here, got phys­i­cal with us and we didn’t match their phys­i­cal­ity,” said Up­per Me­rion coach Harold Smith. “Ba­si­cally, they came here and smacked us in the mouth.”

With two scores al­ready on the board, McDonough made it three when he latched on to a Kevin O’Sul­li­van punt at his own 34 and took it the dis­tance. With 1:51 left in the open­ing quar­ter, the Tro­jans were on top, 21-0.

A lit­tle over two min­utes later, it was 28-0 when Bent­ley stepped in front of a Car­men Fortino pass two yards deep in the end zone, headed to the right side­line and cruised 102 yards to put the vis­i­tors in front by four scores.

“:H FDPH RuW UHDO fiUHG uS and it was a lot of fun,” said Tro­jans line­backer C.J. Virtu. “Any time your spe­cial teams and your de­fense can put points on the board, it’s a plus.”

Be­fore the half ended, the Tro­jans would bal­loon the lead to 42-0 as Mur­phy struck pay­dirt from the 9-yard line and quar­ter­back 5DnGy )UDnNHn­fiHOG EuFNHG in from the 1-yard line with 2:13 left in the half.

To add in­sult to in­jury, the Tro­jans held the Vik­ings on three plays, start­ing at the Wis­sahickon two, in the clos­ing sec­onds of the half.

Wis­sahickon sat its regulars in the sec­ond half, and Up­per Me­rion showed some for­ti­tude of its own, scor­ing on Michael Grant’s 95-yard kick­off re­turn to open the half, a 54-yard hookup from Fortino to Tyre­ice Jenerette and Isa­iah Ali­ciea’s touch­down run with 4:35 left in the game.

But by then, the Tro­jans had al­ready bul­lied their way out of the dol­drums.

“That re­ally doesn’t mat­ter,” said Cappa when asked if the win re­stored the Tro­jans’ play­off chances. “For us, it was a three-game seaVRn DnG WKLV wDV WKH fiUVW RnH.

“Now we’re look­ing ahead to No. 2.”

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