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Big first half lifts Upper Dublin over Wissahickon

LOWER GWYNEDD >> Wissahickon couldn’t maintain its blocks and Upper Dublin couldn’t maintain its discipline.

That was the script in Friday night’s 37-6 win by the Cardinals over the host Trojans in a contest that was sloppier than the weather.

The Cardinals ran up nearly 300 yards of offense in the first half, took a 31-0 lead into halftime and remained unbeaten.

Gene Walsh ó Digital First Media Upper Dublinís Mike Cottom runs up field during game against Wissahickon September 30, 2016.

Upper Dublin’s Mike Cottom runs up field during the Cardinals’ game against Wissahickon on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

But it was the 100-plus yards in penalties that was the topic of conversation when head coach Bret Stover talked about the game.

“There were just too many bad penalties,” he said. “You’re not going to win playing like that. “We have too many undisciplined players right now, that’s something you can’t have.

“I thought the officials let it get out of control a little bit, but we can’t play like that and expect to keep winning.”

Meanwhile, on the opposite sideline, Wissahickon first-year head coach Randy Cuthbert was bemoaning his team’s inability to sustain their blocks.

“It’s something we were afraid would happen, and it happened,” Cuthbert said. “Plus, we have a habit of hurting ourselves with penalties, and we had two (Upper Dublin) strips for touchdowns, and that can’t happen.”

It took the Cardinals three plays to take the lead, as quarterback Justin Horn broke off a 78-yard touchdown run on the visitors’ third snap.

But in what became a common occurrence in the first half, the extra point was missed, and Upper Dublin had to settle for a 6-0 lead.

After the Trojans punted the ball back to the Cardinals, the lead became 13-0 five plays later when Horn found Mike Cottom behind the defense for 42 yards and a 13-0, first-quarter lead.

The Trojans continued to struggle offensively, and when quarterback Mike Schoenleber was intercepted by Cottom near midfield, the Cardinals added to their lead, courtesy of a 34-yard strike from Horn to JT Breslin to increase the lead to 19-0 with 10:38 left in the half.

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media Wissahickon’s Rasheed Wright gains yards after a Upper Dublin punt September 30, 2016.

Wissahickon’’s Rasheed Wright gains yards after a Upper Dublin punt during their game on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Next came a six-play, 45-yard Cardinals march, capped by Phil Butler’s 5-yard touchdown run with 4:40 left in the half.

All those who hadn’t snuck away early to grab a free cupcake from Whole Foods missed the final touchdown of the half, a 12-yard fumble return by Malik Bookman that pushed the visitors’ advantage to 31-0 at the break.

The Cardinals kicked in the running clock when Bookman ran back his second fumble with 8:40 left in the fourth quarter.

“That was pretty cool, two strips for touchdowns,” Stover said. “And I thought our offense was awesome in the first half. And it’s always good to win.”

The Trojans got on the board when Darnell Watson broke off a 61-yard touchdown run with 7:33 left in the game.

“Credit to Upper Dublin,” Cuthbert said. “They’re very good at sustaining their blocks and they hurt us with that throughout the game.”

Horn would finish with over 200 yards of total offense, but it was the Cardinals’ triple-figure, penalty-

yard total that had the coach wearing a frown by game’s end.

“We just can’t have that and expect to keep winning,” Stover said.

Top Photo:  Upper Dublin quarterback Justin Horn runs for a touchdown during the Cardinals’ game against Wissahickon on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

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