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Bowens is best option for Johnson, Penn Wood

YEADON >> Quarterback Desman Johnson Jr. had several options as he rolled to his right with Penn Wood trailing The Haverford School by three points Saturday in overtime.

The 6-2, 240-pound sophomore had running back Elijah Glepaly open in the flat. Brian Parker Jr. had a few steps on his man in the middle of the end zone. Throwing to either of those players would have been a sound decision.

But Johnson wasn’t taking any chances.

Penn Wood senior Rahiem Bowens grabs a one-handed touchdown pass covering 79 yards in the first half against Haverford School. Bowens went on to catch four touchdowns and add a return touchdown in a 30-27 Penn Wood win Saturday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Going for the win, he looked around and found the man who caught all but one of the balls Johnson threw his way: Rahiem Bowens. The quarterback let fly and once again, Bowen did not let his team down. He pulled in the eight-yard toss for his fourth touchdown reception of the day and fifth score overall to give the Patriots a 30-27 nonleague triumph over the Fords in an overtime thriller at Kerr Field.

The reception capped a career day for Bowens, who caught nine passes for 236 yards and touchdowns of eight, 79, 45 and eight yards. He also intercepted two passes, one he returned 57 yards for a touchdown and another he picked off in the end zone to stop a Haverford School drive.

Too bad Bowens’ mom, Karen, wasn’t there to see it.

“She’s in South Carolina to see my brother (All-Delco Thadd Smith), who plays at Boston College, take on Clemson,” Bowens said.

Unfortunately, the Eagles fell to the defending national champion and second-ranked Tigers. But there’s always the video and his family is going to like what they see when they watch it. Bowens put on quite a show. The highlight, next to the winning TD, of course, was an over-the-shoulder catch that he turned into the 79-yard TD.

PHOTO GALLERY: Penn Wood vs. Haverford School

It was the kind of play normally seen on SportsCenter.

“I didn’t know I was going to catch it,” Bowens said. “It was a surprise.”

Johnson was surprised, too.

“I thought it was a little overthrown,” he said. “He made a great play off it.”

Johnson had a huge day, too. He completed 13 of 18 passes for 272 yards and the four touchdowns to Bowens. The defense also came up big with five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions), which allowed the Patriots (3-2) to build an 18-0 lead.

Despite the turnovers, though, and a sluggish offense in the first half, the Fords (1-3) did not go quietly. Haverford School forced four turnovers, three in the second half, and blocked a punt to get back in the game.

Penn Wood’s Elijah Gleplay carries the ball against Haverford School in first half Saturday of a 30-27 win. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Jordan Berry raced 55 yards on the opening play of the second half to get the Fords on the board. Nate Whitaker sprinted 96 yards for a TD. Both had over 100 yards rushing. Berry finished with 113 and Whitaker added 107 on just seven attempts.

Sophomore cornerback Jake Spencer made the biggest play of the day for the Fords when he blew in and blocked a punt attempt by Edmund Dennis to set up a game-tying 36-yard field goal with 28 seconds left.

Clark drilled a 21-yard field goal in the overtime to give the Fords their only lead, 27-24. This day, though, belonged to Bowens and Johnson.

After Johnson picked up two yards on Penn Wood’s first play in overtime, he rolled out, looked around and found Bowens open a few yards deep. Johnson had other options, but he elected to go to Bowens for one simple reason.

“He was open,” Johnson said.

Bowens got open by running a post route and cradled the ball into his belly to give Penn Wood its third straight win.

“I had to step up,” Bowens said. “My best friend (and fellow wide receiver), Kennedy Poles, couldn’t play so I had to step up big time. I did it for the team, my mom and my family.”

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