Pennridge runs tough, shuts out CB West

EAST ROCKHILL >> Once Pennridge started scoring Friday night, they didn’t stop.

The Rams reached the end zone on five consecutive second-half drives to pull away to a 34-0 victory over old rival Central Bucks West at packed Helman Field.

“I felt like we just completely changed over halftime,” said 6-foot-2, 240-pound fullback Nick Hirsch, the anvil in Pennridge’s rushing attack. “We were just getting real pumped up real quick. It was just a great experience. Unbelievable.”

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Pennridge's Joe Piacine tries to dodge Central Bucks West's Jake Amsler Sept. 18, 2015.
Pennridge’s Joe Piacine tries to dodge Central Bucks West’s Jake Amsler during their game on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Hirsch, driving through holes pried open by his big offensive line, pounded away at the CB West defense for two scores in the third quarter, turning what was a scoreless tie at halftime into a commanding Pennridge lead in the third quarter.

After the Rams (2-1) received the second-half kickoff, Hirsch pushed in from a yard away to provide the first points of the night and cap an eight-play drive  with 8 minutes and 22 seconds to go in the third quarter.

Hirsch found more running room on the next series, scoring on a 14-yard run to increase the Ram lead to 13-0. The extra-point attempt failed, but the Rams were well in command, and Hirsch was on his way to a 14-carry, 103-yard performance.

“We felt like the offensive line took over in the second half, and our running backs – our big, strong running backs – took over also,” Pennridge coach Jeff Hollenbach said of the power game. “I want to credit the offensive line. They just did a great job.”

An o-line that includes senior left guard Mark Funk (6-foot-1, 255) was gaining more and more steam with each Ram possession.

Funk, from his defensive end spot, recovered a Buck fumble, and moments later, Dan Hockman found a crease in the left side of the line and sprinted in.

The touchdown gave Pennridge a 20-0 lead as the fourth quarter began, putting the Rams in prime position to improve to 2-1 on the season.

“We did not finish (drives) in the first half,” Hollenbach said. “We made some adjustments at halftime, but we were running pretty much the same plays. I think the o-line wore (West) down and the power backs wore them down.”

Pennridge’s Dean Urich intercepted West quarterback Eddie Shields, setting up a pretty 30-yard touchdown run by Connor Hansen. Ryan Gordon capped the scoring with the Rams’ fifth rushing touchdown of the night, his five-yard score making it 34-0.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Central Bucks West quarterback Eddie Shields looks for a receiver during the Sept. 18, 2015 away game at Pennridge.
Central Bucks West quarterback Eddie Shields looks for a receiver during the Bucks’ away game at Pennridge on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

“It was just a great second half,” Hollenbach said. “We were wondering a bit what was happening in the first half, but a great second half.

“The defense, putting up a shutout, is outstanding. (Defensive coordinator) Dave Heying did an awesome job getting these guys ready. We played tough on defense. We’re a very good defensive team, and we showed it tonight.”

The Rams would hold the Bucks to 47 yards on the ground, 79 through the air. Griffin Shields grinded out 44 rushing yards for the Bucks.

For Pennridge, offensive bliss followed a first half that had nothing but defense.

The Rams finished the first half with the biggest play of the night to that point, a 41-yard strike down the left sideline from DeVon Balmer to Ryan Cuthbert.

The connection gave Pennridge a first down at the Buck 13, but there were zeroes on the clock, sending both teams to the locker rooms still scoreless.

Balmer and Cuthbert had connected four times for 83 yards in the opening half, but the Rams were unable to finish any of their four drives.

Pennridge’s first possession ended with a turnover on downs at the West 48, and then the Rams were forced to punt just inside Buck territory on their second series of the night.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Pennridge quarterback Devon Balmer passes under pressure from Central Bucks West's Jake Amsler Sept. 18, 2015.
Pennridge quarterback DeVon Balmer passes under pressure from Central Bucks West’s Jake Amsler during their game on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Pennridge had a 12-play drive to begin the second quarter, but Jake Reichwein intercepted Balmer to end the scoring threat. The Rams got one more chance before the half, taking over at their own 14 and marching to the 46, leaving five seconds in the half.

Balmer’s deep throw to Cuthbert would be the final play of the half.

CB West, playing stubborn defense early at Helman, didn’t get much going offensively, but Shields did find Kyle Taylor for a 33-yard pickup and a first down at the Pennridge 44.

The Bucks (0-3) advanced to the Pennridge 36 but could get no closer, turning it over on downs early in the second quarter.

“Something we stressed all week was coming out and having a good first half,” West coach Chas Cathers said. “Unfortunately, the second half didn’t go our way. We need to figure out how to put four quarters together.

“The defense played really well in the first half, but it’s not just how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s something we need to make sure we drive home this week and practice to play four quarters.”

Top Photo: Pennridge’s Nick Hirsch tries to pull clear of Central Bucks West defenders during their game on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply