EAST ROCKHILL >> From pouring concrete in the offseason to capping off 2021 with a shutout win over its arch rival, this Quakertown squad took pride in laying a foundation.
“This game was definitely important to us because our name was gonna be the first (Quakertown team) on that trophy,” said the Panthers’ Tyler Woodman after Thursday’s contest. “So that meant a lot.”
Woodman rumbled for 79 yards and a pair of scores and Quakertown earned a 21-0 shutout over the Rams at sunny Helman Field to finish a tremendous season at 13-1.
“It was like the icing on top of the cake,” Woodman said of the win, moments after posing with his teammates and a very large trophy (which was first presented after the 2019 game). “We knew we had one game left, especially for our seniors. We’ve been together for so long, and it was like, this is that last hurrah, to go out with a bang. We put everything out on the field.”
Scoring a touchdown in each of the first three quarters and limiting the Rams to 148 yards of offense, the Panthers captured the 92nd Annual Quakertown-Pennridge Thanksgiving Game, winning the battle for the first time since 2015.
“Coming out of the pandemic, when not everyone was so close-knit, this season meant a lot to our community, brought everyone to the stadiums, and it made everybody a little bit closer,” Woodman said. “It was something to cheer about, something positive for the community.”
A season that included a trip to the District 1-6A Semifinals was finished off the right way by the Panthers.
Quakertown scored on its second possession of the contest, with Woodman bulling his way in from two yards out. Woodman scored again, on a 13-yard in the second quarter, to provide a 14-0 advantage at the break.
Said coach George Banas of Woodman and the senior class: “It’s something you dream for as a coach. To have the combination of good football players and super high-quality kids, it’s unforgettable. We worked all summer together. I had them pouring concrete with me, doing yard work – summer work, and you build that bond. You can count on them to show up and work hard.”
The Panthers grinded out 159 yards on the ground and had timely throws by Will Steich. Steich pushed in from a yard out on a QB sneak to run the lead to 21-0 in the third quarter. Once again, the game packed the bleachers on both sides.
“I told the guys at halftime, we’re playing for them out there too,” Banas said of the heavy gathering of Panther fans in attendance. “Pregame, we marched down the track, stopped in front of the bleachers, and I told them all to make sure they found their family, friends, acknowledge them. And take it all in.”
Junior John Eatherton gained 54 yards on eight carries for the Panthers before leaving the game with an injury. Steich completed 8 of his 15 passes for 57 yards and added 18 yards and a TD rushing.
Quarterback Logan McGowan rushed for 68 yards for the Rams (7-5) but Pennridge committed 15 penalties for 138 yards.
Sam Kuhns came up with an interception in the end zone for the Rams to end Quakertown’s first drive, but the Panthers surged forth after that.
“We knew going in that they’re a good team. They played hard,” Rams coach Cody Muller said. “Our defense played tough. We shot ourselves in the foot quite a bit, offensively and on special teams. We put ourselves in a bad position quite a few times.”
Quakertown 21, Pennridge 0
Quakertown 7 7 7 0 – 21
Pennridge 0 0 0 0 – 0
Q-Tyler Woodman 2 run (Riley Gaj kick), 1:57.
Q-Woodman 13 run (Gaj kick), 6:34.
Q-Will Steich 1 run (Gaj kick), 7:43.
First Downs 18 7
Rushes-yards 33-159 27-122
Passing (c-a-i) 8-16-1 7-15-0
Passing yards 57 26
Total yards 216 148
Punts 4 7
Penalties-yards 6-60 15-138
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-0
Turnovers 1 0
Q: Woodman 18-79, 2 TD; Steich 5-18, TD; John Eatherton 8-54; Lex Williams 2-8.
P: Tyler Wetzel 5-4; Adam Mossbrook 1-4; Xavier Dantzler 2-5; Logan McGowan 7-68; Brayden Landherr 3-4; Phil Picciotti 1-7; Brennan Fisher 6-27; Nate Mossbrook 2-3.
Q: Steich 8-15-57-0-1; Zach Greulich 0-1-0-0-0.
P: McGowan 7-15-26-0-0.
Q: Zach Fondl 4-40; Eatherton 1-4; Greulich 2-10; Ryan Wood 1-3.
P: A. Mossbrook 2-10; Fisher 2-(-2); Tyler Fuchs 1-5; Nick Swanson 1-5; Jake Holt 1-8.
P: Sam Kuhns.
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