Abington, Cheltenham & Upper Dublin were winners in SOL non-league football action on Thursday night.
CHELTENHAM 34, FRANKFORD 17
The Panthers led from wire to wire en route to their second win in as many games.
They took a 6-0 lead after quarterback Adonis Hunter found teammate Nate Edwards for a touchdown, and when defensive lineman Nasir Carter turned a strip sack by his teammate into a touchdown, the Panthers led 13-0.
“He picked it up, and to steal a line from Chris Berman, he rumbled, bumbled and stumbled into the end zone,” coach Ryan Nase said of Carter’s TD run. “It seemed like 120 yards, but it was only 30. He is a very large man – he’s about 6-2, probably 290-295.”
Frankford came back to make it a 13-7 game after one quarter, but the Panthers – thanks to a 69-yard TD strike from Hunter to TJ Harris – took a 20-10 lead into halftime.
“The thing that we have to get much better at, and this was one of our problems last year too is when we went up 13-0 we had the opportunity to put the game away, but we still don’t have that – for lack of better terms – step on their throats and put it away,” Nase said.
Another Hunter to Edwards touchdown pass put the Panthers on top 27-10 heading into the final quarter. Hunter’s second TD pass of the game to Harris gave the Panthers a 34-10 lead before Frankford tacked on a late score.
“TJ had another big punt return to set up a touchdown, and he had a receiving touchdown,” Nase said. “What we do is we make big plays in big moments.
“What we need is we just need to be more consistent. We’re living on the fact that we’re a big play team right now, but when we play Abington next week, I think it’s going to be a little bit tougher to rely on those big plays.
“Actually, Frankford was very similar to us. The points they scored were on big plays. We stopped them 90 percent of the time, but they hit us on a couple of big plays too.”
Hunter finished the night with four touchdown passes.
“Adonis is almost like a coach on the field,” Nase said. “This year we’re trying to do a lot of check with me’s and calling plays on the line, and he’s just so good at putting us in the right play at the right time in the right situation.”
Cheltenham (2-0) will host Abington next Friday in a non-league rivalry game between the neighboring schools. The Panthers will look to avenge last year’s 27-0 loss to the Ghosts.
“We were 2-0 last year too,” Nase said. “Obviously, we don’t play on Thanksgiving anymore, but this is still a really big deal to our kids and their kids.
“There’s literally no player or coach in the Cheltenham program right now that’s ever beaten Abington. At the end of the game today, we broke with ‘Beat Abington.’
“To be honest, Abington, Hatboro-Horsham and Upper Dublin have kind of been circled on our calendar for a long time. They’re such good programs, they do things the right way, and we haven’t been able to beat them yet. If we really want to take that next step as a program, we need to beat them.”
The last time Cheltenham defeated Abington was in the final Thanksgiving Day game between the two schools on Nov. 26, 2015, when the Panthers won a wild one, 41-36.
Cheltenham 13-7-7-7 34
Frankford 7-3-0-7 17
ABINGTON 35, MASTERY CHARTER NORTH 6
The Ghosts took care of business early in Thursday night’s home opener at Schwarzman Stadium, opening up a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter and never looking back. By halftime, there was a running clock as the Ghosts reeled off 21 second-quarter points to go into halftime with a 35-0 lead.
“We came out a little flat, and they had some tough players, but our kids regrouped and started to push the pace and hit some big plays,” coach Kevin Conlin said. “We showed some character, and our leaders are really starting to emerge, which is important to us.
“Mastery was really well prepared and played their hearts out, but I think our depth took a toll on them.”
Chance Byrd put the Ghosts on the scoreboard late in the first quarter when he scored on a 58-yard run. Just over a minute later, Nasir Jones punched it in from two yards out, and the Ghosts – after Antonio Ditri’s second of five extra points - led 14-0.
The Ghosts put the game out of reach with three second-quarter scorers. Tamir Berthau took it home twice – the first touchdown from a yard out and the second on a 30-yard run. Andrick Wesh closed out the scoring for the half and the game with a 68-yard touchdown run to send the Ghosts into halftime with a 35-0 lead.
Conlin lauded the play of Wesh (73 yards), Byrd (68) and Berthau (65), who combined for 206 yards out of the backfield. In the second half, Zahmir Lee tacked on 61 yards on the ground.
The Ghosts’ coach also had high praise for several defensive catalysts.
“Chris Kretchman and Marc Macione played well,” Conlin said of his defensive end and middle linebacker, respectively. “Brandon Lee played really tough (at safety), and this is what we were looking for from him.”
Abington (1-1) will be on the road at Cheltenham next Friday for a big non-league game against their neighboring rival.
Mastery Charter North 0-0-0-6 6
Abington 14-21-0-0 35
UPPER DUBLIN 38, CENTRAL 9
The Flying Cardinals raced out of the gate to a 31-3 halftime lead on their way to the no-doubt-about it win.
“I thought we took that step from week one to week two that you should to get better,” said coach Bret Stover, whose team was coming off an opening week 28-13 win over Norristown. “We’re still not there, but we’re going in the right direction, which is comforting from the coaching point of view.
“In our first game, there were so many new starters on the field. The moment was not too big for them tonight. We grew up a little bit tonight. We still got a ways to go, but we’re moving in the correct direction.”
The tone for this one was set when quarterback Mike Slivka connected with teammate Brian McCarry for a 65-yard touchdown A two-point conversion put the Cards on top 8-0, and they stretched that led to 15-0 after Slivka scored on a quarterback sneak.
Frankford interrupted the Cardinals’ run with a field goal after recovering a fumble, but a Frankford fumble set the stage for another Slivka touchdown strike – this one for 52 yards to Bazel Brady. Micah Bootman’s 52-yard punt return for a touchdown and the Cardinals’ third successful two-point conversion sent the Cardinals into halftime with a commanding lead.
A Logan Heim touchdown run put the Cardinals on top 38-3 in the third quarter as they coasted to the win.
“It was a whole group effort,” Stover said. “Defensively, we played really well across the board.
“I thought all four of our linebackers played really well – Logan Heim, Ryan Jamison, Khalif Kemp and John Kohlbrenner. They all played really well, which is good. Our three up front played better, and we got a little bit of depth tonight, and we were able to rotate bodies in there.
“We made some mistakes up front – we jumped offsides a couple of times, but for the most part, I thought we improved across the board. We probably cut our penalty marks in half, which is an improvement but still too many penalties.”
Upper Dublin (2-0) is off until Friday, Sept. 13, when the flying Cardinals will travel to Hatboro-Horsham for their SOL opener.
Central 3-0-0-6 9
Upper Dublin 15-16-7-0 38