The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

out turn­ing it over — is awe­some. It was big. When you take eight min­utes out of the third quar­ter — even though we didn’t score, we still ate eight min­utes when we were up 20 points. That’s huge. Our guys up front played awe­some. Our run­ning backs — just enough to move the sticks. It’s a huge part on a night like tonight.”

Mike Slivka grabbed an in­ter­cep­tion on the first play of the en­su­ing Chel­tenham pos­ses­sion, and the Car­di­nals fol­lowed with an­other 10-play drive.

The of­fen­sive line paved the way for 293 rush­ing yards on 57 car­ries. Slivka rushed 18 times for 96 yards, Ma­son No­vak 15 for 83 and Lucas Roselli 15 for 71. No­vak and Roselli each scored touch­downs in the first quar­ter.

“When that of­fen­sive line gets go­ing,” Slivka said, “it’s a good sight. That’s all I have to say.”

Slivka’s in­ter­cep­tion is just part of what the Car­di­nals de­fense was able to do to con­trib­ute to the snap-count dis­crep­ancy. They lim­ited Chel­tenham to just four first downs in the en­tire game and 103 to­tal yards. Lucas Nina-Boesler re­cov­ered a fum­ble in the first quar­ter to set up the sec­ond touch­down of the game.

Bar­bera bounces back

Af­ter Up­per Dublin scored its first touch­down — a 16-yard No­vak run late in the first quar­ter — kicker Chris Bar­bera sent the ex­tra point wide of the up­rights.

Like all good kick­ers, he had a short mem­ory.

Bar­bera’s next time out he made a 34yard field goal. In the fi­nal 10 sec­onds of the first half, he hit a 31-yarder.

To go along with his place-kick­ing, Bar­bera also had suc­cess punt­ing. He punted three times in the game. The first was downed at the three-yard line, the sec­ond at the 10 and the third could’ve been downed at the 1, but there was mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion among the gun­ners and the ball rolled into the end­zone for a touch­back.

“Chris is a se­nior,” Stover said. “He’s been a three-year kicker for us. I was happy for him to see the way he bounced back. To see him drill those (field goals) into the wind was awe­some for us. It’s 20-0 in­stead of 14-0 — that’s three scores in­stead of two.”

Step for­ward for Chel­tenham

The quar­ter­fi­nal loss brings an end to Chel­tenham’s sea­son, but it doesn’t di­min­ish what the Pan­thers ac­com­plished this year.

A team that won just two games in 2017 came back, reached the playoffs and won a play­off game be­fore run­ning into a peren­nial pow­er­house.

“Ask me in a cou­ple weeks,” Nase said. “When you lose 27-0 — we haven’t scored on of­fen­sive point against Up­per Dublin in two games. I’m not at a point yet where I can say yes, it was this, that or the other. Ob­vi­ously we’ve taken strides. I don’t know if we’re where we want to or need to be yet.”

While the Chel­tenham coach wasn’t in the mood to talk about the pos­i­tives, Up­per Dublin’s head man sees that the Pan­thers are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“Ryan is do­ing a great job over there,” Stover said. “You look at that ros­ter, they’re all young. Most of those kids come back. They’re go­ing to be the team to be reck­oned with in the fu­ture. It’s his sec­ond year. My hat’s off to that staff and Ryan Nase does a great job over there. It’s a lit­tle bit­ter­sweet be­cause you’d like to see two (SOL) Amer­i­can teams mov­ing on, but ob­vi­ously we want to be the one mov­ing on if we play head-to-head.”

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