LOWER MERION >> Conestoga got its first win of the season Friday night, taking care of Lower Merion, 38-20.
It will go in the record books as a home win, but Conestoga didn’t have the luxury of playing at its home stadium.
“It feels awesome to get this weight off of our shoulders,” said Conestoga head coach Marquis Weeks.
Due to issues with the newly laid artificial turf at Teamer Field, the game was moved to Harriton High School, but make no mistake, the Pioneers didn’t seemed fazed by it.
Lead by a three-headed rushing attack, Conestoga scored five touchdowns on the ground and racked up 39 rushing attempts for 288 yards.
The stars of the run game were Conestoga tailbacks Milton Robinson, Amani Christopher and quarterback Nick Braendel.
Robinson employed a bruising style of running on Lower Merion for a team-high 14 carries and 155 yards. His two touchdowns were matched by Braendel. Robinson almost broke away for another touchdown from 42 yards out in the third quarter, but the refs marked him down at the one.
“No one can tackle me, that’s my mindset,” Robinson said. “This week was our best week of practice and look at the outcome, 38-20. It could have been 38-10, but we shot ourselves in the foot with some mistakes.”
While Robinson was wearing down the defense physically, Christopher was wearing the Aces down with his speed.
“In practice, Milton and I have been working together and we finally found the balance tonight,” Christopher said. “Milt’s stronger and a little bigger so he can pull the whole defense and I can shake the whole defense.
Christopher carried the ball 13 times for 95 yards and one touchdown, his first of the season.
Since the running attack was firing on all cylinders, Braendel only needed to attempt one pass. But he helped out the team with two rushing touchdowns from four yards and one yard out.
Lower Merion quarterback Matt O’Conner threw for 115 yards and three touchdowns on the day. But he also completed 11-26 passes with one interception.
“We did some good things but we couldn’t finish,” O’Conner said. “We moved the ball and scored touchdowns but we have to do more.”
With 20 seconds left in the game and the Aces on Conestoga’s 19-yard line, O’Conner threw what seemed to throw an interception. However, a roughing the passer penalty on Conestoga gave Lower Merion life.
So, with eight seconds on the clock, O’Conner threw a dart to Jalen Goodman for an 11-yard touchdown.
“We caught a break there,” O’Conner said. “It was a poor decision and I got lucky that they got a penalty. You can’t waste a play like that.”
Lower Merion failed to find consistency on its offense and any momentum the Aces seemed to get would be negated by a fumble, penalty or incompletion.
“We have to do a better job as a coaching staff and at practice making sure guys are paying attention to detail,” Lower Merion head coach Bryan Scopellit said. “Conestoga did a really great job give credit to them.”