FAIRLESS HILLS – It was a cruel irony that on the night the Pennsbury High football team played its best game of the year, it also almost certainly got knocked out of a possible playoff berth for the first time in six years.
Fighting to the end in a battle in which it originally looked liked it was going to get blown out, Pennsbury lost a 20-13 heartbreaker to Abington Friday night (Oct. 21) at Falcon Field.
With the loss, Pennsbury dropped to 5-4. The Falcons would still have a chance to make the playoffs if they pulled off a staggering upset next week, but it’s just very hard to see the team finding a way to beat undefeated archrival Neshaminy (9-0).
It all came down to the end with Pennsbury furiously driving towards the Abington (6-3) goal line in the final minute after it was given life when the Ghosts fumbled the ball near midfield.
Pennsbury junior quarterback Zach Demarchis, who played very well in the second half both running and throwing the ball, hit three passes in an attempt to rally his team. The third was an 11-yard aerial to Joe Meglen on fourth down to give the Falcons a first-and-goal at the Abington 9 yard line.
Two runs and a short pass allowed Pennsbury to reach the 5 yard line, but with the clock just a tick from reading 0:00, the Falcons mistakenly spiked the ball on fourth down.
It was a tough way to go after the way the Falcons nearly stormed back from a two-touchdown deficit.
Abington quickly moved out to a 6-0 lead went it went the distance on the opening drive. This was all about standout junior running back Darryl Davis-McNeil, who carried the ball nine straight times and scored on an 8-yard run.
When Abington built up a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter on an 11-yard TD pass from quarterback Billy Griffenberg to Temple recruit George Reid, it looked Pennsbury was in real trouble. Especially when Taj Redd then picked off a Pennsbury pass to set the Ghosts up again in Pennsbury territory.
It was here where the game turned as Abington fumbled the ball and Pennsbury’s offense finally got untracked with a 70-yard touchdown drive. The key play was a 26-yard pass from Demarchis to William Turk, which led to a 4-yard keeper by Demarchis into the end zone.
Pennsbury had another chance to score at the end of the second quarter, but a drive to the Abington 30 eventually stalled on downs. This was not the case as the start of the second half when Pennsbury went 59-yards and scored on a 30-yard pass from Demarchis to a diving David Burke just over the Ghosts’ goal line.
Pennsbury botched the ensuing snap on the extra point and its chance to take the lead, but it looked like it now had the momentum.
Instead, Abington did what it does best by giving the ball to McNeil. Sure enough, he kept taking it to the Pennsbury defense and eventually scored on a 29-yard bolt around right end.
With nearly 18 minutes still to play there was plenty of time for Pennsbury to come back once again, but although it came close, it eventually came up just short at the end.
Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at [email protected], or @RickFort7 on Twitter
Abington 20, Pennsbury 13
(Oct. 21 at Pennsbury)
ABINGTON (6-3) 6 7 7 0 — 20
PENNSBURY (5-4) 0 7 6 0 — 13
A — Darryl Davis-McNeil 8 run (kick failed)
A — George Reid 11 pass from Billy Griffenberg (Casey Hesdon kick)
P — Zach Demarchis 4 run (Knop kick)
P — David Burke 30 pass from Demarchis (kick failed)
A — Davis-McNeil 29 run (Hesdon kick)