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.
Week 8 Gridiron - Sponsored by Maxout
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
Turnovers help Spring-Ford past Methacton
By Don Seeley
ROYERSFORD — Don’t dare try to underestimate the value of turnovers to Mason Romano.
A defensive end a year ago when he enjoyed the freedom of a run-at-’em and wreck-’em approach, the Spring-Ford junior has moved inside to tackle and adapted well to his new responsibilities ... jamming it up and creating big plays, among them.
So with the Rams clinging to a narrow 10-7 lead halfway through the third quarter of Saturday afternoon’s Pioneer Athletic Conference game with stubborn Methacton, Romano didn’t just come up with one big play, but two of them.
When teammate Zameer McDowell deflected a Methacton pass at the line, Romano was there to pull it in. Two snaps later, touchdown. Then, one play after the ensuing kickoff Methacton fumbleed, and Romano was there to pounce on it. Seven plays later, touchdown.
And, for all intents and purposes, game.
The Rams would add another score in the fourth quarter and roll up what would seem to be a rather one-sided 31-7 Homecoming win. But it was anything but until Romano’s momentum-changing — and game-changing — plays on the defensive side of the ball.
“When we make a big play, like that interception (and fumble recovery), the whole team gets pumped up,” said Romano, an undersized but tenacious 6-foot, 210-pound junior. “Some days it’s the offense that picks us up, some days it’s the defense.”
This time, despite quarterback Hank Coyne’s three touchdown passes and the running tandem of Yousef Lundi (109 yards) and Tate Carter (54 yards, 1 TD), it was indeed defense for Spring-Ford, which improved to 4-1 (6-1 overall).
The Warriors would use quarterback Brandon Bossard’s 66-yard run on the third play of the game to set up Dillen White’s three-yard touchdown on the following play. Combined with Jose Holland’s placement, it gave them a 7-0 lead just 1:41 in. But their three other first-half possessions produced just 38 net yards as the Warriors advanced the chains just once.
Spring-Ford, meanwhile, got back to even when Coyne (17 of 22 for 166 yards) found McDowell in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown toss. The hosts then went in front when David Gulati converted a 31-yard field goal.
But a three-point lead wasn’t anything to shout about.
“We came out in the second half and go three-and-out,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “But then our defense set us up to give us a little cushion.”
The defense, or Romano to be specific, set them up with those two turnovers.
“We seem to struggle if there is a lot of green (field) in front of us,” Brubaker said. “We don’t have that breakaway speed (with standout tailback Jarred Jones sidelined with a broken wrist).
“But getting two short fields like we did can make all the difference in the world. That’s a momentum shift for sure. It puts (the opponent’s) backs against the wall.”
It did on Saturday.
“I give a lot of credit to our own defense for keeping it 10-7 at the half,” said Methacton head coach Paul Lepre. “Our defense was on the field for a long time, but did a good job keeping us in (the game). Then in the second half we didn’t generate much offense, and the two turnovers gave (Spring-Ford) the short fields. You just can’t do that.”
The Rams actually went three-and-out on their first two possessions of the second half. But McDowell deflected Bossard’s pass into Romano’s hands and he returned it 11 yards to the Warriors’ 27. Lundi took a handoff nine yards, then Coyne found Gary Hopkins in the right corner of the end zone from 18 yards out with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Methacton took over following the kickoff on its own 36, but fumbled on first down and Romano recovered back at the 21. Coyne sneaked for three to convert a fourth-and-inches dilemma, then Carter took three straight handoffs — the last one covering a yard for six points and a 24-7 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
“We were worried about Bossard,” Romano said. “We were worried about his speed, about him getting outside.”
Bossard, who was pressured and hurried (and sacked four times) that translated into a 5-for-19 afternoon, was certainly on the run a good part of the day. He took 15 snaps himself for 105 of the Warriors’ 139 yards on the ground. But his team simply couldn’t execute what it set out to do against the Spring-Ford defense.
“(Spring-Ford’s defense did a great job taking away what we game-planned for,” Lepre said. “We tried to make something happen.
“We went in with three double-tight (end) packages, but we weren’t getting any push, weren’t getting any blocks. It just didn’t work out. We had to stay the course, but (Spring-Ford) took it away from us. And you have to give them credit because their strength is usually their offense.”
The offense — which capped the scoring on Coyne’s 22-yard pass to Hopkins at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quarter. — did just fine.
So did that defense.
“We just have to makes plays happen at times,” Romano said. “We have to do our jobs.”
R.J. Sheldon had two of the Rams’ four sacks, with Kyle Hoffner adding one. The fourth was credited as a team sack after Bossard tripped attempting to get outside on a late pass play. ... Methacton’s Tom Collis and Chris He also had a sack apiece, with Nico Williams coming up with a pick of Coyne in the first half. ... Hopkins (50 yards) and Carter (40 yards) each caught five passes. ... Holland punted four times — with all four going exactly 32 yards.
Mercury's Methacton Preview
By Don Seeley
Records: Methacton is 2-3 (2-4) after a 27-14 loss to Pottsgrove. Spring-Ford is 3-1 (5-1) following a 42-7 win over Boyertown.
Inside the Lines: Methacton is coming off a solid showing against unbeaten Pottsgrove. The Warriors are getting productive play from quarterback Brandon Bossard (100 or more yards passing in four straight games) and running back Mike Cassidy. Defense is coming up with an average of three turnovers a game the last three weeks. Cooper Given, Kyle Lowery and Akeem Walcott have seven interceptions between them. … Spring-Ford quarterback Hank Coyne threw for four touchdowns last week and became the school’s career leader in that category. He has a slew of receivers to throw to, led by Gary Hopkins, Tate Carter, R.J. Sheldon, Ben Schein and Zameer McDowell. Defensive front of McDowell and Sheldon (ends), Mason Romano and Robby Varner (tackles) has played extremely well at times, with support from linebackers Ian Hare, Kyle Hoffner and Andy Lovre-Smith.
Notes: The PAC-10 series is tied, 2-2; Spring-Ford leads the overall series, 11-4-1. … Methacton (2008 and 2010) and Spring-Ford (2009 and 2011) have won every other years since the Warriors joined the PAC-10. … Methacton’s Jose Holland is evolving into one of the league’s better kickers and punters. … Methacton head coach Paul Lepre: “There are always things we can improve on execution-wise, and we need to eliminate putting ourselves in first-and-long and second-and-long situations. Spring-Ford can hurt you on the ground and through the air, so it’s hard to game-plan for both. We think a key is putting pressure on Coyne and making their backs run to other than the intended hole.” … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “We’re still working hard on our communications up front on offense. They’re not deciphering fronts and communicating effectively enough. Methacton is well-coached and always well-prepared. Bossard is extremely dangerous and can take over a game, and (Cassidy) is big and runs hard. We’re also concerned about playing on a Saturday. When we’ve gotten out of our routine we haven’t played to our capabilities.”
Pac-10sports.com Methacton Preview
Methacton failed to maintain a halftime lead and was overtaken by Pottsgrove 27-14 last Saturday to slip to 2-3 in the league, 2-4 overall … Spring-Ford rebounded from a shutout loss to Pottsgrove by hanging a 42-7 thumping on Boyertown to raise its record to 2-1 (4-1 overall)
Spring-Ford 26, Methacton 14
►Methacton scouting report
The Warriors have turned the corner since a dismal 0-3 start, winning 2 of their last 3 and taking the heavy-handed Falcons to the limit last Saturday. D1 recruit (Eastern Michigan) and 4-year starting senior QB Brandon Bossard is coming off a week in which he threw for 121 yards and 2 scores and ran for another 65 yards. Bossard has 2 big-play receivers in Given Cooper (12-272, 3 TDs) and Dillon Alderfer (16-194, 4) and a capable running back in Michael Cassidy. Methacton averages 16.7 ppg and 200.5 ypg while allowing 25.5 ppg and 310.7 ypg. The Warriors’ defense has forced 10 turnovers for a tell-tale plus-6 margin in that category over the last 3 games. “Jeremy Reid is our most consistent player,” coach Paul Lepre said. “Last week he moved from tackle to center and did a good job. Defensively, he plays well at strong side linebacker week in and week out.”
►Spring-Ford scouting report
The defending PAC-10 champion Rams put together a complete game in dismantling Boyertown. Spring-Ford outgained the Bears 343-178 and didn't commit a turnover. A balanced attack – led by QB Hank Coyne (862 yards, 11 TDs passing against just 2 picks), RB Yousef Lundi (70-455, 7) RB Tate Carter (510 combined rushing/receiving yards and 6 TDs) and WR Gary Hopkins (17-255, 2) – has averaged 35.0 ppg and 357 ypg while allowing 20.0 ppg and 219.5 ypg. Spring-Ford’s top defenders are Ian Hare (3 sacks), Mason Romano (2 sacks, 4.8 tpg) and Zameer McDowell (4.8 tpg). DT Robby Varner and Romano kept the Bears’ lethal ground attack in check and LB Andy Lovre-Smith "played his best game of the year” last week, S-F coach Chad Brubaker said.
Paul Lepre, Methacton:“We played well on Saturday, but we still need to play better fundamental football and limit the mental mistakes in order to compete with Spring-Ford. Spring-Ford has an accomplished run and pass game, so if you take away one aspect of the game you have to worry about the other. Simply, they are tough to defend.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “We played better in all 3 phases of the game versus Boyertown, so we just need to continue to polish our execution. Certainly, the key to stopping Methacton is keeping Bossard in check. Everything goes through him. We need to get pressure on him and get the ball out of his hands in the running game. (Cassidy) is also a nice back. He’s big and he runs hard. Methacton always plays us tough.”
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.”
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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.