WEST NORRITON >> It was a tale of two halves.
In the first one, host Norristown forced turnovers, limited Plymouth Whitemarsh’s chances, and took a two-point lead into halftime.
In the second, the Colonials capitalized on Eagles mistakes, primarily penalties, and scored 20 unanswered points and rolled to a 26-8 victory, moving their record to 2-1 on the young season.
Colonials’ running back Khan Jamal rushed for 144 yards and a pair of scores as the visitors shook off the heat and the Eagles upset bid, and celebrated a win a week before beginning Suburban One League American Conference play next Friday at Upper Moreland.
“Coach (Dan Chang) was telling us all week that we were having lazy practices,” Jamal said. “And at halftime he talked to us, got us motivated and we came out in the second half and played our game.”
“I was proud of our leadership today,” Chang said. “Our seniors never hung their heads, and at halftime everybody was focused.”
The contest began as expected, with Norristown using big plays —in this case a long run by Joe Gionnone — to break into Colonials territory.
But the PW defense stiffened, and the Colonials headed in the other direction — very quickly.
But after reaching the Norristown 30, mistakes – a holding penalty and a fumble – killed the drive.
Norristown was forced to punt on its next series, but after forcing a Colonials three-and-out, Norristown went to work, moving 39 yards on three plays, the final one being a 21-yard scoring scamper by kirk Wilson to go up, 8-0 (after a two-point conversion) with exactly 11:00 left in the half.
The Colonials answered before the break, with Jamal twisting and turning for a beautiful 15- yard rushing touchdown that cut the deficit to 8-6 midway through the quarter, and the teams went into halftime separated by two points.
Norristown was feeling good about itself, but it didn’t take long for head coach Jason Powel to see that trouble was ahead.
“We came out in the second half and we reverted back to where we’d been earlier,” Powel said. “Guys started looking at the scoreboard.
“They started getting hot and tired, which is what happens when you’re losing.”
PW put together a terrific 12-play, 80-yard drive to open the half, and the Eagles were cooked.
“Winning that field position battle was big for us,” Chang said. “We kept them in their end of the field and then capitalized on the short fields.”
The Colonials only needed to go 22 yards on five plays for the daylight score, a 1-yard burst by quarterback Joe Stoberl with 1:23 left in the third.
A 17-yard TD run by Blaise Gravinese drove home the kill nail with 3:34 left in the fourth.
“I take it on myself for not having the team prepared to play today,” Powel said.
“We have to get ready for Upper Moreland now,” Chang said. “They came to our place and stuck it to us pretty good last year.”
Top Photo: Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Khan Jamal gets loose for a touchdown against Norristown during their game on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)