PHILADELPHIA >> On a sweltering Saturday afternoon on Penn Charter’s East Falls campus, absolutely nothing went right for the Interboro Bucs.
Veteran coach Steve Lennox knew it. His players knew it. There was no sugarcoating it.
“Everybody has a bad day, and today hopefully was our bad day,” Lennox said. “And this was a bad day from the kickoff.”
Interboro fell and fell hard to Penn Charter, 45-8, to finish the nonleague portion of its schedule at 2-3 and on a three-game losing streak. The Bucs lost this game without top back Kalie Kuyateh and top offensive lineman Noah Nicholl.
Lennox did not use those injuries as excuses. The undermanned Bucs, though, stood little chance against a fast and efficient — and still undefeated — Quakers.
Edward Saydee rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He had scoring runs of 10 and 72 yards in the first half. In all, Penn Charter gained 282 yards on the ground and 120 through the air. Interboro couldn’t keep up.
“The blocks set up perfect,” said Saydee of his 72-yard score. “Right when I got the ball, my guard pulled. I saw it, and I knew I just had to blow it up. So when I went through there, I knew I couldn’t get tackled by the safeties and (defensive) backs, so I just planted my foot and kept pushing. When I saw the safety coming down hard, I just cut it back up the field.”
The game officially swung on John Washington’s 52-yard punt return touchdown shortly before halftime on a play that could’ve been prevented. Interboro, then down 14-0, got the ball at its 20-yard line with 61 seconds left before the break. Its ground-and-pound offense, not equipped to push for points in the situation, only wasted about half of those 61 seconds before punting. So, the deficit stretched to 21.
The difficulties were compounded when, during an early second half Penn Charter punt, the officiating crew determined that Dylan White touched the ball as it bounced, making it live. The Quakers recovered. Instead of good field position, the Bucs were back on defense. So it went.
“That’s something you gotta deal with,” Lennox said. “If it’s a bad call, you gotta deal with it.”
Penn Charter went on to kick a field goal, but the damage was done. Interboro eventually scored during the fourth quarter on Andrew Grieb’s nifty 34-yard run, but all that did was make it 38-8.
Lennox was unsure if Kuyateh or Nicholl would be ready for Friday’s Del Val opener against Penn Wood. But he did know what he was going to do with the 48 minutes of football he witnessed in the unseasonable heat.
“I think we’re going to forget about today and we’re just going prepare for Penn Wood on Monday,” Lennox said.