Pennridge Shows Class in Turkey Day Win
Is it any surprise that Mike Class would come up huge in his final game as a Pennridge Ram? Especially when the game was at home, against arch-rival Quakertown, in a Thanksgiving rivalry that goes back to 1930?
Senior Class’s 225 rushing yards, three touchdowns and key interception lifted the Rams (8-4) to a 27-7 win over the Panthers (7-5).
Class, who leaves Perkasie as Pennridge’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, stopped a 10-play Quakertown drive by jumping a 3rd down pass play and intercepting a Panther aerial at his own 15.
Four plays later, Class galloped 65 yards for a Pennridge touchdown. Quarterback Matt Pasquale hit wide out Micah Stutzman for the two-point conversion, putting the Rams up 8-0 midway through the second quarter.
The run was a rare offensive highlight in a defensive-dominated first half. Twice, junior Ram linebacker Imeir Simmons made big plays in the second quarter to end a Quakertown drive: he broke up a third-down pass with 4:00 left in the half to force a punt, and sacked Panther quarterback Alec Vera on third down late in the second quarter to force another punt.
But the Panther defense, which yielded 14 or fewer points in five games this season, also stood stout. Pennridge opened the game driving to the Q-21, but consecutive tackles for no gain from Hunter Nice and Micah Jones led to Quakertown getting the ball back on downs. Jones’ third down sack of Pasquale forced a three-and-out several drives later.
It looked like Pennridge could blow the game open, when they started their second second-half drive at the Q-36. Panther defensive back Tyler Kishbaugh killed the threat by pouncing on a loose football on the Rams’ first play.
Pennridge forced a Quakertown three-and-out, and then strung together three straight huge plays on their offensive drive. Facing a fourth-and-one at his own 34, Pasquale called his own number and picked up 11.
Pasquale hit Stutzman on a 30-yard pass one play later, which was followed by Class’ 25 yard cut-and-race to the end zone with 6:00 left in the third, to make the game 14-0.
Vera converted a fourth-and-four when Quakertown got the ball back, but one play later, Simmons pounced on a fumble. Class ran 32 yards for his third touchdown on the next play to put the Rams up 20-0 late in the third.
Matt Stoneback’s three-yard touchdown run in the fourth got Quakertown on the board. Pennridge answered with a 30-yard Pasquale scoring pass to Stutzman.
Class finishes 2013 with 21 rushing touchdowns and nearly 1,800 yards on the ground.
While the running back gets the headlines, classmate Stutzman grabbed 46 passes on the year, 10 of them for touchdowns, and averaged over 16 yards per reception.
Quakertown brought a four-game win streak into the Turkey Bowl classic. “What clicked during the streak,” said Banas.
While leading rusher Stoneback graduates, Quakertown returns Vera and promising sophomore Rob Burns. Burns, who entered the Pennridge game averaging over seven yards a carry, rushed for nearly 100 yards and showed the speed that will make him a threat for the next two years.
The Rams were the first AAAA team to miss the PIAA playoffs, but Pennridge still found plenty to be thankful for this morning.
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