Romano Named www.pac-10sports.com Defensive Player of the Week
Rams’ Romano honored
ROYERSFORD - He doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold of a defensive tackle.
But despite his lack of girth, Mason Romano is proving his worth to the Spring-Ford defense this season.
“Mason moved from defensive end to defensive tackle this year,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker of Romano, an accomplished wrestler who was a second-team All-PAC-10 selection at DE in 2011 for the league champions. “He's undersized for the position but he makes up for that with his strength and his quickness.”
Size hasn’t mattered for Romano – pac-10sports.com’s Defensive Player of the Week. Despite having to adapt to a new position on the inside, Romano leads the Rams in total tackles with 29 and tackles for a loss with 10. The sturdy 6-foot, 210-pounder has also posted two sacks and six quarterback hurries this season, showing his agility and instinctive skills by defending two passes and forcing one fumble and recovering another.
Those numbers are becoming commonplace for Romano. In last Friday’s 42-7 romp over Boyertown – Romano collected 8 tackles (3 for a loss) and one QB hurry. The junior was part of a shutdown effort that held the Bears to 178 total yards of offense and pitched a shutout until late in the fourth quarter.
“Mason is a weight room rat,” Brubaker said. “Mason is an engaging personality – looked up to by the other kids. He is an extremely hard worker and is a very coachable kid.”
The willingness to learn, coupled with an unparalleled work ethic, has enabled Romano to flourish regardless of where he’s lining up. Spring-Ford has put together remarkable defensive numbers this season – holding the opposition to averages of 219.5 yards and 15.0 points – and Romano has been the anchor in the middle of that productive ‘D.’
“Mason has been on the varsity roster for 3 years now, having been brought up as a 9thgrader and earning a starting spot last year,” said Brubaker. “The experience of playing with older, more experienced players has paid off. His understanding of what we are trying to accomplish is paying dividends.”
Oehlert Brother Player of the Week - RJ Sheldon
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Ronnie Corropolese, Bonaventure Realty Cheerleader of the Week - Jackie Pascale
Annamarie's Band Member of the Week - Stephen Lightcap
Spring-Ford breaks out of funk, batters Boyertown
By Don Seeley
ROYERSFORD — When Spring-Ford found itself in a scoreless tie through the first 12 minutes of Friday night’s game with Boyertown, there was noticeable concern on the Rams’ sideline.
“That made it five straight quarters without scoring a touchdown,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said, painfully recalling last week’s shutout setback to undefeated Pottsgrove. “We weren’t in panic mode, but it was very frustrating.”
It only took 28 seconds of the second quarter for the Rams to find the end zone — and that frustration — and they’d find it three more times before the break en route to a 42-7 win over the visiting Bears.
Quarterback Hank Coyne, unquestionably as flustered and frustrated as anyone with last week’s loss, ignited and then fueled the Rams’ offense by completing 9 of 15 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns — shattering the school record for career touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior spread it around to six different receivers. Tight end R.J. Sheldon took both of his receptions (35 and 24 yards) in for scores, while Yousef Lundi — who ran for one — and Ben Schein caught the other six-point tosses.
Coyne was sacked once, but wasn’t hurried or even touched for most of the evening thanks to a solid effort up front by the offensive line. And it was that line that helped unsung Tate Carter run up 109 yards and account for the Rams’ remaining score.
“It’s hard to stay up when you’re not playing well,” Brubaker said. “We just have to get our playmakers involved early, and (Coyne) is obviously part of that. After the first quarter, I thought we did a good job with that.”
Coyne flipped nine yards to Lundi to get the Rams (3-1, 5-1 overall) on the board at the 11:32 mark of the second quarter. Just over four minutes later, Lundi — who didn’t take a single handoff in the second half — went up the middle from four yards out to make it 13-0.
Then, when it appeared Boyertown (1-4, 1-5) may get back in it after Gray Garber’s 52-yard kickoff return, the Spring-Ford defense turned it right back to its offense. A first-down run resulted in a three-yard loss, Robby Varner came up with the first of his two sacks of Boyertown quarterback Griffin Pasik, and a swing pass went for a minus-two yards.
After the ensuing punt, Coyne was back at it and found Sheldon all alone for the 35-yard strike that made it 21-0 — his 46th career touchdown pass, or one more than the Ram record set back in 1973 by Lance Viola.
The Bears stumbled once again, and Coyne took the Rams in more time, connecting with Schein on a seven-yarder just 33 seconds prior to halftime.
“I was definitely hanging on to the loss to Pottsgrove, but I knew I had to keep my focus, keep it together,” Coyne explained. “And that’s what we had to do as a team, too. We had to move on.
“I wasn’t too worried (by the slow start). We just had to keep with it, keep doing what we knew we could do offensively. We just had to execute.”
They did ... after that first quarter, and after an abbreviated possession to kick off the third quarter.
But they were right back at it afterward. When Varner sacked Pasik on fourth down at the Spring-Ford 39-yard line, it took the hosts six snaps to make it 35-0 — on Coyne’s 24-yard strike to Sheldon — and get the running clock going. Carter then took care of the next possession, running 26 yards and one yard — the latter good for the Rams’ final points of the night.
“We didn’t click last week, didn’t have that right mentality last week,” Coyne said. “But we had a great week of practice this week. We were very focused, and we played a lot better.”
Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly saw some improvement, too ... just not enough in dropping their fourth straight.
“We’ve definitely showed improvement the last two weeks,” Scisly said. “That’s two first quarters (holding Perkiomen Valley scoreless for the first 12 minutes last week) that we’ve done a good job.
“But offensively we have to find that magic we had our first three games when we scored 120 points. We are playing five sophomores, a lot of juniors and just a handful of seniors, but we’re getting better. We just have to be more consistent.”
The Bears avoided the shutout when they put together 72-yard, 13-play drive that Eric Heller capped on a three-yard touchdown run with 1:07 remaining.
“We’ve been through a tough stretch, playing Pottsgrove, Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford,” Scisly said. “We moved the ball better. We had some chances, but we didn’t convert those opportunities.”
Boyertown was held to just 50 yards in the first half. ... Cody Richmond, who returned to the lineup after missing last week with an injury, carried 14 times for 80 yards to lead the Bears’ offense, which finished with 178 overall. ... There were no turnovers in the game. ... Boyertown’s sack was by Mike Murphy, while Andy Lovre-Smith had the Rams’ other sack.
Reading Eagle's Boyertown Preview
Kickoff: Tonight, 7, at Coach McNelly Stadium (turf), Royersford.
Series: Bears lead 26-17-1 after losing 45-14 last season.
PAC-10 records: Bears 1-3, Rams 2-1.
Notable: Bears are ranked No. 2 in Berks in total offense but next-to-last in total defense after 42-7 loss last week to Perkiomen Valley. Bears have allowed 212 points, an average of 42.4 per game; the school record is 44.9. Rams have been playing without standout RB Jarred Jones, who suffered a broken elbow in Week 3. He has scored six TDs and is averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Yousef Lundi has stepped in with a pair of 100-yard games. QB Hank Coyne has thrown for 670 yards and seven TDs. Rams lost to Pottsgrove 26-0 last week in a battle between the league's top teams.
Did you know?: Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker is former offensive coordinator at Wilson.
Pottsmerc's Boyertown Preview
By Don Seeley
BOYERTOWN AT SPRING-FORD
Records: Boyertown is 1-3 (1-4) after a 42-7 setback to Perkiomen Valley. Spring-Ford is 2-1 (4-1) following a 26-0 loss to Pottsgrove.
Inside the lines: Boyertown hasn’t had a problem on offense, thanks to the running of Matt Moccia and Eric Heller and the passing of Griffin Pasik (six TD passes). But turnovers (13) and penalties (31) have proven to be very costly. Justin Siejk, Tyler Zilen and Jarrod Coleman are coming off strong games on the defensive side, which has surrendered an average of 430 yards and 42.4 points a game. … Spring-Ford is looking to get back on track after manufacturing a season-low 250 points and committing a season-high three turnovers. Yousef Lundi has come on to run up 448 yards and six touchdowns, and quarterback Hank Coyne – who threw his first two picks of the season last week – is still among the top threats throwing the ball with 662 yards and seven touchdowns. Defense is getting solid play from Ian Hare and Kyle Hoffner, among others.
Notes: Boyertown leads the PAC-10 series, 6-4, and the overall series, 26-18-1. … Bears hope to have a number of players back from injuries, most notably running back Cody Richmond (304 yards, 3 TDs). … Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly: “Our guys aren’t giving up … they understand we’re in a tough stretch and we’re a young team. We are excited about our opportunity to play Spring-Ford. Right now we are struggling with injuries and inexperience, but I saw some improvement last week against PV despite the final score.” … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “How we played on special teams and offensively (against Pottsgrove) was very disappointing. We needed someone to step up and make plays and it didn’t happen. We were very disappointed with our skill players all around. There were plays to be made and we didn’t make them. We were called for penalties at key times and turned the ball over. We didn’t break any tackles or make someone miss, so it was very frustrating.”
PAC-10sports.com Boyertown Preview
Boyertown dropped its third straight, falling to Perkiomen Valley 42-7, and is now 1-3 in the league, 1-4 overall … After four straight wins (2 nonleague, 2 PAC-10) Spring-Ford came up short in its showdown for league supremacy with Pottsgrove, 26-0.
Spring-Ford handled Boyertown 45-14 on its way to a perfect PAC-10 season
Boyertown scouting report
The Bears, who are expected to have RB/SS Cody Richmond back this week from injury, have been outscored by an aggregate total of 98-13 in their last 2 outings, and need to improve a defense that is getting gashed for 42.4 ppg and a PAC-10 worst 432.2 ypg despite the efforts of DE Tyler Zilen (6 tackles per game), LB Gray Garber (3 sacks, 5.4 tpg) and DT David Pettine (3 sacks). Coach Mark Scisly was also pleased with the defensive work of sophomores Mike Murphy and Justin Seijk in the loss to PV. Offensively, the run-heavy Bears average 26.6 ppg and 343 ypg. Matt Moccia (55-406, 5 TDs), Eric Heller (57-352, 4 TDs) and Richmond (47-301, 3 TDs) are all productive runners behind an offensive line keyed by Austin Jacobs and Nick McMenamin. WR Nick Brough (15-252, 2 TDs) gives QB Griffin Pasik (419 passing yards, 6 TDs) a go-to receiver.
Spring-Ford scouting report
The Rams moved the ball effectively in the first half during their shutout loss to Pottsgrove, but self-destructed with three turnovers for the game. Offensively, Spring-Ford averages 33.6 ppg and 359.8 ypg, led by RB Yousef Lundi (63-443, 6 TDs), talented QB Hank Coyne (56-108, 661 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs) and a strong group of receivers that include Gary Hopkins (14-183, 2 TDs) and Tate Carter (15-182, 2 TDs). Once again S-F will be without injured game-breaker and RB Jarred Jones (sidelined indefinitely with broken wrist). Zameer McDowell, who had 9 tackles in last week’s loss to Pottsgrove and is averaging 5.2 tpg, and LB Ian Hare (3 sacks) set the tone for a shutdown defense that limits the opposition to 16.6 ppg and 227.8 ypg.
Mark Scisly, Boyertown: “We are suffering some growing pains as we get guys experience on the field. Last week we started 5 sophomores. Spring-Ford is a big, athletic, physical team. Lundi is a hard runner and Coyne has been their QB for three years and has had great success.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “How the game progressed last week made us play tight and revert to bad habits and forgetting our aim-points, technique, etc. We felt going in that we were beyond that and felt during the game that, if one player made a play, we would get over that hump. It never happened. We need our seniors to lead. Boyertown has scored a lot of points. Our defense played really well for 3 ½ quarters last Friday, but we can’t afford a letdown this week.”
Oehlert Brothers Player of the Week - Montana O'Daniell
Annamarie's Band Member of the Week - Kristi Brittain
Ronnie Corropolese, Bonaventure Realty Cheerleader of the Week - Natalie Thomas
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Pottsgrove shuts down Spring-Ford, 26-0
By Darryl Grumling
LOWER POTTSGROVE — With a pregame tribute to U.S. service members known as “Operation American Pride” providing the backdrop, Pottsgrove hit the field for Friday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference showdown against Spring-Ford clad in camouflage pants.
It proved to be an appropriate choice of attire for a much-anticipated battle of the top two teams in the PAC-10. While things remained pretty much up for grabs after a first half filled with trench warfare, the Falcons’ infantry took over in the final 24 minutes on the way to a 26-0 victory over the defending league champion Rams. Tailback Mark Dukes ran for all but 14 of his game-high 138 yards in the second half and also scored two TDs and quarterback Tory Hudgins (74 yards) and fullback Nick Brennan (30) each ran for scores as the Falcons (4-0 PAC-10, 5-0 overall) avenged last year’s 49-35 loss to Spring-Ford.
“We wanted this one bad,” said Brennan, whose first quarter interception of Rams’ QB Hank Coyne and long return set the tone for a defensive effort that forced three turnovers. “Everybody was pumped up, and we just played our hearts out.” Starting with the Falcons’ secondary, which was nothing short of first-rate. With Michael Fowler, Riley Michaels, Marquis Barefield, Jalen Mayes and Qwhadir Miller spearheading the effort, Pottsgrove harassed Coyne — who hadn’t been picked off all season — into a 10-for-31, two-interception night. “We had a great scheme for them,” Falcons coach Rick Pennypacker said. “We didn’t rush as many as we wanted, but our guys played tremendous man-to-man. A lot of people don’t like to go man-to-man with them, but we did.” Spring-Ford (2-1, 4-1) came out with an impressive first drive featuring the power running of 6-foot, 200-pound Yousef Lundi. But after the Rams picked up three first downs, Brennan corralled a tipped ball on a third-and-11 play and returned it 40 yards to the Spring-Ford 15. Three plays later, Brennan scored on an 11-yard TD run that made it 6-0. The Rams answered with another formidable drive, marching 62 yards on nine plays to get into the red zone. On the final play of the first quarter, however, Mayes intercepted a pass at the 11. “Turnovers and penalties,” lamented Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker, whose team collected 65 penalty yards, including three personal fouls. “We had a lot of penalties in situations we couldn’t afford to. Holds, 15-yard penalties on offense and defense. I think our kids started worrying about other things rather than their play on the field. “We needed to break that bubble and get the first score, but we turned the ball over inside the red zone. And we were driving a little at the beginning before that tipped ball (and interception).” Still, it was just a one-score game for the rest of the half. And the Falcons had to dodge a final-play bullet — when Coyne’s heave to Gary Hopkins fell incomplete after Pottsgrove failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from its own 24 with eight seconds left in the second quarter. From that point on, though, the Falcons simply seized command. They took the second-half kickoff and went on a 13-play drive to the Spring-Ford 10 that ended in a missed field goal. Then, one play after Patrick Finn recovered a fumble after Coyne’s short completion to Tate Carter around midfield, Dukes raced 51 yards for a TD that made it 12-0 with 3:23 left in the third quarter. “We know they were tough,” Dukes said. “But we’re tough too. And tonight we were motivated.” That motivation continued into the fourth quarter, when Hudgins ran for a 17-yard TD on a third-and-10 play with 3:10 to increase the lead to 19-0 with 3:10 remaining. After stopping the Rams on downs on the ensuing series, the Falcons got a 30-yard run from Dukes for the icing on the cake with 2:00 left. “We knew their front seven was good,” Pennypacker said of Spring-Ford. “But our kids just kept hanging, hanging and hanging (in there). We didn’t get away from our game plan.” Michaels, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound junior safety, was credited with a team-high 12 tackles for Pottsgrove, which also got 11 stops from Jeff Adams, 10 from Mayes and nine from Zach Birch. “We’ve been waiting a whole year for this,” said Birch, one of just two senior starters on defense. “We just played with a lot of heart tonight. It was an all-around great effort. Amazing. Our best effort of the year. “We knew we could trust each other, and everyone played their best. Our defensive backs covered their receivers really good and were ballhawking and everything. We definitely shut them down.” Lundi wound up rushing for 69 yards on 22 carries, Coyne ran for 51 yards and Ben Schein caught three passes for 20 yards and also intercepted a pass for Spring-Ford, which entered the game averaging 42 points per game. “They were bringing an extra guy down in the box, and we couldn’t run the ball as consistently as we would have liked to,” Brubaker said. “And hats off to their secondary. They were really good. We were struggling to get separation.” Which ultimately wound up separating the Falcons from the Rams in a battle for PAC-10 supremacy.
Oehlert Brothers Player of the Week - Zameer MacDowell
PAC-10sports.com Pottsgrove Capsule
Spring-Ford stayed perfect with a 42-6 pasting of Upper Perkiomen, upping its slate to 2-0 in the league and 4-0 overall … Pottsgrove continued its tour de force through the early season, raising its mark to 3-0 in the circuit and 4-0 overall by hammering Boyertown, 56-6
Spring-Ford used a 49-35 victory as a catapult to the league title, handing runnerup Pottsgrove its only league loss of the season
Spring-Ford scouting report
The Rams, who remain without game-breaker Jarred Jones (broken wrist), have been getting stellar play from a slew of players, including Zameer McDowell, Yousef Lundi, Travis Daywalt and QB Hank Coyne. Lundi rushed for 124 yards and 2 TDs while Coyne hit 8-13 passing attempts for 137 yards and 3 TDs to 3 different receivers in the rout of Upper Perk. Offensively, S-F averages 42.0 ppg and 388.5 ypg with Lundi (40-379, 6 TDs rushing), Coyne (46-77, 571, 7 TDs, 0 interceptions) and receivers Tate Carter (12-171, 2 TDs) and Gary Hopkins (13-156, 2 TDs) leading the way. The Rams, who are yielding 14.3 ppg and just 221.3 ypg, are a plus-3 in turnover margin this year.
Pottsgrove scouting report
The numbers are an accurate reflection of how thoroughly the Falcons have dominated the opposition this season. Pottsgrove, the defending District 1-AAA champion, averages 50.0 ppg and 396.8 ypg while allowing 6.8 ppg and a league-best 185.5 ypg. Big offensive guns include quarterback Tory Hudgins (626 combined yards, 8 TDs), running back Mark Dukes (37-343, 9 TDs) and multi-threat wideout Michael Fowler, who has found the end zone five times in a variety of ways, including twice on TD receptions, twice on punt returns and another time on a fumble return. The Falcons, who have no major injury concerns, have been bolstered by the consistent play of Jeff Adams and Sene Polamalu.
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “We have to stay the course. Pottsgrove has so much talent that they are going to make plays. We have to remain focused and make good game adjustments and carry them out. The biggest concern with Pottsgrove is their speed.”
Rick Pennypacker, Pottsgrove: “Our team still needs improvement in all areas. We still are not ready to play a team as good as Spring Ford. Maybe by the end of the year we will get better but right now they are much further along than us. We need to be able to pass and run the ball with consistency. We need to keep their high-powered offense off the field and we have to be flawless on special teams.
“Spring-Ford’s size and depth is a concern. They have very few kids who play both sides of the ball and we have 6 that go both ways. Their quarterback (Coyne) may be the best in Spring-Ford school history and their wideouts are big, physical and fast. The running back (Lundi) is as good as we will see.”
Mercury's Pottsgrove Capsule
SPRING-FORD AT POTTSGROVE
Records: Spring-Ford is 2-0 (4-0) after defeating Upper Perkiomen 42-6; Pottsgrove is 3-0 (4-0) following a 56-6 win over Boyertown. Inside the lines: RB Yousef Lundi (team-high 379 yards, 9.7 ypc, six TDs) has stepped up to fill the void left by the injury of feature back Jarred Jones. .. Gary Hopkins (13 catches, 156 yards) and Tate Carter (12-171) lead balanced receiving corps. ... QB Hank Coyne was 8-for-13 for 137 yards and three TDs last week, but will face stern challenge from Falcons secondary led by ballhawking junior Michael Fowler. ... Tackles Robby Varner and Mason Romano and linebacker Ian Hare lead the Spring-Ford defensive front. ... Falcons QB Tory Hudgins had three TD runs and 114 rushing yards on just six carries last week, with FB Nick Brennan running four times for 114 yards, including a 76-yard TD. ... Pottsgrove is averaging an area-best 50.3 point per game while allowing an area-best 6.5 points. ... Pottsgrove has gotten a boost of late from two-way starter Jeff Adams (TE/LB), OLB Sene Polamalu (2.5 sacks last week) and new kicker Jon Klinger on PATs and kickoffs. Notes: Pottsgrove leads the PAC-10 series 16-9-1, and the overall series 24-22-1. ... Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker: “We need to be sure tacklers and run to the ball defensively and play good, disciplined assignment football. Offensively, we need to protect the football and finish our drives with points.” ... Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker: “I am pleased with the progress of our team. We have so many new kids this year and they are improving every week. It will be a great test to see where we stand against a very good team as Spring-Ford. Our starters have not played into the fourth quarter very often this year and that is a concern for us. We have to play a perfect game in order to be competitive with Spring-Ford.”
Pottsgrove’s Hudgins and Spring-Ford’s Coyne are two of a kind
By Darryl Grumling
At first glance, Pottsgrove’s Tory Hudgins and Spring-Ford’s Hank Coyne appear to be at opposite ends of the quarterback spectrum.
Hudgins does most of his damage on the ground, racing around the gridiron like Dale Earnhardt Jr. at a NASCAR track. Coyne, meanwhile, is quite comfortable getting it done through the air: picking apart opposing secondaries with a plethora of precise passes. Upon closer inspection, however, Hudgins and Coyne have a lot more in common than you might think. They are both highly accomplished three-year starters who endured a trial-by-fire as sophomores. They are each understated off the field, while commanding plenty of respect on it. They are unselfish, team-oriented and intense competitors who strive for excellence and aren’t afraid to go the extra yard in practice. And, finally, they are the focal points of two of the most dangerous offenses in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Hudgins and Coyne will go head to head tonight at Pottgrove, where the Falcons (3-0, 4-0) play host to the Rams (2-0, 4-0) in a game that will go a long way in deciding this year’s PAC-10 champion. * * *
Two years ago, Hudgins found himself thrust into a starting role when standout Terrell Chestnut (now at the University of West Virginia) was injured in a game against Boyertown. Hudgins wound up starting several more games, and though his play wasn’t pretty, he absorbed plenty of knowledge. “It was tough, no doubt about it,” he said. “But it was also nice to gain that kind of experience. A lot of players don’t get that kind of time as a sophomore and get that kind of chance to learn from your mistakes.” Suffice it to say Hudgins learned his lessons well. While many wondered how the Falcons would replace a talent of the caliber of Chestnut, the 6-foot, 175-pound Hudgins put on a dazzling display as a junior last season that helped Pottsgrove win the District 1-AAA title and reach the PIAA quarterfinals. Hudgins rushed for 1,530 yards and 28 touchdowns and also threw for 571 yards and 10 TDs. “As the year progressed, I got more and more aware of what I was doing,” Hudgins said. “I had a good year under my belt, and was blessed to have a great offensive line and great backs.” Though Hudgins has thrown just 97 career passes, he has completed nearly 60 percent of them for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns while being picked off just three times. “It would be nice to throw it a little more,” Hudgins admitted. “But if we’re running the way we are, there’s no point in changing it. Why fix it if it’s not broken?” With Hudgins leading the way, the Falcons’ rushing attack doesn’t appear to need much fixing. Hudgins has rushed for a team-high 377 yards and a 13.5 average per carry this year, with 264 of those yards coming over the past two weeks. During that span, he has five TD runs, four of which went for 50 or more yards. “Tory is a hard worker and a student of the game,” Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker said. “He works very hard with his reads and studies defenses all week so he can make the right reads. I think Tory could be a very good running back, receiver or defensive back. No matter where we would put him on the field, I think he would do well.” Though Hudgins has been eager to carve out his own identity, he was quick to credit Chestnut in helping his development. “I learned most of my stuff from him,” Hudgins said. “As far as my reads, being aware of what was going on, carrying out fakes and identifying defenses, I learned a lot from him. I knew I’d have big shoes to fill (following Chestnut), but it was a great experience playing with him.” Pennypacker was reluctant to compare Hudgins with Chestnut, but did feel the two had some similar traits. “Tory is a different QB than Chestnut,” Pennypacker said. “He only plays offense, so he has more time to develop as a quarterback. Tory is very explosive on his first step and has the ability to make people miss, as Chestnut did. Tory has a little more size than Terrell did. Both are very good QBs in our system.” Hudgins’ main goals for his final year are to remain consistent and play an increased role as a leader, something he prefers to do by example. “I try to do it with my play,” he said. “There are times I’ll talk to the guys and try and get them hyped, but mostly I try to lead with my play on the field.” * * *
Like Hudgins, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Coyne likes to let his performance do the talking. When he was coming up through the ranks at Spring-Ford, he watched guys like Trevor Sasek, Drew Thomas, Matt Glowacki and Andrew Scanlan do exactly that, and it made an impression that’s stayed with him. “I think of myself as a hard worker,” he said. “I don’t like to brag about myself. I want to focus on the team more than anything. If I had to describe myself in just one word it would probably be: efficient.” Coyne’s ascension to the Rams’ starting QB role dovetailed with the arrival of head coach Chad Brubaker back in the spring of 2010. “Hank started coming to our evening offensive implementation meetings and workouts. They had struggled at the QB position the year before and it was a question mark. His arm strength was apparent right away, as was his delivery.” Though barely 150 pounds dripping wet, according to Brubaker, Coyne won the starting job that year, and threw for 1,750 yards and 21 touchdowns as Spring-Ford went 6-3 in the PAC-10 and 9-3 overall. “I was very nervous, and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Coyne said. “I tried as best as I could, and I had some really good teammates that helped me along the way.” Last season Coyne took the proverbial next step, throwing for 1,840 yards and 16 touchdowns while more importantly cutting down on his interceptions from 15 to five. So far this year, Coyne has completed 59.7 percent of his passes (46-for-77) for 571 yards and seven TDs without throwing a pick. “I think I’ve progressed a tremendous amount since starting out as a sophomore,” Coyne said. “The biggest thing about from then to now is that I definitely understand our offense more than I did. All last year and this year, I was able to pick it up more and trust myself to make the right decisions.” Coyne’s improved play was a big reason the Rams were able to knock off Pottsgrove 49-35 for their first victory over the Falcons in 12 years en route to the PAC-10 crown. “He is such a likable kid that our players rally around,” Brubaker said. “He takes responsibility for his mistakes, and I’ve never heard him blame someone else on the team.” Coyne, whose father Hank Sr. is an assistant coach at Owen J. Roberts, has done a nice job adjusting to a new-look receiving corps this year. With last year’s top target Scanlan, a Big 33 selection, now at Northwestern, Coyne has been comfortable spreading the ball to wideout Gary Hopkins, back Tate Carter and tight ends Zameer McDowell and R.J. Sheldon. “Over the summer we worked out on our own,” Coyne said. “We ran our routes and tried to be as crisp as possible. I definitely have a strong bond with them. Last year we were focused on getting Andrew the ball and him making plays, but this year with all the weapons we have we can spread it around.” Tonight, though, the two biggest weapons will be lining up behind center for each team as the Falcons and Rams renew what has become a suddenly hot rivalry. “We remember that game,” Hudgins said of last year’s loss. “It will be a good game.” “It’s definitely a big test for us,” echoed Coyne. “They’re a great team. They run a great offense and their defense is strong. It’s just going to be a battle to the end, and hopefully we can come out on top.”
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Game Time Interview With Coach Brubaker
Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford set stage for showdown
Pottsgrove has maneuvered through its first four opponents like a plow through corn.Spring-Ford, likewise, has pretty much taken care of business in impressive fashion. And now that the tune-up formalities are over with, the Falcons and Rams can finally prepare for this week’s showdown for Pioneer Athletic Conference supremacy. Heading into Friday night’s much-anticipated clash at Pottsgrove, the Falcons (3-0 PAC-10, 4-0 overall) have outscored their opposition 200-27, including three straight 50-plus-point efforts. That said, Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker still sees plenty of room for improvement. “Our kids are getting better, but they are not there yet,” Pennypacker said. “Our young kids are still learning and working to get better. This will be a test for them.” As it likewise will be for the Rams (2-0, 4-0), who had to rally for a 31-20 Week One victory over Whitehall before following that up with three relatively easy wins by a combined margin of 127-37. “We’ve been a little up and down and on and off through the first four weeks,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “But if we look at where we were at in Game 1 and where we are after Game 4, we’ve improved. I wish we were little ahead of where we are, but this is where we are and we have to have a good week to keep getting better.” Last year, Spring-Ford prevailed in a 49-35 shootout, a victory that propelled the Rams to the PAC-10 title. Pottsgrove, by the way, reeled off eight straight victories after that defeat on the way to the District 1-AAA championship and PIAA quarters. “We have a lot of respect for their program,” Brubaker said. “They have good kids who are well-coached and play hard. Over the past two years, we’ve both been in the mix, in terms of winning the league, so that automatically creates more hype around the game.” That kind of hype, though is something Pennypacker said he could do without. “This is just another game for us,” he said. “We know that we are both undefeated so far but it is not our season. There are too many good teams in this league and you better be ready every week. We respect every team and feel that the season is long, and it matters more where you are at the end of the season.” The Falcons are where they are right now thanks to a strong effort in all three phases of the game. Senior quarterback Tory Hudgins has displayed why he is one of the area’s top performers over the past two weeks, rushing for an eye-popping 264 yards and five TDs on just nine total carries – an average of 29.3 yards per carry. Four of the touchdowns have been on runs of 50 or more yards. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons’ first team unit has allowed just one TD thus far. “I am pleased with our defense,” Pennypacker said. “We have only two seniors on the defense (Zach Birch and Qwhadir Miller) and our kids have worked hard to get better. Are they good enough to play against Spring-Ford? I’m not sure.” The Rams have their own stalwart signal caller in three-year starter Hank Coyne, who threw for three TDs in last week’s 42-6 victory over Upper Perkiomen. “We expect so much of him, and he’s done a nice job over the past couple of weeks,” Brubaker said. Brubaker is also happy with the emergence of tight end/defensive lineman Zameer McDowell, who has turned into a weapon on both sides of the ball. “He’s starting to become the dominant player we always felt he could be,” Brubaker said. Pottsgrove has several players who have shown big-play capability on both sides of the ball, most notably tailback Mark Dukes and corner/return man Mike Fowler. Throw in typically strong line play and you have a total package that is tough for opponents to overcome. “Pottsgrove simply reloads,” Brubaker said. “Rick has been there a long time and has established expectations that his kids are well aware of and strive to live up to. They are tough kids that play hard. That is a reflection of their overall program. I hope that we can get to the point where we are able to represent our league in (Class) AAAA the way they have in AAA.” The Rams, who are 23-5 during Brubaker’s three-year tenure, appear to be on their way of doing just that. “Chad an his staff have done a great job down there,” Pennypacker said. “He has things rolling and has some great athletes.” As do the Falcons, which will no doubt set the stage for an entertaining matchup come Friday. “Our kids have focused on one game at a time,” Pennypacker said. “We have not looked ahead at all.” Now, however, the Falcons and Rams can finally focus on each other: and help the PAC-10 title focus come into clearer view.
Better Spring-Ford bests Upper Perkiomen
By Jake Hallman
Special to The Mercury
ROYERSFORD — Chad Brubaker and Steve Moyer both had their share of distractions heading into Friday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference football game.
And the Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen head coaches, respectively, collectively had their share of questions just exactly how their squads were going to perform after their share of adversity. For Brubaker, the big question was how his team would respond without the services of junior running back Jarred Jones, who is out the next few weeks due to injury. The other question mark for the Rams was just how well they would answer the challenge after what Brubaker called a lackluster effort in the team’s previous outing against Pope John Paul II. Moyer and company, meanwhile, were interested in seeing just how well the Tribe would respond after a rough start to the 2012 season, and if the team can consistently show improvement every Friday night. As it turned out, the Rams took the advantage on both fronts. Spring-Ford scored on its first five offensive touches, then played some pretty solid defense as it rolled to a 42-6 victory. In the process, the Rams (2-0, 4-0) also notched a milestone win, giving the Spring-Ford program an overall winning percentage into next weekend’s big showdown against Pottsgrove. “We definitely felt we didn’t play snap to whistle last week, but tonight we hit hard, played hard and had fun,” Brubaker said. “I didn’t start thinking about Pottsgrove until right now. We’re not where we need to be yet, but I felt we took some positive steps tonight and that’s the key.” One of the other keys was the work of running back Yousef Lundi. The senior showed he could shoulder the offensive workload as he lugged the ball 16 times for 124 yards and two scores. Spring-Ford also got a boost from the efficient work of quarterback Hank Coyne, who finished 8 of 13 for 137 yards and three scores. “It was somewhat different because I had more carries, but I know what’s expected of me,” Lundi said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team so I can’t worry about it. We just have to play hard every week, and all week we talked about putting four quarters together and we did that tonight.” Coyne got the Rams on the board as he hit RJ Sheldon on a slant from 12 yards out early in the first. When the Rams got the ball back, Coyne used a 32-yard pass to Zameer McDowell to set the stage for an eight-yard touchdown flip to Ben Schein. Lundi added a pair of scores after that, one from 17 yards out and one from six, and Coyne hit Gary Hopkins for a 37-yard strike on a post to give the Rams a 35-0 advantage at the half. Upper Perk (0-3, 0-4), meanwhile, had a hard time offensively, racking up 45 yards in the first half and 130 overall. Junior running back Aidan Schaffer led the effort with 102 yards and a score on 22 carries. He got the Tribe on the board in the fourth quarter as he took seven straight handoffs late in the fourth quarter, capping off the all-Schaffer drive with a six-yard score off left tackle. The Indians got a scare in the second quarter as senior quarterback Dylan Wesley went down with an injury to his shin after taking a hit while rolling out. He sat out a few plays in the first-half drive, and gave way to sophomore Wyatt Brumm in the second half. “In the beginning of the game I thought we started to take a step in the right direction,” Moyer said. “We had people around the ball defensively. But offensively we couldn’t sustain anything; we had some problems up front on run blocking and in pass protection that got us in trouble. “Defensively we did some decent things, but the thing we take away from this is that we took our lumps against some of the top clubs in the league. In the second half of the season we need to start to do more things positive.” Spring-Ford’s defense got a boost from a 57-yard interception return for a score from McDowell in the second half. Kyle Hoffner also helped out on defense with a pair of tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery, and Sheldon had a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. Ian Hare notched a sack and Chase Stine had a tackle for a loss. Upper Perk’s defense was bolstered by fumble recoveries from Alex Soto and Tyler Zehr, and tackles for a loss from Robert Brett (pass break-up), Robbie Hinson, Travis Kline (pass break-up) and Kyle Morelli.
Did someone mention playoffs?
By Don Seeley
The official District 1 postseason playoff points standings aren’t officially compiled and released on a weekly basis until the first week of October… or after five weekends of football.
Can’t get too excited over those things until then, right? We sure can … but keep in mind they’re definitely unofficial. Not surprisingly, Pioneer Athletic Conference contenders Spring-Ford and Pottsgrove are the area’s top teams on the respective Class AAAA and AAA charts thus far. In AAAA, Spring-Ford is at No. 7, trailing – from the sixth up to first spot – Kennett, Ridley and C.B. South (tied for fourth), Rustin and Downingtown East (tied for second), and No. 1 Garnet Valley. Just outside the Top 16, which is the number of teams in the big-school bracket, is Perkiomen Valley (tied for 19th).
Mercury Capsule - By Don Seeley
UPPER PERKIOMEN AT SPRING-FORD Records: Upper Perkiomen is 0-2 (0-3) after a 57-6 loss to Pottsgrove; Spring-Ford is 1-0 (3-0) following a 51-36 win over Pope John Paul II. Inside the Lines: Upper Perkiomen is moving the ball (averaging over 210 yards a game), but not getting a lot of time to do it because of a generous defense that has allowed an average of 505 yards and 51.3 points a game. Aidan Schaffer has run for 245 yards and two scores, while quarterback Dylan Wesley has thrown for 257 and four scores — nine of his tosses and three of his touchdowns being pulled in by Robbie Hinson. Quinn Perlstein has been productive since returning from an early injury. ... All eyes will be on Spring-Ford’s offense and how it performs without all-league running back Jarred Jones (out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist). Run game will likely by led by Yousef Lundi and Tate Carter, while Hank Coyne (38 of 64, 434 yards, 4 TDs) is capable of handling increased passing responsibilities. Defense has gotten a boost of late from Mason Romano, Ian Hare and Kyle Hoffner. Notes: Spring-Ford leads the PAC-10 series, 16-10, and the overall series, 17-11. … Carter has 33 touches (carries and receptions) for 285 yards and five touchdowns. ... Jones had run for 346 yards and six touchdowns in two games for the Rams. ... Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “We are fortunate to have depth at the running back position, but (Jones’ injury) leaves us without a fullback who has experience because of moving Lundi exclusively to tailback. The loss of (Jones) will not affect what we’re trying to do offensively. We have a lot of confidence in Lundi and the rest of our team.”
Upper Perkiomen was no match for Pottsgrove, falling 56-7 … Spring-Ford opened the league portion of its schedule with a 56-31 win over Pope John Paul II
Spring-Ford rolled to a 52-7 victory
Upper Perkiomen scouting report
Not much has gone right for Steve Moyer in his return to the Upper Perk sidelines. The inexperienced Indians are allowing 421 ypg while picking up just 294. Top guns for UP, which has a deceiving plus-3 turnover ratio in the early going, are running back Aidan Schaffer (41-245, 2 TDs), quarterback Dylan Wesley (21-52, 237, 4 TDs against just one pick) and WR Robbie Hinson (9-133, 3 TDs). Dan Heinrichs is averaging 9.0 tackles to lead the Tribe defense.
Spring-Ford scouting report
The defending PAC-10 champions are dealing with some injury issues, most notably running back Jarred Jones. Jones is expected to miss 4-8 weeks with an undisclosed injury, so the chore of moving the chains will full squarely on the shoulders of Yousef Lundi (24-255, 4 TDs) and Tate Carter (23-148, 3 TDs). Senior QB Hank Coyne has been solid, hitting 38-64 passing attempts for 434 yards and 4 TDs without a pick. Carter has been the Rams’ top receiver with 10 catches for 137 yards and 2 TDs. Offensively, Spring-Ford is averaging 42 ppg and 402.7 ypg while allowing just 17 ppg and 251.7 ypg. Top defensive players so far are Mason Romano (2 sacks) and Travis Daywalt with 5 tackles per game apiece.
Steve Moyer, Upper Perkiomen: “The front part of our schedule has been really tough with Boyertown, Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford. We are young but the kids are gaining experience. We are looking for improvement every week.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “ Going into Game 4, we haven’t put together all 3 phases of the game. Last week we were good offensively and on special teams, but not as focused defensively. We need to work to put all 3 together as we reach the heart of our league schedule.
“We are a little dinged up with Jarred out for 1-2 months. Other players have some nagging injuries. Our players cannot look at Upper Perk’s record and just assume we will be successful by walking onto the field.”