Pennridge takes control in win at Abington

ABINGTON >> Offensively, Pennridge’s game is to run the ball behind its massive offensive line and set a tone physically.

That also puts the Rams’ receivers in a unique position. They know there won’t be a ton of passes thrown, so when it’s their time, they have to step up. And, they need to find other ways to impact the game.

On a rain-soaked Friday at Abington, receivers Dan Hockman and Ryan Cuthbert did that as they each caught a touchdown and had an interception on defense as the Rams rolled the host Galloping Ghosts, 38-15.

“It’s a battle in the beginning and if it gets to where they feel down on themsevles, we’re going to take advantage,” Hockman said. “Blocking for the running backs is everything. You just have to find your plays and make the most of them.”

Pennridge’s running game and defense proved too much for Abington to overcome. While the offense controlled the clock, the defense and special teams made a number of crucial plays that thwarted anything Abington tried to do offensively.

With the rains that passed through the area delaying kickoff by 30 minutes, it made sense both teams went with a run-heavy approach early in the game. However, that didn’t mean they were holding onto the ball.

Three fumbles in the first four possessions by each team slowed the early flow. But thanks to Pennridge’s Dan Hockman recovering his own fumble, the Rams were able to keep their second drive going. It paid off when Judens Desrosiers powered in from five yards out to stake Pennridge to an early lead.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Pennridge's Dan Hockman drags Abington's Kyle Pitts during the Oct. 9, 2015 game.
Pennridge’s Dan Hockman drags Abington’s Kyle Pitts during their game on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

“We wanted to establish the run right from the beginning which is what we did,” Rams coach Jeff Hollenbach said. “We had different formations and we had a little spread in the second half. I like what we do out of a spread, we just didn’t do it much.”

Abington’s passing game got going a little bit, but the Rams’ power game was able to eat clock and yardage. After forcing a punt, the Rams went back to work on the ground, moving all the way down to the Ghost 34.

From there, Devon Balmer hit his first pass of the night, a 34-yard hit to Hockman for a touchdown.

Balmer would hit his second pass of the game on the Rams’ next play, this one a 40-yard TD to Ryan Cuthbert.

“It’s the old adage you can’t let guys get behind you,” Abington coach Tim Sorber said. “That’s what happened on the two big plays and one of them was a third-and-long which really hurts you.”

The short field was courtesy of Hockman, who picked off Abington quarterback David Kretschman at the Ram 36 and returned it across midfield to the Ghost 40. Cuthbert got into the two-way act on the next Ghost drive, picking off Kretschman at the Rams’ 10-yard line.

The Rams ran for a combined 232 yards on the ground with their big line providing plenty of push against Abington’s smaller defenders.

“The offensive line just did an awesome job dominating,” Hollenbach said. “Defensively, the line inside was the difference too.”

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Pennridge quarterback Devon Balmer sprints for the sidelines on a blown play Oct. 9, 2015
Pennridge quarterback Devon Balmer sprints for the sidelines on a blown play during the Rams’ game against Abington on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

The two turnovers killed otherwise productive drives as the passing game led by George Reid and Dion Greene and Mike Brooks on the ground were gaining yards. Hollenbach noted Abington’s strentgh in the passing game, specifically the athletes like Reid, Greene and Jermaine Webb on the outside. The Rams doubled Reid, keeping the wideout to 34 yards on four grabs and kept special attention on the other flankers.

Pennridge also mixed up its runners, providing a steady diet of fresh legs against Abington’s undersized front in building a 21-0 halftime lead.

“Their three down linemen and two inside linebackers really controlled our run game,” Sorber said. “They’re big, physical kids and it was a good gameplan by them. They were able to stop the run with five guys and basically drop six to take away our strength with the passing game. If there are players of the game, it’s those three down linemen and two linebackers of Pennridge. They were really good.”

Abington’s defense did what it needed to do by opening the third with a defensive stop. Unfortunately, things went downhill quickly from there.

The resultant punt went over the return man and was downed at the Ghosts’ own one-yard line.

“That hypes everyone up on the team,” Hockman said. “Everyone’s building off each other because we’re all hyped up for a play like that. Big plays are a key.”

After failing to gain more than two yards, the Ghosts had to punt back and in face of pressure, rushed the kick and gave the Rams the ball on the Abington 25. Desrosiers turned it into a 19-yard score a few plays later and actually picked up all 25 yards himself on three carries.

Abington had to punt again following that score, leading to a long Pennridge drive and 31-yard field goal by Matt Mauer to essentially ice the game.

Abington finally got on the board when Kretschman hit Quadir Williams for a 14-yard score.

The teams traded late scores with Josh Pinkney running in from 27 yards out for Pennridge. Quadir Moon-Barnes had a 70-yard score for Abington.

Top Photo: BJudens Desrosiers scores for Pennridge during the Rams’ game at Abington on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply