HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – As a walk-on wide receiver, and the Marshall football program’s only player from the state of Pennsylvania, Stone Scarcelle has made it a mission to stand out.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound freshman from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, first did this last August during preseason camp. As a true freshman, Scarcelle flashed the potential of a player who could immediately be involved in the mix as a pass catcher. Then, during a Saturday practice on a sunny day, he landed awkwardly out of bounds attempting to make a catch and fractured his left elbow. He missed the 2017 season, used a redshirt and began working his way back.
“He reminds me of me,” said Marshall receivers coach Dallas Baker. “He’s going to have a little chip on his shoulder and he’s going to work hard.”
Scarcelle has shown he is a consistent, steady receiver this spring, Baker said. Scarcelle had football scholarship offers to Patriot and Ivy League schools after a standout career at Spring-Ford High School in Royersford, Pennsylvania, but wanted to pursue opportunities at the Division I level.
“I wanted to see if I could make it,” Scarcelle said.
He caught the eye of assistant coach Todd Goebbel and impressed head coach Doc Holliday, and received an invitation to join the program as a walk-on during a visit to campus.
“From the moment we walked on campus we fell in love with the place,” said Mike Scarcelle, Stone’s father. “On our seven-hour drive back to Pennsylvania he had made up his mind that he didn’t want to look at anything else.”
Stone was born at Phoenixville Hospital, which is about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Stone has a distinctly Philadelphia accent, and grew up idolizing Eagles great Randall Cunningham because Cunningham, like Stone, was a quarterback who moonlighted as a punter. Stone played QB, running back, safety and cornerback, too, but found his home at receiver. The Marshall coaching staff is happy about that development.
“He has nice size,” Baker said. “He’s willing to block. That’s the thing with blocking; everybody can block, it’s if you want to. He’s willing to block; he’s willing to go across the middle. When you piece everything together he’s a really good receiver.”
That caught the coaching staff’s eye last August, too, before injury struck. Stone put in the extra effort to leap and reach for a ball that initially looked uncatchable, and he ultimately fell harshly to the ground on his left side. His first collegiate season ended before it began.
“It was hard mentally, but you have to push through it every day,” Stone said. “It’s been a long road, but you have to have the mindset to go your hardest and it’s not going to bother you. It was just a freak accident.”
The redshirt season did not go to waste. Stone watched a talented trio of starters – Tyre Brady, Willie Johnson and Marcel Williams – break out in their first full seasons with the Herd. That gives him hope that he, too, can find a role right away.
“I really sat back and observed everybody’s actions,” Stone said. “I took in the speed on the field, learned the plays and got my body right. I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I feel like mentally the strength coaches do a great job of getting you mentally tough so you are prepared to fight through the pain.”
If you’re wondering, there is no back story to Stone’s name.
“We have about 10 Anthonys in our family,” Mike said. “My wife wasn’t going for that.”
The Scarcelles essentially picked the name out of a hat, and then gave Stone the middle name of Patrick. He also has a younger brother named Blaize. Stone currently majors in Geology, which seems apropos given his name, but after enduring the injury and recovery, Stone has his eyes on an education that would steer him toward athletic training or the medical field.
Stone studies football, too. His father calls him a gym rat, and Stone immerses himself in watching film. He believes he was meant to flourish in the offense of first-year coordinator Tim Cramsey, a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles from Stone's hometown.
“He's a local guy to me," Stone said. “I love the offense. It’s a perfect fit.”
Play Multiple Sports; Be Uncommon
Noah Silva's PSFCA East / West Game Ad, courtesy of Coach Strickler and the S-F TD Club
SFYAL - Football and Cheering Registration
Registration for the Spring-Ford Youth Football & Cheerleading program is now open! The program provides Flag and Tackle football programs for boys ages K – 6 and Cheerleading programs for girls K – 8.
The Spring-Ford Youth Football & Cheerleading program is a nonprofit organization with a current enrollment of over 500 boys & girls and their families. During the season, players, cheerleaders and parents participate in many activities such as a Pep Rally, Ram Bowl, and Youth Night at the local High School. Our primary goal is to inspire youth to practice the ideals of health, citizenship, and character.
For more information on registering for the upcoming 2018 season, please click on the registration link at http://sfyouthfootball.siplay.com/site. For additional information about the program, please visit our website at http://sfyouthfootballandcheer.com. We are celebrating our 11th Anniversary! We hope that you would join us in the fun this upcoming season!
Wayne Valley football to open season in Pennsylvania - NorthJersey.com
Doug Scancarella, Correspondent
After finishing 1-9 last year, Wayne Valley football coach Roger Kotlarz was presented with a golden opportunity to attempt a quick fix. There were several vacancies on the schedule for 2018. Kotlarz could have attempted to fill those slots with opponents that were viewed as easily beatable.
The thought never crossed his mind. In four years at Wayne Valley, Kotlarz has always made sure his team faced a challenging schedule. The upcoming season will be no different. In fact, Kotlarz has just announced that Wayne Valley will open up out of state again. This time the foe will be Pennsylvania powerhouse Spring-Ford.
“You don’t improve by playing an easy schedule,” Kotlarz said. “We need to challenge ourselves.”
Kotlarz should know. In 2014, he took over a Wayne Valley team that went 4-6 the previous year and hadn’t had a winning season since 2009. His first three Wayne Valley teams went 5-5, 9-2 and 9-3. The latter made it to the state sectional finals.
After last year’s fall to 1-9, he is now facing a steeper uphill climb than in 2014. The challenge of playing mighty Spring-Ford may be just what the doctor ordered.
Spring-Ford is located in Montgomery County, about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. It’s about 110 miles from Wayne. It is a regional school that serves the communities of Spring City, Royersford, Limerick and Upper Providence. It’s a Group 6 school (the largest enrollment grouping in Pennsylvania). From 2010-16 they averaged nearly 10 wins a year, before slipping to 6 last year.
“I think they’re very similar to us,” Kotlarz said. “Their enrollment is about the same as ours. They are also a team that has a very strong, winning tradition. They slipped a little last year, but not as much as we did. They still finished with a winning record.
“I think they look at us the same way. They know what we did last year, but they know we were very successful before that.”
This will be a similar trip to 2016 when Wayne Valley traveled to Downingtown West (30 miles southwest of Spring-Ford). Wayne Valley won that game, 34-31.
“I loved that trip,” Kotlarz said. “We visited a couple colleges (Villanova and Temple) and did some sightseeing (World War II Battleship the USS New Jersey in Camden and Philadelphia Museum of Art). It was a great bonding experience. We will do something similar this year.”
Wayne Valley hosted Downingtown West in 2017, meaning Wayne Valley didn’t travel out of state.
“We committed to a home-and-home with Downingtown West,” Kotlarz said. “I have no regrets as they were a great opponent. But in retrospect I think we missed out by not going on a trip last year. I think it’s important to have that bonding experience at the beginning of the year.”
The game with Spring-Ford is just a one-year deal. Interestedly, the two Downingtown West games gives Kotlarz a little bit of a gauge on Spring-Ford.
“Downingtown West and Spring-Ford didn’t play against each other, but they did have several common opponents those two years,” Kotlarz said. “So unlike when we played Downingtown West, we have a basis for comparison.”
Spring-Ford will hardly be Wayne Valley’s only challenge. The Indians start off the season with three road games. After the Spring-Ford game, Wayne Valley will be at Wayne Hills and then Nutley. They finally open at home in Week 4 against rival Passaic Valley. Wayne Hills, Nutley and Passaic Valley all managed to have winning records last year.
Later in the season, Wayne Valley will play NV/Old Tappan, a team that cruised easily into the North 1, Group 4 final before narrowly defeating Mount Olive in the championship game.
“It’s a difficult schedule and it is front-loaded with those first four games,” Kotlarz said. “Then you add on Old Tappan later in the year and we’re looking at a several big challenges.”
With numerous returning starters on offense and defense, Kotlarz believe his team will be up for those challenges.
The returnees include Nick Trani, David Trinidad, Greg Fox, Ryan Michels, Sam Bumbaco, Danny Murphy, Ricky Ruggiero, Justin Botero, Ian Lancelotti, Nick Duncan, Liam Dring, Jake DeLuccia, Joe Esposito and Elijah Lugo. The Wayne Valley JV went 8-1 last year.
Wayne Valley’s trip to Spring-Ford will be the fourth time they have traveled out of state for football. The previous trips include Spring Valley (N.Y.) in 1951, North Rockland (N.Y.) in 1981 and Downingtown West (Pa) in 2016.
Silva to Play in 2018 PSFCA East / West Game
Noah Silva has been invited to play in the 2018 PSFCA East / West game! Noah becomes the 8th Spring-Ford player to be named to a state-wide all-star game and continues a seven-year streak!
Offensive MVP: TJ Pergine
Defensive MVP: Pete Agler
Brian Clarke Special Teams Award: Taylor Smith
Coaches Award: Hunter McClain & Gio Guarna
Lineman of the Year: Noah Silva
David Freed Award: Colby Goldsmith
Burlsworth Character Award: Ben D'Arcangelo
TD Club Award: Justin DeFrancesco
PSFCA Releases 2018 Big 33 and East / West Coaching Staffs
2017 Class 6A All-EasternPAFootball.com Team
Written by: David Mika on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
District 1 Players:
OL Sr. Noah Silva, Spring-Ford
K Jr. Taylor Smith, Spring-Ford
All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Offense - Philadelphia Inquirer
L Noah Silva Spring-Ford Sr. 6-2 270
PK Taylor Smith Spring-Ford Jr. 6-1 185
Neshaminy ends Spring-Ford’s season with 42-21 win
By Rob Senior
LANGHORNE >> Neshaminy wasted no time proving their worthiness of the No. 1 seed in Disrtict 1’s Class 6A.
Joel Stills ran for 238 yards and three touchdowns, while Cory Joyce added two interceptions in the Redskins’ 42-21 win over No. 16 Spring-Ford Friday night.
“Joel’s come on strong for us as a running back this year, after moving over from wide receiver,” said Neshaminy head coach Steve Wilmot.
Neshaminy scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions, and the contest was shaping up as a pure shootout until Joyce got involved.
Joyce’s first INT set up Neshaminy with a short field in the second quarter, ending a seesaw battle of touchdowns by the respective offenses.
“They ran a crossing route, and the coaches allow me to be more aggressive in those situations,” said Joyce. “I was able to jump on it.”
Neshaminy went into halftime with a 21-13 lead, and came out on fire, taking only six plays to go 66 yards and extend their lead to 28-13 behind the second of Stills’ three TD runs. Spring-Ford would use most of the quarter to embark on an 80-yard drive of its own, with Justin DeFrancesco tallying his third TD of the night to go with 155 rushing yards. But on the ‘Skims next play, Joyce took a swing pass from quarterback Brody McAndrew 33 yards to the house, giving Neshaminy back its two-score lead.
Spring-Ford was unable to respond, and Neshaminy moved into next week’s quarterfinals with arch-rival Pennsbury.
“That’s always a great atmosphere, it’s a great rivalry, and in the playoffs… what an experience for our kids,” said Wilmot.
“They’re gonna be upset after the last game (last week’s 21-20 Neshaminy win) but we’ll be prepared,” said Joyce. “Both of us are going to get the other’s best shot.”
The first half was a battle of the offenses, led by respective running backs DeFrancesco and Stills. SF got the game started with a 13-play, 60-yard drive capped off by DeFrancesco’s 4-yard TD plunge. Stills and the ‘Skins responded with a six-play drive capped off by the senior’s 21-yard scamper off a bobbled snap.
The Rams regained the ball and marched 50 yards into Neshaminy territory near the end of the first quarter, but stalled in the red zone and were forced to attempt a 32-yard field goal, which fell just short into a stiff breeze. Neshaminy took over, embarking upon a methodical 15-play, 80-yard drive culminating in bruising fullback Oleh Manzyk’s 1-yard TD run for a 14-7 lead.
Neshaminy’s Joyce intercepted Pergine at midfield on the ensuing drive, taking the ball back to the SF 24, with Mike Crescenzo taking the ball in for a 11-yard score and a 21-7 Neshaminy lead. DeFrancesco responded with his second TD, a 36-yard run on a zone read carry on 4th and 2, bringing the Rams within 8 at the break after a blocked PAT.
But the night belonged to Neshaminy and Stills, who was quick to credit his line and coaches for the career-high performance.
“All I really had to do was make my reads off what they gave me,” he said.
For the Rams, an up-and-down season ends at 6-5, but also with the knowledge that they gave the district’s top team their best shot, creating a contest that was up for grabs through three quarters.
“Neshaminy played mistake-free, they kept moving the chains … if we get some of those stops earlier, we had a shot,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker. “We told the players all week, no one gives you a shot in this game. We just needed to compete, and they did everything we asked them to do.”
It was the last game for Spring-Ford’s senior class, including the prolific backfield tandem of DeFrancesco and quarterback TJ Pergine.
“Four years went by so fast, and I couldn’t ask for a better team or a better experience,” said Pergine. “I’m looking forward to taking the things I learned here to college with me.”
Joyce, Stills help Neshaminy football get past Spring-Ford in districts
By Steve Sherman
LANGHORNE, Pa. – Soon after top-seeded Neshaminy advanced in the District 1 Class 6A Tournament with a 42-21 triumph over visiting Spring-Ford, Levittown radio station WBCB (1490 AM) selected as its stars of the game junior Cory Joyce and senior Joel Stills.
The media outlet couldn’t have chosen better.
On offense, the pair combined on four touchdowns and defensively, the duo teamed up on three interceptions.
Proving that it’s not how you start but rather how you finish, Stills ran for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half to go with 91 yards and a score he recorded before the break.
His counterpart for the 16th-seeded Rams – senior Justin DiFrancesco – after notching 125 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on 13 touches in the first half, was limited to just 30 yards and a TD on 10 carries after the intermission.
“That was a big difference,” admitted Neshaminy head coach Steve Wilmot.
“For the most part, the offense moved the ball the entire game and our defense buckled down in the second half.”
“We made some adjustments at halftime. Really, it was more of an attitude change,” added Joyce. “We weren’t really happy with how we played in the first half so in the second half, we came out trying to change that.
Two key plays on defense were registered by Joyce. The first came late in the first half and gave the offense a short field. The second came early in the fourth quarter as Spring-Ford attempted to draw within a touchdown of the Skins.
“Turnovers are key,” said Joyce. “If you can take the ball away, you take their momentum away and give yourself a chance on offense.
“It definitely helps winning football games.”
Given a short field after a sack and a partially deflected punt, the Rams needed to drive the ball just 22 yards to close within seven points midway through the fourth quarter. Soon after an apparent TD pass from quarterback T.J. Pergine to senior Mitchell Vagnozzi was called back on a Rams penalty, Joyce latched onto an ill-advised aerial from the Spring-Ford QB, ending the Rams’ possession at the Skins’ 10 yard line
“Fourth quarter, we wanted to seal the game,” said Joyce. “I made a good read on him and just put the game away.”
From there, Stills capped a nine-play, 90-yard touchdown drive with a 28-yard scoring sprint to help seal the win. Joel’s last two touches in the game netted 52 yards for Neshaminy and he recorded earlier TD scampers of 21 and 32 yards.
Stills gives all the credit to the offensive line, which is anchored by senior 265-pound tackle Gio Figueroa and senior 255-pound guard Nick Napadano.
“Breaking into the secondary part of the defense has to do with the offensive line,” he explained.
“They are really a big factor. If I can’t get past the front line, I can’t manage to get into the secondary and do my magic.”
With the win, the Skins advance to the D1 quarterfinals next Friday night versus eighth-seeded Pennsbury, a 17-0 winner over No. 9 CB South.
A week ago, Neshaminy needed a last-minute flea-flicker from Joyce to McAndrew to get past the Falcons 21-20.
Lafayette's Selwyn Simpson finally getting a look
By Lafayette freshman running back Selwyn Simpson had 45 yards on 12 carries against Bucknell. (LAFAYETTE COLLEGE/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
By Paul Reinhard
Special to The Morning Call
When Selwyn Simpson heard about John Garrett’s no-incumbents approach to his first season as head football coach at Lafayette, he was immediately enthused.
As a senior running back at Spring-Ford High School, Simpson was being actively recruited by the likes of Lehigh, Maine, Villanova, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart.
“After the coaching switch [at Lafayette], it was a new coaching era and I felt it could be something special and brand new,” Simpson said. “I didn’t want to go to a program where it was already distinguished and you’re just another player. I wanted to be part of Lafayette, where we could build something nice.”
There was a good chance he would have to wait his turn because the Leopards were bringing back four tailbacks and he would not be the only RB in the 2017 recruiting class.
Senior DeSean Brown was the most experienced of the lot, but it became evident that running back would become perhaps the most wide-open position on the team when four different players carried the ball in each of the first three games.
No back has been able to dominate, with 48 yards being the highest single-game total by any back during a season in which the Leopards have averaged only 20 yards a game.
Simpson got six carries in the first three games, then had none for three games in a row and one in Game 7.
But during the weeks of practices, things were happening.
“I feel like I came a decent way,” Simpson said during Tuesday’s weekly media luncheon previewing Saturday’s Patriot League game at Georgetown. “Coach Garrett pushes me to get better week to week and to learn more so when I get my chance to go on the field I can succeed. As the season went on I have gotten more practice reps and game-time reps. Coach Garrett always tells me to be prepared and that you’re only one play away from playing virtually the whole game.”
Brown injured his shoulder against Harvard and was held out of the Leopards’ last game on Oct. 21 against Bucknell because he was not 100 percent healthy.
Simpson got his chance and gained a net 45 yards on 12 carries while sharing the tailback duty with C.J. Amill. He also scored what to date has been Lafayette’s only rushing touchdown of 2017.
Garrett would not commit to who would be the starter at tailback on Saturday but did say, “It looks like DeSean is healthy.” He added, however, that shoulder injuries in running backs are “something better to take extra time with because of the contact aspect at his position.”
Simpson is growing into what could be a big and fast back. He reported for summer practice at 205 pounds, but he said Tuesday that his weight is already up to 216 or 217 to go with his 6-2 frame.
“I feel great,” Simpson said. “The way [strength and conditioning] Coach [Brad] Potts has us lifting and working out, I feel I’m in the best shape of my life. Even though I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, I’m still fast and can make all the moves.”
Lafayette (2-6, 2-1 Patriot League) is coming off its bye week to take on a Georgetown team that has lost seven in a row since winning its opener.
This will mark the return of Leopards’ defensive coordinator Luke Thompson to the Hoyas’ Cooper Field, where he spent the last three seasons in the same position.
Georgetown coach Rob Sgarlata was asked on a conference call which team would benefit most from Thompson’s job change.
“Everybody knows I’m probably not the smartest guy in the room, so I give the advantage to Luke,” Sgarlata said. “It’s a point of pride for me to watch Lafayette’s defense right now.”
Garrett said, “I know he’s our defensive coordinator, is doing a great job, knows about their roster. We are in the business of gathering information, so Luke has been a great source this week to tells us about the strengths and weaknesses of their players.”
Despite its overall record, Lafayette trails Colgate by half a game in the league standings and is still in the running for the league automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. A loss on Saturday would pretty much douse those chances.
Retired sports columnist Paul Reinhard is a freelance writer.
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Spring-Ford sinks Pope John Paul II, holds out district hopes
By Rob Senior
ROYERSFORD >> Despite their recent struggles, Spring-Ford fans knew the explosive, senior-laden Rams offense was the team’s best chance to stop their recent skid on Senior Night at Coach McNelly Stadium.
In the process, they just may have saved the season.
TJ Pergine threw for three first-half touchdown passes (four total) and the defense forced five turnovers as the Rams cruised to a 51-13 victory over Pope John Paul II.
The Rams (6-4 overall) compiled 414 yards of total offense, led by Pergine’s 241 passing yards and 194 total yards by Justin DeFrancesco (143 rushing, 51 receiving).
With the convincing win, Spring-Ford stays alive in the race for one of District 1’s 16 6A playoff berths. Numerous results from Friday night and Saturday will determine the Rams’ ultimate fate, hopefully decided by Saturday afternoon. The first domino fell Friday night, as Upper Darby, who came into Friday one spot ahead of the Rams, fell to Ridley.
Pope John Paul II (7-3) had already secured its place in the 4A playoffs and entered the week No. 2 in the rankings. That position is likely to remain with No. 3 Upper Perkiomen losing to Owen J. Roberts.
The game’s opening possession saw PJP stymie the Rams’ offense, forcing a 3rd-and-long from the Panthers’ 31. That’s when Pergine found running back DeFrancesco on a beautifully designed screen pass for the game’s opening points.
After that, the Rams navigated some short fields thanks to interceptions by Tyler Edwards and Leo Van Hulst, with two more Pergine TD strikes (to Edwards and Dante Bonanni, respectively) sandwiched around a unique play where senior tackle Noah Silva took a direct snap in an empty backfield, rolled right and threw back across the field to a wide-open James Albert.
“We’ve practiced that play for a few weeks,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker. “At this point in the season, you need kids to stay excited about what you’re doing. We have some more plays in our back pocket. They look great when they work.”
On the final play of the half, PJP quarterback Matt DeLaurentis found Dan Cirino from 14 yards out to get the Panthers on the board. AJ Natale added a 42-yard score early in the fourth quarter for the Panthers, but the Rams dominated time of possession late to secure their sixth victory of the year – and keep postseason hopes alive.
Edwards added another late interception and another TD catch on consecutive 4th quarter plays for Spring-Ford. The senior all-purpose player did a little bit of everything for the home team, finishing the night with two INTs and two TD catches – a standout performance on a roster littered with impressive statistics after a few frustrating weeks.
“We have no idea whether we’re going to make the playoffs,” Edwards admitted, “so as seniors, we wanted to come out tonight with a bang.”
The offensive outburst ended a month’s worth of frustrating performance for the Rams. Brubaker alluded to the introduction of a new set or two, but Edwards’ explanation was simpler.
“When our line can give TJ a pocket and not force him to scramble he’s gonna do damage,” he said. “Most games, we like to focus on the run – and we did – but we were also able to pick on the corners and safeties.”
For PJP, the loss extended their losing streak to three games, after a blazing 7-0 start. Next week’s District 1-4A playoff will likely see the Panthers in a rematch with Upper Perkiomen, the team that handed PJP its first loss of 2017. That may be all the motivation they need to turn things around.
“I think it’s clear I need to do a better job, preparing our kids, getting us ready to play,” said PJP coach Rory Graver. “We’re very excited for the opportunity to play Upper Perk. They really beat us up the last time we played, but we anticipate a excellent matchup.”
Spring-Ford’s fate isn’t certain yet, but if the Rams do make the playoffs they will likely do so as the 15th or 16th seed, meaning a showdown at the home of a district heavyweight next Friday.
“Once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen,” said Brubaker. “It comes down to whether your kids are energized, ready to play – it’s an opportunity for us to build on tonight.
“We’ll be a low seed. No one will expect us to win – and we’re fine with that.”
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BUCKTOWN >> No one needed to remind the Owen J. Roberts sideline all that was at stake under the lights of Henry J. Bernat Stadium Friday night. A win, and the Wildcats would have a great shot at making the District One Class 6A playoffs. A loss, well … “We weren’t even thinking about what a loss could mean,” said Owen J. Roberts quarterback Dawson Stuart. “We were just focused on winning.” The Wildcats were determined and focused throughout, dominating from start to finish on the way to a stunning 33-0 win over Spring-Ford. Owen J. Roberts quarterback Dawson Stuart (14) and receiver Hunter Hinrichs celebrate after connecting for a long TD reception against Spring-Ford Friday. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media) With the win, the Wildcats (3-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division; 7-2 overall) move that much closer to earning their first district playoff berth since the 2010 season. With the loss, Spring-Ford (3-2; 5-4 overall) may very well find itself on the outside looking in for the first time since 2014 when districts get started in a couple weeks. “It’s only been done two, maybe three times in school history,” said Owen J. Roberts head coach Rich Kolka of making districts. “So that says a lot about our guys. That was one of our goals — three years ago, no one talked about us. Now, we could be in a district playoff game.” Friday’s game felt much like a November playoff atmosphere with Stuart at the forefront of it. The senior threw for 213 yards along with a pair of touchdowns to wideout Hunter Hinrichs. Hinrichs racked up a game-high 143 yards on six receptions — including a 78-yard strike down the left sideline during the first quarter that set the tone. “We knew we needed to make big plays early on to win against a good team like that,” said Hinrichs, the program’s career leader in receiving yards. “Dawson and I have that connection, that spark together.” Stuart had nothing but praise for his favorite target as the pair has undoubtably been on the same wavelength since their youth football days at Norchester. “Hunter is one of our best athletes,” said Stuart, who owns OJR’s all-time career records in passing touchdowns and yards. “We saw a mismatch on that play — he had (the defensive back beat) in height, quickness and speed. So I was looking at him the whole time, hoping he would make a play and he did. He beat his guy and took it all the way. “He’s doing all the work. I know I just have to get it near him and he’ll go get it.” Stuart kept the Spring-Ford defense honest with his feet, too. Utilizing the option with running back Hunter Scherfel in tow, Stuart racked up 50 yards rushing on 11 carries. Meanwhile Scherfel wore away the clock during the second half on the way to a 105-yard rushing game that featured a 3-yard score during the fourth quarter. OJR’s defense was solid all game. The Wildcats held Spring-Ford to its lowest total yardage output all season — 175 yards — and hardly let quarterback TJ Pergine set his feet in the pocket. Sean Praweckyj put the stamp on the team’s memorable night with an 80-yard interception returned for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter for the final 33-0 score. “That was as dominating of a performance on both sides of the ball as I have seen coaching high school football,” said Kolka. “There is no question. And that was against a good team. Spring-Ford is always a good team.” Meanwhile, Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker deemed it a ‘humiliating’ night to be a part of. The Rams were shutout for the first time since the 2012 season — a 49-0 loss against Phoenixville. They only made one trip into the red zone all night, which resulted in a missed field goal attempt from 27 yards out during the first quarter. “They didn’t do anything special, just played tough football,” said Brubaker. “Hats off to them. They beat us in every facet of the game tonight.” Just when it looked like the Rams were getting going, they had the carpet pulled out from under them. On their first drive of the second half, running back Justin DeFrancesco had a 44-yard touchdown erased by a costly holding penalty. Two plays later, the Rams would punt it away for the first of three times in the half. Defrancesco, usually a focal point to the Spring-Ford offense, was held to just 47 total yards by OJR’s bigs up front. Pergine rarely looked comfortable in the pocket where he completed just 12 of 27 passing attempts for 95 yards and scrambled for 46 yards on the ground. Next week, the PAC holds its regular-season ending divisional crossover games. With Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford and Boyertown all boasting the same inner-divisional record and no team emerging based on head-to-head criteria, the standings will turn to the district power rankings. Based on that, Owen J. Roberts will claim the No. 2 seed and face Frontier foe Upper Perkiomen, while No. 3-seeded Spring-Ford will take on Pope John Paul II.
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Spring-Ford gets back on track, downs Boyertown 16-0
By Jeff Stover
ROYERSFORD >> It seemed almost inconsistent with the nature of the day.
Spring-Ford staged its annual Homecoming festivities in conjunction with Saturday’s game against Boyertown. And while the Rams put a happy cap on the raucous day with a 16-0 victory over the Bears, head coach Chad Brubaker was left wanting by the way his players came out.
“I’m disappointed by my perception that we were uninspired,” he said as the party atmosphere at Coach McNelly Stadium and vicinity wound down. “We have to execute better. We’ll check the film.”
It was a very close Pioneer Athletic Conference (Division 1) game through the entire first half, the Rams going to the locker room with a 3-0 lead courtesy of a Taylor Smith field goal. Three other series saw SF (3-1 PAC, 5-3 overall) end with a missed field goal, on downs and with an interception.
To its credit, Boyertown’s defense played a prominent part in keeping pace with Spring-Ford. Blaise Caroselli intercepted a pass three plays after the Rams’ Cole Trauger recovered a fumble at his 37 to stop a Bear march that featured big runs by fullback Marcus Thomas (17 yards) and quarterback Ayden Mathias (14).
“Our kids played their hearts out,” Boyertown head coach T.J. Miller said. “It doesn’t matter if the opponent is a Spring-Ford or a winless team … it’s a testament to what our seniors have built on.”
It was a first half where the kicking game was in the spotlight. Smith had a 39-yard field-goal attempt blocked when the Rams’ first possession stalled at the Boyertown 22, and Declan Coyle’s attempt to pull the Bears even at the half saw his 25-yard try blocked.
Smith’s 37-yard field goal attempt — his second of two in the first half — was good with 2:39 left. It remained the game’s lone scoring until the first two minutes of the second half, when Spring-Ford created more separation on the scoreboard.
Justin Defrancesco (20 carries, game-high 135 yards) sprinted through a left-tackle hole at the Ram 45 and roared down the Boyertown sideline for a touchdown with 10:44 on the clock.
“We got a huge block from (Noah) Silva,” SF quarterback T.J. Pergine said. “It opened a huge hole for Justin, who has speed. It brought life to the team.”
Spring-Ford added a final touchdown with less than two minutes to go, Pergine hooking up with Colby Goldsmith (two catches, 10 yards) on a two-yard toss.
Turnovers ended up a big issue for the Bears. Goldsmith’s interception of Mathis at the Ram 39 set the home team up for an 11-play, 30-yard drive culminating with Smith’s field goal, and Cole Trauger recovered a fumble to halt the Bears at the Ram 37 with less than 1-1/2 minutes until the half.
A lost fumble quashed one drive at the Spring-Ford 16 near the end of the third quarter, and Clarence Thomas intercepted a Jerry Kapp pass to close out the game.
“Turnovers killed us,” Miller noted.
The Rams’ passing game sustained drives all day long. Pergine completed 15 of 27 tries for 158 yards, five to Defrancesco for 53 yards and three more to Dante Bonnani for another 53.
“They (Boyertown) like to play a lot of man defense,” Pergine said. “We took advantage of that, executing pretty well.”
Credit for that went to the Ram line of Silva, Gionvanni Guarna, Matt Lepore, James Begg and Gunnar Romano, who kept their Bear counterparts at bay.
“Our offensive line was pushing off the ball,” Pergine said.
On the defensive side, Spring-Ford limited Boyertown to just 66 yards passing on combined 8-for-21 accuracy. Mathias had the bulk of the passing work, going 7-for-18 for 60 yards while Jerry Kapp accounted for the rest late in the second half.
“Our defense did a good job,” Brubaker said. “I was concerned with their offense — we’re not real big. We hung in there when we game them short fields.”
The Bears’ offense covered 197 yards on the ground, led by Mathias (19 carries, 75 yards). Thomas added another 68 largely hard-fought stripes on 17 tries, and Nick Moccia had 51 on five carries.
“Our backs did the best they could,” Miller said.
The win got the Rams back on track following last weekend’s 28-7 loss to Perkiomen Valley. All alone in the division’s second-place slot after dropping the Bears (2-2, 2-6), they will visit neighboring rival Owen J. Roberts next week in a continuing bid to extend their season well into November.
“We’re in position to win out and make the playoffs,” Brubaker said. “The players have to decide if they have the passion to do that.”
“With the loss to PV, we’re not stopping there,” Silva added. “We’re going to work hard this whole week. Our tank is still full.”
NOTES >> Kylie Lynch was named Spring-Ford’s Homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies. Dylan Rumsey was crowned Homecoming king. … The school added two new members to its Hall of Fame class pregame: Andrew Scanlan (Class of 2012) and Ross Pennypacker (Class of 2000). Ross’ father, Pottsgrove football head coach Rick Pennypacker — himself a 2008 Hall inductee — accepted the award for his son.
The Storti Insurance Week 7 Gridiron Brought to You by RCTV
Schimpf does a little of everything as Vikings defense dominates Spring-Ford
By Sam Stewart
GRATERFORD >> L.V. Miles’ epic description of his nephew Boobie in the opening scenes of the 2004 movie ‘Friday Night Lights’ has become fodder for football memes and gifs throughout social media.
If there were any games to transpose his quote over game film it’d be Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford’s annual rivalry tilt. The player’s film to accompany it: Brendan Schimpf.
Schimpf did it all for the Vikings in a resounding victory over their neighboring rivals, coming up with a back-breaking pick-six, a rushing touchdown, a devastating sack and a momentous 52-yard reception to help lead Perkiomen Valley to a 28-7 victory Friday night in a key Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division contest.
The win puts Perkiomen Valley in control of its own destiny in the Liberty Division race, the Vikings only needing to win one of their next two remaining conference games to clinch the division after Owen J. Roberts fell to Boyertown on a last-second field goal.
“It feels good,” Schimpf said. “This is always the circled game for the season. You’re always ready to play when this game comes.”
Schimpf didn’t need to fill the Gatorade cooler, walk the dog or paint the back porch, but boy he showed that he could flat out play football. Same too, the rest of the Perkiomen Valley (3-0, 6-1) defense, which limited the Rams to a season low 219 yards of total offense — 68 of those coming on the team’s last possession as a TJ Pergine to Tyler Edwards score eliminated the chances of the series’ 13th shutout since 1976. Head coach Rob Heist wasn’t singling anyone out for their effort — they all deserved credit after registering their second-best defensive effort of the season (team allowed 135 yards in shutout against OJR in Week 5).
“This was the best week of practice that we’ve had in my career here and the best week of practice I think the coaches have ever seen,” said defensive back Remy Sell. “We were firing on all cylinders and we were able to come out here and translate what we did on the practice field and get after it. Our coaches stressed to all of us that they were going to put us in a lot of situations and one-on-ones. We stepped up. Me, Austin (Rowley), Randy (Washington) and (Ryan) Cerula, we all came up and decided that it was time to hunker down and make some plays.”
The same could not be said for a Spring-Ford (2-1, 4-3) squad that saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Seemingly out of sync the majority of the game, the Rams never got over a goalline stop by the Viking defense midway through the first quarter. They committed 12 penalties for 105 yards, punted a season-high nine times (eight of those stemming from three-and-outs) and didn’t find the end zone until the aforementioned Edwards’ touchdown with less than two minutes remaining.
“We struggled a lot with the team speed,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “Obviously we didn’t put ourselves in good situations at times. We were for whatever reason out of sync. TJ had a lot of pressure real quickly. Their defensive front and their linebackers caused us a lot of problems where we had to have receivers open right away. We didn’t and we were in trouble.”
Schimpf, the WILL linebacker and tailback, was a big part of that. After scoring on a 2-yard plunge stemming from his 52-yard reception on a short crossing route, Schimpf came up with the backbreaking play on the Rams’ next drive, stepping in front of a Pergine screen pass and racing 49 yards untouched for the score and a 21-0 lead. His blind-sided sack on Pergine late in the fourth capped his day.
“I saw him drop back so I automatically dropped back into my passing lane and it was right there,” Schimpf said of his interception. “As soon as I caught it there was just green grass in front of me. It’s something you always look out for. They do very well, have a lot of different pass concepts so you just have to get to your zone and see what happens.”
Cole Peterlin was solid in his first game on the big stage, the junior quarterback throwing for 123 yards on a 10-of-20 effort. He struggled to find his accuracy early but helped lead the Vikings to back-to-back scoring drives in a tide-turning third quarter that helped pad a 7-0 halftime lead.
“The atmosphere was crazy,” Peterlin said. “This is only the first time I’ve played in front of so many people that were so hype for a game. I just had to stay calm and do what I do. We just came out and had a couple of first downs and get stops and we eventually started hitting it.”
Peterlin finished with 95 yards on the ground and two scores — his 39-yard touchdown up the gut on an outside zone capping a scintillating Viking second half. He’s still trying to find the lineman who came up with the key block.
“Not really sure, trying to figure it out,” he said of the block that sprung the run. “As soon as I saw that I just ran straight to the end zone. I had no one in front of me, I just had the corner on the side and I had to beat him to the end zone.”
NOTES >> A packed house has become commonplace for the annual rivalry and that was no different Friday night at a sold out Thomas J. Keenan Stadium. “It doesn’t get any better than PV-Spring-Ford right now in this whole area, maybe in the state,” Heist said. “It doesn’t get as good as this rivalry. It’s an awesome environment and it’s fun to be a part of.” … L.V. Miles’ full quote in the movie as scouts watched Boobie play: “That’s my nephew out there. That boy can play some football. He can play left, he can play right, don’t make no difference. He can block, tackle, score the TD, snap the ball, and kick the extra point. Hell, the boy will fill up the Gatorade cooler, walk the dog and paint your back porch. I’m telling ya, the boy can flat out play football. … Oh, and he can pass!”