LANGHORNE — So Abington wasn't very much of a banana peel after all for the Neshaminy High School football team.
In the District One Class AAAA semifinals last night at Harry E. Franks Stadium, the host Redskins emphatically dispatched their familiar rivals from the Suburban One League National Conference, 35-14, and advanced into next week's showdown with North Penn for the title.
The date and time for the district final are to be announced, although the game is usually played on Friday night at 7. William Tennent, Council Rock North, Central Bucks West and Harry S. Truman high schools are considered possible sites.
Last night, Neshaminy (12-1) saw much of its own personality in Abington (10-3), a team relying on the singular talent of an elusive running back, along with a solid offensive line, to do most of the heavy lifting. But Neshaminy's running game was clearly superior to Abington's.
D'Andre Pollard rushed 29 times for 205 yards and two touchdowns as he surpassed the 2,500-yard mark for the season. Abington's Craig Reynolds countered with 155 yards on 18 carries, but most of that came with the Ghosts already trailing big and unable to throw the ball for quick points.
Neshaminy scored twice within 17 seconds in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead. The Redskins drove 89 yards for another touchdown in the second quarter before Cole Creighton picked up an Abington fumble and raced 29 yards to put Neshaminy up, 28-0, just before halftime
A fumble by Pollard helped kick-start the Ghosts in the third quarter, as Reynolds took advantage with a 39-yard touchdown run. But Pollard answered with his second touchdown, a 12-yarder, to put the ' Skins on top 35-7 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
Abington's subs tacked on a touchdown late in the fourth.
In some respects, the game was a mirror opposite of the teams' first meeting four weeks earlier in the regular season when Neshaminy struggled early and led just 10-7 at halftime before rolling in the second half and winning 31-14.
However, much like that earlier meeting, the Redskins were their own worst enemy last night, as they yielded 80 penalty yards in the game, including 65 in the first half. Otherwise, the score could've been even more lopsided.
Abington was powerless to stop Pollard from the outset. Lining up in the wildcat formation, Pollard ran five straight times to start the game and seven times for 51 yards on the Redskins' opening drive. But the march stalled at the Ghosts' 20 when Neshaminy took a holding penalty, then failed to convert on fourth down.
Abington gave the Redskins a break when they picked off Tyler Wombough's fourth-down pass at the 2 when an incomplete would have put the ball back at Abington's 23.
Neshaminy's defense used the great field position well and forced the Ghosts to punt from their own end zone.
The Redskins got the ball back at the Ghosts' 28 and needed five running plays to take a 7-0 lead. Denny Lord leaped into the end zone from the 1.
On the ensuing kickoff, Neshaminy's Devon Brown recovered an Abington fumble at the Ghosts' 37. Pollard then ran 37 yards for a touchdown on the next play as the ' Skins led 14-0.
In the second quarter, Wombough completed passes of 24 yards and 10 yards during the 89-yard drive, but the running game did most of the work. The Redskins overcame a 15-yard chop block penalty and a holding penalty with help from a roughing the passer call against the Ghosts on another fourth-down snap.
Ultimately, Lord ran for a two-yard touchdown to make it 21-0. Neshaminy ate up 7:26 of game clock during the drive.
The Redskins capitalized on another gift before the end of the half when Creighton scored on the 29-yard fumble return.
Immediately after Dylan McDonald's extra point kick, the game came to a halt when an assistant coach for Neshaminy collapsed inside the stadium press box. Linebackers coach Dave Ferrara complained of chest pains, according to witnesses, but was conscious as paramedics carried him down the grandstand steps to a waiting ambulance.
District 1-AAAA Semifinals
Neshaminy 35, Abington 14
(Nov. 22 at Neshaminy)
Abington (10-3) 0 0 7 7--14
Neshaminy (12-1) 14 14 7--35
N-Lord 1 run (McDonald kick)
N-Pollard 37 run (McDonald kick)
N-Lord 2 run (McDonald kick)
N-Creighton 29 fumble return (McDonald kick)
A-Reynolds 39 run (Bond kick)
N-Pollard 12 run (McDonald kick)
A-Sowell 66 run (Bond kick)