Andrew Basalyga made sure that this time would be different.
Late in Friday night’s frigid District 1 6A quarterfinal, the Pennsbury senior busted through Neshaminy’s defense for a 43-yard run — when it appeared he was corralled — and punctuated the Falcons’ 36-17 victory.
Nearly two weeks ago, Neshaminy came from behind to clip its cross-town rival and claim the Suburban One National title.
“We had to get revenge for what happened two weeks ago,” Basalyga said. “They beat us at our place and tonight we came in here and beat them on their home field.”
The senior got the Falcons (10-2) started early and finished with 163 yards and 2 scores on 18 carries. He had 94 yards on 8 tries after the first quarter.
Pennsbury’s opportunistic defense also helped steal early momentum, recovering two fumbles in the first frame that quieted the packed crowd at Neshaminy
Nasar Robbins, also a senior, added 130 yards and 2 scores on the ground for Pennsbury, which appeared the more physical team for much of the game.
Senior Zach DeMarchis added 74 yards and a score on the ground.
For Neshaminy (10-2), Joel Stills finished with 139 yards and 2 scores on 21 carries.
Unfortunately for his team, however, Neshaminy fumbled the ball several times, losing possession three times.
An errant snap also cost them a safety in the second quarter, which helped the Falcons into intermission with a 16-15 edge.
Robbins then started the third with a 44-yard score. Neshaminy then fumbled on its ensuing possession, leading to another Pennsbury score.
Despite the bitterness that can come from playing neighboring rivals, Basalyga, who has several friends who play for Neshaminy, embraced several of them before he left the field.
“I feel bad for them,” he said. “Last year when they beat us 35-0 some of my buddies felt bad for me, and I respect that. We just had to come out here and play Falcon football and we did.”
Pennsbury 14 2 13 7 36
Neshaminy 6 9 0 2 17
P: Zach DeMarchis 10 run. Chris Knop kick
N: Joel Stills 17 run. Kick failed
P: Nasan Robbins 14 run. Knop kick
N: Stills 55 run. Kick failed
N: Matt Leonhauser 37 kick
P: Robbins 44 run
P: Basalyga 2 run. Kick blocked
P: Basalyga 1 run. Knop kick