Upper Dublin stays unbeaten, takes down Upper Moreland

UPPER MORELAND >> It’s rare to see a quarterback at the high school level that has all the tools. The arm, the footwork, and the mind to put it all together. But this season, Ryan Stover has shown he possesses all those things and it’s been a huge part of why his team is off to an undefeated start.

Friday was no different, as he dazzled in front of the Upper Moreland crowd leading his Upper Dublin Cardinals to a 35-7 Suburban One League American Conference win over the Bears.

“I was happy with the performance tonight,” Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover said. “They’re a big physical team, we knew we were going to be in for a slugfest and we were. We had a couple turnovers tonight which is uncharacteristic of us but it’s bound to happen and fortunately it just cost us some field position.”

Ryan Stover finished the game 15-of-18 with 224 yards and three touchdowns as he lead the offense up and down the field against a tough Upper Moreland squad that came into the game with a 6-1 record but looked overmatched.

Even with those impressive numbers, the senior wasn’t quite satisfied and found some spots to pick at in his game, specifically in the turnover department.

“In the first half we looked impressive but in the second half there were a couple of things that I have to clean up,” Ryan Stover said. “Turning the ball over twice in that second half is not like me, I can’t turn the ball over like that.”

For almost the entire first half, the Cardinals basically had to rely on the passing game to move the ball. Missing leading rusher Stacey Gardner to an ankle injury, they struggled to get anything going on the ground.

However, in the second half, running back Kaleif Lee exploded for 119 of his team-high 122 rushing yards allowing his team to go with a more balanced attack to close it out.

“Stacey is a big part of our team in all three facets. I thought the guys that stepped in for him did a great job though and it’s next man up and they showed that mentality tonight,” Bret Stover said.

Even with the offense firing on all cylinders, it may be the defensive unit that has been most impressive as of late.

Coming into tonight they had not surrendered a point for three straight games. Upper Moreland eventually found the end zone with 8:03 remaining in the fourth, bringing the Cardinals’ impressive 15 quarter scoreless streak to an end, but the defense was dominant for most of the night nonetheless.

Upper Moreland was able to run the ball somewhat off and on but their offense sputtered when it mattered. Twice in the first half, the Golden Bears took drives into the Upper Dublin zone, only to have them stall for one reason or another, turning it over on downs, which let the Cardinals gain the upper hand from the opening kickoff.

“I thought they battled,” Upper Moreland coach Adam Beach said. “Upper Dublin is a quality football team as they showed here tonight. We we’re able to move the ball a little bit but then we would have a negative play or a penalty and it got us out of our offense and we would have a tough time getting back into it.”

Running back Rodney Morgan put together a nice game for the Bears as he rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, but he was the only player consistently able to gain them yards, which ended up being the issue.

“He was frustrated early,” Beach said. “So it was nice to see him get out and get something going because he’s a tough physical runner. Whenever you play a team like this though it’s a good barometer and it shows you the area’s you need to get better. So we’re going to go back and take a look at the tape and work on some things.”

This win puts the Cardinals in a great position moving forward. At 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference, they look to ride the momentum into a big game against Hatboro-Horsham next week.

“I’ve been a part of a couple teams that have made some runs,” Ryan Stover said. “Last year obviously we lost early and then we won out from there. My sophomore year we won out all the way until this point so it was kind of nice to get over that hump tonight and now next week will be big, senior night against Horsham.

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