There are no tightly held secrets surrounding the Quakertown offense. The Panthers are going to be coming right at you, ready or not.
"That's our M.O.,' Quakertown coach George Banas said. "We're going to see if we can pound it out. The best defense is an offense that's chewing up the clock and we proved it tonight.'
Quakertown pounded out 236 yards and four touchdowns on the ground en route to a 28-14 non-league victory over Cheltenham Saturday night at Alumni Field.
Quakertown threatened to run Cheltenham right off the field in the first quarter, executing the clock-eating ground game to almost perfection. Quakertown controlled the ball for 10 minutes, 58 seconds of the 12-minute first period, running 19 plays to just six for Cheltenham.
In the process Quakertown scored twice — a 6-yard run by quarterback Alec Vera and a 19-yard run by Micah Ruch — to take a 14-0 lead.
It took the Cheltenham players a while and a few pops to the jaw to realize what they had to do to make a game of it.
"They are a hard-nosed team, an old-style Quakertown team,' Cheltenham coach Joe Gro said. "They are a power team and we're a young team.
"At the end of the first half, the kids played a little bit more physical. You have to be physical against an extremely physical team. They just want to kick the dirt out of you.'
Cheltenham cut the lead in half midway through the second quarter when quarterback Marcus Heimann capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. The Chelts then stopped Quakertown at their 12-yard line less than a minute before halftime when Tyler Colon picked off a Vera pass in the flat.
When the second half started, Cheltenham looked like an entirely different team, marching 65 yards on just seven plays, the capper a 4-yard Heimann-to-Christopher Myarick pass to even the score.
The defense then stuffed Quakertown on just three plays and appeared set turn the game around. But penalties and mistakes gave the momentum back to Quakertown.
"We fought back and the kids fought really hard,' Gro said. "And we started playing some reasonably tough football against a pretty tough football team. But then the penalties and 90-yard fields — we're not that good yet.'
Vera gave Quakertown the lead on the final play of the third quarter — a 6-yard touchdown run on a rollout play. Quakertown then iced it midway through the fourth when Matt Stoneback scored on a 10-yard run.
Cheltenham committed five penalties in the fourth quarter alone to thwart any chance of getting any rhythm on offense.
"We had six wide receiver penalties,' Gro said, shaking his head. "That's unheard of. They're not involved (in the play). It's frustrating.'
At the same time, Banas was happy to see his team respond to the adversity in the third quarter.
"We have a young team that played a lot last year, but we still don't know what we have this year,' Banas said. "We don't know what we're going to be like when we go up 14 and they come storming back and we have a ton of penalties on ourselves.
"We could've folded, but they dug deep and were able to pull out the win. I'm proud of how they stuck it out.'
Stoneback led the Quakertown ground game with 119 yards on 24 carries, while Ruch added 62 yards on six carries.
Heimann led Cheltenham on the ground with 32 yards on 11 carries. He connected on 11 passes for 154 yards, including six to Myarick for 76 yards.
Quakertown, now 3-0, entertains Pocono Mountain West on Friday, while Cheltenham, now 1-2, opens Suburban One American Conference action against Springfield.
"The kids didn't roll over,' Gro said. "We got beat up tonight. Hopefully, it's a learning experience.'
Cheltenham 0 7 7 0—14
Quakertown 14 0 7 7—28
Q: Vera 6 run (Soriano kick)
Q: Ruch 19 run (Soriano kick)
C: Heimann 6 run (Han kick)
C: Myarick 4 pass from Heimann (Han kick)
Q: Vera 6 run (Soriano kick)
Q: Stoneback 10 run (Soriano kick)
First downs 12 18
Yards rushing 73 236
Yards passing 154 107
Total offense 227 343
Passing 16-11-0 8-6-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties 10-86 11-70
Punts 3-31.3 1-30.0
Cheltenham: Heimann 11-32, TD; Morris 7-29; Anthony 4-12.
Quakertown: Stoneback 24-119, TD; Ruch 6-62, TD; Vera 7-28, 2TD; Burns 1-14; Heegard 1-13.
Cheltenham: Heimann 16-11-0—154, TD.
Quakertown: Vera 8-6-1—107.
Cheltenham: Myarick 6-76, TD; Morris 3-58; Anthony 2-20.
Quakertown: SanAngelo 3-37; Cass 2-31; Heegard 1-39.