QUAKERTOWN — On the bright side, Phoenixville started the football game with a burst of momentum that created a 10-0 first-quarter lead against Quakertown.
But that represented all the output the Phantoms were able to muster during their non-league meeting with the Panthers Nov. 15 at Alumni Field.
Quakertown, though, was able to recover from that initial punch right away. The Panthers scored one touchdown in the first quarter, then two more in the second to seize a 21-10 halftime lead that held up for the remainder of the contest.
There was no further scoring during the second half.
Quakertown (7-4) won its fourth straight game as the Panthers placed two running backs above the 100-yard plateau. Rob Burns finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns while Micah Ruch closed with 105 yards.
Overall, Quakertown produced 326 yards rushing and 362 yards of total offense.
Phoenixville, though, showed it could play enough solid football to be competitive. The Phantoms were just not able to put enough good things together for four quarters to take home the victory. Phoenixville stayed active and will seek to use the positives from this outing to carry over into its Thanksgiving Day home finale against Spring-Ford. The Phantoms fell to 4-8 in the game that was added after Phoenixville fell to Pottsgrove in the first round of the District 1-AAA playoffs last weekend.
"We were coming off some rough games, but we came out hot,' Phoenixville junior tight end/outside linebacker Zack Gallow said. "We had the long road trip up here, but we had kids giving it their all. There were no blown assignments. The effort was there.'
Phoenixville took the opening kickoff and scored on its second play from scrimmage as Justin McDougal romped 75 yards for a touchdown. Alex Wertman added the placement for a 7-0 lead with 11:25 showing in the opening period.
Quakertown put a march together that was thwarted when Gallow intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Panthers' eight-yard line. The visitors could not cash it in for six points, but Wertman booted a 22-yard field goal with 5:13 left to give the visitors their 10-0 lead.
McDougal finished the evening with 118 yards rushing on 14 carries, and Matt Palubinsky added 49 yards on eight tries. Phoenixville picked up 171 yards rushing and 223 yards of total offense against a solid ballclub while utilizing two quarterbacks.
Donnie Jackson started the game behind center. But he was shaken up after taking a hard hit in the second quarter, and sophomore Ian Brown closed out the fray as the signal caller.
"We definitely had it going,' Gallow said. "The fact that we were able to get up and stuff. We started out hot. We just have to work on finishing all four quarters.'
Brown wound up 5-for9 in passing for 52 yards. Palubinsky made three receptions for 38 yards. McDougal had one catch for 11 yards and Tom Hammaker caught one pass for three yards.
Quakertown quarterback Alec Vera ran for 63 yards on five carries, including one 44-yard gallop. He also went 3-for-8 in the passing department for 36 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Brian Cass.
The Panthers also got 46 yards rushing on 14 attempts from Matt Stoneback.
Defensively, the Panthers got sacks from Keegan Williamson and Micah Ruch. Colin Mea recovered a fumble for Phoenixville.
Burns scored on TDs of eight and 42 yards while handling the pigskin 13 times. He also had a 55-yard TD run erased on a holding penalty, preceding Nick Soriano missing wide left on a 31-yard field goal try with 7:58 left in the first half.
Ruch turned a counter play into a 57-yard gain in the first quarter, with McDougal making the touchdown-saving tackle at the 8-yard line from his linebacker position. Burns scored on the next play with 4:05 left in the opening stanza.