After Abington's last-gasp win in the District One Class AAAA quarterfinals last weekend, you would be hard pressed to count them out of any game going forward. Despite suffering a loss to Neshaminy earlier in the season, the Ghosts were determined to produce a different result on Friday night.
Unfortunately for Abington, their wild playoff ride came to a screeching halt at the feet of the Redskins, falling 35-14 after a dominant first half by Neshaminy.
Terrorized by Redskins running back D'Andre Pollard's 203 yards on a ground and a stifling defense, the Ghosts could not gain any momentum on offense and were put in a big hole early. They never recovered and it was a dismal end to an otherwise great season.
"When you turn the ball over, giving up three turnovers and a penalty that turned into 28 points early, against a district championship caliber team like Neshaminy, you are not going to come back from that,' Abington coach Tim Sorber said. "We said beforehand that if want wanted to stay in the game we had to limit turnovers and we gave up a lot.'
Although Neshaminy's first drive was quelled by a Craig Reynolds interception on the Ghosts' two-yard line, it did not take the Redskins long to get back to the red zone. On the following possession, a combination of Pollard and fullback Blake Sullivan pushed the ball down the field to set the table for Denny Lord's one yard punch in.
After recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Pollard streaked 37 yards to the end zone and the Skins had a 14-point advantage after one quarter. This was not the start Abington was hoping for, to say the least.
The Ghosts struggled to generate offense in the first half. With the exception of a couple of effective runs by Reynolds, the Neshaminy defense suffocated the Abington skill players, which made for a very frustrating 24 minutes. On the other side of the ball, Pollard ran up and down the field seemingly at will, which opened up a passing game that caused even more problems.
Abington held Neshaminy off for as long as possible, but the Redskins eventually made their way to the red zone and Lord scored his second touchdown of the game from two yards out. That drive ate up the majority of the clock, barely allowing the Ghosts to touch the ball on offense. The only time Abington did sustain a drive, it fumbled and Cole Creighton took the ball 28 yards the other way for a touchdown. It was 28-0 heading into halftime and things were looking grim for the underdogs.
"As much as people talk about Neshaminy's offense, their defense is lights out,' Sorber said. "I'm sure our guys were feeling high after last weekend, but we kind of put that in the back of our minds for this game. What happened last Friday night carried into tonight, but we just lost to a better football team.'
As anyone who watched their quarterfinal game could attest to, the Ghosts were not about to just quit on the season. Although they were forced to punt on their opening drive, they forced Pollard to fumble on the next defensive stand and turned that into a 39-yard Reynolds touchdown run. Abington was on the board and looking for more.
"You can't play catch-up to this team,' Sorber said. "If you are down 28 it's like you're down 42. They just don't give up big plays and in order to get back into the game, we had to make big plays. It just didn't happen for us.'
However, Abington was unable to build momentum and threw a pick after forcing a three and out. Pollard then cashed in with a 12-yard touchdown run to all but bury the Ghosts. Juawine Sowell dashed 66 yards for a touchdown in the fourth, but Abington couldn't quite produce the magic it produced last week.
"It was a great run,' Sorber said. "We play Thanksgiving against Cheltenham, so it's not over, but I think getting this far with all the injuries we had was great. I doubt many people thought we would get this far. I hope the kids remember this. It was a great journey, it wasn't just about tonight's result.'
Abington 0 0 7 0—14
Neshaminy 14 14 7 0—35
N: Lord 1 run (McDonald kick)
N: Pollard 37 run (McDonald kick)
N: Lord 2 run (McDonald kick)
N: Creighton 28 fumble return (McDonald kick)
A: Reynolds 39 run (Seidenburg kick)
N: Pollard 12 run (McDonald kick)
A: Sowell 66 run (Seidenburg)
First downs 3 14
Yards rushing 178 280
Yards passing 25 29
Total offense 203 309
Passing 14-2-11 8-2-5
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties 6-45 8-70
Punts: 3-40 3-45
Abington: Reynolds 15-125, TD; Sowell 5-75, TD; Kretschman 6-(-22)
Neshaminy: Pollard 28-203, 2 TDs; Sullivan 5-37, Lord 5-12, 2 TDs; Buesmaill 3-9, Dogba 4-8, Kitchenman 1-5, Jones 1-6.
Abington: Kretschman 2-14, 25
Neshaminy: Wombaugh 2-8, 29
Abington: Reynolds 1-7, Farmer 1-18
Neshaminy: Fox 1-22, Werner 1-7