PHILADELPHIA — For a guy learning on the job, Interboro running back Eric Owens isn't doing half-bad.
The Bucs' senior captain tallied 21 carries for 80 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to help Interboro grind down Penn Charter, 40-17, in a non-league matchup Saturday afternoon.
Interboro coach Steve Lennox always knew Owens would contribute. He just thought it would be at a different position.
"He's just learning to run the ball,' Lennox said. "He was like a lineman. I'd expect him to get better. What you saw today, like, four weeks from now, he's going to be even better. His best is yet to come. I'm sure of that.'
Against the Quakers, he rose to the occasion when the Bucs needed him the most.
Penn Charter (1-2) took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched down the field to the Interboro five-yard line. The Bucs defense stiffened and forced a field goal, but Interboro held a scant 20-17 lead.
That's when Owens talked the talk before walking the walk.
"We knew we had to come back strong,' Owens said. "I went in and told the guys, I said ' Let's go out there and work hard.' We were up, but the score was still 0-0 in my mind.'
After getting the ball back late in the third quarter, Owens and fellow running backs Sonny Armstrong (11 carries, 37 yards) and Quran Mottenon (11 carries, 123 yards) had begun to wear down the Quakers' defense. In all, Interboro ran the ball 53 times for 300 yards.
"I hope it wears them down,' Lennox said. "We have a nice blend or a mix there to mix things up.'
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Owens capped a 57-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge, and after a bad snap sailed over Penn Charter punter Ian Regan's head, Owens scored from four yards out and suddenly Interboro was ahead 32-17.
In a little over two minutes, the Bucs' three-point lead had ballooned to 15.
Mottenon capped Interboro's fourth-quarter barrage with a 61-yard touchdown run that gave the Bucs a comfortable 40-17 advantage.
"Talking with Steve before the game, I was really impressed with what a physical football team they were,' Penn Charter coach Tom Coyle said. "We challenged our guys all week long. We felt like we had to stop the run. I thought we did a fairly good job of doing that through three quarters. We felt like we couldn't spend the first half with our nose bleeding as they ran the football down our throats at us.'
According to Lennox, much of that physicality stems from work done away from the field, especially for Owens.
"Eric worked very hard in the weight room,' Lennox said. "He benches 340 (pounds). He's in the 1500-pound club. He's strong, he's fast and he has a great attitude.'
The Bucs (2-2) have a bye before travelling to Academy Park to open their Del Val League schedule Oct. 4.
"We know each other pretty good,' Lennox said. "It's going to be a challenge. They're fast. Very explosive. We are going to have our hands full. But my kids are fighters and they like a challenge.'