Sports

MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO

Pennsbury's Brad Mickles (25) carries the ball during action against Penn Wood on Oct. 18 at Falcon Field. 

 

ABINGTON >> Unless the Pennsbury High football team can beat Neshaminy this week, squeeze into the playoffs and pull off a big upset against a high seed, the story of this season has already been written.

The Falcons had talent and were able to put together a five-game winning streak against the teams they were supposed to beat, but whenever they were up against a quality opponent they underachieved.

The latest example of the latter occurred Friday night, Oct. 18 when Abington beat Pennsbury, 49-28, to improve to 8-1 and win its first Suburban One championship in 40 years.

There were two major differences in this game from Pennsbury's first three losses that opened the season.

One was for the first time this year Pennsbury's normally-reliable defense completely collapsed. The other was for the first time this season Pennsbury (5-4) didn't even come close.

Pennsbury's biggest undoing was its inability to prevent Abington from striking big plays in the third quarter. These plays were, in order, a 65-yard TD run by Andrick Wesh, a 65-yard TD run by quarterback Jamir Bethau and a 69-yard TD run by Wesh.

Think about it. Abington ran just five plays in the third quarter and three of them traveled a whopping 199 yards.

On all three of these plays the Galloping Ghost backs were able to race past a Pennsbury secondary missing standout injured safety Drew Hensor like the Falcons were statues.

For his part, Wesh's last touchdown allowed him to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and finish with 187 yards on 12 carries. Berthau wasn't far behind with 155 yards on 19 attempts.

Adding to the frustration for Pennsbury was it was able to run the ball down Abington's throat pretty much anytime it wanted. Brad Mickles finished with two touchdown and 143 yards, while running mate JavVon McNeil had 99 rushing yards and also scored two TDs.

The problem, however, is instead of simply running the ball straight ahead, Pennsbury often turned to what was an unproductive passing game.

The first half, in particular, pretty much mirrored how Pennsbury played in the first three losses. By that we mean it was full of dumb football, stupid penalties and mistakes.

It started when Pennsbury threw an ill-advised pass on a third-and-long play that was picked off and returned to the Falcon 37. Even if the pass had been completed it's doubtful the receiver would have gotten anywhere near a first down.

The interception set up Abington's first score of the game, a 15-yard burst up a wide open middle by Wesh with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Pennsbury did move the ball well at times in the first half, but two drives were halted by high snaps out of the shotgun formation. Pennsbury was without its injured regular starting center in Mike Wallick, and it showed.

After Abington made the score 14-0 on a 1-yard run by Berthau, Pennsbury finally had something positive happen when Brad Mickels picked off a pass late in the second quarter.

After the ball was backed up to the Abington 40 yard line when the Falcons were called for unsportsmanlike conduct, Pennsbury did get on the board on a 5-yard run by Mickles into the left corner end zone.

With just :53 remaining in the second quarter Pennsbury appeared right in the game as it only trailed by a touchdown. Instead, the undisciplined Falcons committed two personal fouls on the ensuing kickoff and just like that Abington was in business at the Falcon 36 yard line.

After two quick completions from Berthau to Caleb Baker, Berthau scored on a 3-yard keeper to make the score 21-7 with :09 remaining in the second quarter.

When Pennsbury stormed down the field to start the third quarter and scored on a 4-yard run by McNeil, it looked like it might be able to possibly overcome its shaky first half. Instead Abington's offense turned the game into a track meet against a Pennsbury defense that had no answer for the home team's speed.

Pennsbury (5-4) 0 7 14 7 - 28

Abington (8-1) 7 14 21 7 - 49

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