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Pottsgrove shuts down Spring-Ford, 26-0
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
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.”
Coyne Surpasses 4,000 Career Passing Yards
Spring-Ford’s Hank Coyne surpassed the 4,000-yard plateau this past weekend, giving him 4,105 yards and 41 touchdowns. Coyne is the second career 4,000-yard passer for the Rams and finds himself a mere 613 yards shy of Trevor Sasek’s program record of 4,718 career pass yards.
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Injuries sideline two area standouts
Don Seeley - The Mercury
Calling last weekend one of the wildest ever in the Pioneer Athletic Conference would be an understatement. Fortunately, none of the scoreboard lights blew out during or after the five games, which saw the teams combine for 340 points – far and above any previous weekend total in the league’s history. Unfortunately, Spring-Ford junior Jarred Jones – one of the running backs who contributed to the record-breaking offensive – went down with an injury that may restrict him to the defending champions’ sidelines for the next six to eight weeks. And if that isn’t bad enough news, over at The Hill School, head coach Gray Simpson may have to go the rest of the season without two-way starter Adam Regensburg – unquestionably as strong a candidate as anyone in the area for The Mercury’s Player of the Year honor. “You never like to hear about (the injuries),” said one coach – neither the Rams’ Chad Brubaker nor Simpson – who spoke off the record. “But (injuries) are part of the game. You deal with them, hope the rest of your team steps up, and move on.” For the Rams, it means their offensive line of Andy Cutler, Tyler German, Mike Gilmore, Justin Meals, Montana O’Daniel and R.J. Sheldon must step it up, and step it up immediately. It means running backs Yousef Lundi and Tate Carter, possibly even sophomore Mike Fuhrmeister, must step it up. And it means quarterback Hank Coyne, perhaps as poised as anyone in the Spring-Ford lineup, may have throw it up a little more than he’s accustomed to in hopes of keeping opponents honest on the defensive side of the ball. But no matter how the linemen or their teammates behind them do, the Rams’ offense will be a little less formidable without the explosive Jones. A year ago, Jones ran for 1,520 yards and 17 touchdowns to help the Rams make an unbeaten run through the PAC-10, earn a postseason playoff berth for the first time in the history of their program, and produce a school-record 448 points. And even though he sat out the second game this season with an ailing shoulder, Jones was averaging over 10 yards a carry (342 yards overall) with six touchdowns. He got 154 of those yards and half of those touchdowns in the first half of Saturday’s 56-31 win at Pope John Paul II, then took a seat for the rest of the day after a 29-yard run with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. Lundi is likely to get the added workload. A senior with an inch and about 10 pounds on Jones, is also averaging over 10 yards a pop (23 carries for 255 yards) and has found the end zone four times. Carter is just as valuable carrying the ball as he is catching it. The 5-foot-7 junior has run the wildcat offense and scored three times, and caught two touchdown passes. And, given the time to throw, Coyne is as proficient a passer as anyone in the PAC-10. It’s ironic that Brubaker’s postgame comments Saturday seem more appropriate for this week’s preparations for visiting Upper Perkiomen. “We have to find it in ourselves to ignore all the distractions and just go out and play,” he said.
Spring-Ford nears statistical milestone
Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker can guide the Rams program to above .500 with a win Friday against Upper Perkiomen. (Mercury file photo)
Don Seeley - The Mercury
ROYERSFORD — When Royersford and Spring City high schools’ Thanksgiving Day rivalry ended in 1954, the football feud didn’t.
Even the late Norm Reichenbach, who guided the Spring City program for a couple of seasons prior to the merger that formed Spring-Ford and was named the Rams’ first coach, couldn’t believe how competitive his new team was … and that was throughout the first couple weeks of practice, against one another.
“It was still Royersford against Spring City for a lot of the guys,” Reichenbach recalled during an interview back in 1979. “It took a little while for some of them to realize they were now on the same team.”
The Eagles and Pirates had won a lot of games, combined to win 15 league titles. So fans from both sides of the Schuylkill envisioned even more success when they first teamed up together in 1955.
It didn’t happen, not at first.
The Rams strung together four winning seasons, and two of them (1959 and 1962) looked like championship runs before late-season losses cost them Ches-Mont League titles.
It wasn’t until 1969, when third-year coach Merle Bainbridge guided the Rams to the first of three Ches-Mont championships.
And even though the Spring-Ford program would move into the Pioneer Athletic Conference in 1986, win six outright titles and share another, it wasn’t until last week — for the first time in over a decade — the program got back to even.
Last Saturday afternoon’s romp at Pope John Paul II put the Rams’ overall won-loss record at 305-305-22 three weeks into the school’s 58th season.
So a win this Friday against visiting Upper Perkiomen would put Spring-Ford over the .500 mark going into next week’s showdown with Pottsgrove.
Spring-Ford tops Pope John Paul II in shootout
Don Seeley - The Mercury
UPPER PROVIDENCE — One would think a coach would be happy to open his league season with a win, a 25-point win no less, and his third straight without a loss.
Spring-Ford’s Chad Brubaker wasn’t the least bit pleased with Saturday afternoon’s 56-31 victory at Pope John Paul II. The execution, both offensively and defensive, wasn’t exactly fluid or consistent. The focus was, well, out of focus, as 11 penalties — a few of the unnecessary sort — surely attested to. So even though the Rams had the tandem of Jarred Jones (184 yards) and Yousef Lundi (135) account for most of the 339 yards running the ball (as well as all four touchdowns), and even though quarterback Hank Coyne added another 187 yards and three scores throwing the ball, a 526-yard offensive wasn’t enough to pacify their third-year coach. “I can’t come out of this game feeling great,” Brubaker said. “I’ll take the win, but we still haven’t put four quarters together and I don’t know why. “Maybe we think we’re good, but were certainly not good yet. We have the potential, but potential doesn’t win games, performance does. We had a lot of work to do.” Spring-Ford actually scored on each of its five first-half possessions — Coyne’s back-to-back 31- and 11-yard tosses to Tate Carter and Jones’ three runs covering 57, 54 and 10 yards. But in between all that were a pair of James Bleming touchdown passes, 63 yards to Chris Veisbergs and six yards to Jamel Stinson. And when PJP kicker Kirk Cherneskie boomed a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, the Rams owned a 35-17 ... nowhere near, or much, much closer, than most expected between the unbeaten defending Pioneer Athletic Conference champions and winless hosts. It sure got a little interesting when the Bleming skirted the right side from 11 yards out to cap the Golden Panthers’ first possession of the second half to make it 35-24, even moreso when PJP’s defense put the breaks to all three of Spring-Ford’s possessions. “We get up (on teams) and then relax for some reason,” Brubaker said. “That’s been our M.O. We have to find a way to get out of it. But, hey, give (PJP) some credit. Those kids played hard, and they performed.” For the most part, the Golden Panthers did. Although the non-existent run game took a hit when Nick Diprinzio left on the final play of the opening quarter after injuring his knee, Pope John Paul’s front showed noticeable improvement. Backup Nick Howarth ran for 58 yards, and Bleming — though sacked five times — had enough time to put up 40 passes, completing 18 of them for 258 yards and his team’s other three touchdowns. “After three quarters it was still a football game, a legitimate football game,” said PJP head coach Mike Santillo. But three quarters a game doesn’t make. The Rams need just two snaps for Lundi to streak 71 and 45 yards for his two scores that made it 49-24 with 10:26 left. They only needed two snaps on their ensuing possession for Coyne to flip 14 yards to Gary Hopkins that — combined with Ben Schein’s eighth straight placement — definitely put it out of reach at 56-24 wth 7;36 remaining. “The big plays hurt us,” said Santillo, who got his final score on Bleming’s 77-yarder to Veisbergs (three receptions, 148 yards, two touchdowns). “We just don’t have the guys that size (of Spring-Ford), or the guys with that kind of strength (of Spring-Ford). “But we do have the biggest hearts. Our kids didn’t quit. They played hard. It’s just Spring-Ford is a good football team.” Perhaps.
But Brubaker won’t necessarily agree ... not quite yet. “Somehow we have to find it in ourselves to ignore the distractions,” Brubaker said. NOTES
Schein, who has taken over the kicking duties, boomed a pair of kickoffs into the end zone and dropped four others inside the 10-yard line. He also came up with big plays on defense and caught a 13-yard pass from Coyne on offense. ... The Rams got 1.5 sacks from Mason Romano and Ian Hare, and one from both Kyle Hoffner and Zameer McDowell (who shared a pair with Romano and Hare). ... Both Coyne and Bleming spread their completions among seven receivers each. ... PJP actually had possessino of the ball for 20 more plays (72-52) than its guests.
Spring-Ford overcomes feisty Pope John Paul II
By DAVE KURTZ
UPPER PROVIDENCE – Chad Brubaker strives for perfection.
The detail-oriented Spring-Ford football coach has high expectations for his defending PAC-10 champions, and anything less than precise execution and crisp play is cause for concern.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Brubaker said Saturday after the Rams overpowered Pope John Paul II 56-31 in their league opener. “I think we have the potential to be a very good football team. But potential doesn’t win football games – performance does.”
Spring-Ford had its share of solid performances while improving to 3-0 overall on the young season.
The ground attack was certainly there – piling up 338 yards and five scores behind big-play threats Jarred Jones (14-183, 3 TDs) and Yousef Lundi (6-135, 2 TDs). Hank Coyne did a solid job behind center – guiding a balanced offense that produced 525 yards and throwing for 187 yards and three more scores.
Spring-Ford’s defense had its moments, too, picking up 5 sacks and limiting the improved PJP running attack to 81 yards. Despite getting constant pressure on PJP quarterback James Bleming, the Rams’ secondary was torched for 254 yards through the air and a pair of Bleming to Chris Veisbergs touchdown passes that covered 63 and 77 yards.
The Rams had a 35-17 lead at the break, but allowed the Golden Panthers to hang around. PJP got as close as 35-24 when Bleming found the end zone on an 11-yard scramble with 8:30 remaining in the third quarter.
“We need to find it in ourselves to ignore all the distractions and just go out and play,” said Brubaker. “We get up a couple of scores and then we tend to relax. That seems to be our MO.”
The Rams’ MO over the last two seasons has also been the ability to respond to a challenge. Lundi turned closer with touchdown runs of 71 and 45 yards on consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter to make it 49-24. Coyne later hit Gary Hopkins with a 14-yard TD pass to blow things open with 7:46 left.
“Hank Coyne played pretty well,” said Brubaker of his senior quarterback, who got the party started by tossing TD passes of 31 and 11 yards to Tate Carter for a 14-0 lead. “The running game was pretty good.”
Spring-Ford’s offensive line of Justin Meals, Mike Gilmore, Montana O’Daneill, Tyler German, Andy Cutler and tight end R.J. Sheldon created running lanes for Lundi and Jones and did a good job in pass protection. Jones, who is still nursing a shoulder injury that kept him out of last Friday's win over Daniel Boone, did most of his work in the first half, scoring on runs of 57, 54 and 10.
PJP also had a measure of a running game, something that was missing in its previous two outings.
“We were able to run it a little bit against a big football team, and overall we were more balanced,” said PJP coach Mike Santillo, whose club slipped to 0-2 in the league and 0-3 overall. “For three quarters we were in the football game.
“One of the problems is, we’re just not physical enough. We don’t have guys with the kind of size and strength that Spring-Ford has. We’re the smallest school in the league, but we feel like we have the biggest heart.”
NOTES: The Rams’ got 1½ sacks apiece from Mason Romano and Ian Hare, and one each from R.J. Sheldon and Kyle Hoffner … PJP lost two-way back Nick DiPrinzio to an undisclosed knee injury in the second quarter. Offensive lineman Jake Kopchuk joined DiPrinzio on the sidelines later in the period with a lower leg injury. Neither player returned, with DiPrinzio exiting the premises to learn the extent of the damage … The Golden Panthers’ Jamel Stinson caught 6 passes for 43 yards, including a tremendous grab on a six-yard out pattern for a touchdown in the second quarter … Ben Schein was a perfect 8-8 on extra points for Spring-Ford, while PJP kicker and two-way lineman Kirk Cherneskie hit a 32-yard field goal and was 2 of 3 on conversion attempts.
SPRING-FORD AT POPE JOHN PAUL II
Last Week: Spring-Ford (0-0, 2-0) shut out Daniel Boone, 39-0; Pope John Paul II (0-1, 0-2) fell to Pottsgrove, 53-14.
Inside the lines: Spring-Ford showed plenty of offense (374 yards) in opener, then plenty of defense last week (limiting Daniel Boone to 101 yards with Kyle Hoffner’s fumble and Andy Lovre-Smith’s interception returns for touchdowns). Zameer McDowell and R.J. Sheldon contributed sacks, too. Injured running back Jarred Jones is still questionable, but Tate Carter (108 yards, 2 TDs) and Yousef Lundi (87 yard, 2 TDs) were proven backups last week. Quarterback Hank Coyne is 25 of 42 for 247 yards thus far. …Pope John Paul II needs to find a run game to help ease the pressure on quarterback James Bleming, who has accounted for all but 46 yards of the offense by completing 32 of 68 attempts for 524 yards and all five of the team’s touchdowns. Two-way starter Josh Bildstein is having another productive season on the front lines. Receivers Jamel Stinson, Tim Tadros and Eric Veisbergs will challenge the Rams’ secondary if Bleming has time to throw.
Notes: Spring-Ford leads the PAC-10 and overall series, 2-0. … Carter played six positions last week on offense, defense and special teams, and Jack Haney had a strong game on kickoff coverages. … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker: “We need to continue to develop our consistency on offense, especially mentally. We also made positive strides defensively, flying around more and putting pressure on the quarterback.” … PJP head coach Mike Santillo: “I don’t sense any frustration with the kids. We all know we’re in a tough stretch in our schedule, but we’re continuing to work hard and giving a maximum effort on every play. We’re a young team looking to get better each week.”
—Compiled by DON SEELEY
The Gridiron Sponsored by Maxout Strength Studio
Spring-Ford (0-0, 2-0) at Pope John Paul II (0-1, 0-2)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
► Last week
Spring-Ford, the defending PAC-10 champions, notched its second straight nonleague victory with a 39-0 shutout of Daniel Boone … PJP had no answer for Pottsgrove in the league opener for both schools, falling 53-14
► Last season
Spring-Ford posted a 33-21 decision
► Spring-Ford scouting report
The Rams are averaging 35 ppg with a balanced attack that produces 341.5 ypg (218 rushing, 123.5 passing). Individually, Spring-Ford’s top performers are running back Jarred Jones (20-158, 3 TDs), quarterback Hank Coyne (25-42, 247, TD) and receiver Gary Hopkins (9-97). Jones missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury and remains questionable for the Rams’ PAC-10 opener. Defensively, Spring-Ford is allowing just 210 ypg and 10.0 ppg. The Rams got a pair of defensive TDs last week from Kyle Hoffner and Andy Lovre-Smith and limited the Blazers to 101 total yards.
► Pope John Paul II scouting report
The good news - the Golden Panthers have a clean bill of health. The bad news – PJP struggles to sustain up any semblance of a running attack. The one-dimensional offense, led by quarterback James Bleming (32-64, 524, 5 TDs) has averaged a league-best 274.7 ypg through the air. But an unproductive running attack is dead last in the circuit with a 23.5 ypg average. Bleming has moved the ball around to a deep stable of talented receivers including Tim Tadros (8-165, TD), Jamel Stinson (12-149, TD) and Chris Veisbergs (5-125, 3 TDs). PJP is a minus-4 in the turnover department, and must do a better job of taking care of the football. Defensively, the Golden Panthers are allowing 46.5 ppg and 369.5 ypg.
Mike Santillo, PJP: “We moved the ball effectively on Friday night. We had a couple of key turnovers and played poorly on special teams. We need to do a better job of tackling and taking care of the football. Spring-Ford is good in all three facets of the game (offense, defense and special teams). Their overall team size, depth and speed are also large concerns.”
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford: “Offensively, we need to continue to develop our consistency, especially mentally. We were a block away from numerous big plays on Friday night … we have to make them. I was really pleased with special teams (other than extra points), especially our kickoff coverage. Special teams really set the tone for us in the 2nd half with a big punt return by (Tate) Carter with two big blocks. We made positive strides defensively. We flew around more and put pressure on the quarterback. We need to continue to take steps each week to get where we would like to go. We are looking forward to Saturday. We’ll find out a lot about our secondary.
“Pope John Paul throws the ball all over the yard, so if our secondary is not focused, there will be breakdowns. We are going to have to rotate guys in on the defensive line to keep them fresh in our pass rush. We need to put 4 quarters together and be ready from the start of the game.”