Nothing would go Bensalem’s way.
As two 0-2 teams faced off at Bensalem Memorial Stadium seeking their first wins of the season, Pennridge came out on top 33-0, halting the Owls from scoring for the third straight game this season.
Turnovers and penalties decimated any scoring opportunities the Owls created for themselves. And one too many led to the Rams, who came out sluggish to start the game, capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.
After Pennridge forced a three and out, Sam Kuhns and the Rams tacked on the first points of the game at the start of the second quarter. As one head in a three-headed running back committee, which consists of Kuhns, Jacob Arteaga and Ryan Rowe, Kuhns was the first to find the end zone on a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
The Owls’ defense struggled to contain the run-heavy approach implemented by first-year head coach Kyle Beller.
“They all bring a little something different to the table,” Beller said. “We have some really great kids and that’s part of the offense we chose to run, to get multiple kids involved.”
On its next drive – after the Owls had a field goal attempt blocked – Pennridge tacked on another score as sophomore quarterback Noah Keating found senior wide receiver Joseph Gregoire for a wide-open touchdown to extend the lead to 13.
Coming out of halftime the scoring stalled, as both teams exchanged turnovers and penalties. But once the fourth quarter started, the Rams broke it open on a long play.
To put it simply, Keating thinks junior Chase Marshall is “a great receiver.” This was evident after Marshall housed a bubble screen-pass for a 78-yard touchdown, finishing the day with four catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Each reception of Marshall’s was a designed bubble or wide receiver screen-pass to him, and each time it felt like he was going to take it to the house. As a former track star who placed second in the 200 meter at the Suburban One League Colonial Division Championship, his speed could not be equaled.
Following Marshall’s end zone trip, the Rams added two more scores with touchdown runs from Arteaga and Joe Hamburger, helping Pennridge notch its first win of the season – and its first win under Beller.
When asked about Keating growing into the leadership role as a sophomore, Beller was quick to credit his second-half performance.
“I thought he grew up in the fourth quarter,” Beller said jokingly. “I thought he started seeing the offense the way it should be ran and he made some really nice decisions and that was good to see from him. He’ll keep growing.”
Keating finished the game with 11 completions for 244 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and most importantly – a win.
“Last year I started for a couple games at the end of the season but it’s just starting to jell as we start playing more games,” Keating said about his growth and connection with the team.
And for Beller and his new squad, they’re just taking this process one step at a time.
“Every day I just keep seeing them grow, and that’s the progress that we want here,” Beller said. “They’re buying in, and it’s just one day at a time, one step forward.”
Pennridge faces a tougher test on Thursday, Sept. 14 as the Rams prepare to host Abington. Bensalem travels to Upper Dublin to face the Cardinals.