UPPER DUBLIN >> As morning stretched to afternoon, Quakertown could not stop Upper Dublin’s Malik Bootman.
The Cardinals’ senior running back continually surged through tackles and picked up yards, finding the end zone four times and giving his team a two-score lead going into the fourth quarter. One thing Quakertown won’t do is quit, and the Panthers fought back to tie the game and force overtime.
So once again, on fourth-and-goal, Bootman got the ball.
This time, the one time they absolutely needed to stop him, the Panthers did. Nick Levinski stood up Bootman on the one yard line and Michael Terra scored two plays later to hand Quakertown a 34-28 win at Upper Dublin Saturday afternoon.
“It was all facing adversity, we knew we were down but when it came down to it, we had the willpower and the heart and we just took it,” Levinski said. “At the end you could see it was just straight team. When we got in the huddle, we hadn’t seen it this year where every single person was just fired up and had that look of ‘we are scoring,’ not we want to score, but we are scoring.”
Quakertown stuff UD on 4th down in OT pic.twitter.com/YPr7LUId2E
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) September 23, 2017
Levinski, who was involved in as many game-altering plays as he wore jersey numbers on Saturday, also caught the game-tying touchdown on a 13-yard pass with 23 seconds left in regulation. The senior started the game as No. 51 playing right tackle and linebacker then midway through, switched to No. 25 and went out to tight end, where he started the season.
The real kicker is that neither is his listed jersey number. Levinski normally dons No. 26, which was at the game, but left in the locker room.
Regardless, when the fourth quarter started, the Panthers found themselves down 28-15 thanks to the efforts of Bootman. The senior finished the game with 181 yards on 30 carries with all four Cardinals touchdowns. His relentless effort even had Quakertown coach George Banas giving him props.
“He is so hard to tackle, I think we have a decent defense and I think we tackle well, but that kid just does not fall backwards,” Banas said. “Up until that overtime, he did not fall backwards once until that last play of overtime.”
Bootman had 110 yards on 20 carries at the first half, where his legs and a couple of clutch completions by quarterback Julian Gimbel led UD to a 14-8 lead. Quakertown scored on its first drive, but the Cardinals adjusted and controlled the rest of the half.
UD coach Bret Stover was understandably upset his team wasn’t able to finish off the win, but he had no complaints about how his young team played.
“They stopped (Bootman) when they needed to stop him, so my hat’s off to them for that,” Stover said. “Malik’s been playing great all year, so it’s nice to see him continue that against a very good defense. We ran into a bit of a depth issue, we had a couple guys hurt. We’ll get back to work. It’s a good lesson for all of us, I think we learned a valuable lesson today and hopefully if we’re in that situation again, we’ll finish the game.”
UD brought back just five of 22 total starters from last season and is now 2-2. The Cardinals are by no means out of the Suburban One League American race with a 1-1 league record, not with games against Upper Moreland and Hatboro-Horsham still to play and Quakertown also having to face both of those teams.
Ryan Besachio had three grabs for 56 yards for the Cardinals, including a couple of third-down receptions that helped move the chains. Gimbel threw for 76 yards while Jack Jamison had two grabs for 17 yards and rushed twice for 13. Defensively, Max Winebrake and Anthony Cerminara were all over the place and Nick Sowers came down with an interception.
“I saw us get better today and I saw us not finish a ball game today, which, I take that on myself for us not finishing,” Stover said. “I’ll come back and work harder for these guys on Monday.”
Quakertown’s Michael Terra scored four touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime, rushing for 44 yards on 16 carries. He and teammate Christian Patrick ran very hard, and often refused to go down on the first hit, or managed to fall forward for extra yards.
FOOTBALL 11:13 Q2: Quakertown 8, Upper Dublin 7
Malik Bootman 8 run off direct snap pic.twitter.com/uIGrJEu8gp
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) September 23, 2017
Levinski is Quakertown’s defensive captain, and there was nobody else the Panthers wanted standing between Bootman and the endzone in overtime.
“You have your guys, who you think are your top guys, that have to step up and make plays so I felt we needed a change,” Banas said. “We switched Levinski back from tackle to tight end, he makes a couple great catches including that touchdown catch and on defense, he steps up and fills the hole. It’s almost like that movie situation, one-on-one, game’s on the line, who’s going to win?”
QUAKERTOWN 34, UPPER DUBLIN 28 (OT)
QUAKERTOWN 8 0 7 13 6 — 34
UPPER DUBLIN 0 14 14 0 0 — 28
Q – Michael Terra 5 run (Matt Fugitt run) 4:32
UD – Malik Bootman 8 run (Chris Barbera kick) 11:13
UD – Bootman 3 run (Barbera kick)2:10
UD – Bootman 2 run (Julian Gimbel to Sam Polin) 8:51
Q – Terra 1 run (Gavin Croissette kick) 3:44
UD – Bootman 54 run (kick blocked) 2:33
Q – Terra 1 run (kick blocked) 4:50
Q – Bran Bryan 13 pass to Nick Levinski (Croissette kick) 23.1
Q – Terra 5 run 0:00
First Downs 15 13
Rushes-Yards 46-182 39-211
Passing 11-24-1-1 7-11-0-0
Passing Yards 145 76
Total Yards 327 287
Penalties-Yards 4-20 6-48
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Rushing: Q – Christian Patrick 18-87, Michael Terra 16-44, Brad Bryan 10-37, Christian Morano 1-10, Mike Friel 1-4; UD – Malik Bootman 30-181, Julian Gimbel 5-12, Matt Shields 1-5, Lucas Roselli 1-0, Jack Jamison 2-18
Passing: Q – Brad Bryan 9-17-1-1-129, Matt Fugitt 2-7-0-0-16; UD – Julian Gimbel 7-11-0-0-76
Receiving: Q – Tim Shevlin 2-45, Terra 3-52, Morano 2-14, Friel 1-4, Nick Levinski 2-21, Kyle Tooley 1-9; UD – Jamison 2-17, Ryan Besachio 3-56, Sam Polin 1-1, No. 13 1-2
Interceptions: UD – Nick Sowers