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Truman is Too Much For Pennridge

Written by: on Saturday, October 20th, 2018. Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.

 

To run in the October 25thBucks County Herald

Harry S. Truman’s Morgan Stadium is Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood.

Truman’s Terrence Rodgers rushed for 189 yards and two scores on Friday night as the hosts downed Pennridge 42-20.  The junior headlined a 358 rushing yard game from the Tigers.

“Things we went over in practice and talked to the kids about,” mused Pennridge coach Cody Muller, “we did right one play and then we weren’t playing gap responsibilities the next and they’d make a big play out of it.  Not to take any credit away from them.  Truman (8-1) has a heck of a team.  But we need to be better.”

The Tigers scored on the game’s opening drive and gave it right back on their next possession. Ram standout linebacker Shane Hartzell picked off Dylan Snelling’s pass and returned it 35 yards for a score to knot the game at 7.

“The quarterback dropped back, I saw the receiver coming across and I just jumped it,” Hartzell described.

Truman’s misdirections stymied Pennridge and the Tigers rattled off consecutive scoring drives of 61 and 78 yards.  Rodgers’ 16-yard touchdown run made the game 21-7.

Zak Kantor’s 43 yard pass to Cole Urich set up Ryan Garner’s four yard touchdown run two plays later.  Pennridge had momentum until FBS recruit Javeer Peterson intercepted a Kantor offering and returned it 57 yards to the Rams’ 14.  Truman scored three plays later, and took a 35-14 lead into halftime when Snelling hit Jahni Coleman on a 40 yard bomb.

Rodgers capped Truman’s scoring on the Tigers’ first second half play, racing 50 yards for a score.  Kantor connected with Connor Pleibel on a two-yard scoring toss with 7:51 remaining in the game. It capped a balanced 12 play, 70 yard drive.

Enzo Paulson added two touchdown runs for Truman, currently ranked fifth in the District One power rankings.  Deondre Winton picked up 87 rushing yards on just eight touches.  The win marked the sixth time in nine games that Truman scored at least 35 points.

Kantor completed 13 passes for 147 yards.  He connected with Pleibel five times for 55 yards.  While run yards were hard to come by, Kantor did not get sacked once in his 32 pass attempts.

Hartzell, who also averaged 37 yards on four punts, distinguished himself with ten solo tackles and seven assisted.  The Ram defense, anchored by linemen Austin Bishop and Phil Long, racked up seven tackles for loss.  Safety Cooper Chaikin killed two Truman drives with interceptions.

The Rams (4-5) brought a three game win streak into Bristol.  Their defense allowed just 37 points in their three victories against CB West, CB South and William Tennent

“I thought we were playing altogether.  We had eleven hats on the ball at all times.  Tonight, we just didn’t get that done,” Hartzell said.

Pennridge closes with a critical conference game at CB East (5-4) this Saturday.  The Rams are 18thin the District One power rankings while the host Patriots are 16th.  The winner likely clinches a last playoff spot.

Muller had a tough start to his coaching career as Pennridge opened 1-4.  Yet the postseason remains a possibility in the final week of regular season play.  “Kids buying in,” is how Muller credited the turnaround.  “A lot of teams start out 1-4 and a lot of people tank.  These kids are built a little differently and it’s why I love being here.”

“They fight,” Muller responded when asked what he wants to characterize his team.  “I tell these kids all of the time that you’re going to hit adversity some times.  Don’t look around and point fingers but attack it head on.  We’re getting there and it’s coming.”

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