Upper Dublin eases past Cheltenham

CHELTENHAM >> It is no secret that something special is happening with Upper Dublin’s football team this season. Friday night was just another step in what looks to be a memorable season.

The Cardinals starters played just the first half, scored touchdowns on all six possessions and held Cheltenham to 44 first-half yards in a 42-6 win at Cheltenham High School in the Suburban One League American Conference opener for both teams.

“It’s always good to win,” Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover said. “Get number one on the road — Cheltenham has been tough for us over the years. I’m happy with the way we played.

“We still made some mistakes offensively that we need to clean up. We have to keep working. Once we get satisfied then we are going to be in some trouble. We just have to keep working.”

It was truly a team effort for Upper Dublin as its machine of an offense scored three first-quarter touchdowns and another three in the second.

The first score came just six plays into the game. Quarterback Ryan Stover kept the ball on a read option and raced 22 yards – untouched – for the touchdown.

After forcing a Cheltenham three-and-out, the Cardinals needed four plays to score. Stover avoided the rush, rolled right and found Gary Fields in the corner of the end zone from 23 yards away.

The defense forced another quick punt from the Panthers and the offense got right back at it, this time scoring in two plays. The first was a Stover-Fields connection for 18 yards followed by a 28-yard run from Stacey Gardner for the score.

Early in the second quarter, Gardner ran for another score, this one from 34 yards out. One possession later, it was David Bryant with a rushing touchdown from 14 yards away. The final score was a 45-yard pass from Stover to Cole Swiger to make it 42-0.

Stover finished 8-for-10 for 134 yards and a score.

“He looked like he played well,” coach Stover said of his son. “He was comfortable out there. The guys up front gave him a lot of time and the receivers ran nice routes. It’s surreal to watch him play. He does such a nice job out there. He does his work all week and he comes out here and he executes. It’s fun to see.”

On the ground, Gardner led the way with 78 yards and two scores on four carries. Kaleif Lee carried the ball six times for 73 yards.

“It was a combination of both (the running backs and the line),” Stover said of the success running the ball. “Our guys up front did a great job protecting Ryan and opening holes for Stacey and Kaleif and David.”

Cheltenham’s lone score came in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Brendan Mack found wide receiver Akeem Browne over the middle for a 59-yard touchdown. The Panthers missed the extra point.

“We were about as opposite as we could be of Upper Dublin,” Cheltenham coach Joe Gro said. “We put stuff in and didn’t do much of it – very concerning.

“We punted well, everything else in the game was beyond poor. We’ll go back and deal with it that’s all and get ready for next week.”

Both teams return to action next Friday at 7 p.m. Cheltenham travels to Upper Moreland and Upper Dublin hosts Springfield.


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