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Friday, September 21, 2012

Wissahickon downs Upper Dublin



By TOM KERRANE
tkerrane@timesherald.com

UPPER DUBLIN – In the second quarter Friday night, it seemed as if every time Wissahickon High touched the football, the Trojans found the end zone.
The team was scoring touchdowns in rapid succession, four in the quarter, to be precise. They need just 10 offensive plays and one special teams play to do so.
In the second half, the defense also got in on the scoring, Wissahickon traveling to rival Upper Dublin and defeating the Cardinals, 41-21.
With less than two minutes gone in the game, the Trojans connected on a 63-yard scoring strike from Randy Frankenfield to Gordon Bentley to quickly light up the scoreboard. Bentley produced on all sides of the ball Friday. He would later return a punt 73 yards for a touchdown, and in the third quarter, it was Bentley’s strip of the ball and short turnover return, followed by his lateral to teammate Khalil Byrd, which resulted in a defensive touchdown for Wissahickon.
“We have a lot of threats on this team,” Bentley said, “and when you have that, anyone is capable of making a big play.
“I stripped the ball (on the Trojans’ defensive score). My big linemen were helping me down the field and I saw Khalil Byrd wide open right next to me. I just pitched the ball to him. He did the rest.”
Byrd would go for the remaining 62 yards into the end zone, at the time giving the Trojans (3-1 overall, 1-0 Suburban One American Conference) a 41-14 lead.
This was a 7-6 game after the first quarter, Bentley’s long reception answered late in the quarter when UD’s Mike Lee went in from a yard.
In the second quarter, however, it was all Wissahickon. Frankenfield hit Jared Reed, who jumped up and pulled down a pass for a 29-yard touchdown. Dave Stellato took a direct snap out of the wildcat formation and went 32 yards for a 20-6 lead. After a three-and-out on defense, Bentley had his long punt return across the goal line before Dan Murphy added a six-yard TD with 2:27 left before the half. Just like that, it was 34-6.
“You’re trying to catch the defense off-guard, do something different,” Stellato said of the wildcat, the junior somewhat of a secret weapon Friday as he had missed the first three weeks of the season with mononucleosis. “They had never seen me on film at all since I had not played yet – well, I played in one scrimmage. They had not seen that wildcat play from us.”
UD was caught off-guard on that play. But it was certainly not as if the Cards were so outmatched to be down 34-6 at the intermission.
“It was the house of cards falling down then,” UD head coach Bret Stover said of the second quarter. “We did it to Truman, so we were on the other side of it before.
“There was no way to stop it. But we kept compounding it by our mistakes.”
Upper Dublin (2-2 overall, 0-1 league) was often a victim of poor field position Friday, on offense and for its defense. Before Murphy scored his TD late in the second, another lengthy punt return had given the Trojans the ball at the Cards’ 14, that score taking just two plays.
“We made a point to focus on our offense, our defense and our special teams, and we scored on all of three of them,” Wissahickon head coach Jeff Cappa said. “We made mistakes (Friday). We also had a lot of players make some plays.”
UD took the opening kickoff of the second half and put together a 14-play drive – just three plays fewer than Wissahickon’s offense had run the whole first half – before Khalid Weems took it in the final yard.
Then came the strangest couple plays of the night, however, as the Trojans fumbled the ball away on their own 35. UD took over, ran one play, gained 15 yards up the middle and fumbled it right back as Bentley took the strip at the 20. The play ended 80 yards in the other direction with a completely different player in possession of the ball.
The Cardinals’ faithful got one last thrill as Lee took the ball 90 yards for a TD at the 1:34 mark to cap off the scoring. That play, however, was lost among the many big plays Wissahickon produced on the night.  

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