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Second half surge carries Strath Haven to Media Bowl win over Penncrest

Tagged under: District 1, Gameday Hub, pfn

| October 1, 2022

MEDIA, Pa. — As the rain started to make its way to Louis Scott Field early in the second half, it brought with it the offense of the Strath Haven Panthers.

Strath Haven held a 14-6 lead over Penncrest heading into halftime, but used a strong running game to pull away in the second half and win their seventh straight Media Bowl by a final score of 35-6.

Sam Milligan got the scoring started for Strath Haven, as he coasted in for a 12-yard touchdown run just as the first quarter was coming to an end. 

Milligan usually serves as the quarterback for this Panthers offense, which he did all of last season when they won the District 1 5A Championship over Rustin. After suffering a broken right hand on opening night against Interboro that required surgery, Head Coach Kevin Clancy called an audible for him and moved him to halfback.

“He’s a real good athlete, he’s got great speed, and he’s a competitor,” Clancy said. “He’s really helped us on the defensive side as a free safety and then playing halfback where we got the ball in his left hand instead. We’re lucky to have him.”

After forcing a Penncrest punt, Strath Haven marched right down the field once again, and Anthony Crawford finished off the drive with a 10-yard score to extend that lead to 14-0. 

With momentum tilting in Strath Haven’s favor, time was ticking for Penncrest to make some noise before this game got away from them.

Make some noise they did, as Sean O’Donnell found a wide-open Kyle Cunningham for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-6 after a missed extra point.

That 14-6 lead carried into the half, and with Penncrest set to receive the ball, the elements of a potential upset were there. 

Still, the Panthers didn’t show any signs of worrying.

“To be honest with you, at halftime I felt like the things we were trying to do were working,” Clancy said. “We just clarified some blocking assignments, but we basically just kept doing what we were doing.”

Strath Haven got a big stop to begin the half, and Anthony Crawford gave the Panthers some breathing room with his second touchdown of the night, a 40-yard rush right up the middle to put his team ahead 21-6.

With the game still in reach for Penncrest, Sam Milligan put the metaphorical icing on the cake as he ran for a 76-yard touchdown, his second touchdown of the game. With just under a quarter left to play, Strath Haven was in a great position. 

While the Panthers would eventually win by a final score of 35-6 after a third touchdown run from Crawford, they still weren’t completely satisfied with the way that they played.

“We weren’t happy with our first half performance. We’re undefeated right now, and we don’t think we should be playing close games,” Milligan said. “We should be blowing teams out, and that was our message coming out of halftime and our defense took over. They do a great job running the football so we just had to shut that down.”

Strath Haven improves to 6-0 with the win, and 4-0 in the Central League. They’ll be back on the road next week against a Ridley team that put 67 points on Penncrest just last week. As for Penncrest, they fall to 1-5 on the year and 1-4 in the Central League. They’ll have another tough task ahead as they travel to Garnet Valley next Friday.

Kevin Clancy knows that his Panthers team will have to bring their best next week.

“I thought Penncrest really competed hard. They have a very difficult offense for us to defend and they made some plays that kept the pressure on,” Clancy said. “Ridley is really good, they’re an outstanding football team. They got great speed and some toughness, and we better play a lot better than we did tonight.”

The great teams are often the teams that are harshest on themselves, even when taking down their rivals by 29 points. Tonight was a good performance from the Panthers, but not great in their eyes. Good is the enemy of great, but a win deserves to be celebrated no matter how it comes.

“It’s always good to get a trophy, hopefully we’re getting three more,” Milligan said. “We got Central League, Districts, and States, and the goal is to go undefeated. Next week will be a big game against Ridley and if we win that, we’ll be in a really good position.”

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