GRATERFORD — When most casual observers think Spring-Ford football, the image likely conjured up is the aerial artistry of record-setting quarterback Hank Coyne.
But when the Rams have to, they are quite adept at going into the ground-and-pound mode.
Friday night was one of those occasions, when Spring-Ford’s versatile rushing attack laid the “groundwork,” so to speak, for a 42-28 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over Perkiomen Valley at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
“We ran the ball really well tonight,” said Rams senior fullback Yousef Lundi.
The Rams (7-1, 9-1 overall) did that, and then some, en route to a victory that clinched a District 1-AAAA playoff berth.
• There was the power running of the 6-foot, 200-pound Lundi, who collected 94 yards and two touchdowns.
• There was the cat-quick slashing of junior scatback Tate Carter, who ran for 71 yards and one score while piloting several Wildcat formation looks.
• And, most importantly, there was the triumphant return of junior feature back Jarred Jones, who amassed 208 yards and one TD (while also contributing two long kickoff returns, one for a score).
The end result was a victory that clinched a berth in the upcoming District 1-AAAA Tournament for the Rams, who have won five straight since their lone loss to league champ Pottsgrove.
“We know we can throw the ball,” said Carter, a 5-7, 170-pounder. “But tonight we showed how effectively we can run the ball, too.”
The Rams made a concerted effort to run it from the get-go, opening the game with 13 straight rushing attempts.
And their offensive line of Michael Gilmore, Zach Dorsey, Montana O’Daneill, Josh Boyer and Justin Meals (along with tight ends Zameer McDowell and R.J. Sheldon) was more than up to the challenge.
“Our O-Line did a great job tonight,” Lundi said. “They always do a good job, but tonight the holes were wide open.”
The Rams’ multi-faced backs took full advantage of that.
First, Jones — seeing his first action since breaking his wrist against Pope John Paul II in Week Three — ripped off a 33-yard TD to tie the game at 7-7.
Then Lundi, who many times is used as a battering ram between the tackles, showed he can also be a home-run hitter by rumbling 71 yards to put the Rams up to stay at 13-7 with 5:44 let in the first quarter.
Coyne even got into the act, scoring on a 1-yard keeper as Spring-Ford took a 21-7 lead after a quarter.
Carter, who had an inauspicious beginning with a punt-return fumble that set up Perkiomen Valley’s first score, made his presence felt as the game progressed.
He ran 18 yards on a fake punt attempt on a fourth-and-fourth play that set up his own 5-yard TD run out of the Wildcat to make it 28-7 in the second quarter.
“The first half, I was pleased with how we ran the ball,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “Obviously Jarred brings a combination of things to the table for us. Tate’s real quick. And Yousef, it takes him a little bit to get going, but once he gets in the open field, no one catches him.
“They all have different attributes, and we try to give different looks and get different guys touches.”
Which makes the Rams’ vaunted passing game even more dangerous for opposing defenses.
“When we run the ball like that,” Lundi said, “we take the pressure off Hank.”
“With Jarred back, we felt good tonight,” said Carter. “We just went out and did what we needed to do. We knew we had to run hard, protect the ball and just try to score. Once we get our call, we have to do what we need to do out there.”
Suffice it to say the Rams answered the call against the Vikings (7-2, 7-3), thanks to a big effort from their backfield and line.
“The good thing about our team is that it’s not just one player,” Lundi said. “We have a bunch of guys who work together and contribute every game. One night it could be Jarred. One night it could be Tate. Another night it could be Hank.”
On this night, the Rams controlled the trenches and used a strong infantry to come away with a victory in a battle of two of the PAC-10’s most lethal offensive arsenals.
Spring-Ford, Perkiomen Valley in a gimongous game
By Don Seeley
GRATERFORD — Noah Webster would likely be appalled by some of the additions to the American Dictionary of the English Language he published 184 years ago. But the ol’ fella would likely be OK with gimongous.
After all, there isn’t a better word to describe tonight’s football game between Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley.
This one is indeed big. It’s actually really, really big.
The winner, in all likelihood, will be playing next week in the opening round of the District 1-Class AAAA playoffs. The loser? Well, if the Rams come up short, there is a possibility they could drop out of the Top 16 allotted postseason spots and find themselves idle for 20 days — or until Thanksgiving morning’s finale with Phoenixville. If the Vikings falter, it could and likely will mean the end of their season, unless a slew of unlikely scenarios unfold — or upwards of three or possibly even four teams above them in the playoff points standings lose this weekend.
Sure are a lot of ifs and possibilities...
And on top of all that, a lot of the Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley players are neighbors, friends, and so on and so on. But they don’t necessarily like one another on the football field. It doesn’t matter if they’re unbeaten and lining up for their own little Super Bowl, or if they’re winless and lining up for that other type of bowl — they play one another with the energy and intensity that has made this annual meeting one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s best rivalries over the past decade.
Yeah, gimongous seems to fit.
“Our kids are very aware of what’s at stake,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “I’m sure both (teams) realize what a win means.”
“We don’t need to say or do anything to remind our kids of the importance of this game,” Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed added. “Our kids know what is at stake in this game.”
Spring-Ford goes into tonight’s game 6-1 (8-1 overall), on a bit of a high after last week’s 55-20 win over Pottstown. Perkiomen Valley is 7-1 (7-2), hopefully out of the dumps following last week’s disheartening 42-28 setback to unbeaten Pottsgrove. The teams’ PAC-10 record against one another is as even as it gets, too, or 13-13 since it began in 1986.
Both the Rams and Vikings have excellent quarterbacks, well-balanced offenses and defenses that, for the most part, have been stingy when it comes to allowing yards and points.
Both Brubaker and Reed are concerned about not having their usual four or five days to practice and prepare, about being a little out of their routine — thanks to Sandy blowing through the area and closing down the schools earlier this week. That certainly magnifies their concerns about scheming for one another.
“We’re very concerned about PV because they’re dangerous,” Brubaker said. “People have put a lot of emphasis on (quarterback) Rasaan Stewart, but (running backs) Mark Bonomo and Dakota Clanagan, and some others, are excellent high school football players.”
Reed couldn’t stop talking about tonight’s guests.
“Spring-Ford is very good, extremely well-coached,” he said. “They have been playing without one of their best overall players in (running back) Jarred Jones, but they really haven’t skipped a beat. They’re so fundamentally sound, and they have so many good football players.
“Their defensive line may arguably be the best in the league. They just have a lot of talent, size and speed. They have a three-year quarterback (Hank Coyne) who is really playing well and coming off a huge game against Pottstown. We will have to be at our very best to be competitive.”
The Rams have limited all but three opponents to one touchdown or less. Their defensive line, anchored by ends R.J. Sheldon and Zameer McDowell and tackles Mason Romano and Robby Varner, hasn’t been surrendering many yards on the ground. Linebackers Ian Hare and Andy Lovre-Smith are having banner seasons. And the secondary, getting huge hits and picks of late from Ben Schein and noticeable support from Jared Shoemaker, Travis Daywalt and Joe Bush, has been hard to throw into, around or over.
They’ll be tested by the versatile Stewart, who has thrown for 1,249 yards and run for another 946 yards and 18 touchdowns. The elusive Bonomo has run up 839 yards. Clanagan and Clay Domine (44 receptions, 731 yards) are reliable receivers, and Davon Mitchell is a threat deep downfield.
“Our defensive line has been very active the last few weeks,” Brubaker said. “We’ve been getting contributions from a lot of different players, too. But Stewart’s the real deal, and he’s not alone.”
Precisely Reed’s thoughts about the challenges awaiting his own defense.
The Vikings have given up an average of thirtysome yards and three-plus points more than the Rams thus far, numbers that don’t exactly give either a noticeable advantage. Their rotating front three — Austin Gansz, Tony Pachella, Luke DiElsi and Robbie Thacker — have combined for 8.5 sacks. Inside linebackers James Biddle and Mike Reiner, middle linebacker Danny Light, and outside linebackers Najdrer Philyah and Anthony Rotunda cover considerable ground. And McKnight, Martise Ray, Clanagan and Stewart are quick coming up on the run as well as covering the secondary.
“Perkiomen Valley is very active on both sides of the ball, so we must match their intensity and multiplicity,” Brubaker said. “They don’t give you a ton of looks defensively, but they hop around and try to create confusion. Our offensive line will be a huge key in this game.”
The Vikings hope to confuse Coyne, who is erasing record after record each week. The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,350 yards and an area-high 19 touchdowns. With Jones cleared to play earlier this week — and obviously a probable for tonight — Coyne’s passing game, buoyed a bit by the luxury of five quality receivers, has helped Yousef Lundi (792 yards) and the quick Tate Carter (554 yards) both average just under eight yards a pop carrying the football in Jones’ absence.
“Our kids hold Perkiomen Valley up pretty high up on the rivalry ladder,” Brubaker said. “We’re going to have to play a complete game, that’s offense, defense, special teams and coaching.”
“Our kids are excited for this one,” Reed said. “It’s the last game (of the regular season), it’s our Senior Night, we’re playing Spring-Ford, and there’s a district playoff spot on the line. Yeah, I think they’ll be excited to get out there.”
Jones hasn’t played since Week Three, when he broke his wrist against Pope John Paul II. … PV guard Bobby Gallus is questionable suffering an injury last week. … Special teams have been solid of late for both the Rams and Vikings. Brubaker acknowledged the contributions of Jack Haney and Jake Leahy. Sheldon is among the league’s better punters, and kicker David Gulati is among the leaders in kick scoring. Reed has been nothing but pleased with the addition of Brett Davis, who came over from the soccer team a couple of weeks ago and has responded with deep kickoffs, long punts, and near-flawless extra-point conversions.
Pac-10sports.com PV Preview
Spring-Ford routed Pottstown 55-20 to improve to 6-1 in the league (8-1 overall) … Perkiomen Valley dropped a 42-28 decision to Pottsgrove in a showdown for first place in the PAC-10. The Vikings are 7-1 in the league and 7-2 overall
Spring-Ford 42, Perkiomen Valley 28
What’s at stake
The defending PAC-10 champion Rams have won four straight, and appear primed for another trip to the District One Class AAAA playoffs with the return of game-breaking RB Jarred Jones, who has been medically cleared after spending 6 weeks on the shelf with a broken wrist. Standing in their way are the Vikings, who are currently tied for 14th in the playoff standings with Souderton and Kennett. Spring-Ford, ranked No. 11, could lock up a playoff spot with a victory and leave Perk Valley on the outside looking in. The winner will all but assure itself a berth in the district playoffs, while the loser – although not necessarily out – would need some help to qualify.
For all the weekend football previews, click here:
Spring-Ford scouting report
The return of Jones should be a big boost for a unit that averages 36.6 points and 347.6 yards per game behind a balanced attack that features RB Yousef Lundi (102-789, 10 TDs), record-setting QB Hank Coyne (1,247 passing yards, 19 TDs, 3 interceptions), WB Tate Carter (856 yards, 12 TDs rushing and receiving) and WR Gary Hopkins (25-325, 5). Defensively, S-F allows just 13.7 points and 226.7 yards per outing behind Mason Romano (4.4 tpg, 3 sacks), Zameer McDowell (4.1 tpg), Kyle Hoffner (4.0 tpg), R.J. Sheldon (4 sacks) and Ian Hare (4 sacks). Spring-Ford has a plus-6 turnover margin for the season.
Perkiomen Valley scouting report
The Vikings lost starting senior left guard Bobby Gallus for the season to a broken arm in last Friday’s loss to Pottsgrove. PV’s no-huddle offense picked up 413 yards last week, just a tick above its PAC-10 leading average of 411.9 ypg. QB Rasaan Stewart has rushed for 924 yards and 17 TDs while throwing for another 1,121 yards and 8 TDs to pace a prolific attack that includes RB Mark Bonomo (110-822, 6 TDs) and the league’s top receiver Clay Domine (44-733, 4). Anthony Pachella and Danny Light have racked up 4.5 sacks apiece for a defense that allows 16.7 points and 268.8 yards per game. PV coach Scott Reed praised the strong play of Davon Mitchell, Dakota Clanagan, Kean McKnight, Domine and Bonomo on offense and the sound work of Najdre Philyah, Anthony Rotunda and James Biddle on defense. Brett Davis, a late season acquisition from the soccer team, has been providing deep kickoffs, solid placekicking (4-4 on conversion kicks last week) and sound punting – with one of his boots pinning Pottsgrove at its 2-yard line in the third quarter.
Scott Reed, Perkiomen Valley: “I think the kids will be excited for this one. It is the last game, it is our Senior Night, we are playing Spring-Ford, and there is a district playoff spot on the line. I don't think we need to say anything. I think the kids know what is at stake in this game.
“Spring-Ford is a very good football team and they are extremely well-coached. They have been playing without one of their best overall players in Jarred Jones and they really haven't skipped a beat. They are so fundamentally sound and they have so many good football players. Their defensive line may arguably be the best in the league. They have a lot of athletes running around on both sides of the ball and many of their players go one way. They just have a lot of talent, size and speed. They have a three-year QB (Coyne) who is really playing well and coming off a huge game against Pottstown. We will have to be at our very best to be competitive in this football game.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “We allowed too many yards against Pottstown but came up with turnovers, which is something we have really tried to emphasize. We executed pretty well offensively on Friday and performed very well on special teams. Robby Varner played a very good game against Pottstown, defensively. Tate Carter and Yousef Lundi ran as hard as we’ve seen them run.
“We need to play well in all 3 phases of the game. PV’s athleticism on offense is a real concern. We need to be secure in our tackling and have 11 guys around the ball.”
Seeley Breaks Down Playoff Picture
By Don Seeley
Losing, or even beating an opponent in a smaller enrollment bracket with four wins, sometimes can be quite deceiving.
Perkiomen Valley’s loss to Pottsgrove last Friday night dropped the Vikings from No. 10 down into a three-way tie with Kennett and Souderton for No. 14 in the District 1-AAAA playoff standings … or in a tie, that for now, accounts for the 14th, 15th, and 16th teams — or final three allotted spots for the postseason.
Spring-Ford, despite its big win over Pottstown, dropped from No. 9 down to No. 11.
So, yes, this Friday’s game between the Vikings (7-2) and Rams (8-1) will indeed impact, if not dictate, both teams’ postseason fortunes.
A Perkiomen Valley loss could, but not officially, oust the Vikings from the Top 16 and end their season. But Kennett also has a difficult task against No. 9 Unionville (7-2), and Souderton (6-3) has to deal with No. 21 North Penn (5-4) — which will not be entering the postseason for the first time since 2001. A couple of losses there would likely keep PV — win or lose — in the Top 16.
A Spring-Ford win would obviously seal the Rams’ deal of getting into the postseason for the second straight year. A loss will drop them, but not necessarily out of the Top 16 if others below them lose.
The top five in the AAAA bracket should and likely will win this weekend, with only previously mentioned No. 1 Downingtown East’s meeting with Henderson coming close to a toss-up.
After that, though, Haverford (8-1) — in a three-way tie for No. 6 — has a biggie against No. 13 Garnet Valley (7-2). Pennsbury (7-2) — another hopeful at No. 6 — travels to No. 12 Neshaminy (7-2).
Two others accustomed to contending for AAAA district titles most years, Abington (6-3) and Downingtown West (6-3), lost last week and dropped to No. 17 and No. 18, respectively. Both will be heavily favored to win this weekend, but will need help from a few teams above them (help as in losses).
North Penn not lining up for a District 1-AAAA championship is indeed rare. Over the past 10 seasons (2002-2011), the Knights won six district titles and finished second in three others.
Spring-Ford jumps out early, rolls over Pottstown
By Barry Sankey
ROYERSFORD — The first half of action dictated the tempo for Friday night’s Spring-Ford/Pottstown football game at Coach McNelly Stadium.
The host Rams took control with a 28-7 first-quarter lead and extended that margin to 41-13 by halftime as both sides took turns advancing the ball. The final arithmetic read 55-20 in favor of Spring-Ford in the Pioneer Athletic Conference contest.
Spring-Ford (6-1, 8-1 overall) accumulated 410 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns and capitalized on four turnovers by the Trojans (3-4, 4-5).
Pottstown rolled up 401 yards of total offense itself, but the turnovers prevented the Trojans from mustering more points on the scoreboard.
“We have been studying films all week,” said Spring-Ford senior defensive back Ben Schein, who had an interception and active night in the secondary against the explosive Trojans. “They are really fast and they have a powerful offense. We game-planned so it came down to executing and stepping up to the challenge.”
The Rams knew they had to be persistent at keeping pressure on Pottstown quarterback Sage Reinhart plus an array of other talented skill players.
“They are a very athletic team,” said Schein. “They’ve got a lot of talent.”
So do the Rams. Yousef Lundi rambled for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, and Tate Carter added 139 yards and three scores on 11 tries as the Rams amassed 296 yards rushing with their blockers controlling the line of scrimmage.
Meanwhile, senior quarterback Hank Coyne, who is now the school’s career passing leader, passed for 96 yards and three touchdowns and was also on the receiving end of an 18-yard TD pass from tight end R.J. Sheldon.
Reinhart, Pottstown’s senior southpaw, completed 10 of 17 passes for 211 yards, including a 75-yard TD throw to Dayon Mohler in the first quarter.
“(Wide receiver) Antonio Moore was a concern when they were throwing the ball,” said Schein. “He has a chance to catch the ball on every play because he is so tall (6 feet, 6 inches). We had to be cognizant of that.”
Jared Shoemaker was pitted against Moore most of the evening, and the Trojan senior had one reception for 13 yards. Mohler had four receptions for 115 yards, and Denzel Harvey had four catches for 78 yards.
The Rams got sacks from Mason Romano and Kyle Hoffner, while Moore had one for the Trojans.
Schein credited the Rams’ defensive front line of ends Sheldon and Zameer McDowell and tackles Romano and Robby Varner for applying enough pressure on Reinhart to cut down on his time to make decisions.
“They kept them from throwing the ball to their full potential,” said Schein.
Pottstown’s Monroe Hampton ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, including a 35-yard TD scamper. Mohler finished with 63 yards rushing on six attempts, and Dezel Harvey tacked on 54 yards on seven plays.
Spring-Ford recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff return and took over at the Pottstown 11-yard line. Carter skirted left end for the TD on the first play from scrimmage, and David Gulati booted the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.
Pottstown came right back with Reinhart finding Mohler over the middle for the long TD catch and run at the 11:16 mark of the opening period. Richy Masciarelli kicked the point after to tie the game at 7.
The Rams answered with Coyne connecting with McDowell for a 25-yard TD pass in the left corner of the end zone on the ensuing series to cap a 62-yard march in six plays plus one Ram penalty. Gulati’s kick made it 14-7 at the 8:12 mark, and the Rams were never headed the rest of the night.
“We wanted to come out and execute,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker. “We lost 18 minutes of football last week (lightning-shortened victory over Owen J. Roberts). We wanted to make sure of some things we had to take care of. We got some turnovers, which was good to see. We need to improve in that area. We feel good about ourselves tonight going into next week (against Perkiomen Valley).”
He spoke about Pottstown’s abilities on offense.
“We bent throughout the night a few too many times,” said Brubaker. “Every play is tough because of their skill players, and Reinhart’s a player. We mixed it up pretty well. We wanted to get a number of players touches. and I just feel we succeeded in doing that.”
Lundi scored on runs of three and 46 yards, while Carter had TD runs of two and nine yards along with a 17-yard pass reception for a score. ... Jake Leahy and Alec Vagnozzi led the Rams’ strong pursuit on special teams. ... Varner and McDowell recovered fumbles. ... Carter had two grabs for 31 yards and Sheldon had two catches for 17 yards. Schein and Cody Davis also had catches for the Rams.
Mercury's Pottstown Preview
By Don Seeley
Records: Pottstown is 3-3 (4-4) after a 55-20 loss to Pottstown. Spring-Ford is 5-1 (7-1) following a 33-6 win over Owen J. Roberts.
Inside the lines: Pottstown still has two of the biggest offensive threats in the PAC-10 with running back Monroe Hampton (799 yards, 17 TDs) and quarterback Sage Reinhart (area-high 1,4844 yards passing), and have been getting big production of late from Denzel Harvey and Antonio Moore. Trojans’ big concern is improving on the defensive side, where they’re allowing an average of 385 yards and 38 points a game despite consistence performances from Chase Waters. … Spring-Ford’s defensive front has played well of late, anchoring a unit that allows just 128 yards a game. Robby Varner is coming a solid game in which he blocked a field goal, and Jarred Shoemaker is becoming an all-league caliber cornerback. Quarterback Hank Coyne (1,254 yards, area-high 17 TDs) is on pace to have seven different receivers with at least 10 receptions each, a group led by Gary Hopkins and Tate Carter.
Notes: Spring-Ford leads the PAC-10 series, 18-8, and the overall series, 31-23-1. … The Trojans, who are still without two-way tackle Josh Everette (injured), are currently 10th in the District 1-AAA playoff standings, where only eight advance into the postseason. … Pottstown head coach Brett Myers: “We’re not concerned about any hangover from last week, from playing Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford, because everybody in the league has had to deal with the same. There’s no time for the weary. We have to improve our blocking and our tackling. Spring-Ford is very good, so we must get into rhythm and not waste plays on offense.” … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “We played well offensively, pretty consistently on defense and really well on special teams last week. We must continue to play like that, and not overlook Pottstown, to have a chance at the playoffs. We need to prevent (the Trojans) from getting momentum and confidence because Pottstown is very dangerous. I love Reinhart, a gritty, get-it-done type player who puts the ball where it needs to be and is very shifty. We must be disciplined and execute.”
Pac-10sports.com Pottstown Preview
Pottstown dropped back to .500 at 3-3 in the PAC-10 and 4-4 overall with a 55-20 loss to neighborhood rival Pottsgrove … Spring-Ford raised its PAC-10 slate to 5-1 (7-1 overall) and stayed in the hunt for a league title by taking care of Owen J. Roberts, 33-6, in a contest ended by lightning with 6:03 remaining in the third quarter
Spring-Ford 27, Pottstown 20
Pottstown scouting report
Denzel Harvey returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to give the Trojans the early lead last week, but it was all downhill from there. Pottstown allowed Pottsgrove to score on nine straight possessions in the two-part contest, that was resumed Saturday morning after lightning forced the suspension of play Friday. Despite the consistent work of Julian Teller (5.0 tackles per game) and Dayon Mohler (4 interceptions), defense continues to be a problem for the Trojans, who allowed 459 total yards and five scoring plays of 30 yards or more to the Grove. For the season, Pottstown allows 38.4 ppg and 386.1 ypg to undermine an explosive offense that has produced 30.9 ppg and 379.5 ypg. Senior QB Sage Reinhart has thrown for 1,492 yards and 13 TDs and run for another 270 and 2 scores to lead the attack, which is also getting big efforts from RB Monroe Hampton (125-801, 15 TDs) and WR Tony Moore (17-391, 3).
Spring-Ford scouting report
The Rams worked a short shift in stopping OJR, led by record-setting senior QB Hank Coyne. Coyne hit 3 different receivers with TD passes and threw for 125 yards on 11-for-16 marksmanship, surpassing current Delaware QB Trevor Sasek for the most passing yards in school history (4,725). Spring-Ford has plenty of weapons in an attack that averages 34.3 points and 339.8 yards per game, including RB Yousef Lundi (90-629, 8 TDs), two-way threat Tate Carter (686 yards, 8 TDs running/receiving) and WR Gary Hopkins (25-325, 5). Defensively, Spring-Ford allows just 12.9 ppg and 204.9 ypg. The top performers on that side of the ball have been DT Mason Romano (4.6 tpg), DE R.J. Sheldon (5 sacks), DE Zameer McDowell (4.4 tpg, 3 sacks), LB Kyle Hoffner (4.1 tpg, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries) and CB Jarred Shoemaker. The availability of top-shelf RB Jarred Jones, who has been out with a fractured wrist for the last five weeks, remains unknown.
Brett Myers, Pottstown: “Our play thus far has been up and down. To be successful, we must play at a more constant level for 4 quarters and we need our offense to play fast for 4 quarters. We can’t have wasted plays or drives. Special teams have scored a touchdown in the past 2 games and have continued to improve so we must continue to put pressure on our opponent with our return game. Defensively we must improve our tackling against the run. Spring-Ford is a very good football team that is well coached in all three phases of the game. For us to have success we must match their effort and discipline for the entire game.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “We lost 18 minutes of football on Friday night, so I’m very concerned going into this week. We missed out on opportunities to get better, in terms of our offensive and defensive execution. We are looking forward to being able to play a full 48 minutes. Pottstown, despite their record going into the game at the time, has played us extremely tough the past 2 years. We were fortunate to escape with a win last year at Pottstown. We need to execute early and turn drives into points.”
Taste of Spring-Ford: The 3rd annual fundraiser was a great time for everyone.
The Spring-Ford Touchdown Club's annual Taste of Spring-Ford event drew a huge crowd on Thursday evening.
Restaurants and other businesses from around the area were handing out food samples and chatting with guests in the packed cafeteria while Spring-Ford football players helped out clearing tables and serving food.
A group of Spring-Ford players were also hanging out in the gym for the "Pros vs Joes" activities. Kids were running an agility course, tossing a football through a tire and trying to beat several players across the floor to catch a ball.
There were also raffles, a silent auction, haircuts, and balloon sculptures.
Oehlert Brothers Football Player of the Week - Tate Carter
Annamarie's Band Member of the Week - Erica Geissler
Spring-Ford remains relentless
By MIKE LAWLER
For the Times Herald
BUCKTOWN — It began with a swarm of flying ants. It ended with thunder and lightning. That was Spring-Ford’s Friday 33-6 weather-shortened victory over host Owen J. Roberts High.
It could also be the history of Spring-Ford football for the last three years.
During the 80’s and 90’s the Rams had one of the elite football programs around. Several undefeated seasons, players who never lost a varsity game in their careers, solid coaching. But, somewhere along the way the program became an also-ran. The undefeated seasons turned into defeated ones and suddenly Spring-Ford was no longer the Beast of the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
In 2009, the Rams finished with a 3-8 record, following up a 2-10 record from the year before.
Then, Spring-Ford hired Chad Brubaker as head coach. In 2010 the Rams posted nine wins against three losses. In 2011, it was 10 wins, two losses. So far this year, the Rams have posted a 7-1 record, the only blemish a loss to league leader Pottsgrove. The Rams are still in the hunt for the PAC title and a trip to the post-season. They have outscored their opponents 244-103 and and have held teams to single digits four times.
Even against OJR the Rams didn’t let up, though the neighboring Wildcats are not in the elite this season.
“It’s still just as important a game,” said linebacker Robbie Varner. “We’ve got to treat it like anyone else. Even with the loss to Pottsgrove, we were still pushing.”
That was not the Ram way for a while. So what happened?
“The new coach had a lot to do with it,” said Varner. “We’ve gotten better every year.”
“Coach Brubaker came in (three) years ago and you can see how that worked, going from 2-10 to 10-2 in two years,” said Ian Hare, another stalwart linebacker in the Rams’ defense. “He instills pride in our offense and defense. He gets a lot of people to play their hardest and do their best.”
And it’s not just the offensive and defensive squads who have stepped up. Friday night, special teams proved just as valuable. OJR took the opening kickoff and drove to the Rams’ 13 yard line, setting up for a Zach Zennion field goal. Varner drove through the line and blocked the kick. Connor Murphy scooped up the ball and raced to the OJR 20 before being brought down. Three plays later the Rams had a 7-0 lead when QB Hank Coyne hit Zameer McDowell with a 15-yard pass.
When the Wildcats punted on the next series, Tate Carter returned the kick from his own 39 to the OJR 10, which led to a first-down 10-yard TD pass to Ben Schein and a 13-0 lead.
When Owen J did score late in the second quarter, Varner again found himself in the backfield blocking the PAT kick. It seems that little is lacking with Spring-Ford.
“We got a short field and we took advantage of it,” Brubaker said after Friday’s game. “I’m not going to be disappointed with that. I tell the kids on special teams that they are starters. They’re just as important as everyone else.”
A lot of times we hear about coaches doing things “the right way.” Brubaker seems to be doing just that.
“I've had pretty good mentors,” he said. “We’ve got good coaches, good players, good support, we’re practicing the right way, dressing the right way. We stress that in all we do. We’re not always successful, but, if we fail, we’ll do better the next time.”
Three conference games remain with Pottstown, Perkiomen Valley, and the Thanksgiving Day tilt with rival Phoenixville. The Rams could run the board and even pick up a few playoff games, as well. Nothing like a change in the weather, especially thunder and lightning.
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Ronnie Corropolese / Bonaventure Realty Cheerleader of the Week - Amy Imperial
Stakes are high for Falcons, Vikings this weekend; even higher for Rams, Phantoms
By Don Seeley
League championships and postseason playoff berths could (and some will) likely be clinched when Week Nine of the high school football season ends around sunset Saturday afternoon.
Call it crunch time … especially for Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove, and for Spring-Ford and Phoenixville as well.
It’s hard to imagine anyone penning such a puzzling script for the next-to-last weekend of the regular season. Reading all you can about who’s who and who has to do this or that, then breaking down what seems to be an endless list of equally puzzling scenarios for next weekend, is absolutely mind-boggling.
Calculators can’t figure it all out at this point.
Without looking ahead (and with no help from Dorothy’s neighbor sitting in his wagon with that crystal ball somewhere out in Kansas), here’s what is a fact at this point: Whoever wins Friday night’s headliner between Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove will clinch a share of the Pioneer Athletic Conference title. And only a share for now, because next week Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove still have to entertain Spring-Ford and Phoenixville, respectively. Win this week and lose next week, well, that could lead to a two-way tie (and there’s even the slim possibility of only the second three-way tie in the history of the PAC-10, too).
Oh, there’s more…
If Perkiomen Valley wins, the Vikings will unofficially clinch a spot in the District 1-Class AAAA playoffs (regardless of next week’s outcome against Spring-Ford). If Pottsgrove wins, the Falcons are unofficially assured the No. 1 seed — and home games for the first two rounds — in the District 1-Class AAA playoffs (regardless of next week’s outcome against Phoenixville).
That sure turns up the heat on both Spring-Ford and Phoenixville.
Spring-Ford is situated at No. 9 (one spot ahead of Perkiomen Valley) in the AAAA points standings. The Rams must beat Pottstown on Friday night just to stay in contention for a second straight PAC-10 championship. If not, it’ll feel like the Trojans pulled the turf out from under their collective cleats because they’ll drop well down in the playoff standings. And a loss to the Trojans coupled with a loss to the Vikings next week would in all likelihood drop the Rams out of the Top 16 and out of the postseason picture entirely.
Phoenixville, playing quite well in recent weeks, is at No. 7 in the AAA playoff standings. The Phantoms — with a comfortable spread over No. 8 Sun Valley — nonetheless have to win at Upper Perkiomen this week before even attempting to digest what may or may not be at stake when they visit Pottsgrove next week.
Just when you think you may have it all figured out, you realize it isn’t only what your favorite team does but what others above and below them in the playoff points standings do, too.
In Class AAAA, every one of the eight teams ahead of Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley will be heavily favored to win this weekend. The only exception among the group may be — and the emphasis is on may be — No. 4 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (7-1) at Upper Dublin (5-3). That means the Rams and Vikings may not even improve their positions regardless of how they fare themselves.
No one can say that about the six teams immediately behind the Rams and Vikings — all but one with legitimate toss-ups this weekend. No. 11 Coatesville (6-2) is at No. 13 Downingtown West (6-2); Haverford (7-1), tied with Coatesville in the 11th spot, hosts Central League rival Conestoga (5-3); and Neshaminy (6-2), tied with Downingtown West at No. 13, hosts No. 15 Abington (6-2). Garnet Valley (6-2) is on the bubble at No. 16, but shouldn’t have a problem with Penncrest (3-5).
In Class AAA, No. 2 Interboro (7-1) should roll over Chester (1-6), but No. 3 Academy Park (7-1) has a critical match-up at No. 9 Glen Mills (4-4). No. 4 Henderson (6-2) shouldn’t find much of a challenge from Avon Grove (1-6); but Springfield-Delco (6-2) — coming off a disheartening 7-3 loss to AAAA power Ridley — must regroup quickly before traveling to No. 9 Strath Haven (4-4). No. 6 Upper Moreland (5-3) takes a visit to Springfield-Montco (4-4). And directly on the bubble at No. 8, one spot below the Phantoms, is Sun Valley (5-3), which will be a heavy underdog against visiting Rustin (6-2).
Don Seeley's Notes
Spring-Ford senior Hank Coyne broke the Rams’ career passing mark last week, but is moving up among the area’s all-time leaderboard in several categories as well. Coyne is currently fourth in career passing yards (4,844) and needs 156 more to become just the fourth area quarterback to go over the 5,000-yard plateau. With a minimum of three games remaining, Coyne could finish as high a second. He is exactly 1,000 yards behind Perkiomen Valley graduate Zach Zulli’s record of 5,844.
Annamarie's Band Member of the Week - Danielle Blair
Coyne helps Spring-Ford past OJR in lightning-shortened game
By Darryl Grumling
BUCKTOWN — Hank Coyne seemingly has as many potential receivers as Baskin-Robbins has flavors of ice cream.
So you can’t blame the Spring-Ford senior quarterback for feeling like a kid in a candy store every time he drops back to pass.
Friday night, Coyne deftly used the aerial arsenal he has at his disposal to near-perfection in helping the Rams defeat Owen J. Roberts 33-6, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference contest ended by lightning with 6:03 left in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Coyne completed passes to no less then seven different players on the way to an 11-for-16, 125-yard effort that broke the school career passing yardage record held by Trevor Sasek.
Coyne (who now has 4,725 career yards) threw three touchdown passes — to Zameer McDowell, Ben Schein and Gary Hopkins — as Spring-Ford improved to 6-1 in (7-1 overall).
“That’s what’s good about our team,” Coyne said. “We have a lot of different weapons to utilize.”
Owen J. Roberts (3-3, 3-5) has several of them as well, and the Wildcats displayed that on an impressive 14-play march to open the game. But a 30-yard field goal attempt went low into the line and Connor Murphy returned it 55 yards to the OJR 13-yard line.
Three plays later, Coyne found McDowell — his 6-5, 220-pound tight end — for a 15-yard scoring strike that made it 7-0 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
After the Spring-Ford defense forced a three-and-out and Tate Carter returned the punt 28 yards to the 10, Coyne connected with Schein in the right corner of the end zone on the next play for a 13-0 lead with 36 seconds left in the opening period.
“He knows what we’re trying to accomplish,” Rams coach Chad Brubaker said of Coyne. “We have a lot of kids we trust, and we try to put them in good situations, and Hank finds them.”
The Wildcats made things interesting, thanks to the potent combo of quarterback Jarrad Pinelli and wideout Matt Raymond, who hooked up five times on the night — including a 15-yard TD connection 2:47 before the half that made it 13-6.
OJR then made a defensive stop, but a muffed punt near midfield gave the ball back to the Rams, and they took full advantage.
An 11-yard catch-and-run by Yousef Lundi and 17-yard run by Lundi set up Coyne’s six-yard TD pass to Hopkins that put the Rams up 19-6 with 31 seconds left in the half.
“I was proud of how our kids played in the first half,” Wildcats coach Tom Barr said. “All (of Spring-Ford’s) scores came on our (defensive) side of the field. When they had the ball on their side, they couldn’t move the ball down the field.”
Spring-Ford came out strong in the second half, with Coyne finding Carter for an 11-yard completion and then throwing a dart down the seam to tight end R.J. Sheldon for a 40-yard, third-down completion. That set up Carter’s two-yard run with 9:16 left in the third quarter.
“I thought we had them,” Barr said. “It was third-and-long, but they hit the tight end for a big play. Good teams are going to capitalize like that. They played well.”
On the Rams’ next possesion, Lundi rumbled 45 yards for another score that provided the final margin as lightning surrounded the area. Lundi ran for 63 yards on just three carries and Carter had eight rushes for 55 yards.
“I was definitely pleased with our offense tonight,” Coyne said of a 250-yard total offense that was split right down the middle between rushing and passing. “It’s nice to have something to complement our passing game. We really pounded it hard with Yousef and Tate, and they did a good job.”
With Spring-Ford about to take over after a punt on its own 49, the game was halted by the conditions. The stadium was cleared and the decision was made to call it after the game officials conferred with both Barr and Brubaker.
“We had short fields and we had good field poistion,” Brubaker said. “I’m never going to complain about that.”
“I just think as a team, collectively, we played our game,” said Coyne. “We definitely came out and played well the first half. We wanted to put four quarters together, but obviously that didn’t happen.”
At any rate, it was pretty obvious again Friday that Coyne and Co. are one productive unit.
Raymond’s five receptions totaled 73 yards, and the TD grab was his area-best 11th on the season. ... Wyatt Scott ran for a team-high 55 yards for the Wildcats Coyne also completed a pass to Joe Sink. ... Coyne’s father, Hank Sr., is an assistant coach for OJR.
Mercury's OJR Preview
Records: Spring-Ford is 4-1 (6-1) after a 31-7 win over Methacton. Owen J. Roberts is 3-2 (3-4) following a 59-7 loss to Pottsgrove.
Inside the lines: Spring-Ford scored 24 unanswered points last week to turn the tide on Methacton, getting momentum-turning plays from Mason Romano (interception, fumble recovery). Defense also got solid outings from Jarred Shoemaker (defending five passes) and R.J. Sheldon (three sacks). Offense features quarterback Hank Coyne (1,029 yards passing) and receivers Gary Hopkins and Tate Carter, with Yousef Lundi leading the run game. … OJR was on a roll until last week’s shutdown at Pottsgrove. Jarrad Pinelli has thrown for 909 yards and Matt Raymond has caught an area-high 10 touchdown tosses, while Wyatt Scott has run for 700 yards. Despite the production last week, Steve Myers had a solid game on the offensive line.
Notes: Spring-Ford leads the PAC-10 series, 13-11, while Owen J. Roberts leads the overall series, 30-22-4. … Rams are 11th in the District 1-AAAA points standings and must win out to have any chance at defending their league title. … Wildcats had 14 players out of the lineup last week due to injuries or illness. Starters Kyle Shronk and Colin Horrocks are expected back tonight. … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “The kids have shown their poise, but as a staff we’d like to see an increase in intensity, an increase in our sense of urgency. We have great kids who work hard and do the right thing in school. We want them to let go a little more emotionally coming into a game and during the game. We have to have a better balance between our confidence and our intensity to achieve our goals. (OJR) has expanded what they do on offense. We need to have our players prepared for any change-ups we may see.” … OJR head coach Tom Barr: “We did not play well against Pottsgrove. We had turnovers and mistakes on offense and defense. On offense we had receivers open but (Pinelli) was avoiding tacklers behind the line of scrimmage, and on defense we did not tackle and took wrong angles on plays. It’s difficult playing good football teams back to back, but I our players will bounce back like we did in the beginning of our season after playing Conestoga, Rustin, and Perkiomen Valley.”
Father, son meet one last time in Bucktown
By Don Seeley
BUCKTOWN — Hank Coyne Sr. hasn’t often had the opportunity to take a seat next to his wife and daughter and watch his son play football the last three years.
Talk about conflicting schedules.
Hank Sr. is an assistant coach at Owen J. Roberts. Hank Jr. is the starting quarterback at Spring-Ford.
Except for those rare occasions when one team is playing Friday night and the other Saturday afternoon, the only times Dad got an up-close look at his son occurred when the Wildcats and Rams met. Those aren’t all that enjoyable, either, considering he and head coach Tom Barr are scheming all week to not only stop the Rams, but his own son.
They’ve been rather frustrating times, too.
For Dad, that is, because going into tonight’s game the Coyne Family Scoreboard shows Hank Jr. 2, Hank Sr. 0.
Two years ago, in just his third start of his high school career, Hank Jr. guided the Rams to a 20-7 win — the Wildcats’ lone setback in their drive to the Pioneer Athletic Conference title. Last year, Hank Jr. was under center in a 42-0 romp that helped propel the Rams to the PAC-10 title.
This evening, Hank Jr. and the Rams (5-1, 6-1) will be favored to make is three in a row over Hank Sr. and the Wildcats (3-2, 3-4).
There’s even an additional storyline for the Coynes this evening. Hank Jr. needs 102 yards passing yards tonight to break 2010 graduate Trevor Sasek’s school record of 4,721 career yards.
Dad is obviously rooting for his son to break that record … but just not tonight.
PAC-10sports.com OJR Capsule
Spring-Ford celebrated Homecoming by dominating Methacton, 31-7, to raise its record to 4-1 in the league (6-1 overall) … Owen J. Roberts had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 59-7 loss to Pottsgrove. The Cats are 3-2 in the league and 3-4 overall
Spring-Ford 42, OJR 0
►Spring-Ford scouting report
The Rams have flourished on both sides of the ball, averaging 34.4 ppg and 352.6 ypg while allowing 13.9 ppg and 214.1 ypg. Key components of the offense include QB Hank Coyne (81-144, 1026, 14 TDs), RB Yousef Lundi (87-566, 7) and WR Gary Hopkins 22-305, 4). Defensively, Jason Romano (5 tpg) picked off a pass and forced a fumble while R.J. Sheldon collected 3 sacks and Jarred Shoemaker defended 5 passes against Methacton. Spring-Ford has also gotten strong defensive work this season from Kyle Hoffner (4.3 tpg, 2 fumbles recoveries, 2 sacks) and Ian Hare (3 sacks). Game-breaking RB Jarred Jones is still out of the lineup with a broken wrist, but could be back as soon as next week pending a medical review. Unofficially, Coyne needs 93 yards to surpass current Delaware QB Trevor Sasek as the all-time leading passer at Spring-Ford.
►Owen J. Roberts scouting report
The Wildcats returned to earth with a thud after winning 3 straight, managing just 72 yards of total offense and getting their only score from their special teams – Matt Raymond’s 82-yard kickoff return. OJR has plenty of offensive weapons, led by RB Wyatt Scott (123-689, 5 TDs), QB Jarrad Pinelli (55-102, 913, 13 TDs) and the PAC-10’s leading receiver in Raymond (26-649, 25.0 ypc, 10 TDs). Offensively, the Cats average 21.7 ppg and 279.6 ypg behind a balanced attack. The defense, which has been hampered by a minus-9 turnover ratio, allows 34.9 points and 339.0 yards per game.
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “We need to increase our intensity and sense of urgency. There are times where our staff feels like our players are waiting for someone else to make a play rather than rallying together to make it happen. Owen J. is coming off a disappointing loss and is playing at home. Weather may be a factor. Matt Raymond is a huge threat and their quarterback (Pinelli) has played well. They are more balanced than they’ve been in past years.”
Oehlert Brothers Player of the Week - Gary Hopkins
Ronnie Corropolese, Bonaventure Realty Cheerleader of the Week - Victoria Ryan
Mercury Player of the Week
...Spring-Ford junior defensive tackle intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble to end back-to-back, third-quarter Methacton possessions. Both turnovers led directly to scores, helping the Rams turn a narrow 10-7 lead into a 24-7 spread en route to a 31-7 win.
By Don Seeley
Spring-Ford has bounced back from its only loss of the season with two wins to put the program’s overall record at 308-306. The Rams must win at least two more games to remain over the .500 mark in the 57-year history of football at the school.
Third-year head coach Chad Brubaker is 20-4 for a .833 winning percentage, first among PAC-10 coaches with three of more seasons. But among coaches with four or more seasons in the league, Pottsgrove’s Rick Pennypacker (.695) and former Lansdale Catholic head coach Jim Algeo (.655) are far and away the leaders.
Spring-Ford quarterback Hank Coyne has moved up into a tie for fourth place on the PAC-10 career passing yardage chart. He’s actually tied with former Ram and current University of Delaware quarterback Trevor Sasek (3,419 yards). Overall, Coyne is within 102 yards of tying Sasek’s school record for career passing yards (4,721).
Spring-Ford's Ben Schein cheers a fumble recovery.
Spring-Ford's Ben Schein cheers a fumble recovery. ED HILLE / Staff