Nafeese Nasir leads Plymouth Whitemarsh over Upper Merion

UPPER MERION >> The game plan for Upper Merion High Thursday night was basic.

Stop Plymouth Whitemarsh’s dynamic Nafeese Nasir on defense and spread the Colonials out on defense and work its passing game on offense.

The Vikings came up short on both goals.

Nasir ran for 208 yards and scored four touchdowns and the Colonials defense intercepted four passes as the Colonials eased past Upper Merion, 42-14, in the Suburban One League American Conference opener for both programs.

“We just made too many mistakes,” said Vikings head coach Harold Smith, whose team dropped to 2-2 on the young season. “We wanted to try and neutralize (Nasir) and then get our skill guys out in the open field against their defense.

“But we just kept making mistakes.”

As Smith wanted, the Vikings opened the game throwing, and on the strength of 32- and 20-yard connections from quarterback Jarrett Quinn to Isaiah Graham-Mobley got as far as the PW 10.

But a sack took the Vikings out of reasonable field-goal range, and after Vikings missed a 40-yard field goal, the Colonials took over and bolted 79 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.

“Our run defense has been pretty good, and teams have had some success throwing against us,” said PW head coach Dan Chang. “So we thought they might throw, and (Quinn) is pretty good.”

The second quarter belonged mostly to Nasir, who doubled the visitors’ lead with 57-yard punt return just 62 seconds into the second quarter.

He tripled it two minutes later with a 66-yard touchdown run, and the Colonials looked to be comfortably on top at 21-0 with 8:29 left in the half.

“Nafeese is special,” Chang said. “He can take any play and break it.

“People think he’s just a speed guy, but he breaks a lot of tackles in every game.”

Chasing three scores, the Vikings bounced back, as Quinn directed a 66-yard drive, making back-to-back clutch throws, the first to Kori Smith for 24 yards to move the Vikings to the PW 31, the second on a slant to Graham-Mobley for the home team’s initial touchdown.

Nasir countered that in the final minute with a 41-yard draw play-run that seemingly would send the Colonials into the break with a 28-8 lead.

But after a Mike Swider interception and return set the Colonials up at the Vikings 23, PW quarterback Joe Stoberl was sacked and fumbled, a fumble that UM’s Jared Skidds returned 75 yards to trim the home team’s deficit at the break.

But the Vikings’ good fortune would not continue.

After a scoreless third quarter, Nasir scored his final touchdown on a 3-yard score two plays after another Swider interception.

“He’s a hell of an athlete,” Smith said of Nasir. “Everything runs through him.

“The one thing I did like was that we were very physical. Our kids were physical throughout the game.”

PW defensive backs Jake Racich and Nasir (in the end zone) would add second-half picks as the Vikings couldn’t make a dent in the their three-touchdown deficit.

The Colonials closed the game’s scoring with a Jake Winterbottom rushing TD with 3:57 left in the game.

PW was 4-0, but Chang was not about to crow.

“It’s not hard to point out our mistakes,” he said. “We made our share of mistakes, mostly mental, and we have to fix those.”

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