By DAVE KURTZ
PHOENIXVILLE - Numerologists have long associated the No. 7 with luck and good fortune.
While there’s no real logic tied to the theory, the fact that the No. 7 provided a windfall of dividends for Team Liberty in the inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl Sunday afternoon at Phoenixville’s Washington Field is beyond dispute.
First, there was Pope John Paul II quarterback extraordinaire David Cotellese, wearing No. 7 and hitting all seven of his pass attempts for 153 yards and three touchdowns as Liberty rang up a 41-17 verdict over Team Freedom.
Also clad in No. 7 for the Liberty was Spring-Ford wideout/defensive back Andrew Scanlan, headed for Division I Northwestern on a football scholarship. All Scanlan did was catch four passes for 74 yards and one touchdown and for good measure, return an interception 77 yards to the house to spearhead the romp.
It really wasn’t much of a roll of the dice for Liberty coach Chad Brubaker, who guided Spring-Ford to an unbeaten PAC-10 regular season and the school’s first district playoff berth last fall, to make Cotellese and Scanlan the cornerstones of his offensive game plan.
“The rules of the game are designed to encourage passing,” said Brubaker. “You have to play man coverage and five yards (off the line of scrimmage), so that makes it tough to cover.”
Cotellese and Scanlan showed how tough they were to contain on the first snap from scrimmage with a 40-yard connection that later led to an 8-yard TD pass from Cotellese to Pottsgrove’s Steve Ambs.
“The pass was a little short but Andrew went up and got it,” said Brubaker. “It was important in setting the tone. The last throw to Scanlan (21 yards for the game’s final score at the 11:08 mark of the fourth quarter) was perfectly thrown and timed, which is impressive because they didn’t have a lot of time to work with each other.”
There was no lack of familiarity when Cotellese hit PJP teammate Matt Bildstein for a 50-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
“It was a treat throwing to Scanlan,” said Cotellese. “He is someone you can just chuck it up to and he’ll get it. It was nice to hook up with Matt, too, we know each other pretty well.’
After Ryan O’Hara (Spring-Ford) drilled a 39-yard field goal to get Freedom on the board with 2:04 left in the first quarter, the other Liberty quarterback – Spring-Ford’s J.J. Paige – showed he had plenty of bullets in his right arm when he found Pottstown’s Mishon Coppock for a 62-yard score on the first play of the second quarter.
“That throw from Paige to Coppock was huge because he had a guy in his face,” said Brubaker of Paige, who hit 5 of 10 tosses for 90 yards. “The other thing you can’t forget is that it’s tough to pass protect. Our offensive line did a great job for not having been together very long. We tried to keep it relatively simple, but we have smart kids and I think it showed.”
Freedom showed some heart of its own, answering right back with an 11-play, 67-yard drive that was helped by a pair of pass interference penalties and concluded when Phoenixville quarterback Alec McQuiston scored from one yard out.
It was 20-10 and pretty much anyone’s game with 6:31 still left in the second quarter, but the door was about to slam shut on Freedom. Boyertown’s Max Marcus quickly swung the momentum back the Liberty’s way with a 42-yard sprint to the house to supply a 27-10 lead at the break, and the Liberty advantage swelled to 24 when Scanlan flashed his amazing skills with a pick-six at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter.
Phoenixville’s Vinny Nattle would draw Freedom back within 34-17 late in the third quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run that was set up by McQuiston’s 39-yard strike to Methacton’s Ryan Casper.
Appropriately enough, Cotellese would conclude his off-the-charts performance by finding Scanlan for the 21-yard score to close things out early in the fourth period.
“We’ve got some gunslingers on our team,” said Scanlan. “Everyone knew we were going to come out throwing the ball. It was a lot of fun. I love the passing game, and was pumped up to work with Cotellese. We’ve been talking for years about what it would be like to play together.”
It was like seeing a straight line of ‘7s’ show up on the slot machine – money in the bank.
EXTRA POINTS – Despite the threatening weather that included a heavy pregame thunderstorm, the contest was well attended … Brubaker: “There was only one fumble and not a lot of picks, so it was a pretty well-played, clean game. Both sides did well, I thought. There was a good crowd, and I think the rain might have scared some people off.” … Football purists were offended by the enactment of the Big 33 game rule that allowed the Freedom to retain possession and receive the kickoff after Nattle’s score closed the gap to 34-17 late in the third quarter. But Freedom failed to take advantage of the opportunity, turning the ball over on downs at the Liberty 47, leading to the Cotellese to Scanlan TD play … Freedom controlled possession, running 63 plays from scrimmage to Liberty’s 37. That imbalance wasn't reflected in the stat sheet, where Liberty held a 362-300 advantage in total yards … In addition to Scanlan, Coppock also had a pick for Liberty, which got 1.5 sacks from Pottstown’s Rashaad Lighty.
LIBERTY 41, FREEDOM 17
Freedom 3 7 7 0 – 17
Liberty 13 14 7 7 – 41
L – Ambs 8 pass from Cotellese (kick failed)
L - Bildstein 50 pass from Cotellese (Yoder kick)
F – O’Hara 39 FG
L – Coppock 62 pass from Paige (Yoder kick)
F – McQuiston 1 run (O’Hara kick)
L – Marcus 42 run (Yoder kick)
L – Scanlan 77 interception return (Yoder kick)
F – Nattle 8 run (O’Hara kick)
L – Scanlan 21 pass from Cotellese (Yoder kick)
13 First downs 19
20-119 Rushes-yards 35-114
243 Passing yards 186
362 Total yards 300
12-17-0 Passes C-A-I 10-28-2
1-0 Fumbles-lost 0-0
5-55 Penalties-yards 2-10
2-24.0 Punts-avg. 2-23.5
Liberty: Marcus 3-47, TD; Williams 4-29; Neiman 1-21; Ingram 3-19; Conway 1-13; Cotellese 1-3; Golson-Goodman 1-2; Paige 6-(-15). Freedom: Curtin 6-30; Michaels 6-29; Miller 3-23; Andrews 5-22; Nattle 6-19, TD; Baker 1-4; McQuiston 7-0, TD; Garber 1 (-13).
Liberty: Cotellese 7-7-0 interceptions, 153 yards, 3 TDs; Paige 5-10-0, 90, TD. Freedom: McQuiston 6-13-0, 118; Garber 4-15-2 interceptions, 68.
Liberty: Scanlan 4-74, TD; Coppock 1-62, TD; Bildstein 1-50, TD; Ambs 2-29, TD; Yazujian 1-14; Ingram 1-7; Conway 1-6; Bauer 1-1. Freedom: Hakim 3-76; Casper 1-39; Ondo 1-26; Gribb 2-16; Baker 1-16; Curtin 1-9; Langton 1-4.
Liberty: Lighty 1.5, Knight 1, Ugwu .5. Freedom: Fox, Casper.
Liberty: Scanlan, Coppock.
FOOTBALL: Liberty prevails in inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl
By Barry Sankey
Posted: 06/03/12 09:08 pm
Updated: 06/03/12 10:00 pm
PHOENIXVILLE — For the first time as a project, most everyone agreed the inaugural Pioneer Athletic Conference Senior Bowl football game went off quite well Sunday afternoon at Washington Field.
The game was competitive and filled with a number of quality plays on both sides, the weather turned out clear after some early afternoon rain and the crowd was good and large for a first endeavor.
Team Liberty used a number of big plays on both sides of the ball to produce a 41-17 victory over Team Freedom.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Spring-Ford’s Andrew Scanlan, who caught four passes for 74 yards and one touchdown and returned an interception 77 yards for another score for the Liberty. “I don’t know if anybody else can top this year. Both teams had talent and were ready to go. It was a lot of fun. There were friend-enemies since you were playing against some of your brothers you’ve grown up with.”
Scanlan, who is headed to Northwestern University on a football scholarship, felt everything went well in terms of practices and the way the game was played.
“It was a great crowd,” said Scanlan. “It probably would have been bigger if it didn’t rain around 1 or 1:30 (game time was 3 p.m.). But you play to play the game, not for the crowd. We have great fans who came from all over the PAC-10. They came out all year. They came together to cheer for one or two teams. It was awesome.”
Pope John Paul II southpaw quarterback David Cotellese completed seven of seven passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Spring-Ford’s J.J. Paige came in to complete five of 10 throws for 90 yards and one TD.
Cotellese opened the scoring with an 8-yard toss to Pottsgrove’s Steve Ambs. Then Cotellese connected with PJP’s Matt Bildstein on a 50-yard scoring play as the Liberty took a 13-3 lead at the end of the first period.
Team Liberty stretched the lead to 27-10 by halftime.
After Spring-Ford’s Ryan O’Hara put Team Freedom on the scoreboard with a 39-yard field goal, Paige hit Pottstown’s Misohn Coppock on a 62-yard bomb. Upper Perkiomen’s Leland Yoder kicked five extra points on the day.
The Liberty, coached by Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker, also got a 42-yard scoring run from Boyertown’s Max Marcus.
Phoenixville quarterback Alec McQuiston scored on a 1-yard plunge for the Freedom, and Phantom teammate Vinny Nattle had an 8-yard scoring run.
Cotellese was glad to be able to perform so well with good protection from his offensive line as well as the receptions of a number of different receivers.
“Scanlan, he’s a good wide receiver,” said Cotellese. “You just throw it up and let him run under it and he got it. He’s a very good athlete. That set the tone.
“I had a lot of fun. It was neat to meet new people in the PAC-10.”
Defensively, Team Liberty got 1.5 sacks from Pottstown end Rashaad Lighty, one from Phoenixville lineman Ernie Knight and a half sack from Perkiomen Valley’s Jason Ugwu. Perkiomen Valley defensive lineman Ezra Ranco also created a lot of pressure up front.
Brubaker saw positives all around for Team Liberty.
“In these all-star games it is tough to pass protect, but I thought our offensive line did an awesome job,” said Brubaker. “They did a great job. We tried to keep it relatively simple. We have good, smart kids and I think it showed. Andrew’s catch early was important in setting the tone.”
Brubaker thought the line play was exceptional, especially for not having much time to work with each other in practice, as well as a couple of the scoring combinations.
“That was impressive for not having a lot of time to work with each other,” said Brubaker.
Phoenixville defensive end Dennis Kelly lined up for Team Freedom.
“It was still really fun,” said Kelly. “It was competitive but to a fun standpoint. I made some new friends. A lot of people actually turned out. I didn’t think there would be a lot of people. It is only going to get better from here as it becomes more important.”
Kelly had some personal duels against offensive tackle Tim Hunt, a Phoenixville teammate who lined up for the Liberty.
“It was really fun,” said Kelly. “Me and Tim were just playing around and having a good time. Then it came to a point where we were taking it serious. We weren’t annoying, but we were competitive. He beat me the first half and I beat him the second half.”
Kelly played his final competitive football game. He will be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and will be concentrating on academics there.
Marcus carried three times for 47 yards and Methacton’s Zavier Williams ran four times for 29 yards for the Liberty. ... Pottstown’s Karif Hakim made three recepitons for 75 yards for the Freedom while PJP’s Jacob Gribb had two grabs for 16 yards. Methacton’s Ryan Casper made one catch for 39 yards, had one sack and also blocked a punt. ... McQuiston completed six of 13 aerials for 117 yards. Boyertown’s Chase Garber added 68 yards passing for the Freedom with four completions. ... Coppock also had an interception. ... Upper Perkiomen defensive back Kyle Fox had a sack for the Freedom. ... Pottsgrove’s Robbie Curtin rushed six times for 30 yards for Team Freedom and Falcon teammate Danny Michaels ran six times for 29 yards. Methacton’s Brian Miller gained 23 yards, Phoenixville’s Travis Andrews 22 and Nattle 19.
By DAVE KURTZ
PHOENIXVILLE – Are you ready for some football?
If so, the PAC-10 will provide a quick fix when it stages the inaugural Pioneer Athletic Conference Football Coaches Association’s Senior Bowl Sunday (3 p.m. kickoff) at Phoenixville’s Washington Field.
More than 90 senior players will suit up for the contest, which has a unique format in that players from the same program will be competing against each other.
“We feel like this is an innovative thing, no one else in Pennsylvania is doing this,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker, who will guide Team Liberty. “It’s completely different from other all-star games, with team connections on both sides of the ball.
“We feel like we put out a good product and have good players in the PAC-10, and we want to showcase that. Our previous all-star game participation was fragmented by distance and a lack of direct connection to some of the other games that our players were eligible for.”
Those other all-star clashes include the Valor Bowl (Chester County), Montgomery County All-Star Classic and Berks County All-Star game.
For Team Freedom roster, click here:
For Team Liberty roster, click here:
While the league’s ultimate objective according to Brubaker is “to play against another league in an all-star game format,” the PAC-10 Senior Bowl gives some of the league’s lower-profile players to compete for one final time.
“This is my last hurrah, and it will great to back out there for one last time,” said Tim Hunt, a first-team All-PAC-10 offensive lineman from Phoenixville who’ll line up for Team Liberty. “Phantom Nation will be there, and we will really connect.”
Among those heading up the marquee are 1,000-yard rushers Max Marcus and Jon Neiman of
Boyertown, Phoenixville’s Vinny Nattle and Pottstown’s Malik Brinkley. Record-setting Pope John Paull II quarterback David Cotellese, who threw for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns, is rostered with Team Liberty – but will competing against his most reliable receivers from last fall – PJP’s Jacob Gribb and Jared Siejk. Cotellese will also be throwing to the only Division I recruit in the bunch - Spring-Ford wideout Andrew Scanlan, headed to Northwestern.
“This will be the last time to see these seniors play in a high school venue,” said Brubaker, who guided the Rams to an unbeaten PAC-10 season and the school’s first-ever postseason berth. “Kids from Spring-Ford will line up across from other kids from Spring-Ford, etc. Our players are more excited to play in this game than other all-star formats I’ve been a part of in the past because of that. I hope that the enthusiasm translates to a competitive product on the field.”
A players draft was conducted Feb. 15 at Spring-Ford, and the two teams have been practicing for the past two weeks at Phoenixville. While the logistics are right, there have been other problems associated with putting a finished, cohesive product on the field.
“Getting everyone on the same page schematically with such a short time to prepare is difficult,” said Phoenixville’s Bill Furlong, who will direct Team Freedom after leading the Phantoms to the District One-Class AAA finals last fall. “The goal of this game is to celebrate and promote the high level of football, sportsmanship and camaraderie in PAC-10 football.”
Brubaker had similar problems preparing for the game.
“During this time of year seniors are taking finals, attending banquets and parties, preparing for graduation,” said Brubaker. “It is difficult to implement an offensive and defensive game plan in two weeks as it is, much less with one-half of each side of the ball missing.”
All of that aside, the unmistakable sounds of football –pads popping, helmets clashing - will be welcome by all those that love the game. Furlong is expecting a high-class show.
“The main thing for us, as coaches, was to build up the pride we all have in our league,” he said after the players draft back in February. “We knew that there would be some coaches and schools from outside our league that wouldn’t be happy about it. It just made sense for us to showcase our own kids and make it a local event. That helps get people more interested, more involved.”
NOTES: Tickets for the event are $5 each. All proceeds will benefit the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association’s Scholarship Fund … The game is full of PAC-10 All-Conference first team selections from last season. In addition to the aforementioned players, the list includes: Team Liberty – DB Ryan Conway (Spring-Ford), LB Jason Ugwu (Perkiomen Valley), DL Ernie Knight (Phoenixville), OL Brian Tatum (Spring-Ford), DE Kevin Nyce (Spring-Ford), TE Tyler Yazujian (Spring-Ford) and TE-DE Steve Ambs (Pottsgrove); Team Freedom – LB-FB Robbie Curtin (Pottsgrove), LB/SS Danny Michaels (Pottsgrove), DB Ryan Boyd (Perkiomen Valley), K Ryan O’Hara (Spring-Ford), DE Dennis Kelly (Phoenixville), LB Cory Hueber (Pottstown), OL Eric Bonenberger (Pottsgrove) and DL Ryan Ignatovig (Pope John Paul II).
ROYERSFORD, PA - The Spring-Ford High School Touchdown Club, in conjunction with MobiTree, announced today the launch of the new Rams booster club website and mobile website. Thanks to the software developed by MobiTree, Rams fans now can obtain the same information on the go via their smartphone that was previously only accessible on their computer.
The new Spring-Ford football website will offer a mobile device enabled version of the main website with all the same information and functionality Rams fans are accustomed to. When fans go to the website, they will find useful, up-to-date information on their beloved Rams in the palm of their hand via their smartphone including the latest news and scores, player rosters and coaches bios, schedules complete with GPS capabilities, photo galleries, coupons for sponsor businesses and more.
Working towards creating a user-friendly interface that adapts to the different smartphones on the market, the Spring-Ford Football TD Club and MobiTree remain steadfast to their goal in this product: creating the ultimate solutions package for Rams fans.
Jarred Jones, a sophomore running back at Spring-Ford, has been named to the Big 33/PSFCA Hot 50 Class of 2014. He will be participating in the Big 33 Player Showcase at Hershey Park Stadium, competing against the best football players in PA and will be introduced at half-time of the Big 33 game where Spring-Ford's own, Andrew Scanlan, will be playing.
PHOENIXVILLE – The Pioneer Athletic Conference Football Coaches Association announced Monday that the league’s inaugural Senior Bowl will kick off 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at Washington Field in Phoenixville.
Players for the game were selected during a recent draft by the coaches and will line up for either the Freedom or Liberty teams.
Chad Brubaker, head coach of the Spring-Ford Rams, who won last year’s PAC-10 title, will direct the Liberty squad. Bill Furlong, head coach of the Phoenixville Phantoms, who won their first postseason games last season before finishing second to rival Pottsgrove in the District 1-Class AAA championship game, will guide the Freedom squad.
The complete rosters for each team are as follows, with positions (NA-not available):
Boyertown – D.J. Stemple (LB), Troy Heuer (LB), Jon Neiman (DB), Max Marcus (RB), Jeff Ellwanger (DE/LB).
Methacton – Davonte Fung (RB), David Low (LB), Andrew Gannon (NA), Zavier Williams (RB), Nick Delaney (OL), Kevin Bauer (WR).
Owen J. Roberts – Tucker Palmer (OL).
Perkiomen Valley – Donte Golson-Goodman (DB), Jason Ugwu (LB), Ezra Ranco (DL), Sean Leary (OL), Anthony Rhoads (OL).
Phoenixville – Dwayne Clemmons (DB), Ernie Knight (DL), Tim Hunt (OL).
Pope John Paul II – Matt Bildstein (DB), David Cotellese (QB), Johnnie Cherneskie (LB).
Pottsgrove – Curan Wilson (DB), Christian Simpkins (DL), Joe Daye (WR), Steve Ambs (TE).
Pottstown – Malik Brinkley (RB), Rashaad Lighty (DE), Mishon Coppock (DB).
Spring-Ford – Darryl Branch (WR), Andrew Scanlan (WR), Ryan Conway (DB), J.J. Paige (QB), Xavier Ingram (NA), Dan Lawrence (LB), Paul Castro (OL), Brian Tatum (OL), Kevin Nyce (DE), Brian Czop (OL), Ty Yazujian (WR).
Upper Perkiomen – Leland Yoder (K), Nick Kozrad (DB), Brad Heckler (DL), Dennis Harvey (LB), Matt Beidler (OL), Justin Cruz (DL).
Boyertown – Gary Kluk (DB), Chase Garber (QB), Travis Mitchell (DL).
Methacton – Brian Miller (DB), Eric Caplan (SB), E.J. Smith (OL), Tom Culligan (OL), Brad Lowery (OL), Ryan Casper (DE).
Owen J. Roberts – Blake Bradshaw (WR/QB), John Langton (TE).
Perkiomen Valley – Nick Delaney (LB), Kyle Chudoba (K), Ryan D’Ambrosia (LB), Ryan Boyd (DB), Sean Kilkenny (OL).
Phoenixville – Alex McQuiston (QB), Travis Andrews (RB), Vinny Nattle (RB), Dennis Kelly (DE), Jesse Gervasi (LB), Alex McLemore (OL).
Pope John Paul II – Kyle Early (DB), Jacob Gribb (WR), Jared Siejk (WR), Ryan Ignatovig (OL).
Pottsgrove – Johnny Fowler (DB), Robbie Curtin (LB), Danny Michaels (DB), D.J. Ludy (DB), Sean Figueroa (DE), Nick Sotera (NA), Dylan Pritchard (OL), Eric Bonenberger (OL), Scott Shollenberger (OL).
Pottstown – Corey Baker (RB), Karif Hakim (WR), Cory Hueber (LB), Dante Auman (DL).
Spring-Ford – Nick Ondo (WR), Nick Friel (DB), Ryan O’Hara (K), Ben Cutler (DL).
Upper Perkiomen – Jesse Freer (DB), Kyle Fox (DB), Jody Peart (LB), John Hovanec (OL).
ROYERSFORD, PA — Andrew Scanlan had a pretty good weekend.
By Don Seeley
The Spring-Ford wideout-defensive back didn’t catch any passes, not a single one. He didn’t even pick any off, either.
But late Saturday, Scanlan was selected to the Pennsylvania team for this year’s prestigious PNC Big 33 Football Classic. Then Sunday afternoon, he was honored as the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Two Way Player of the Year during the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association’s annual Awards Banquet at Gilbertsville Fire Co.
Not a bad weekend at all.
“We’re just ecstatic,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “The Big 33 roster is limited … there are only so many spots. We feel Andrew was a great choice. It’s quite an honor.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior – who has already verbally committed to Northwestern University and will put his signature on a letter of intent on national signing day next month – is the first player from Spring-Ford to be selected to the Big 33 game.
“We felt Andrew had a good shot,” Brubaker added. “The film of him that got him recruited is the same film (the Big 33 Selection Committee) saw.
“The process up there, which quite a few people have been critical of, is still a process of selecting the best players. They don’t care if you’re all-league or all-state. It all comes down to who they see on film, and Andrew’s film was excellent.”
Scanlan, who was The Mercury’s Two-Way Player of the Year and an all-state selection by both Pennsylvania Football News and EasternPaFootball.com, certainly had his share of highlights this past season.
Selected as a defensive back for the Big 33 game, he was credited with 53 tackles in helping the Rams to the PAC-10 championship and a berth in the District 1-AAAA playoffs – a first for the Spring-Ford program. He defended a team-high 12 passes, intercepted three others, and forced one fumble as well as recovered another.
His efforts on the other side of the ball didn’t go unnoticed, either. He caught 52 passes for 839 yards and an area-high 10 touchdowns, a key contributor on both the PAC-10’s and area’s most productive offense.
“Andrew could have made it (onto the Big 33 roster) as a wide receiver,” Brubaker said. “I understand he was on the (selection) board late as a wide receiver, too.”
Scanlan was one of only two players from District 1 to be named to the Pennsylvania team. The other was Pennsbury offensive tackle J.J. Denman (6-6, 310), who has committed to Wisconsin.
Scanlan will also have an opportunity meet two of his future Northwestern teammates leading up to the game. Adam DePietro (6-4, 250) of Lancaster Catholic and Ian Park (6-4, 290) of Upper St. Clair, selected as offensive linemen, have also committed to the Wildcats’ Division I-A program.
“I just think Andrew is a great choice,” Brubaker said. “We hope to have more in the future.”