"Our kids played for 48 minutes," Upper Dublin coach John Pavlick said. ''It's a big difference when we have our whole team healthy. We had Russell and Scott White back, and we're a different team with those two guys than when we don't have those two guys."
Both players had an immediate effect. Holmes, concentrating on defense as Rob Murin handled the quarterbacking duties, made several bone-jarring tackles in the first quarter and recovered a fumble in the second.
Largely because of Holmes' defense, Upper Moreland's usually potent ground game was limited to 79 yards. Nehemiah Tinsley picked up 72 of those yards for the Bears (6-4, 1-3).
After the defense, led by Holmes, Sungehun Lee, Eric Targan, Justin Mellor and Chuck Hoffman, stopped the initial Upper Moreland drive, the Cardinals (5-6, 2-2) quickly went to work.
Targan, who finished with a game-high 91 yards rushing on 18 carries, gained 21 yards in Upper Dublin's first three plays to put the ball at the Bears' 38-yard line. A couple of penalties moved the ball back to the 48, but Targan gained another 9 yards to the Upper Moreland 39.
Murin found White in the left flat for 13 yards, then hit Jason Mocrytzki over the middle for a 26-yard scoring pass with 6 seconds left in the opening quarter. White added the extra point for a 7-0 Upper Dublin lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Cardinals were able to capitalize on a Wade Gans fumble, recovered at the Upper Moreland 22 by Mellor. Targan carried three straight times, the last one going off right tackle from the 4 for a touchdown with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left in the half. White's extra point increased the Upper Dublin lead to 14-0.
Upper Moreland fumbled the ball 5 times and lost it 3 times.
"They played a real tough, aggressive, stop-the-run defense," Bears coach Joe Injaychock said of Upper Dublin. "We had some plays that should have worked. We had the option wide open and we fumbled the ball, we had a toss wide open and we fumbled the ball, and we can't do that."
Targan scored his second touchdown with a sweep around the right side, shaking three would-be tacklers en route to a 20-yard run with 6:43 left in the third quarter to give the Cardinals a 21-0 lead. White, who caught 5 passes for 50 yards, snared a key 15-yard pass during the 6-play drive.
Upper Moreland finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. Todd Kochersperger caught a pass from Sam Crowley at the Upper Dublin 22 on the left side and took a few steps before the ball popped loose. But Vince Gibilante was there to scoop it up, running it the remaining 19 yards to the end zone with 8:19 left in the game. Crowley added the extra point to cut the Cardinals' lead to 21-7.
Wth 4:50 remaining, White caught an 8-yard touchdown pass. He split Crowley and Gibilante, who were defending on the play, and the ball was threaded to him by Murin for a 28-7 lead.
"White just does so many things well," Pavlick said. "He catches the heck out of the ball."
With White and Holmes back in the lineup, Upper Moreland did many things well, too.