BENSALEM >> A season ago, Abington finished with a 1-10 record. Friday, the Galloping Ghosts notched their second victory of the of the season, got their record back to .500 and earned their first Suburban One National Conference victory in the process as they knocked off Bensalem, the only team Abington beat last year, 21-11.
“I told the kids after the first two losses, you guys don’t understand how close we are,” Abington coach Kevin Conlin said.
Things started off well for Bensalem as the Owls drove 56 yards in 15 plays taking about seven minutes of play off the clock. The Bensalem drive stalled in the red zone, however, so it had to settle for a 31-yard Matt Corbett field goal.
The only other score of the first half came 41 seconds before halftime as Billy Griffenburg hit George Reid for a five-yard touchdown.
“Billy can throw the ball pretty well. He throws a couple nice routes,” Conlin said. “It’s nice to have a division-one wideout too. There’s a nice safety net at the end of that rainbow.”
After going three-and-out on offense after receiving the second half kickoff, Barry Johnson made the game-changing play for the Ghosts on defense. Bensalem running back Gerald Whea took an option pitch, fumbled the ball and Johnson ran it all the way back for a 48-yard touchdown for Abington.
“It was a great play by Jackson (Taylor) who made a great hit,” said Johnson, a senior. “After the great hit I just finished, I scooped and scored like we practice. I was not going to let anybody take me down. Scoop and score.”
“Barry Johnson has been an unsung hero of this team,” Conlin said. “He’s been a stalwart on our offensive line and at linebacker, he has absolutely, positively solidified our linebacking corps.”
Abington came up with another huge turnover on its next possession as well. Keith Parrish was on the receiving end of the 38-yard pass that would have put the ball very deep into Abington territory but the ball was fumbled and the Ghosts recovered on their own one-yard line.
It was Griffenburg and Reid who put the finishing touches on the Abington victory as the duo connected for a second touchdown, this time a 21-yard strike. Reid finished the game with six catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ghosts will certainly be satisfied with the result of Friday night’s game. However, they also know they have to clean some things up when it comes to finishing drives and committing penalties, two things not necessarily mutually exclusive from one another, if they want to beat some of the upper echelon teams in the SOL National.
“The biggest thing were talking about with our kids is we’re not finishing these drives,” Conlin said. “We can’t go 8-9 plays and not finish drives. That’s what’s killing us right now. Against the great teams, from this point on in the Suburban One National, you got to finish drives.”