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Delaware Valley League

Interboro’s ground game goes nowhere in blowout loss

GLENOLDEN >> Interboro came into Friday’s game against Penn Charter unscathed.

The Bucs were undefeated and had not allowed a touchdown in their last three games. Running back Chris Thomas was averaging 142.8 rushing yards per game and led Delaware County with 11 touchdowns. The Bucs were rolling but complacency finally caught up with them.

Behind the arm of senior quarterback Mike Hnatkowsky and a suffocating defensive front seven, the Quakers were the ones who rolled, taking down Interboro, 27-0, at the South Avenue Athletic Complex.

Hnatkowsky was 12 for 27 for 163 yards with a touchdown through the air and added two on the ground. The senior signal caller could have had at least three more touchdown passes to Chris Tucker but the wide receiver was unable to haul in any of those throws.

The Quakers began four of their first-half drives in Interboro territory and converted all of them into points to run out to a 20-0 lead at the 8:49 mark of the second quarter. Hnatkowsky consistently found his tight end Luke Stansfield, who finished with a team-high four receptions for 88 yards. Hnatkowsky said the middle of the Bucs’ defense was an area he wanted to exploit.

“We saw it on film all week,” Hnatkowsky said. “They play their safeties deep a shell cover 2 so we kind of knew bend and crossing routes” were the call.

While Penn Charter (2-0) racked up 307 total yards and consistently moved the ball down the field, the Bucs’ potent rushing was almost nonexistent. Interboro (4-1) only had 32 total yards at the half and Thomas was limited to only 12. Additionally, the Bucs’ offense hurt itself as Thomas fumbled twice and quarterback Nate Murtha, who led the team with 60 yards on six carries, had an interception and a fumble of his own. Two-way lineman Rick Neil said his team was not mentally or physically prepared to match the Quakers veracity.

“It’s hard because we kept trying and we thought we were prepared. We just weren’t ready for what happened on the field tonight,” said Neil, whose team finished with 160 yards of total offense for the game.

Interboro head coach Steve Lennox described the loss a little bit more bluntly than Neil.

“It was one of the worst halves we’ve ever had here,” Lennox said. “We can’t make as many mistakes as we made and we just made too many. Give them credit, they executed and we didn’t.”

The Bucs kept the margin of victory down but they did not help themselves. After manufacturing a 63-yard drive and using 6:51 to open the second half, Murtha threw his interception at the five-yard line. On the ensuing possession, Interboro’s defense backed the Quakers up on a 4th and 34 but picked up a roughing the kicker penalty, giving Penn Charter a fresh set of downs and Hnatkowsky finished off the drive five plays later on a quarterback sneak.

Penn Charter head coach Tom Coyle was pleased with the way his team slowed down Interboro’s running game and how they were not phased by the recent layoff since their last game.

“I thought we were going to face different types of adversity. We haven’t played a game since September 3,” Coyle said. “They wanted to run the football down (our) throat. I thought it was going to be a really good test physically if they could handle a Class 4A football team.”

When Hnatkowsky was not making plays, running back Edward Saydee was able to find some running room amassing 113 yards on 22 carries as well as catching three passes for 33 yards. The Bucs’ miserable night ended on a halfback pass from Colin Ravert that was intercepted by Penn Charter’s Brendan Thomas with 4:27 remaining.

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