PERKASIE — There was excitement all over Poppy Yoder Field. It was Homecoming Night, it was the seniors' last home game, and the Pennridge football team had a shot at a playoff spot if they could win the next two weeks. But the excitement that surrounded the playing surface did not translate to the Rams against Central Bucks East in the first half.
The defending Suburban One Continental Conference champs were looking for anything to spark a fire. They could only hope a 20 yard touchdown pass to Joe Unangst from Matt Pasquale with 24 seconds left in the first half did the trick.
"That was a big momentum play,' Rams coach Jeff Hollenbach said. "If we don't get that score, who knows. I was happy we could make a play.'
The Patriots (4-5, 3-3) came back from the locker room and kicker Oliver Boucher connected on his second field goal, but the Rams (6-3, 2-4) remained in confident and in control. They let senior running back Mike Class close out his home finale in style and the Rams prevailed 40-27 on Friday night.
"We changed our formation a little bit,' Hollenbach said. "They were challenging to run inside and we did. I have respect for their size and strength, but Mike Class is a play-maker.'
Class found the end zone three times in the second half. Scores from two, 10, and 13 yards allowed him to run his toal to184 yards on the ground. He also had 51 yards receiving in the crucial late season win. The Rams need a win at Hatboro-Horsham next week to secure any chance of a playoff spot.
"Mike was phenomenal in the running game and was dragging all of the defenders with him,' Pasquale said. "Our line was blocking incredible, everything was opening up, and we could do what we wanted against them.'
The second half surge was all for not if it were not for the 58 yard drive in 1:45 left in the first half that cut a 17-7 Patriots down to a field goal game. Senior quarterback Pasquale moved his offense down the field through the air before Unangst capped off the drive.
"We knew that drive was big,' Pasquale said. "Micah had a fade on the outside and Joe had the post in the middle. You have to see where the safety it was very timed out. We did everything we could to score and we executed.'
It was the answer the Rams were looking for after Alex Gibson's nine yard touchdown run and Brandon Ilkiw's 77 yard kick return. The Patriots added a touchdown with five minutes remaining, a 44 yard strike from Zach Nielsen to Gibson, but Pasqaule and Logan Teurke sealed it with a 43 and a 30 yard touchdown runs for the Rams.
"It did start out slow for us, but we realized how big of a game this was,' Pasquale said. "This was our last night game. In the second half we played ball.'
Central Bucks East 3 14 3 0 — 27
Pennridge 0 14 13 6 — 40
CBE — Oliver Boucher 25 yard field goal
P — Logan Tuerke one yard run (Psomaidis kick)
CBE — Brandon Ilkiw 77 yard kick return (Boucher kick)
CBE — Alex Gibson nine yard run (Boucher kick)
P — Joe Unangst 20 yard pass from Matt Pasqaule (Psomaidis kick)
CBE — Boucher 22 yard field goal
P — Mike Class 13 yard run (kick failed)
P — Class two yard run (Balmer conversion)
P — Class 10 yard run (kick failed)
CBE — Gibson 44 yard pass from Zach Nielsen (Boucher)
P — Matt Pasquale 43 yard run (kick failed)
CB East Pennridge
First downs 13 20
Rushing yards 129 261
Passing yards 140 109
Total yards 269 370
Passing (c-a-i) (10-18-1) (5-11-0)
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg 3-30 3-36
Penalties 4-40 2-20
Central Bucks East — Gibson 19-68, TD; Passman 7-66; Warren 1-4; Krier 1-0; Nielsen 2-(-9)
Pennridge — Class 27-184, 3 TDs; Pasquale 7-35, TD; Tuerke 5-32, TD; Sterling 2-8; Balmer 1-2
Central Bucks East — Nielsen 9-17-1 — 103, TD; O'Keefe 1-2-0 — 37
Pennridge — Pasquale 5-11-0 — 109, TD
Central Bucks East — Gibson 3-50, TD; Ilkiw 2-48; Kronmiller 3-16; Passman 1-17; O'Keefe 1-(-1)
Pennridge — Class 2-51; Stutzman 2-48; Unangst 1-20, TD
Central Bucks East - none
Pennridge - Class
Central Bucks East — Remrney, Kronmiller
Pennridge - Sterling