Abington's star running back went down at the end of the first quarter with a knee injury, after racking up eight runs for just 13 yards before he walked off the field with a trainer.
Of course, senior Craig Reynolds isn't just Abington's star running back — he's a starting defensive back, too. He missed all of the second and third quarters before making a brief reappearance on the field. In his first play back on the field, Reynolds ran for 18 yards.
Despite losing their star for most of the game, the Ghosts managed a tough 19-13 Suburban One National Conference victory Friday night over Bensalem to stay undefeated.
"I'm just looking at it one win at a time,' Abington coach Tim Sorber said. "We're just focused on Pennsbury at home next Friday night.'
If the Ghosts want to advance to 6-0 next Friday, they'll have to do it without Reynolds, who will be sitting out to rest his knee injury.
"He won't be playing next week,' Sorber said. "He needs to get an MRI and get it checked out. We're hoping for the best, hopefully this is not a long term injury that will keep him out.'
But Sorber said he is looking long term for Reynolds, who is too valuable to risk injuring further.
"We've got to think about the future and plan ahead,' Sorber said. "He needs to rest and get healthy before he can play again.'
If resting for half of the game can produce an 18-yard run upon his return, resting Reynolds for a whole week isn't a bad idea to improve his productivity on the field.
"And our offense played well even without Craig [Reynolds],' Sorber said. "We played well offensively tonight. We just need to work on scoring when we get inside the 20. We didn't do that tonight.'
Abington's offense made it down to the 9-yard line before settling for a 26-yard field goal attempt, which fell short.
Junior running back Tyler Schreiner stepped in to replace Reynolds, with 10 runs for 44 yards.
"Tyler played well. He needs to improve in some ways, like running between tackles and running interiorly,' Sorber said. "He needs to work on that, but overall he did a great job. He had a lot of runs last year as a sophomore, so we're not getting someone inexperienced.'
Because Reynolds is a starter on offense and defense, the Ghosts will also need a new defensive back. Sorber said junior defensive back Juawine Sowell will fill in until Reynolds is healthy.
In preparation for next week, Sorber said the Ghosts will focus on getting the defense off the field faster.
"We're going to want to push for three-and-outs next week,' he said. "And offensively, we need to get in the end zone and score when we're inside the 20. We had some big penalties that hurt us, too. We need to minimize our mistakes.'
The Ghosts had seven penalties for 71 yards against the Owls, who also had seven penalties, but only for 55 yards. The first half was nearly void of penalties, with both Abington and Bensalem heading into halftime with two penalties each.
Despite the mistakes, Abington maintained a lead against Bensalem for the entire game, keeping the Owls scoreless at halftime. The Ghosts' first touchdown came with less than a minute left in the first quarter, when junior quarterback Brett Guaglionona threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Khari Jefferson. A missed field goal gave the Ghosts a 6-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Guaglionona found senior Paul Goerlich for a 12-yard touchdown pass, putting the Ghosts up 13-0 heading into halftime.
With Abington scoreless in the third quarter, Bensalem showed hints of making a comeback. Senior quarterback George Pegram found senior running back SeQjuan Riggins for a 41-yard touchdown pass, bringing the deficit to six.
But the next two Bensalem possessions were fumbles recovered by Abington, grinding the Owls' momentum to a halt.
Abington sealed the game with a 32-yard touchdown run by Guaglionona with 2:22 remaining in the game.
But the Owls rallied, driving from the 17-yard line to Abington's 39. With six seconds remaining, Pegram threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. An Abington defender tried to knock the ball down but instead knocked it up, giving junior wide receiver Albert Moore a chance to catch the ball. With 0:00 on the clock, Bensalem scored a touchdown on the final play of the game. No extra point was kicked, leaving the final score at 19-13.
"Hats off to Bensalem's coaches and their guys,' Sorber said. "They did a phenomenal job. Their program is headed in the right direction. They're doing well under Coach [Kevin] Kelly's direction. They did an excellent job executing their game plan.'
Abington 6 7 0 6-19
Bensalem 0 0 7 6-13
A—Jefferson 5 pass from Guaglionona (kick fail)
A—Goerlich 12 pass from Guaglionona (Seidenburg kick)
B—Riggins 41 pass from Guaglionona (Rosenfeld kick)
A—Guaglionona 32 run (run fail)
B—Kretschman 39 pass from Guaglionona (no kick)
First downs 10 14
Yards rushing 144 175
Yards passing 158 169
Total offense 302 344
Passing 15-10-0 24-11-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-3
Penalties 7-71 7-55
Punts 5-21.2 3-22
Abington—Reynolds 12-37; Schreiner 10-44; Guaglionona 10-63, TD
Bensalem—Archangeli 20-114; Pisarchuk 14-63; Pegram 1-(-2)
Abington—Guaglionona 15-10-0—158, 2TD
Bensalem—Pegram 24-11-1, 2TD
Abington—McCall 1-20; Reynolds 2-2; Goerlich 3-46, TD; Jefferson 1-5, TD; Schreiner 2-16; Henry 1-20; Farmer 1-57
Bensalem—Forkpa 2-24; Archangeli 1-10; Riggins 4-82; Porter 1-20; Pisarchuk 1-(-5); Moore 2-51, TD