By Alex Wahl
CHELTENHAM >> There is nothing like a rivalry game because you never know what could happen. For Abington and Cheltenham, that is exactly what they got as the Ghosts cruised to a 35-20 victory at the Panthers home field last Friday.
It was a wild game to begin with, especially in the first minute and ten seconds.
Immediately after recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff, Abington’s Antonio Ditri got the first six points on a 19-yard run. However, tempers started to flair as both teams started fighting on the track, which led to a long break for the game to cool everyone down.
The Ghosts wouldn’t stop there as they scored four more touchdowns to lead 35-0 late in the second quarter, including two touchdowns from running back Jackson Taylor.
With under a minute left before halftime, the hometown Panthers finally got on the scoreboard with a 16-yard pass from Jordan Gyabaah to Mason Jones.
The Panthers wouldn’t stop as they shut down the visiting Ghosts in the second half.
However, the comeback came up short as Abington walked away with the 35-20 victory.
Taylor finished the game with 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Abington.
“Coming into the game there’s a lot of smack talk,” said Taylor. “I feel good though, it always feels good to win on the road especially against a rival team.”
Abington head coach Kevin Conlin was thrilled with the way Taylor performed on the road.
“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” said Conlin. “He’s an absolute monster on the field. I didn’t think it was going to be 15 carries in a row at the end but we want to give him the ball a little bit more this year.”
Cheltenham head coach Ryan Nase wasn’t pleased with the way his team performed against a top rival.
“We have to work harder on being a more discipline team,” said Nase. “We can’t react to certain things and we lost a lot of our players at the beginning of the game.
“I brought the team in and told them that they had a choice and had an opportunity. I told them that we don’t take those opportunities, things are going to get ugly later on.”
The Panthers dropped down to 0-3 with the loss while Abington moves up to 2-1 heading into conference play.
Abington will hit the road again next week to take on Fighting Owls at Bensalem High School at 7:00 p.m. next Friday.
Cheltenham will be at home for the third straight week next Friday as the Panthers will take on Upper Dublin at 7:00 p.m.
Abington 35, Cheltenham 20
A 14 21 0 0 -35
C 0 7 7 6 -20
A- Ditri 19 run (Gibbs kick)
A- Drummond 21 Interception return (Gibbs kick)
A- Jones 25 pass from Griffenburg (Gibbs kick)
A- Taylor 2 run (Gibbs kick)
A- Taylor 1 run (Gibbs kick)G
C- Jones 16 pass from Gyabaah (Grady kick)
C- Barnes 17 run (Grady kick)
C- Gyabaah 3 run (2-point pass failed)
First Downs 13 17
Rushing yards 224 174
Passing yards 147 123
Total yards 371 297
Passing 5-10 11-22
Penalties 8-55 9-75
Fumbles lost 2 2
RUSHING – Abington: Taylor 18-179 2 TD; Ditri 1-19 1 TD; Berthau 3-9; Canada 3-17. Cheltenham: Gyabaah 17-58 1 TD; Sullen 8-66; Cain 2-3; Barnes 7-47 1 TD.
PASSING – Abington: Griffenburg 5-10 147 yds 1 TD. Cheltenham: Gyabaah11-22 123 yds 1 TD.
RECEIVING – Abington: Gibbs 2-34 1 TD; Taylor 1-25; Mitchell 2-88. Cheltenham: Barnes 1-1; Cain 2-8; Green-Hinson 3-24; Jones 4-76 1 TD; Felix 1-14.