The Funding Zone
Advertise Here!
December 9-11 2021 Scoreboard

Golden Bears Claw Their Way Back Against Red Raiders, Win 33-29 @UMBEARSFOOTBALL @raiders_ryan

Written by: on Saturday, September 4th, 2021


Head Coach CJ Szydlik Speaks to his team after their 33-29 victory

As we are all aware Hurricane Ida recently cancelled or shifted some games over the last few days. My heart goes out to the communities affected by the devastation of her path. The extra day also added to the anticipation of my Week Two Matchup. This week pitted the Archbishop Ryan Red Raiders (0-2) of the Philadelphia Catholic League-Red Conference against the Upper Moreland Golden Bears (2-0) of the Suburban One League-American Conference. If you weren’t aware, these two teams met last year in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, and the Bears moved on with a dominate 35-0 victory.

Saturday afternoon under a somewhat clear sky was a completely different story. Archbishop Ryan came to play. As I walked down the sideline during pregame warmups I could feel the tension on both sides, though the Ryan sideline seemed to be a bit hungrier and chomping at the bits for kickoff.  Upper Moreland won the toss and elected to receive. The first drive for each school ended with a punt.  On Upper Moreland’s next possession however Archbishop Ryan’s No. 5 Damien Morgan bust through the line and sacked Upper Moreland quarterback No. 1 Byron Hopkins for a huge loss which set up fourth and an eternity from UM’s own twenty-yard line.  An errant high snap resulted in a safety and a 2-0 lead for the visiting Red Raiders. The first quarter would come to end a few minutes later as Ryan’s quarterback No. 1 Rob McConnell took off for thirty-four yards to set his team up on UM’s eleven yard-line.

To open the second quarter McConnell then fired one past the defense for a ten-yard touchdown to wide receiver No. 10 Gavin McConnell. A complete two-point conversion to wide receiver No. 17 Freddy Schilling would put Ryan up 10-0.  After another Change of possession where UM fumbled, they would find themselves in the Red Zone after a thirty-six-yard completion from Byron Hopkins to wide receiver No. 2 Ryan Olexa. UM’s running back No. 4 Hassan Johnson bullied his way in from two yards out to put the Bears on the board. The point after was good and the Ryan lead was cut to 10-7.

On the very next kickoff Ryan’s wide receiver No. 22 Joe Mastrangelo took it 80 yards to the house and the point after would make it 17-7.  The defenses would bunker down, and we would go into the half locked at 17-7. To start the third quarter Upper Moreland kicked off to Archbishop Ryan’s wide receiver No. 18 Azaan Willis-Flowers who took the ball 82 yards to the UM one yard line. One play later quarterback No. 1 Rob McConnell would punch it in. A failed extra point extended the lead to 23-7.

While Ryan started hot, Upper Moreland would respond a few possessions later after with a touchdown pass of their own from Byron Hopkins to his favorite target Ryan Olexa. A complete two-point conversion made the score 23-15. Later, in the third quarter Ryan’s quarterback connected with wide receivers No. 0 Rich Paczewski and Athlete No. 5 Damien Morgan on multiple huge gains, which set up Paczewski from six yards out when McConnell found him open in the endzone. A failed two-point conversion stretched the score to 29-15 with only a few minutes left in the third. In the closing seconds of the third UM found themselves within striking distance as running back No. 28 Cameryn Jackson found paydirt from fifteen yards out to close the gap. A failed two-point conversion made it 29-21 at the end of three.

After fighting back from sixteen down Upper Moreland took over the latter half of the fourth quarter and didn’t look back.  After back-and-forth possessions where each team traded a few plays, UM again found itself knocking on the door of the endzone. A five-yard scamper by No. 28 Cam Jackson seemed to awaken the crowd on the UM side as they now only trailed 29-27. The two-point conversion was not successful. The Bears’ defense would hold strong and force the Red Raiders to punt. With time running out and the Bears offense facing a huge penalty which brought them back to their own forty-nine-yard line Byron Hopkins rolled right and found running back No. 28 Cam Jackson who was covered tightly down the field for what would amount to a 51-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Bears took the lead 33-29 with a little under a minute left in regulation.  Ryan tried to gain the momentum back but with forty seconds left on the clock Upper Moreland cornerback No. 9 Cole Tucker read his opponents eyes and picked him off to secure the victory for the Bears!

UM     00-07-14-12-33

AR       02-15-12-00-29


* Players of the game*

Upper Moreland

No. 28 Cameryn Jackson

17 carries for 96 yds 2 TD’s

2 catches 79 yds 1 TD

No. 1 Byron Hopkins

9/17 204 yds 2 TD’s

10 carries 26 yds

No. 2 Ryan Olexa

5 catches 111 yds TD

Thank you Kathy Leister for all the great photos!

Byron Hopkins finds a receiver

UM’s Ryan Olexa catches the touchdown

Rob McConnell Finds his target


Rob McConnell hands off to Aidan Clancy

Battle in the trenches

Follow PA Football News on Twitter @PaFootballNews