ABINGTON >> Darryl Davis-McNeil is one of the surprising players in what has been a successful season thus far for Abington under new head coach Kevin Conlin.
Last week against Council Rock North Davis-McNeil set the school rushing record for yards in a game as he broke assistant coach Chris Roberts’s record of 316 yards with 336 yards.
In Friday night’s Suburban One National Conference contest with Truman it didn’t look at first like Davis-McNeil was going to have much of an encore as Keenan Lambright converted his team’s first two carries of the game into touchdowns. The first a 59-yard scamper followed by and 89-yard gallop.
“We knew in the beginning of the game they were going to be keying in on me,” Davis-McNeil said. “We did a lot of fakes to me and get (Lambright) wide open.”
“The past few week we’ve been trying to get him (the ball and) we’ve been waiting for him to break a couple,” Conlin said of Lambright. “Today was great. He busted the first two and it was really great to see.”
Davis-McNeil eventually heated up and got his carries. The junior ran for a team-high 269 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries bringing his two-week total to 605 yards rushing and nine touchdowns as he helped the Ghosts to a 49-35 win.
“It’s been an extremely blessed experience,” Davis-McNeil said of his past two weeks. “My o-line is doing a great job blocking and I’m just doing what I got to do and hitting the holes.”
With Davis-McNeil and Lambright controlling the ground game the Ghosts tried to put the ball in the air as they were looking to get quarterback Billy Griffenburg into rhythm along with some of their key receivers namely George Reid.
“Absolutely it does feel forced sometimes,” Conlin said of trying to get the passing game going. “(Griffenburg) is only a junior, we’re trying to get him better each week. We know Darryl is going to be there so we’re trying to do what we got to do.”
A large key to getting the run game going for Abington was improved play on the offensive line. The line struggled through the Ghosts first two or three games but has been a much better unit as of late.
“They’re out there working every day and getting better each and every day,” Conlin said of the offensive line. “They knew that from the very beginning that me (coming from) an o-line coach and ex-olineman that it was going to be the hardest position and most scrutinized and I was going to push them as hard as I could and this is the fruits of their labor.”
Not too many people would have figured Abington being in the mix this late in the season in the National Conference with its only loss coming at the hands of Neshaminy, the top team in the conference at this point. Abington, however, will find out what it’s about as it takes on Pennsbury next week for big National Conference showdown.
“It’s a big matchup next week,” Conlin said. “This is where we said we wanted to be. After the Neshaminy game, we said we’re just going to take every game as a playoff game.”
“(I didn’t expect us to be here). I expected us to be pretty physical. I did not expect Darryl to be having the numbers that he’s having. But it happens and we’re pushing and that’s all it comes down to.”