WHITMAN — When Whitman-Hanson fell to Abington last year, Panthers head coach Mike Driscoll pointed to the Green Wave’s 16 seniors, many of whom were starters, playing in their final high school football games as the reason why.
This time, Whitman-Hanson had the edge in seniors, 21 to 10, and they starred in all phases of the game as the Panthers shut out Abington for a 16-0 victory in the 108th Thanksgiving Day meeting between the two rivals.
“It’s all about the seniors,” said Driscoll, who’s been a part of this rivalry for 23 years as a player and a coach. “The seniors carried this game today.”
Whitman-Hanson (8-3) struck for all 16 of its points in a three-minute span in the second quarter. Senior Nate Beath (seven carries for 69 yards) got the Whitman-Hanson on the board via a 6-yard touchdown run with 3:31 remaining in the first half. After Abington (8-3) punted, Whitman-Hanson senior captain Ethan Phelps (16 carries for 148 yards) took a handoff and sprinted 65 yards to set up a 23-yard field goal by classmate Jake O’Brien with 28.3 seconds left in the opening frame.
Abington then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Panthers senior Ryan Downing pounced on it for the recovery. On the next play, Phelps connected with senior captain Rian Schwede for a 25-yard touchdown.
“There’s no other feeling like this,” said an emotional Phelps. “I think we’re all just taking it in right now.”
The Panthers improved their all-time series lead to 60-45-3.