Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com
CHELTENHAM — Quakertown took the opening kickoff Friday night and marched right down the field for an opening score. Then the defense forced a turnover on Cheltenham’s first offensive play, and the visitors had another score two minutes later to make the score 15-0 early.
“We came to work this week. We had a positive week. Good mental attitude, real great practices this week,” Quakertown head coach George Banas said. “We thought we had an opportunity tonight to play our type of football.”
Quakertown’s type of football was of the dominant variety, as they rolled to a 43-6 victory.
Christian Patrick led the offensive attack, with 19 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. As the Cheltenham defense seemed to wear town, the 5’10, 170 pound back only got stronger.
“He’s a strong, tough runner,” Banas said. “It seems like as the game goes on he gets better. I don’t think he wears down, maybe, as much as other players so he still has gas in the tank in the third and fourth quarter to churn those yards out.”
Patrick’s longest run of the night and touchdown both came in the second half.
“I was just getting fired up toward the second half. I just wanted to get a touchdown in like everyone else was doing,” the sophomore said. “The line kept pushing everyone down the field and making good lanes for me to run in.”
Despite running for 236 yards on 41 carries as a team, three of Quakertown’s six touchdowns came through the air. That balance is what had Cheltenham off balance all night.
“We know teams are gonna load the box on us. Hopefully with our running backs and our line we’re able to churn out a lot of yards and kill the clock,” Banas said. “When they’re loading up the box with eight, nine guys you gotta loosen them up with the pass. We felt coming into tonight we wanted to keep them off balance. I think Chris Hunter, our OC, did a really nice job.”
Austin Clarke was 5-8 in the game for 115 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. His main target was Tim Shevlin, who caught three balls for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
In a 37-point victory one team is likely to dominate both sides of the ball, as Quakertown did. The visitors also only allowed 221 yards on defense, and 63 of that came on consecutive plays.
“I was happy with our defense, the way it stepped up,” Banas said. “We take away two plays and I’m really happy about the way the night went.”
Wounded in Wyncote
Cheltenham has been crippled by injury throughout the 2016 season. Jordan Gyabaah and Yasin Abdul-Haaq, who rotated at the position Friday night, were the fourth and fifth different quarterback to take a snap this season.
“We’ve been rotating in-and-out and just getting more frustrated as we go,” Cheltenham head coach Joe Gro said. “We’re just not effective…and I don’t want to point the blame at the quarterback. We’re ineffective everywhere.”
Abdul-Haaq proved the playmaker for Cheltenham, totaling 160 of the Panthers’ 221 yards. The impact of injury throughout the entire team was just too much to overcome against a bigger Quakertown squad, however.
“We lost a couple kids early, not the quarterback, other kids, and we kind of just lost a direction,” Gro said. “We’re not, right now, at a place where I can replace somebody and be effective.
“There’s games where we had three (defensive) backs who have never played. I was gonna go for it on fourth down tonight and our running back is out…I feel bad for them.”
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