Pennridge can’t finish rally, falls to Pennsbury for 3rd straight loss

TWP from BRISTOL. >> Down three points late in the fourth quarter, the Pennridge football team managed a second and a goal just two yards from the end zone.

Pennsbury, however, did not back down.

The Falcons defense held off the Rams on back-to-back plays and after a penalty pushed the ball to the 13, Pennridge launched into fourth only for Pennsbury junior defensive back Eric David to cut past a receiver for make an interception.

“My coaches always put me in a great position to make a play, they always do – every play call they make is just spot on in attack or defense,” David said. “He made a great play call. I mean, we were in four, we watch a movie on it, they play Flood all the time, I sat on it, he threw it up and I got it.

Pennridge forced a punt to win the ball back at his own 49 with just 42 seconds remaining for Cade Gabbett to land a pass down the middle on the player’s first play, securing the Falcons’ 27-24 victory in the National Conference of the Suburban One League. game Saturday afternoon at Truman.

“Honestly, it all comes down to just driving,” Pennridge senior running back Brenna Fisher said. “What do you want to do at the end of the game?” I’m not going to lie, I think they wanted a little more. It’s been a problem for us all year, we’ve been working on it but can’t click yet. We will for sure.

Galamama Mulbuh returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown as Pennsbury (6-1, 4-0 conference) took a 21-6 lead early in the second quarter. Pennridge (2-5, 1-3) scored the next two touchdowns to cut the margin to 21-18 with 3:22 before halftime, but the kicking game helped the Falcons get into the breakup new.

After Dan Zelenko’s 28-yard field goal with two seconds left, Pennsbury crushed the ensuing kickoff and collected it along the left sideline at the Rams’ 24. The Falcons opted to try a field goal from 41 yards and Zelenko put it through the post to make it 27-18.

“Our guys have to jump on it, I guess,” Pennridge coach Chuck Burgy said. “I think he thought it was off limits. I didn’t have a clear story at that time. It was unfortunate because it was quite like a swing.

In the second half, Pennridge cleaned up his penalties – committing just one after being flagged seven times for 78 yards before intermission – while the defense forced three turnovers by holding the Falcons off the scoreboard.

But after Fisher’s 12-yard touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter made it 27-24, the Rams were able to find a way to take the lead and narrowly fell for the third straight game.

“We talked at half time, we all talked, the leaders talked, and then it tightened up in the second half,” Burgy said. “I thought we were more focused. We did everything we could and we will come back to it on Monday and we still have a lot of season to play.

Pennridge lost in double overtime to Central Bucks East 16-13 on September 23 while seven days later Neshaminy edged the Rams 7-6. Pennridge also lost to Souderton from September 24–21.

“We’re right there,” Burgy said. “All of our (last four) losses are (by a combined) 10 points. It’s the difference, it’s the margin between totally different seasons in the record books.”

Fisher had three touchdown points and finished with a record 148 yards on 20 carries. Freshman quarterback Noah Keating — making his second college start — was 12 of 19 passing for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

“We put a lot on Noah, on the kid and he’s stepping up,” Burgy said of Keating. “He’s a leader. We trust him completely. He does everything he has to do. Two big weeks in a row for him and big moments on a big stage and he’s not flinching, he just keeps pushing.

Mulbuh had a pair of rushing touchdowns as he rushed for 131 yards on 27 carries for the Falcons, who pull off an impressive turnaround in coach Galen Snyder’s second stint with the program.

Pennsbury have been winless in 2020 and 2021 and their fall to Coatesville in the season opener extended their losing streak to 17 games. The Falcons haven’t lost since.

“Coach puts us in just the right place,” David said. “Like I was a defensive end last year, 160 pounds, but now I’m kind of in a better position to play and that’s for everyone.”

Both teams are on the road for SOL National games on Friday – Pennsbury are at North Penn while Pennridge visits Central Bucks West.

“The one thing we can’t do is think we’re done,” Fisher said. We are certainly not finished.

Mulbuh put the Falcons up 7-0 in just 14 seconds, lining up the opening kickoff at the Falcons 7 and finding a seam down the right side to go 93 yards for a touchdown.

On Pennridge’s first drive, a holding penalty wiped out a touchdown run and the Rams ended up punting. Pennsbury doubled their lead to 14-0 on the next possession, with quarterback Shane McGurrin keeping the option around the left side and sprinting 50 yards to the end zone at 5:33 into the first quarter.

The Rams made it 14-6 just 19 seconds later, with Fisher taking a left throw on first down for a 59-yard touchdown at 5:14.

“I’ve seen the d-end smash on the inside, which means I can hit on the outside,” Fisher said. “Right now everything is full speed ahead and I’m going to take it any day.”

Pennsbury extended their lead to 21-6 on the first play of the second quarter as Mulbuh crossed the goal line on a five-yard run.

On a 4-and-5 of 25 from Pennridge, Xavier Dantzler landed a first down on a fake punt run, though a 15-yard penalty brought the Rams back to their own 20. Seven plays later, the run Fisher’s 12-yard touchdown made it 21-12 at 8:03.

Facing a 3rd and a goal from 23, Keating joined Nate Mossbrook for a touchdown with 3:22 left in the half.

After Zelenko’s two late field goals made it 27-18 at halftime, Fisher collected his third touchdown point, scoring from 12 yards to pull the Rams to 27-24 with 9:12 in the third.

The first play of the fourth quarter, Pennridge attempted to convert a Falcons 37 4th-and-1 but was stuffed. Pennsbury turned the ball over on downs the following series, fumbling for 4th-and-2 at the Rams 27.

On 3rd-and-9 at Pennridge 45, Keating found Mossbrook for 20 yards, then hit Mossbrook the next play for 16 more. A 10-yard completion from Keating to Tyler Wetzel made it 1st and the goal at the eight with a Fisher running for six to put the ball on the two.

But two runs for losses, a five-yard penalty and David’s pick kept the Falcons advantage to three points.

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