WILLOW GROVE — The Owen J. Roberts defense stopped Upper Moreland running back Tyler Whitmore for short gains more often than not in Friday night's non-league contest. But the 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior broke off a couple of long scoring runs, and they turned out to be killers in a 25-14 Golden Bear win.
Tom Robinson also caught two touchdown tosses from Charlie Hooker for Upper Moreland (4-7). Wyatt Scott and Brad Kinckner scored rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats (2-9).
"He's a great back,' OJR coach Tom Barr said concerning Whitmore, who gained 172 yards on 20 carries. "You stop him at the line of scrimmage a couple plays, then the next one ... boom ... he breaks one.'
Upper Moreland opened the scoring with 3:48 remaining in the first half when Hooker hit Robinson with a 31-yard pass on a 4th-and-26 play and then kicked the extra point.
But Bill Scherfel's long return of the ensuing kickoff set OJR up at the Bear 42 and the Wildcats took it in from there with Scott running 16 yards into the end zone to finish the drive with 2:01 left in the half. The extra point kick failed, leaving Upper Moreland with a 7-6 edge at the half.
Then Whitmore zigged and zagged and picked his way through the defense for a 30-yard TD run on the second play of the second half for a 13-6 advantage.
"Coach got us fired up,' said Whitmore. "We just wanted to go off the field as winners. The first half, the blocking wasn't too good. The second half, they started blocking real good and opening up some holes.'
Once again, OJR answered with a touchdown of its own on a 20-yard scoring run by Kinckner. Then Mitch Bradford passed to Christian Marks for two points and a 14-13 Wildcat lead with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
But a 17-yard punt gave the Golden Bears the ball at the OJR 36-yard line late in the quarter and Hooker found Robinson again for a 32-yard touchdown and a 19-14 lead. Whitmore scored again early in the fourth quarter when he shoved away a would-be tackler and sped down the right sideline for a 43-yard run.
Barr said that his team's plan was to try to control the ball, which it did on the first possession of the game, marching 42 yards on 11 plays before coming up short on a fourth down play by an inch or two.
"The best defense for us was trying to hold the ball on offense, so (Whitmore) didn't get as many chances,' said the OJR coach.
But that strategy did not work as well in the second half as stalled OJR drives were followed by short punts, giving the Bears the ball in Wildcat territory time after time.
"Our kicking game could have been better,' Barr added. "That hurt us in field position. It seemed they were always starting on our side of the field.'
Upper Moreland ran nearly four minutes off the clock in the middle of the fourth quarter as Whitmore ran for a pair of first downs, the Wildcats used all of their time outs, and Matt Greever intercepted a pass to wrap things up for the hosts.
Both teams have a game remaining on Thanksgiving Day with OJR visiting Pottstown and Upper Moreland playing on the road against Hatboro-Horsham.
The Wildcats went just 7-for-19 through the air for 88 yards. .... "We've been practicing working on our drops,' said Whitmore, who also came up with some big plays as a defensive back. ... All four of Hooker's completions were to Robinson, good for a total of 83 yards.
Upper Moreland 25
Owen J. Roberts 14
Owen J. Roberts 0 6 8 0 — 14
Upper Moreland 0 7 12 6 — 25
UM-Robinson 31 pass from Hooker (Hooker kick)
OJR-Scott 16 run (kick failed)
UM-Whitmore 30 run (kick failed)
OJR-Kinckner 20 run (Marks pass from Bradford)
UM-Robinson 32 pass from Hooker (kick failed)
UM-Whitmore 43 run (run failed)
First Downs 13 14
Rushing yards 132 238
Passing yards 88 83
Total yards 220 321
Passes C-A-I 7-19-1 4-7-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 5-45
Punts-Avg. 5-26.2 4-32.5
Owen J. Roberts: Scott 24-88, 1 TD; Kinckner 4-27, 1 TD; Bradford 4-18; Reitnour 1-4; Thomas 2-(-5).
Upper Moreland: Whitmore 20-172, 2 TD's; Hooker 12-60; DeLucas 6-13; Jackson 1-(-7).
Owen J. Roberts: Thomas 5-11-71, 1 INT; Bradford 2-8-17.
Upper Moreland: Hooker 4-7-83, 2 TD's.
Owen J. Roberts: Hinrichs 3-26; LaBella 1-33; Bradford 1-18; Wunderlich 1-10; Scott 1-1.
Upper Moreland: Robinson 4-83, 2 TD's.
Interceptions: Upper Morelnd-Greever. Sacks: Owen J. Roberts-Myers, Dawson; Upper Moreland-Grumm.