The Pennridge football team was looking to rebound after a tough loss in the first week of competition.
The Rams did so in style with a 35-0 win over Suburban One League National Conference opponent Pennsbury at home at Wayne Helman Field at Grand View Health Stadium on Friday night.
The Rams opened the 2021 campaign with a 14-7 loss to Downingtown East. Adam Mossbrook ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead, but they did not score again.
“We just needed to get knocked back and regroup the next week,” Pennridge senior defensive tackle Stephen Reutlinger said of the Downingtown East game. “And then it all just built from there.”
Friday night’s game started off with a scoreless first quarter. The Rams went wild in the second quarter, scoring 21 points.
Phil Picciotti rushed 13 yards for the first score of the evening for Pennridge with 10:44 remaining in the half. Picciotti, the nephew of former Central Bucks West standout Dustin Picciotti, ended the day with 72 yards.
Pennridge junior quarterback Xavier Dantzler took over at the goal line after that, scoring all of the remaining touchdowns on four 1-yard quarterback sneaks.
“We had a big loss last week and everyone just wanted to get at it,” Dantzler said. “We just wanted to get out there and do our thing.
“We didn’t score in the first quarter and that really motivated us to turn it up and just play Ram ball. I couldn’t have scored those TDs without the team. Everyone did great. We worked all week and it showed.
“Now we have a win, we have confidence and we’re looking forward to our next game.”
When he isn’t on the football field, Dantzler participates in Unified track.
Dantzler went 5-for-9 passing for 42 yards and carried the ball nine times for 1 total yard.
Tyler Wetzel led all rushers with 153 yards on 11 carries, while Brayden Landherr had 67 yards on four carries and Brennan Fisher contributed 65 yards on four carries for Pennridge. Sean Curry went 5-for-5 kicking extra points for the Rams.
“Tyler Wetzel was a tailback last year for us and I moved him to wing in the offseason thinking that I have a bigger body on that edge, be able to do certain things,” Pennridge head coach Cody Muller said. “And as I was watching the film and watching different things, I realized I was kind of doing a disservice to him by keeping him out there so I put him back at that natural position and he proved me right.
“Lucky thing for a coach to have those moments but a lot of credit to him, he’s just been waiting for the moment to come out here and show it.”
The Pennridge defense played its part. Aside from holding Pennsbury scoreless, the Rams claimed possession on all four of the Falcon’s fumbles, three of which resulted in a Pennridge touchdown. Ryan Gallagher, Tyler Fuchs, Dylan O’Brien and Reutlinger were among those who stood tall on defense for the Rams.
“A big thing for us, with our youth, is taking care of the little things, capitalizing on other team’s mistakes while limiting ours, and I think our guys did a great job of that,” Muller said. “We took care of everything we needed to and cleaned things up.”