Pennridge in must-win mode against Souderton

Pennridge looks to keep its District One Class AAAA Playoff hopes alive when it travels to Souderton Area Friday night for its annual battle with rival Souderton Area.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Rams rallied in the second half last week for a 28-17 victory over Central Bucks South, the win improving their record to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Suburban One League National Conference.

Souderton Area also comes into this one with some momentum, battling down to the wire for a 42-41 win over Abington in Week Eight. The victory brought the Indians back to .500, at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the SOL National.

The closer and closer the Rams have gotten to playoff time, heroes have emerged. Nowhere was that more evident than in the second half last week, when Pennridge rallied back from a 17-7 deficit against the Titans.

“We had a lot of seniors step up in the second half,” coach Jeff Hollenbach said. “We have some good underclassmen as well, but I really am proud of the seniors especially.”

Senior quarterback Devon Balmer looks to keep the Rams rolling. He picked up key first downs with his legs, threw for big gains through the air, and led Pennridge on a game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter last week.

Balmer’s running ability, in particular, has been unleashed, and could be a key factor tonight when the Rams hit the turf at Souderton.

“Honestly, earlier in the season, I was keeping him under wraps a little bit just in case of injury,” Hollenbach said. “I did not want to get him hurt. Now towards the end of the season, he can do whatever he wants to do.”

Add to that a dominant performance by the Pennridge offensive line, and the Rams are feeling a playoff push.

To move one win closer, Pennridge will have to limit the Wing-T attack of Souderton, which called on the talents of Jamar White, Blake Gular and Koby Khan to squeeze out a tight victory over the Ghosts last week.

This one’s been a close battle over the years, most recently with Pennridge winning 28-17 a year ago and Big Red coming out on top, 32-29, in 2013.

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