Upper Merion wins defensive struggle against Wissahickon

LOWER GWYNEDD >> If you are a fan of low-scoring, defensive football, then Friday night’s game between Upper Merion and Wissahickon was for you.

The Vikings went on the road and came away with a Suburban One League American Conference win, 18-6, at Wissahickon High School.

Most of the points in this one were set up by either turnovers or special teams plays.

Fitting for a game like this, the first and only score of the first quarter came on a safety. Upper Merion’s opening drive was halted around midfield and Botros Barsoum dropped in a punt at Wissahickon’s four-yard line. Three plays later, Trojans quarterback Mike Schoenleber was called for intentional grounding in the end zone and the Vikings defense was awarded the two-point safety.

Wissahickon took a 6-2 lead in the final 30 seconds of the first half. Antaun Lloyd returned a punt 35 yards to the Upper Merion 17-yard line. Schoenleber kept the ball on a read-option to get to the 10 and Deshawn Newman took the next carry in for a touchdown. The extra point attempt failed.

Upper Merion recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff and took the ball straight down the field for a touchdown, capped by a three-yard run from Marc Picarelli. The extra point sailed wide right making it an 8-6 game.

The Vikings forced another turnover on the next drive – an interception by cornerback Max Dalton. Seven plays later, Alex Panichi scored on a 13-yard run. This extra point was good and the lead was at nine, 15-6.

The final score of the game was an Upper Merion field goal, which was set up by a 48-yard punt return from Isaiah Graham-Mobley. Following the big return, three Vikings running plays set up a 34-yard field goal attempt that Anthony Littlewood boomed through the uprights.

The Vikings did most of their offensive damage on the ground. Kori Smith, Kyle Smith, Panichi and Picarelli combined for 185 rushing yards.

Wissahickon’s standout player was free safety Rasheed Wright. The sophomore grabbed three interceptions – one on a tipped ball and two when he perfectly read the quarterback’s eyes and swooped in for the turnover.

Next week both teams are back in action. Upper Merion takes on Upper Dublin and Wissahickon faces Upper Moreland.


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