Approximately half a mile down the road from Lower Moreland High school lies the Academy of the New Church (ANC). Kids from both teams know each other and have grown up with each other, and that is what makes this game so important for the two sides.
Last Saturday the Lions played host to ANC, and came up with a 12-7 victory. Both teams did not fail to entertain with hard hits and big plays. Tensions were all part of the afternoon agenda.
Seven minutes into the first quarter, Lions quarterback Lance Gifford carried the ball to the ANC 1-yard line which set up a Joseph Leventhal touchdown. On the ensuing ANC offensive drive, Academy of the New Church marched down the field into Lower Moreland territory. On the 24-yard line with 1:24 remaining in the half, senior defensive back Nofry Hananel picked off Landon Elder’s pass to end the ANC threat. Going into halftime the Lions were up 6-0.
It was still anybody’s game going into the second half. Both teams were moving the ball on offense, and making plays defensively. Series of hard hits had already been displayed on both sides from ANC’s Alex Hyatt, and Lower Moreland’s Jeremy Maiorana.
Lower Moreland fumbled the ball twice in the third quarter setting up an ANC touchdown and surrendered the lead, 7-6 with 1:55 left in the third.
Lower Moreland had possession of the ball with nine minutes remaining. A huge 44-yard run by Joseph Leventhal gave the Lions the ball inside ANC’s 5-yard line. The next play Leventhal dove in for a touchdown giving the Lions a 12-7 lead with eight minutes left on the clock. The following 2-point conversion failed which made it a one possession game, and Academy of the New Church still had a chance.
After a change of possessions, ANC had the ball with 2:36 to go. After a series of penalties and one third-down conversion, ANC ended up with the ball on their own 35-yard line. Anthony Morales sacked Academy of the New Church’s quarterback with authority, and then on the ensuing play, Glenn Mahon picked off Elder's pass to secure win for the Lions.
After the final kneel, the team was ecstatic. Screams of joy were let out and the team looked as they just hit the lottery. After two seasons of losing to ANC, Lower Moreland finally came out in the win column.
Both teams played all around great games and left everything on the field. Lower Moreland’s Maiorana showed up all over the field on defense and on offense. Defensively Jeremy has been playing out of his mind, making every ball carrier think twice before coming his way.
Lower Moreland’s rushing attack built up over 240 yards on the ground. Led by Oscar Zhang, Joseph Leventhal, Max Sandberg, and Ryan Killion, the Lions ran the ball all day on ANC pounding their way into the end zone.
Junior Joseph Leventhal had to say this about beating ANC
“Getting a win from our rivals ANC was huge. We practiced hard all week preparing for Saturday. We knew it was going to be a well fought game and we had to give it our all. In the end, after all of our hard work, we were able to get the win. It was a great feeling.”
Senior Lance Gifford also chimed in on the win
“Beating ANC my senior year was all about the Lower Moreland Lions football program overcoming adversity, that we can take on any challenge that comes our way. That my senior year, I was on the team that bounced back from an unvictorious season, a challenge that only a few men can overcome. That beating ANC was the first step to a great season down the road.”
There is no game scheduled next week for the Lions due to a Calvary forfeit. Banged up players such as, Ryan Killion and Oscar Zhang, now have time to recover for a big game vs. Delco Christian October 5.
Both teams played an outstanding game. But at the end of the day Lower Moreland came out on top. Unfortunately the walk back to school for ANC was a bitter one, and they can only wait till next year to try and capture revenge.1st 2nd 3rd 4th TOTAL Academy of the New Church 0 0 7 0 7 Lower Moreland 0 6 0 6 12
LM – Joe Leventhal one yard run (kick failed)
ANC – Aramis Alston 12 yard run (McCurdy kick)
LM – Joe Leventhal one yard run (conversion failed)
A.N.C. – Nelson 9-60; McCurdy 7-29; Alston 8-18, TD; Romanishan 1-4; King-Bails 5-2; Elder 2-0
Lower Moreland – Leventhal 13-71, 2 TDs; Killion 7-66; Sandberg 11-55; Zhang 9-46; Gifford 5-18; Burke 2-8
A.N.C. – Elder 4-11-2 – 45
Lower Moreland – Gifford 0-6-0 – 0
A.N.C. – McCurdy 2-34; Thomas 1-6; Nelson 1-5
Lower Moreland – none
A.N.C. – none
Lower Moreland – Hananel, Mahon
Lower Moreland – Morales