The Quakertown football Panthers, on a mission to Fairview Village, pushed aside miscues, penalties, and high humidity to out muscle the Methacton High Warriors 13-6 last Saturday afternoon to capture a season opening victory.The former SOL American conference foes battled to a 0-0 first quarter stalemate but with 6:25 remaining on the first half clock Panther junior quarterback Ryan Tinknell hooked up with senior wide receiver Ben Ede on a 12 yard touchdown strike to lift Quakertown to a 7-0 advantage after Rob Basile's conversion boot.

The scoring advance was keyed by an 18 yard scamper by junior tailback Tony Latronica and a 22 yard catch of a Tinknell toss that placed the hot August pigskin on the Host's 17 yard stripe. Two snaps later the points were posted and the Panthers took a locker room break leading 7-0. In third quarter action, the Panther's, with 7:50 hanging on the clock, began a remarkable drive from the Methacton 1 yard marker. The heat-laden march, filled with two-steps forward and one-step back, (a barrage of miscues) started to inch forward 99 yards from their own 1 yard stripe as Tinknell picked his way 5 yards on a bootleg call to hand Quakertown a 13-0 lead. The PAT attempt failed.

Sparked by the running of junior halfback Tyler Burke, who demonstrated some nifty moves ripping to his right, behind good Panther O-line blocking, the Panthers were in field goal range in the fourth period, An attempt from 13 yards out fell short.

With just seconds remaining in the contest, the Panther defense slipped a bit and allowed a Warrior touchdown on a Jim McHugh 15 yard heave to Rusty Bryant. Quakertown's Josh Copeland secured the on sides kick attempt by the Hosts to conclude the sweltering hot encounter.

"I didn't realize that [a 99 yard drive] is what we did there," Quakertown coach John Donnelly said. "We made our fair share of mistakes, we were a little bit sloppy and we have to clean those up, but we're proud of our effort and there's nothing like getting our first win."

Panther junior linebacker Edwin Gonzalez playing some fierce defense along with posting a ton of tackles was happy with the win. "Defensively, we needed to pick up in some spots, but for the most part we did a great job," said Gonzalez. "It was amazing to get this win and it's not going to be the last one,"

Halfback Tony Latronica, who rushed for 72 yards and garnered 49 pass grabbing yards, was glad for the triumph. "Of course, we were coming in looking for 1-0. Everyone stepped up and it just shows what Quakertown is going to do this season."

Quakertown's Burke led all rushers with 81 yards on 14 carries

Methacton's Tim Smith, a leaping, sure handed pass grabber, hauled in 7 passes for 92 yards from signal caller Jim McHugh in a brilliant effort for the losers.

With a season first win for the Panthers behind them, Quakertown will face non-league foe Upper Merion at home on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Bud Kern is a freelance writer for The Free Press. He can be reached at tf@berksmontnews.com.

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