A 27-day layoff had Hatboro-Horsham itching to continue its Thanksgiving Day rivalry against Upper Moreland.
"We took a week off, did some weightlifting, practiced every other day, and then resumed our regular practice schedule last week," said Hatboro-Horsham's Nick Chapman, an inside linebacker and offensive tackle.
Outside of a rash of early penalties, the visiting Hatters showed little rust while hammering the Golden Bears, 34-0, and gaining their second consecutive triumph in the holiday series.
Upper Moreland was out of sorts in its attempt to successfully rebound from a disappointing 24-18 loss to Marple Newtown in the second round of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs two weeks ago.
The Suburban One League American Conference champions turned the ball over four times in the first half, were penalized 10 times for 86 yards, and managed only 84 yards rushing and 46 passing.
"We definitely were not ourselves," Golden Bears coach Adam Beach said. "We got in our own way a lot. We did not execute and play like we did most of this season."
Upper Moreland reached the Hatboro-Horsham 15-yard line on its first series but was turned away by Chapman's 12-yard sack and free safety Ben Ejimonyuegwo's interception.
Chapman, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior who recovered a second-quarter fumble, was named the Hatters' defensive player of the game. He models his playing style after former University of Oklahoma standout and NFL player Brian Bosworth.
"From watching clips of his playing days, I like his toughness, nasty demeanor, and all-out approach," said the 17-year-old, also a top-notch wrestler.
With its victory in chilly Willow Grove, Hatboro-Horsham (6-4) increased its advantage on Upper Moreland in the series to 53-28-5. "The Thanksgiving game is like no other," Chapman said. "It's like the Super Bowl around here."
Senior quarterback Chris Edwards, the Hatters' offensive player of the game, completed 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns.
Hatboro-Horsham's three second-quarter tallies – Edwards' 5-yard tosses to Calvin Broaddus Jr. (eight catches for 126 yards) and Anthony Kwiatanowski and Josh Smith's 2-yard run – made it 20-0 at the break.
Smith carried 17 times for 65 yards to push his season total to 1,021 yards. "He worked hard to become our featured back," Hatters coach Mike Kapusta said. "He's a tough kid. Most of his yards come after contact."
A defensive line that limited the Golden Bears (10-2) to 41 first-half rushing yards on 13 tries featured Jordan Colazo (2 1/2 sacks), Logan Flynn, Jake Schalki, and Brett Johnson. Chapman was joined at linebacker by Kwiatanowski, Smith, and Adam Suber.
Hatboro-Horsham 0 20 7 7-34
Upper Moreland 0 0 0 0-0
HH: Calvin Broaddus 5 pass from Chris Edwards (kick blocked)
HH: Anthony Kwiatanowski 5 pass from Edwards (Jin Kim kick)
HH: Josh Smith 2 run (Kim kick)
HH: Kwiatanowski 1 run (Kim kick)