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Pennsbury Falcons football comes back to claw Abington

Pennsbury senior quarterback Zach Demarchis (6) rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the first half to draw his team back in Friday night's duel at Abington, then added another rushing TD and two passing touchdowns in the third quarter to help seal a 42-28 win over the Ghosts Friday, Oct. 20 at Stephen A. Schwarzmann Stadium, Abington, Pa.
(Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

ABINGTON,Pa. – Abington senior running back Darryl Davis-McNeil entered Friday night’s matchup with Suburban One National League (SONL) rival Pennsbury ranked among the top five rushing leaders in the area.

In six previous matchups for the Ghosts, Davis-McNeil rushed for 1,051 yards and 16 touchdowns on 125 carries.

In Friday night’s pairing with visiting Pennsbury, Davis-McNeil gashed the Falcon defense for 99 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in the first quarter. And he scored again on the fourth play of the second quarter, putting Abington up 14-0 not even 13 minutes into the contest.

Pennsbury answered the performance with Falcon quarterback Zach Demarchis doing the honors. Demarchis engineered a pair of touchdown drives to draw even with 6:52 left in the first half and Pennsbury went ahead on a pair of Chris Knop field goals before the intermission.

With the Falcons up 20-14 at the half, Demarchis rushed for his third touchdown in the game and he also threw for a pair of TD passes in the third quarter, both to senior David Burke. The first was a fourth down-and-20 scoring aerial and the second came on the first play after a muffed kickoff return by the Ghosts.

“They were coming down and they had no safeties because they were trying to stop the run,” said Demarchis. “One on one, I’m giving (Burke) a chance, so he did his job.”

The 36-yard strike to Burke after the turnover put Pennsbury up 42-14 with 3:37 still to play in the third quarter. The Falcons went on to win, 42-28 and will play Neshaminy next week for the SONL crown.

“I know our defense usually comes out in the second half way better than they do in the first half,” said Demarchis. “I’m confident in them and I know at some point, the offense is going to get going scoring some points.

“I had a good feeling the whole game.”

Before the fans even broke for halftime hotdogs, Demarchis racked up 126 yards passing on six completions. For good measure, he added 97 yards rushing on seven carries including a 42-yard burst down the left sideline on Pennsbury’s second possession.

“I’m just doing my job – playing hard, running hard,” added Demarchis.

Defensively, the Falcons put the clamps on Davis-McNeil in the second quarter, holding the 5-11, 190-pound tailback to eight yards on six touches.

Coming back from the break, Burke – who is also a special teams ace – gave the Falcons good field position at the 40 on the opening kick and Demarchis took his team the rest of the way. Zach passed once for 15 yards to junior Jason Cook to the 13 yard line then took the ball to the house from there for a 27-14 Pennsbury lead less than a minute into the third quarter.

Pennsbury posted over 110 yards rushing in the first half, most of them by Demarchis. After the break, the Falcons gave the ball to sophomores Brad Mickles and JayVon McNeill – a thunder-and-lightning combination as head coach Dan McShane likes to call them – and the duo combined for 91 yards on 14 carries.

Davis-McNiel reached the end zone twice more in the second half, once in each quarter including a 59-yard scoring run that drew Abington within a pair of touchdowns with 1:26 left in the contest.

However, the Falcon defense held the speedster to negative yardage on back-to-back carries on the Ghosts’ first possession in the third quarter, forcing Abington to punt. That, coupled together with the muffed kickoff helped Pennsbury post an insurmountable lead.

Each team turned the ball over twice, though the Ghosts seemed to pay for their turnovers more so than Pennsbury as the Falcons registered 10 points off Abington turnovers.

True, the Ghosts scored a touchdown off the only interception thrown in the game by Demarchis on Pennsbury’s first possession. But Abington had to travel 86 yards on a 13-play drive that was kept alive twice on fourth-down Falcon penalties.

The Ghosts entered the game ranked 21st in the District 1 Class 6A Power Rankings and only the top 16 teams reach the postseason. The Falcons were fifth on that list.

Pennsbury 42, Abington 28

(Oct. 20 at Abington)

ABINGTON (4-4)     7          7          7          7 – 28

PENNSBURY (7-1) 0          20       22       0 – 42

First Quarter

A – Daryl Davis-McNeil 2 run (Reese Gibbs kick)

Second Quarter

A – Davis-McNeil 32 run (Gibbs kick)

P – Zach Demarchis 8 run (Chris Knop kick)

P – Demarchis 5 run (Knop kick)

P – Knop 30 field goal

P – Knop 28 field goal

Third Quarter

P – Demarchis 13 run (Knop kick)

P – David Burke 20 pass from Demarchis (Jason Cook pass from Demarchis)

P – Burke 36 pass from Demarchis (Knop kick)

A – Davis-McNeil 5 run (Gibbs kick)

Fourth Quarter

A – Davis-McNeil 59 run (Gibbs kick)

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