Pennridge battles Quakertown on Thanksgiving

The playoffs having narrowly eluded them this year, the Pennridge Rams have a chance to close out 2015 with a win over their longtime rival, as Pennridge takes on Quakertown as part of a Thanksgiving Day tradition that is 86 years in the making.

Kickoff is at 10:15 a.m., on the turf at Helman Field.

The Rams (8-3) finished the regular season 7-3 and 17th in District One Class AAAA, just missing out on the 16-team District One Class AAAA postseason. Pennridge then sharpened up for the Turkey Day battle with the Panthers by winning a contingency game on Nov. 13 against Ridley, 17-14.

Quakertown, which began the season 8-0, reached districts for the second year in a row. The Panthers (9-3) earned a 7-6 win over Central Bucks East in Round One before falling 31-17 to Neshaminy in the quarterfinals.

Quarterback Tom Garlick directs the Quakertown offense. Garlick showed his versatility last week against the Skins, throwing for 117 yards and running for 71 more.

Another key factor in Quakertown’s ground attack is Rob Burns, who battled for 73 yards on 19 carries in the playoff contest with Neshaminy.

Of vital importance for the Panthers is their ability to take care of the football. Five costly turnovers doomed Quakertown in the district loss.

The Panthers like to mix things up between their steady ground game and the passing of Garlick, who likes to get the ball to wide receiver Aaron Besch, a 6-foot-1 senior.

Pennridge, meanwhile, is coming off a tremendous defensive performance against Ridley, which included a key interception by Isiah Lewis, which set up the eventual winning points.

Ram quarterback Devon Balmer leads a multitude of Pennridge seniors that want to close out their high school careers in memorable fashion. Judens Desrosiers is another one of those seniors, and will be a big factor in the running game on Thursday.

The series has swung back and forth as of late. Pennridge had won the annual battle five straight years from 2009-2013 before Quakertown squeezed out an 8-7 victory in 2014.

The Panthers also notched a 14-10 victory over the Rams in the opening round of districts last year before the two teams faced each other again on Thanksgiving morning.

Quakertown at Pennridge
Time/Place: Thursday, 10:15 a.m., at Helman Field, Pennridge High School.
On the Air: The game will be broadcast live on the radio on 1440 AM and live on the internet at
On Twitter: @khunter10.
Records: The Rams are 8-3 overall and finished 5-2 in the Suburban One League National Conference, tied for second place. The Panthers are 9-3 overall and finished 5-2 in the SOL Continental, which tied for second.
Last Week: The Rams had a week off following their 17-14 contingency win over Ridley while the Panthers fell 31-17 to Neshaminy in the District One Class AAAA Quarterfinals.
Last Meeting: The Panthers won last year’s annual Turkey Day battle, 8-7.
Players to Watch: In a battle of two versatile quarterbacks, Devon Balmer leads the Rams onto the turf at Helman while the Panther attack is powered by Tom Garlick.
Prediction: Pennridge 21, Quakertown 14.

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