Scott Huff shares an in-depth account of the history of the Pennridge-Quakertown Thanksgiving Day game and previews this year’s game.
By Scott Huff
The storied Pennridge-Quakertown rivalry has gone uninterrupted from 1930 when Sellersville and Perkasie merged to become Sell-Perk – later to become Pennridge in 1953.
The series now stands at 57-28-5 in favor of Pennridge (Sell-Perk), and the Rams have won the last four Thanksgiving Day games against their Quakertown neighbors to the north.
Both Pennridge (6-1) and Quakertown (5-2) have had very successful 2020 seasons to date, but a win or loss on Thanksgiving Day will long be remembered by coaches, players, and their respective communities.
And now the story of Pennridge/Quakertown Thanksgiving football…
Once upon a time in Upper Bucks County Pennsylvania, in the 1920’s, Quakertown head coach Jacob L. Stoneback challenged both Sellersville and Perkasie High Schools to football games over the span of a decade.
And when Sellersville and Perkasie merged back in 1930, Stoneback came up with the idea of Quakertown playing the new Sell-Perk football program on Thanksgiving morning.
I guess it was a great idea - they’re still playing on Thanksgiving morning 91 years later.
This surely is not the end of the story…
Pennridge/Quakertown Historical Facts
- The only game that was not played on Thanksgiving Day was in 1989 when the game was postponed two days due to a snowstorm.
- On even number years the game is hosted by Quakertown – and on odd number years the game is hosted by Pennridge.
- There have been four 0-0 ties in the rivalry (1942), (1945), (1946), and (1989). There was a 7-7 tie in 1952.
- There have been two overtime games with each team winning once. The Rams edged the Panthers 7-0 in 1995 in one overtime, while Q-town collected a 52-45 win in an incredible 6 overtimes to defeat the Green and White in 2000.
- Pennridge has won or shared 17 championships over the years, while Quakertown has won or shared eight championships.
- From 1953 to 1957 the Bux-Mont champion was either Pennridge or Quakertown. The Rams were champs in 1953, 1955, & 1957 – while the Panthers were champions in 1954 & 1956.
- Pennridge coach Wayne Helman (1955-1980) had an 18-8 record against the Panthers to register the most wins. Sell-Perk coach Earl Druckenmiller (1930-1945) was 11-3-2, Ram coach Jeff Hollenbach (1997-2004 & 2013-2017) was 9-4, PHS coach Randy Cuthbert (2005-2012) was 7-1, and Green & White coach Frank Krystyniak (1981-1987) was 6-1 versus Q-town.
- Quakertown coach Joe Musso (1946-1951) was the only Panther coach to have an over .500 mark against the Rams going 5-0-1.
- Pennridge won seven straight games in the rivalry from 1972-1978 and had a five-game winning streak against the Black Cats from 2009-2013.
- Quakertown was unbeaten for eight years from 1945-1952 with five wins and three ties. The Panthers had a four-game unbeaten streak from 1988-1991 with three wins and a tie.
- Pennridge has won 12 out of the last 15 Turkey Day contests. The Quakertown wins came in 2008, 2014, and 2015.
- Pennridge has won the last four games with wins in 2016 (55-27), in 2017 (34-6), in 2018 (37-6), and 2019 (19-13).
- Current Pennridge and Quakertown coaches Cody Muller and George Banas have each won two games in the rivalry. Muller is a perfect 2-0 with wins the last two seasons, while Banas is 2-8 with wins in 2014 & 2015.
Sellersville and Perkasie High Schools merged to form Sell-Perk High School in 1930.
What was the mascot of Sell-Perk High School & what were the school colors?
A Trip Down Memory Lane – Quakertown Edition
- 11/29/1934 – Richard Lewis and Willard Fry scored on touchdown runs as the Panthers won their first game of the series, 13-6. Lewis scored on a 70-yard run, while Fry scored the game winner on a 5-yard run.
- 11/25/1948 – Joe Moyer scored a pair of touchdowns, while Willie Myers and Porky (no typo) McNair also scored as Q-town shut out Pennridge, 27-0.
- 11/25/1954 – Quakertown rallied from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Rams, 14-7. Truman Dodson scored the first Panther TD, while Richie Kline scored the game winner in the fourth quarter.
- 11/26/1959- Quakertown rallied once again to defeat the Rams, 13-12. Garry Dimmig scored late in the fourth quarter, but the winning points came on a conversion from Bob Lewis to Dennis Besch.
- 11/24/1960 – Quakertown trailed 19-13 at the half but rallied in the second half to capture a 27-19 victory. Gary Dimmig scored on runs of 56 and three yards.
- 11/25/1965 – Jeff Johnston and Doug Cote each scored touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 13-6 win over the Rams.
- 11/26/1970 – Quakertown scored the most points in the series with a stunning 66-28 victory over the Rams. The Panthers led 50-22 at the half. Jeff Barndt scored four touchdowns for Q-town on runs of 3, 60, 27, & 14 yards to fuel the offense.
- 11/29/1979 – Tom Barndt booted a 28-yard field goal for the only points of the game as the Panthers edged Pennridge, 3-0.
- 11/22/1984 – Quakertown held on to defeat Pennridge 18-13 in one of the most competitive games of the series. Jim Mcllvaine scored on touchdown runs of 68 and seven yards.
- 11/28/1991 – Brian Cote threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Chris Seachrist with 27 seconds left in the game as Quakertown defeated Pennridge, 15-13.
- 11/23/2000 – Quakertown survived a six-overtime thriller as the Panthers edge Pennridge 52-45. The game was tied 14-14 at the end of regulation. DJ Draus had two rushing touchdowns for Q-town and also threw three touchdown passes – the last one to Chris Grill to secure the victory.
- 11/25/2004 - John Ruch scored three touchdowns, one of a pass reception, one on a fumble recovery in the endzone, and one on a rushing score as Q-town rallied back to defeat the Rams, 21-7.
- 11/27/2014 – Alec Vera scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to provide Q-town with an 8-7 victory over Pennridge.
- 11/26/2015 – Quakertown trailed Pennridge 21-0 at the end of the first half only to come back in the second half to defeat the Rams, 28-21. Rob Burns scored three touchdowns for the Panthers as Q-town presented coach George Banas with his second straight Thanksgiving victory.
A Trip Down Memory Lane – Sell-Perk/Pennridge Edition
- 11/27/1930 – Harry Hoffmeister scored on touchdown runs of 18 and one yards as Sell-Perk defeated Quakertown 13-0 in the first ever game of the series.
- 11/23/1944 – Harold Barndt and Walt Hockman each scored touchdowns to overcome an early Q-town lead as the SPHS defeated the Panthers, 14-2.
- 11/24/1955 – Barry Thomas and John Crouthamel each scored two touchdowns as Pennridge rolled to a 46-19 win over the Panthers.
- 11/23/1961 – Dick Yoder kicked the extra point after Dave Oltman scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter to present the Rams with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory.
- 11/24/1966 – Tom Harr scored twice in the final quarter – the winning score coming with just 25 seconds left in the game – to secure a come-from-behind 19-14 Pennridge victory over Quakertown.
- 11/23/1972 – Kevin Fluck scored in the fourth quarter as the Rams rallied for a 13-6 win over Q-town. Dave Roberts also scored for the Green & White.
- 11/28/1985 – Luke Hadfield booted two field goals of 22 & 39 yards to account for the only points as Pennridge defeated Q-town, 6-0.
- 11/27/1986 – Louis Riddick (yes THAT Louis Riddick from ESPN Monday night football fame) scored two touchdowns to lead the Rams to a 21-6 victory over Q-town.
- 11/25/1993 – Doug Moore scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to break a 13-13 tie and give the Rams a 27-13 victory over the Panthers.
- 11/27/1997 – Floyd Turner scored three touchdowns – two in the fourth period – as Pennridge captured a 27-14 victory over the Black Cats.
- 11/28/2002 – Julius Myers threw two touchdown passes to Tom Cressman and also rushed for a touchdown as the Rams scored a 38-17 win over the Panthers. Pennridge trailed 17-10 at the half.
- 11/23/2006 – Joe Reichwein fired a 32-yard scoring pass to Jake Unangst for the game winner in the fourth period as PHS captured a 14-10 win over QHS.
- 11/26/2009 – Dan Caya booted a 31-yard field in the final second as Pennridge edged Quakertown, 31-28. Caya also kicked field goals of 22 and 23 yards.
- 11/24/2011 – Alex Krivda threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to James Marrero with 51 seconds left in the game – and Zach Midgett added the extra point as Pennridge edged Q-town, 21-20.
My Personal Trip Down Memory Lane
I have my own history with the Pennridge-Quakertown rivalry.
I am a graduate of Pennridge High School, played in a Thanksgiving Day game under legendary head coach Wayne Helman, and worked as a sportswriter that has covered this rivalry game for decades.
But my best memory of this rivalry is the story that my older brother Ken – who played in the final Sell-Perk football game (1952) and the first Pennridge football game (1953) - told me about the 1952 game with Quakertown.
Ken remembered that Quakertown had scored a touchdown in the third period and kicked the extra point to take a 7-0 lead.
The Panther fans at Alumni Field tore the goal posts down to celebrate – but that celebration was a little bit premature.
Sell-Perk scored a touchdown late in the fourth period – but there were no goal posts on that end of the field to kick the extra point.
Sell-Perk head coach Ray Whispell refused to go the other end of the field to kick the tying extra point. He insisted that Quakertown construct a new set of goal posts on the end of the field where Sell-Perk had scored its touchdown.
And that’s exactly what happened – new goal posts were built on the spot – and SPHS freshman Jim Nonnemaker lined up to kick the extra point long after the touchdown was scored. The kick split the brand new wooden uprights and the game finished as a 7-7 tie.
And you think you’ve heard of everything that can happen in a football game.
Answer to Sell-Perk Trivia:
Sell-Perk had the Bulldog as its mascot from 1930 until 1952 and the school colors were Blue & Gray.
Pennridge came into being in 1953 with the building of the ‘new’ high school (now a parking lot) and became the Rams with the familiar colors of Green & White.
Sell-Perk/Pennridge – Quakertown Records By the Decades
- 1930’s – Sell-Perk 8-2
- 1940’s – Quakertown 4-3-3
- 1950’s - Quakertown 5-4-1
- 1960’s - Pennridge 7-3
- 1970’s - Pennridge 7-3
- 1980’s - Pennridge 7-2-1
- 1990’s - Pennridge 6-4
- 2000’s - Pennridge 7-3
- 2010’s - Pennridge 8-2
Home Field Advantage?
Quakertown has a record of 18-24-3 playing at Alumni Memorial Field.
Sell-Perk/Pennridge had a record of 31-9-2 playing at Poppy Yoder Field.
Pennridge has a record of 2-1 playing at Helman Field.
Sources for the above came from wikipedia.org/Pennridge-Quakertown Thanksgiving Day Football Classic.
And the beat goes on…
Pennridge Rams (6-1) @ Quakertown Panthers (5-2)
@ Alumni Memorial Field
Thanksgiving Morning @ 10:15 am
Pennridge lost in the PIAA District One 6-A championship game to Souderton, 31-17. The scoring plays of the Rams included a 28-yard field goal by Brandon Shire, a 47-yard touchdown run by Shane Hartzell, and a seven-yard touchdown scamper by Dillon Powles.
Powles led the Pennridge rushing attack as he carried 11 times for 117 yards and the TD, while Hartzell rushed for 64 yards and the TD. Quarterback Bobby Croyle completed three passes for 27 yards.
Quakertown lost a non-league contest against Pioneer Athletic Conference contender Perkiomen Valley, 35-28. The Panthers led 28-14 at the half, but the Black Cats were outscored 21-0 in the second half.
Will Steich completed 11 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Steich fired a pair TD passes to Tyler Merwarth of 43 & 44 yards, and also tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Zach Fondl. Brady Williams was the leading ballcarrier with 111 yards on 16 carries, while Tyler Woodman added 61 yards on 13 carries and scored on an 11-yard run.
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game:
Pennridge has scored an average of 30.4 points per game and has allowed an average of 13.3 points per game.
Quakertown has scored an average of 36.4 points per game and has allowed an average of 14.4 points per game.
Pennridge lost to Souderton 31-17 in the District One championship game.
Quakertown lost to Souderton 28-23 in the opening game of the SOL Continental Conference season.
Players To Watch:
Pennridge quarterback Bobby Croyle has completed 33 of 73 passes for 581 yards and four touchdowns.
Adam Mossbrook is the leading receiver for the Rams with 10 catches for 171 yards (17.1) and one touchdown, while Dillon Powles has six catches for 134 yards (22.3) and one touchdown.
Shane Hartzell is the leading rusher for PHS and has carried 53 times for 492 yards (9.3) and five touchdowns, while Powles has rushed 59 times for 445 yards (7.5) and six touchdowns.
Quakertown quarterback Will Steich has completed 52 of 93 passes for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Tyler Merwarth is the leading receiver for QHS with 20 catches for 340 yards (17.0) and five touchdowns, while Zach Fondl has 17 catches for 237 yards (13.9) and five touchdowns.
Brady Williams is the leading ballcarrier for the Panthers with 48 carries for 326 yards (6.8) and two touchdowns, while Tyler Woodman has carried 42 times for 276 yards (6.6) and four touchdowns.
Pennridge Rams 31 / Quakertown Panthers 28