On a playoff roll, Abington pushes injuries aside

Abington head coach Tim Sorber offers congratulations to Craig Reynolds, who just scored a second-quarter touchdown, one of four in the game. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Abington head coach Tim Sorber offers congratulations to Craig Reynolds, who just scored a second-quarter touchdown, one of four in the game. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 19, 2013

Even with a rash of injuries to key players, Abington finds itself in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA football semifinals for the first time since 2006.

"Probably in my 14 years of coaching, I've never lost this many starters," Ghosts coach Tim Sorber said. "And that's what makes what we've accomplished this season even more gratifying."

Abington, the No. 8 seed, rallied for a 26-21 road win over No. 1 and previously undefeated Garnet Valley in a district quarterfinal matchup Friday night. The difference, with 26.7 seconds to play, was Khari Jefferson's grab of a right-side fade pass from David Kretschman.

"It was a great throw and a great catch," Sorber said of the 11-yard tally. "The two of them practice that jump-ball play a lot."

The Ghosts (10-2) have played without senior quarterback Anthony Lee (broken tibia) since Week 4. Junior running back Tyler Schreiner (torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 6) and senior linebacker Keith Boggi (concussion in Week 9) are sidelined as well.

"The kids, especially the seniors, have been very resilient," Sorber said. "Their thought process has been, 'We're going to overcome this and continue to win.' "

Senior tailback Craig Reynolds, who battled back from a medial collateral ligament sprain suffered in Week 5, has served as the offensive catalyst. He has carried 249 times for a single-season school record of 1,765 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Against Garnet Valley, Reynolds, who has received recruiting interest from Penn State and Delaware, rushed 33 times for 170 yards and scores of 69 and 4 yards.

In five starts, Kretschman, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound sophomore, has completed 42 of 66 passes (63.6 percent) for 728 yards and nine TDs, with just one interception.

Said Sorber: "He's making good decisions and taking advantage of the fact that teams are gearing up to stop Craig Reynolds."

Kretschman hit on 8 of 13 throws for 105 yards and two TDs vs. Garnet Valley (11-1). The second, a 25-yarder to Daron Boone, cut the Jaguars' advantage to 21-19.

In tightening the clamps in the second half, Abington's defense was led by linebackers Boone and Christian Werner, tackle Jake Clark, end Paul Goerlich, and backs Reynolds and Juawine Sowell.

Next up for the Ghosts is a 7 p.m. Friday semifinal at Suburban One League National Conference rival Neshaminy (11-1). The No. 4-seeded Redskins won the teams' first meeting, 31-14, at Schwarzman Stadium.

"I don't think we're going to put a helmet on during the week," Sorber said. "I'd rather be physically underworked in practice than overworked."

Notes. In St. Joseph's Prep's 10-7 win over Frankford in Saturday's District 12 Class AAAA final, Hawks middle linebacker Ryan McNulty registered 11 tackles, including five solos. Teammates Jake Strain, John Reid, and Dillon DeIuliis made interceptions. For the Pioneers, linemen Kadar Jones and Javez Baker-Hall each made five solo stops. . . . Nick Wright and Connor Gill posted sacks in North Penn's 31-21 triumph over Pennsbury in a District 1 Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday. Knights cornerback Kris Akins was involved in seven tackles.

Playoff Schedule

FRIDAY

PIAA District 1

Class AAAA Semifinals

No. 8 seed Abington at No. 4 Neshaminy, 7

No. 15 Perkiomen Valley at No. 11 North Penn, 7:30

PIAA District 1 Class AAA Final

No. 4 Academy Park vs. No. 2 Glen Mills at Ridley, 7

PIAA Class A First Round

Bristol vs. Schuylkill Haven at Blue Mountain in Orwigsburg, 7


The Inquirer TOP 25

FOOTBALL

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

Rk. Team Rec.

1. Imhotep (1) 10-1

Tyliek Raynor scored twice in the Panthers' 48-8 blitzing of West Catholic. Next: Idle.

2. St. Joe's Prep (3) 9-2

The Hawks picked off three passes while edging Frankford, 10-7. Next: Friday vs. No. 12 Malvern Prep.

3. Arch. Wood (7) 10-2

In a 52-8 romp over Martin Luther King, the Vikings totaled 239 yards on the ground. Next: Idle.

4. La Salle (5) 8-3

Kyle Shurmur threw for 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Next: Season complete.

5. North Penn (10) 9-3

Tight end Nick Wright had a pair of scoring grabs in a 31-21 win over Pennsbury. Next: Friday vs. No. 10 Perkiomen Valley.

6. Arch. Ryan (6) 7-3

Junior tailback Samir Bullock has rushed for 1,700-plus yards and 18 touchdowns. Next: Idle.

7. Pennsbury (2) 10-2

Despite rushing for 319 yards, the Falcons bowed to North Penn. Next: Season complete.

8. Neshaminy (8) 11-1

Fullback Blake Sullivan chipped in a rushing score in a 56-27 waltz over Spring-Ford. Next: Friday vs. No. 9 Abington.

9. Abington (13) 10-2

Khari Jefferson's late scoring catch was the difference in a 26-21 upset of Garnet Valley. Next: Friday at No. 8 Neshaminy.

10. Perk. Valley (14) 10-2

Mark Bonomo rushed for 130 yards and two scores in a 60-20 rout of Central Bucks West. Next: Friday at No. 5 North Penn.

11. Garnet Valley (4) 11-1

12. Malvern Prep (12) 7-2

13. Glen Mills (21) 9-3

14. Acad. Park (NR) 9-2

15. Pottsgrove (9) 11-1

16. Spring-Ford (11) 9-3

17. Frankford (23) 7-4

18. Down. West (15) 8-3

19. Coatesville (17) 9-2

20. W.C. Rustin (18) 10-1

21. Father Judge (20) 6-4

22. C.B. West (16) 9-3

23. West Catholic (19) 9-3

24. Unionville (22) 8-3

25. P-Whitemarsh (24) 8-3

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Council Rock North (7-4), Episcopal Academy (8-3), Haverford School (6-5), Pennridge (7-4), Upper Darby (8-3), Upper Dublin (9-2).

- Rick O'Brien


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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