William Tennent entered Monday's non-league game with Upper Moreland searching for its first win of the season and the first win under new coach Bob Rosenberger.
Things didn't start out well for the Panthers as they trailed the Bears 7-6 at halftime and allowed Bears running back Tyler Whitmore to rush for 54 yards on 11 carries and score Upper Moreland's first touchdown.
"In the first half we were sluggish,' Rosenberger said. "I thought we slept-walked through the first half.'
Tennent got back on track in the second half holding Whitmore to only 15 yards on 11 carries and outscored the Bears 18-7 in the second half to get into win column 24-14.
"It feels great,' Tennent running back Alex Perks said. "There was a lot tension going into this game because there's pressure. You don't want to be 0-3 starting off the season.'
On Upper Moreland's second possession of the half, its offense stalled, forcing a punt. Tom Robinson booted a 64 yard punt that put the Panthers on their own 7-yard line. On the first play quarterback Nik Banks was intercepted by Jason White, giving the Bears the ball at Tennent's 15-yard line.
After a penalty and a botched snap pushed the ball all the way back to the 31-yard line, Upper Moreland turned the ball over on downs as it could not convert the fourth-and-long.
"The big thing was we needed to score when we got that turnover,' Upper Moreland coach Adam Beach said. "Our kid makes a nice play, we get the penalty and it pushes us back and then we get the bad snap and it knocks us out of field goal range.'
After the defensive stop the Panthers answered on offense going 70 yards in five plays, capped by a 40-yard touchdown run by Rob Poekert. Poekert finished the game with eight carries for 86 yards, all coming in the second half.
"On the play that he ran for the touchdown, the other kid had to come out because he got the wind knocked out of him and we put [Rob] in and he busted the run.'
With the Bears seemingly out of gas, Tennent forced a three-and-out on its next series and took only two plays after it got the ball back to strike again. This time a 46 yard scamper from Perks, his second of the game.
"It was a 47 and I made the cut up field. I made a read everyone was flowing to the left. I looked and saw open field to the right so I just kind of cut, sprinted down the field, caught [a couple nice blocks] and then I had one guy to beat.'
Rosenberger and his team won't have much time to celebrate its victory as they have Neshaminy on a short week on Friday.
"What do you do against Neshaminy, they're one of the best teams in the state,' Rosenberger said. "We just have to have our kids play loose, cut it loose and don't be afraid. Just play and let the chips fall where they fall.'
Upper Moreland 7 0 7 0-14
William Tennent 6 0 0 18-24
W: Perks 8 pass from Banks (run failed)
U: Whitmore 7 run (Dolan kick)
U: Bennis 40 pass from Hooker (Dolan kick)
W: Poekert 40 run (run failed)
W: Perks 46 run (pass failed)
W: Icabone 25 fumble
First downs 11 14
Yards Rushing 111 203
Yards Passing 145 77
Total Offense 260 280
Passing 10-16-1 6-10-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties 6-60 3-14
Punts 2-44.5 2-22.5
Upper Moreland: Whitmore 22-69, TD; Hooker 7-28; Jackson 1-13; DeLucas 1-1
William Tennent: Tocce 11-31; Perks 8-86, TD; Banks 11-2; Mendez 3-16; Poekert 8-68, TD
Upper Moreland: Hooker 10-16—145, TD
William Tennent: Banks 6-10—77, TD
Upper Moreland: Robinson 5-51; Finnie 1-16; Bennis 1-40, TD; Claude 1-14; Whitmore 2-28
William Tennent: Mendez 2-33; Isaac 2-24; Perks 1-9; Hamiel 1-11
Follow sportswriter Tim Hindin on Twitter @timhindin