By Stephen Goodwin Jr.
HORSHAM >> A wild finish was the only way to end a game with two bitter rivals between Quakertown and Hatboro-Horsham, but it would be the Panthers who emerged victorious by a score of 26-20 Thursday night at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
The first half looked like the Hatters (2-3) might pull of the upset of Quakertown (5-1) as Hatboro-Horsham rolled out to a 20-3 start.Neither team looked like it wanted the ball at times as they combined for seven turnovers on the night.
“I think both teams are going to go back and look at the tape and say what the heck were we thinking,” Quakertown coach George Banas said. “We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot tonight.”
The Hatters’ defense set the tone early by stopping Quakertown on fourth down and then Mark Custer Brett Johnson tipped a pass to himself for an interception.
“I was just mad,” Johnson said. “I just wanted the ball back. I was trying to get the ball.”
The ensuing drive led to a 10-yard run by the Hatters’ Amir Booked for a 7-0 lead. Hatboro-Horsham added to its next possession when Anthony Kwasniewski pounded home a one-yard goal line play to his team out in front 14-0.Quakertown’s offense looked anemic with the Hatters defense holding the Panthers to one yard or less on nine of Quakertown’s 22 first half carries.
The Panthers did finally get on the board midway through the second quarter with a field goal. Hatboro-Horsham’s running game was dicing up the Panthers for 135 yards in the first half, but now it was the passing game’s turn.
After just two plays, senior quarterback Chris Edwards found Calvin Broaddus Jr on a crossing route for a score and a 20-3 lead.
“I think we came out hard,” Edwards said. “I think we had the mindset to work as hard as we could. We prepared hard for this week and we did as best as we could. We tried to keep our heads up all game. I am proud to say I fought alongside my brothers tonight.”
That seemed to jolt awake the Panthers as Brad Bryan mounted an 8-play drive with under a minute left. Bryan connected with his favorite target Tim Shevlin for a 22-yard touchdown with 0.3 seconds left and a successful two-point conversion followed.
The air left the Hatter’s offense in the third quarter as its next five possessions ended in a punt, turnover on downs, interception, fumble and turnover on downs. The Panther’s pinned the Hatters on its own one-yard line and took advantage of the resulting short field after a three and out. Bryan again struck gold with Shevlin as the pair connected on a 31-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to get within 21-18.
By keeping things on the ground, the Panthers were able to churn out 75 yards on the way to a 22-yard touchdown run by Christian Patrick. This gave Quakertown a 26-20 lead after a two-point conversion.
“We are a second half team,” Bryan said. “We are never down. We always know that we can come back from any score. Last week we did it and this week we did. We all fight and it is a great team.”
Hatboro-Horsham had to respond. It did.After a costly interception gave the Panthers a chance at field goal, the Hatters rose and blocked it and found new life.
“It just came from all of our coaches,” Johnson said. “They just teach us to keep going and never quit and that’s what we did.”
The Hatters charged once again down field, but fumbled as they crossed into enemy territory. On the very next play, the Panthers gave the ball back on a fumble of their own. It was not meant to be however, as the Hatters couldn’t put enough together to fall just short outside Quakertown’s red zone.
“I thought we played really hard,” Hatboro-Horsham coach Michael Kapusta said. I thought we battled and I thought we played physical. We made plays on both sides of the ball. It just came down to turnovers in the second half, including turnovers on downs. I give them credit for having a gutsy team that battles.”
Quakertown 26, Hatboro-Horsham 20
Quakertown 0 11 7 8 26
Hatboro Horsham 7 13 0 0 20
HH – Bookard 10 run (Kim kick
HH – Kwiatanowski 1 run (Kim kick)
QT – Croissette field goal
HH – Broaddus Jr 43 pass from Edwards (kick failed)
QT – Shevlin 22 pass from Bryan (pass complete)
QT – Shevlin 31 pass from Bryan (Croissette kick)
QT – Patrick 22 run (pass complete)
Rushing – Quakertown: Christian Patrick 20-135, 1 TD; Michael Terra 10-51; Brad Bryan 6-30; Mike Friel 4-24; Joey Gilligan 1-1. Hatboro-Horsham: Adam Suder 17-97; Amir Bookard 7-68, 1 TD, Chris Edwards 8-45; Anthony Kwiatanowski 8-20, 1 TD; Calvin Broaddus Jr 1-5.
Passing – Quakertown: Brad Bryan 12-18- 1 int, 135 2 TDs; Hatboro-Horsham: Chris Edwards 7-10-1 int, 80 1 TD.
Receiving – Quakertown: Tim Shevlin 6-93, 2 TDs; Kyle Tooley 2-22; Christian Patrick 2-10; Michael Terra 1-8; Joey Gilligan 1-1. Hatboro-Horsham: Calvin Broaddus Jr 6-58, 1 TD; Ben Ejimonyeugwo 2-22.