History with Chuck: Cheltenham vs. Abington football circa 1978, a pre-Thanksgiving ‘instant classic’

With the conclusion of Abington Senior High School’s football season on Friday, October 27, local historian Chuck Langerman offered us a former tradition between Cheltenham’s and Abington’s football programs.

According to Langerman, back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the Cheltenham-Abington football game was usually played the Saturday before Thanksgiving. On Saturday, November 18, 1978, Cheltenham and Abington renewed their annual backyard rivalry in Wyncote in a game that would become an instant classic.

The Panthers built an 18-7 fourth-quarter lead on the heroics of Bill Fackler, who zipped 93 yards with the opening kickoff and hauled in a 49-yard scoring pass from twin brother Chaz. Abington countered with two scoring runs and took a 21-18 lead with four minutes remaining in the game.

Abington and Cheltenham football 2023

The stage was set for “Creighton’s Run.” Senior Panther running back Bill Creighton (pictured below) took a handoff from quarterback Chaz Fackler. Ten Abington players hit Creighton—only one Ghost defender didn’t touch him—but he kept going for an improbable 48-yard touchdown run to give Cheltenham a 25-21 come-from-behind victory over Abington.  

For another “instant classic” game between the rival high schools, you can click here.

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