Quakertown looks to deal Upper Moreland its first defeat

Photos – user-contributed – Brad+Bryan68
Quakertown’s Brad Bryan (right) prepares to hand the ball off to Michael Terra in last Friday’s 40-6 romp over Cheltenham.

Quakertown coach George Banas says a more focused approach in practice has spurred the team’s four-game winning streak following a shutout loss to Central Bucks West.

“That was an eye-opening experience for us,” Banas said. “Our attention to detail in the days leading up to a game has been a lot better.”

On Friday night at 7, surging Quakertown visits Upper Moreland in a pivotal Suburban One League American Conference matchup.

The Panthers, who are ranked No. 24 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by the Inquirer, are 6-1 overall and 4-0 in conference action; the No. 20 Upper Golden Bears, who were idle last weekend, are 6-0 and 3-0.

Quakertown rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Hatboro-Horsham, 26-20, on Sept. 28. It escaped Upper Dublin, 34-28, in overtime five days earlier.

The Panthers offense is spurred by halfback Christian Patrick. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior has carried 124 times for 681 yards and five touchdowns. “When he gets in the open field, he has the speed to get us a good chunk of yardage,” Banas said.

Patrick is supported in the backfield by Michael Terra (44 carries for 254 yards and six scores) and Mike Friel.

Brad Bryan, a junior who won the starting quarterback job in training camp, has completed 57 of 97 passes for 716 yards and seven TDs. “He’s been very consistent, very smart with the ball,” Banas said.

Bryan’s primary target is Tim Shevlin. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has 25 catches for 383 yards and five TDs. “He’s our deep-threat guy, a clutch player on the edge,” Banas said.

Quakertown’s offensive line is made up of center Daryn Fournier (5-11, 240), guards Ashton Herd (6-1, 230) and Justin Bennett (5-10, 230), tackles Cole Hoener (6-1, 225) and Nick Frasch (5-9, 275), and tight end Nick Levinski (6-1, 225).

The Panthers mix things up on defense, using as many as four schemes: 4-4, 5-2, 5-3, and 3-4. Their front line features rotating tackles Hoener, Frasch, and Colby Benner and ends Herd and Max Russell.

Levinski anchors a linebacking corps that also includes Terra, Matt Kerns, and Kyle Tooley. Shevlin, Delbert Ross, Christian Morano, and Jacob Barndt are positioned in the secondary.

Upper Moreland’s potent offense, which averages 38.8 points per game, is ignited by halfbacks Sterlen Barr and Caleb Mead. Barr has carried 96 times for 959 yards and nine TDs; Mead has rushed 84 times for 766 yards and the same number of scores.

“They’re phenomenal backs,” Banas said. “All they need is a little crease to make a big gain. And they’re very good at avoiding tacklers.”

Game at a glance

Last season. Christian Patrick carried 13 times for 106 yards and two scores as host Quakertown downed Upper Moreland, 21-7.

Last titles. The Panthers won the Suburban One League Continental Conference championship in 2014; the Golden Bears shared the American Conference crown with Upper Merion in 2008.

Stellar effort. Sterlen Barr rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-9 win at Cheltenham on Sept. 29.

Junior-laden squad. Quakertown starts six juniors on offense and the same number on defense.

Stout lineman. At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Upper Moreland’s Jacob Villanueva is a force as a two-way tackle.

Pick. Upper Moreland, 23-19.