Neshaminy defeated Abington 21-14 in a key National Conference showdown. To view photos of all the action, check back later this weekend.
By Scott Huff
Heartbreak Ridge – The Neshaminy football huddled around head coach Mark Schmidt moments after the Redskins (7-2, 5-1) won an enormous 21-14 Suburban One League National Conference over Abington (6-3, 4-2). The Neshaminy band blared Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey as background music as Schmidt pointed to his watch and demanded to know the time.
“What time is it?” asked Schmidt. “It is Falcon time!”
Neshaminy – which never stop believing after a 2-2 start to the season – will now face the first place Pennsbury Falcons (7-2, 6-0) for a share of the conference title next week at Heartbreak Ridge.
“We were at a crossroad early in the season,” said Schmidt. “Souderton whacked us (18-7), and William Tennent played great and beat us (20-17). This team has had to overcome some adversity this year.
“We have played some good football since then, and we still have good football yet to play,” added Schmidt. “We played this game with the mentality that Abington was a playoff game, and we will play Pennsbury the same way next week. We told the kids we have a two-game season to play if we want to have a successful season.”
Phase one of the two-game Skin season was completed against a tough Abington football team.
“If you beat them 21-20, you would have to be happy,” said Schmidt. “We beat a very good football team tonight.”
The game came down to a Neshaminy defensive stop with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Skins holding a 21-14 lead. Abington had a fourth-and-one on the Neshaminy 16-yard line. The Ghosts went with an option play that lost a yard when Redskin junior linebacker Denny Lord came up with a huge hit.
“Denny just blew up that play,” said Schmidt. “That was the play they scored a touchdown on earlier in the game, and we made a slight adjustment to how we defended it.”
“We have to be able to put the ball in the end zone,” said Abington head coach Tim Sorber. “# 10 (Lord) and # 15 (Luke Carrezola) played great defensively for them. We had a hard time moving the football.”
“Our coaches did a great job of watching film and getting us ready for the game,” said Lord, who also rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the winners. “We worked hard in practice this week, and we were ready for what they did.”
“The coaches worked us hard this week in practice,” agreed Carrezola. “They told us that we needed to have a big day defensively if we wanted to win this game.”
Neshaminy scored the first touchdown of the game on its second possession. The Skins moved 47 yards on just six plays for the initial score. Highlighted in the drive was a 15-yard run by Nate Hall and an 11-yard pass completion from Joe Falkowski to Justin Andrews. Lord earned the scoring honors as he bulled in from the 1-yard line. Place kicker Nicholas Tucci booted the first of his three successful placements.
Neshaminy pushed the lead to 14-0 after Abington fumbled a punt deep in its territory. Falkowski tossed a 2-yard TD pass with 2:11 left in the half to secure the second Skin touchdown.
Abington, though, was able to score its first touchdown with just three seconds left in the first half to get back into the game. Dylan Collins eluded a strong Neshaminy rush and fired a gorgeous 44-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Pickney. Sean Tracey connected on the first of his two extra points to slice the halftime deficit to 14-7.
The Ghosts would knot the score at 14-14 on their second possession of the second half. Abington scored on a 10-play drive that covered 57 yards. Featured in the drive was a 22-yard burst by Craig Reynolds, and the drive culminated with a five-yard touchdown run by Collins.
The tie did not last long – in fact – it lasted all of 19 seconds.
Lord – who carried just three times for 69 yards and two scores – burst through the heart of the Ghost defense and raced 66 yards for what proved to be the game winning score.
“They ask me to do a lot of the dirty work,” smiled Lord, who blocks for tailback Hall who carried the ball 20 times for the Skins. “The line did a great job of blocking the trap play and getting me in open space, and I beat the last guy with a stiff arm.”
“Denny can do that,” said Schmidt. “He has come up with big plays for us all year.”
The big plays that may have been absent early in the season are very much in the Neshaminy arsenal now. And now the Redskins a playing for a share of the title – again.
“When we were 2-2 we never thought we wouldn’t have a successful season,” said Carrezola. “After all, we are Neshaminy and we don’t think any other way.”
The Redskins never stopped believing that eventually it would be Falcon time – again.
Abington Ghosts 0 7 7 0 - 14
Neshaminy Redskins 7 7 7 0 - 21
N: Denny Lord 1 run (Nicholas Tucci kick)
N: Justin Andrews 1 pass from Joe Falkowski (Tucci kick)
A: Andrew Pickney 44 pass from Dylan Collins (Sean Tracey kick)
A: Collins 5 run (Tracey kick)
N: Lord 66 run (Tucci kick)
Abington Ghosts Neshaminy Redskins
11 First Downs 8
149 Rushing Yards 173
80 Passing Yards 33
240 Total Offense 206
5-28 Punts / Average 4-30
8-65 Penalties / Yards 5-35
Rushing: Dylan Collins 18-75 & TD; Craig Reynolds 19-74; Tyler Schreiner 3-0. Totals 40-149 & TD.
Passing: Collins 4-13-1; 80 yards & TD.
Receiving: Andrew Pickney 2-59 & TD; Kendall Stewart 1-11; Gage Gormley 1-10. Totals – 4-80 & TD.
Rushing: Nate Hall 20-73; Denny Lord 3-69 & TD; Blake Sullivan 3-15; Justin Andrews 2-16; and D’Andre Pollard 1-0. Totals – 29-173 & TD.
Passing: Joe Falkowski 5-7-0; 27 yards & TD; Hugh Hart 2-3-0; 6 yards. Totals 7-10-0; 33 yards & TDReceiving: Andrews 4-14 & TD; Cole Creighton 2-6; and Luke Carrezola 1-13. Totals – 7-33 & TD.