Welton returns Penn Wood to win column

YEADON >> As Tyreem Welton made for the end zone on the kickoff return that jump-started Penn Wood’s afternoon, his team went with him.

He was greeted by an ensemble of players and coaches once he crossed the goal line. He was quickly mobbed, and thumped countless times on the back and helmet.

Then he was asked to punch the ball in for the two-point conversion.

For the junior running back/cornerback who had just jumpstarted Penn Wood and ultimately helped the Patriots to a 20-0 blanking of Bensalem Friday at Kerr Field — Penn Wood’s first victory since Sept. 20, 2013 — it wasn’t much of a problem.

Nearly 24 minutes were left to be played, but, for those few moments, it didn’t matter.

Sure, the Patriots were facing a team in Bensalem that also turned in a winless campaign last fall. But they were attempting to snag their first victory in nearly two years with eight players benched for the game due to academic reasons that stemmed from last spring.

When Welton greeted his teammates after his 65-yard scamper, the Patriots were on their way to celebrating a long-awaited exorcism.

“It felt good,” the soft-spoken junior said of his first high school kickoff return. “I was a little tired, but it felt good to get some points on the board.”

The breakthrough return came on the heels of a scoreless, penalty-laden first half, one in which both teams were whistled 11 times for a combined 105 penalty yards.

Penn Wood did march 63 yards downfield to set up a first-and-goal with halftime nearing, only to get stuffed on two consecutive run losses and two incomplete passes from junior quarterback Javon Lindsey-Terrell.

It’s safe to say Welton’s team needed the pick-me-up coming out of the half.

And after the return, the penalties lessened in frequency, and Tayvon Ruley did what he does best. The senior running back/safety, who racked up 48 rushing yards that went for naught in that near-scoring drive in the first half, ripped off touchdown runs of 50 and 22 yards, respectively, in each of the final two quarters to seal it. He finished with 149 yards rushing on 14 carries.

“We woke up after Tyreem’s run,” Ruley said. “Everybody got their confidence and energy back. We came together and we executed.”

Though the makeshift Patriots came away with a coveted victory Friday, they’ll pay a visit to Marple Newtown next week, a five-win team last year.

While Penn Wood should be at full strength, as the academic suspensions were only for Friday’s game, turning in a result that resembles its opening contest will be a tough task for second-year head coach Ben Lincoln’s team to complete.

Lincoln is giving his team a full day to take it in, but that’ll be all.

“I always play the 24-hour rule,” said Lincoln, whose win Friday was his first as Penn Wood’s coach. “Celebrate tonight. Soak it up. Want another one.

“But tomorrow, wake up looking at Marple.”

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