After only one offensive play from scrimmage, Cheltenham had already committed two turnovers. Before the Panthers even got their third possession of the game, they were already down two scores.
It was that kind of night for the Panthers, who allowed Plymouth Whitemarsh quarterback Connor Hanlon to score two early touchdowns — five in all — and help the Colonials cruise to a 49-21 win in a Suburban One American Conference game at Cheltenham High School on Friday night.
While the Panthers had already racked up 30 penalty yards and the two turnovers in the opening quarter, Hanlon was leading the PW offense, running in touchdowns from one and 25 yards out, respectively, to give the Colonials the early 14-0 lead — one which PW would only increase upon.
"This is a really big win for us,' PW coach Dan Chang said. "We would like to think we can build on this momentum. We're getting better every week and I was very happy with our execution and we're hoping that we can build on this win.'
The win was the third in a row for the Colonials, including their second straight conference victory.
In the second quarter, Hanlon scored again, this time from eight yards out, putting the Colonials (3-2, 2-0) up 21-0. After the drive, PW had already run 25 plays from scrimmage, while Cheltenham (2-3, 1-1) was only at 10 plays without any points.
"We turned the ball over the first two times we had the ball,' Cheltenham coach Joe Gro said. "That's not a really good start. We haven't been making those kinds of turnovers before tonight. When we were in situations where we needed to make a play, we made them, but we allowed the separation early with the score.'
The Panthers did manage to find the end zone twice before the end of the first half, but the Colonials did the same thing as well, and led 35-14 at the half.
Hanlon and Brian Afflick teamed up for a 7-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. Later, junior Ray Clarkson ran in a touchdown from 19 yards out to put the Colonials up by 35 points, implementing the mercy rule with 42 seconds to play in the third.
"It was huge for us to get up early,' Hanlon said. "We wanted to build a nice lead and get the momentum going from the start and we did. This win was huge for us and after two straight losses, to get these last few wins gives us momentum going into next week.'
Hanlon finished with a huge day under center, passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries. He also didn't turn the ball over a single time all night.
"Connor is consistent for us week in and week out,' Chang said. "He makes great decisions for us on the field and he executes the game plan well. He understands it as well as a coach does, which is a huge plus for us.'
Vega also had a big night for the Colonials, rushing 14 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for 16 yards and a score. Afflick ran for 52 yards and caught two passes for 24 yards and a score. The Trojans recorded 25 first downs in the game.
Cheltenham was led by Greg Morris, who rushed 10 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Myarick caught three passes for 64 yards and a score to lead the Panthers' receivers.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 14 21 14 0—49
Cheltenham 0 14 0 7—21
PW — Hanlon 1 run (Zigmund kick)
PW — Hanlon 25 run (Zigmund kick)
PW — Hanlon 8 run (Zigmund kick)
C — Morris 31 run (Perilstein run)
PW — Vega 48 run (Zigmund kick)
C — Myarick 54 pass from Heimann (Perilstein kick)
PW — Vega 7 pass from Hanlon (Perilstein kick)
PW — Vega 5 pass from Hanlon (Perilstein)
PW — Clarkson 19 run (Zigmund kick)
C — Morris 26 run (Perilstein kick)
First downs 25 12
Rushing yards 299 112
Passing yards 115 148
Total yards 414 260
Passing 9-15-0 8-14-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-50 6-50
Punts-avg. 0-0 2.32.5
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Vega 14-122, TD; Clarkson 4-33, TD; Hanlon 8-68, 3 TD; Afflick 13-52; C. Jones 4-12; CJ Jones 1-12; Robinson 1-3; Gravinese 1-9.
Cheltenham: Morris 10-85, 2 TD; Anthony 6-15; Heimann 3-12.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Hanlon 9-15-0, 115, 2 TD.
Cheltenham: Heimann 8-14-1, 148, TD.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Rodgers 4-72; Vega 2-16, TD; Afflick 2-24, TD; Mascio 1-3.
Cheltenham: Myarick 3-64, TD; Morris 2-35; Anthony 2-28; Mack 1-17.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Afflick.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: None.
Follow Mike Prince on Twitter @mike_prince21