Rest of PAC-10 ready for another shot at breaking up Big 3’s domination
It may only be Week 4, but this week’s slate of PAC-10 games already has big implications.
PAC-10 title big?
Not necessarily. More like, ‘Can anyone compete with the Power 3 of the PAC-10?’ big.
So far, that answer is no.
Perkiomen Valley, Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford have handled their conferences foes with ease to start 2015. Pottsgrove overcame a sloppy first half to top Pope John Paul II by 22 two weeks ago, Perkiomen Valley pitched a 60-0 shutout over a depleted Methacton squad and Spring-Ford, fresh off a 58-7 victory over Phoenixville, scored 53 first-half points in a 53-7 win over Upper Perkiomen last week.
Should that be surprising?
In the last three-plus seasons, the Big 3’s cumulative record against Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts, Phoenxiville, Pottstown, Pope John Paul II and Upper Perkiomen has been 60-1. The lone loss came with Spring-Ford playing the majority of their subs in a 49-0 loss to Phoenixville in 2012 — a game thrown right into the Rams’ District 1-AAAA playoff race, played a few days before the team defeated Pennridge three days later on Saturday in the district semifinals.
Making the wound even deeper: no game in the 60 victories has been decided by 10 points or less.
That’s why this week becomes integral in diagnosing the parity, or lack there of, in the PAC-10.
Friday, three teams come in with something to prove as Boyertown looks to snap a four-game losing streak to Spring-Ford, likewise with Owen J. Roberts, which looks to snap its losing skid to Perkiomen Valley. Phoenixville will attempt to double its win total from last season with a victory over Pottsgrove, a team that has dominated the Phantoms as of late, not falling since 2005.
All have something to prove, especially Boyertown after racking up near 100 yards of penalties while its offense proved to be inept in the red zone in the first half in a 28-14 loss to Pottstown.
“Spring-Ford is a good team all around and will be are toughest opponent so far in the PAC-10,” Boyertown head coach George Parkinson said. “We need to enter this game being focused, disciplined and enthusiastic throughout.”
Phoenixville is looking to build off its victory over Methacton Friday where quarterback Troy Rossman threw for four touchdowns, three of them to Nasir Green. Pottsgrove will be their second stiff test in three weeks after the Phantoms fell to Spring-Ford in Week 2.
“Pottsgrove’s a very physical smash mouth team with a stable of backs that can run you over or go around you,” Phoenixville head coach Evan Breisblatt said. “Coach (Rick) Pennypacker is the best and we are getting a very angry Pottsgrove team who was physically dominant last week. We are going to have to eliminate our mistakes and be able to stop the run. Offensively, we have to be able to run the football, attack their man coverage and protect Troy.”
Owen J. Roberts, meanwhile, is also riding high after running away from Pope John Paul II for Rich Kolka’s first win. The Wildcats are surely hungry to give him his second, especially against a team as good as Perk Valley.
“PV is extremely talented with explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball,” Kolka said. “They force teams into mistakes and take advantage of them.”
All three go into Week 4 with a chance to shirk the proverbial monkey that is the Power 3 off its back.
It’s no easy feat, but even keeping the final results close will go a long way in closing a gap that continues to dangerously widen.
ROYERSFORD >> Spring-Ford ran only nine plays from scrimmage in the first quarter Friday night.
You’d think the opponent was doing a pretty good job of ball control, correct?
Incorrect. When the Rams had the ball, Upper Perkiomen had a very hard time finding it, or catching them.
In nine plays, plus an opening kickoff return for a touchdown, the Rams rampaged to a 43-0 first-quarter lead and ultimately routed the Indians, 53-7.
“I’m just happy that we executed; that’s the most important thing,” Rams coach Chad Brubaker said after Spring-Ford improved to 3-0 overall (2-0 in the PAC-10) and scored 50-plus for the second straight week (it clobbered Phoenixville 58-7 last week). “We saw some things on film and our kids executed.”
Rarely does a game blueprint transfer near-perfectly to the field, but that was basically the case as Spring-Ford had it all rolling, starting with its passing game and defense.
The Rams’ execution was aided by the Indians’ self-destructive turnovers. Four in the first quarter – two interceptions and two fumbles – led to three touchdowns and a field goal. Rams senior quarterback Ricky Venuto was lights-out as a passer and field orchestrator, completing 10 of 11 for 193 yards and three TDs – all in the first half.
“They roll their coverage into a Cover-3, and we were trying to run plays into that. (Venuto) did a good job of getting us into running the right play,” Brubaker said.
The fun for Spring-Ford began immediately when Fort Lauderdale, Fla., transfer Ta’von Todd sped 90 yards to paydirt on the opening kickoff. On the fifth Upper Perk play, Spring-Ford defensive back Bobby Welsh picked off Zeke Hallman in the flat and the Rams took possession at the Indians’ 42. Two plays later, versatile junior Stone Scarcelle took a Venuto pass for a 43-yard score with 9:13 left in the first period.
Spring-Ford would outgain Upper Perk (0-2, 0-3) 361-75 from scrimmage in the first half. Venuto enjoys surveying the field and seeing all the weapons at his disposal.
“It’s great because the line does a great job of pass protecting, and we’ve got so many weapons and they work so hard,” Venuto said. “We scouted them on film and we did a real good job of executing tonight.”
Upper Perk, which nearly came all the way from a 20-point deficit last week against Boyertown, would not be able to mount any kind of comeback in this one. Just two plays into the Indians’ second possession, Rams senior linebacker Steven Rice intercepted and ran it back to the Indians’ 22. Junior Selwyn Simpson, a constant threat as a runner and receiver, made the Indians pay immediately with 22-yard catch and run for a TD as the Rams went up 21-zip.
Upper Perk, which got some good hard runs from Michael Felix and some after-the-catch gains from Tyler Whary, just couldn’t sustain any offense as the Rams’ speed and physicality swarmed to the ball. A fumble triggered a 58-yard Ram drive to a 29-0 lead. Matt Gibson’s 43-yard burst put the Rams in position for Scarcelle’s Wildcat run from the QB spot for a 12-yard score.
The Rams showcased their explosiveness again when Venuto connected with Trey Jarmon on the right sideline and Jarmon blazed to a 73-yard touchdown. On their next possession the Rams scored on the first play, with Simpson romping 56 yards to a 43-0 lead just before the first quarter ended.
Scarcelle added a 28-yard TD pass to Venuto as they switched roles with 4:20 left in the first half.
“We practice that a lot,” Scarcelle said. “Last week at Phoenixville, Ricky was wide open and I missed it. This week I had a chance to redeem myself on that.
“We’ve all got confidence,” he added. “It’s just a matter of getting our mind right and doing what we’re told and executing like we do in practice.”
Venuto has thrown eight TDs in the first three games. And the Rams have shown they can hit you from every angle with so many explosive players.
“We’re rolling with confidence; we’ve just got to keep getting better,” Venuto said. “There are still some things definitely we can improve on.”
“As a coaching staff, our concern is complacency, and we want to make sure we stay hungry and execute,” Brubaker said.
Notes >> In their last five wins over Upper Perk, Spring-Ford has outscored the Indians 256-27 … Simpson has four rushing TDs in the first three games and Scarcelle has 170 receiving yards … Upper Perk’s touchdown came with 3:39 left in the game when Hallman hit Kevin Loose for a 27-yard score.
PHOENIXVILLE >> Spring-Ford continued its fast pace to start the scholastic football season with a 58-7 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over host Phoenixville Friday night at Washington Field.
Selwyn Simpson rushed for three touchdowns and 76 yards on just five carries as Spring-Ford followed up a 16-0 first-quarter lead with a 44-0 halftime cushion that put the running clock in motion. The Rams then tacked on 24 points in the fourth period.
The Rams started the PAC-10 season in fine fashion after starting the year with a non-league win over powerful State College last weekend. The Rams rushed for 236 yards and passed for 149 more yards to close out the game with 385 yards of total offense.
“We are doing great,” said Simpson. “We are doing well right now. The line is blocking great and we’re running well. We are finding holes. Overall, I think we are playing great. Our JVs did, too.”
Quarterback Ricky Venuto completed 10 of 13 aerials for 151 yards and one touchdown. Venuto completed a 30-yard scoring pass to Bryce Dorsey. Simpson scored on runs of 53, 11 and nine yards.
Matt Gibson had a 1-yard scoring run, and Quinn McKenna recovered a bad snap in the end zone for another touchdown. Jason Wilson had a 1-yard scoring plunge, and Matt Booth capped the scoring with a 21-yard TD run.
Phoenixville’s lone score camme on a 39-yard pass from Matt Palubinsky to Nasir Green in the fourth quarter.
Phoenixville's Nasir Green breaks up a pass intended for Spring-Ford's Stone Scarcelle as Phoenixville's Dorian County looks on Friday. (Barry Taglieber - For The Mercury)
Phoenixville’s Nasir Green breaks up a pass intended for Spring-Ford’s Stone Scarcelle as Phoenixville’s Dorian County looks on Friday. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)
“Coach (Chad Brubaker) has been saying all week to not underestimate an opponent,” said Simpson. “But we came out a little slow. They (Phantoms) came out fighting, but then we got going. Our defense did awesome. Hopefully, they can keep it up, and offensively we can keep on scoring.”
“We jusgt expect to get a great performance, no matter who the opponent is and what the score is,” said Brubaker. “We executed and playeda good hard game and covered defensively. We didn’t move the ball offfensively the first two drives, but then we opened it up and started to be successful. We had a nice completion to Stone Scarcelle, and then Selwyn had the long run, and we settled down a little bit.”
Brubaker explained that he went for the two-point conversion throughout the eening because two of his varsity kickers were competing at a boys soccer game at the same time.
Palubinsky rushed for 49 yards on six carries and had one burst of 31 yards. Quarterback Troy Rossman completed seven of 16 throws for yards. Green had four receptions for 51 yards and one score.
“Spring-Ford is an excellent football team,” said Phoenixville coach Evan Breisblatt. “They are well-coached. They have tremendous depth. We came out after them in the firsrt quarter, but then they took over and dominated us. I don’t think we can dwelllon this. They are a quad-A team and we are a triple-A football team.
“We are going to have a tough September. We got banged up pretty good tonight.”
Never wilting, Spring-Ford made sure it landed the knockout punch in a 28-25 victory over State College that saw three lead changes in the final eight minutes.
“I just talked in there (locker room) about resilience,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “Resilience is a huge thing for teenagers. We made a ton of mistakes in the first half but our kids didn’t get down, our kids just kept battling and it was great to see kids picking each other up.”
“We were extremely resilient,” Spring-Ford quarterback Ricky Venuto said. “We never gave up, we were dedicated to get the win. Football is about being smart and having heart, we had both tonight.”
Venuto sparked the Rams in the second half, throwing for 149 yards and three scores in the final 24 minutes as Spring-Ford overcame first-half mistakes and a botched snap on a punt in the final six minutes to pull out the win against the team that felled them a season prior in State College.
That year, Spring-Ford and the PAC-10 went 0-10 in Week 1 play.
This year, there was no chance of that happening, even with the seemingly back-breaking miscues.
It started with a poor tackling exhibition by the Rams secondary that allowed State College running back Jordan Misher (20 attempts, 150 yards) to break free for a 65-yard score. It continued with Noah Woods finding himself wide open down the sideline and hauling in a 68-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Snyder to make it 19-7 before the half.
The would-be-back-breaking miscue came late in the fourth with the Rams holding a 20-19 lead as a high snap on a fourth down sent athlete Stone Scarcelle racing back to pick up the bouncing ball near his own goal line before making a desperate attempt to punt the ball away. He got the punt off, but only to the 16 where Snyder and Jay Shoop made quick work on a two-play scoring drive, culminating with a 10-yard touchdown pass that made it 25-20.
But this was Spring-Ford’s night.
Fresh off throwing two touchdown passes to Teddy Dylinksi on subsequent drives to give the Rams the aforementioned one-point edge, Venuto delivered again, hitting Scarcelle on a drag route before he broke through two arm tackles and scampered 37 yards for the eventual game-winning score.
Nick Salomone and Trey Jarmon then stood tall defensively the next possession with Salomone getting a critical quarterback hurry that forced Snyder to throw the ball into the turf on third down before Jarmon jarred the bar loose from Brandon Clark on a fake punt attempt to help seal the win.
“In terms of regular season wins, this is right up there,” Brubaker said. “But we have to play Phoenixville next week, it’s coach talk but its true. We can’t have a let down and we’ll have fun with this tonight, come in Sunday, see what we did wrong and try to get better next week.”
NOTES >> Venuto finished the game 14-24 for 189 yards and four touchdowns in his first career varsity start. Selywn Simpson finished with 56 yards on 13 attempts. Scarcelle made the game-sealing interception with 13 seconds left on a heave from Snyder (16-31 for 211 yards and two TDs).
Dylinski made a sensational catch on a seam route that made it 20-19. On the same route he ran the play prior, Dylinski beat out the safety in a one-on-one situation, caught the ball and toed the sideline for the score.
“That was a huge play,” Brubaker said. “We just saw that we had a Cover 2 on that side and we felt that the safety was hugging the hash a bit and we could go back to it. That was a check at the line on both of them. We didn’t think we’d get the same coverage, but we did and we went back to him.”
“We saw them on film and we knew they were slow off their break,” Dylinski said. “I knew I could shake him.”
Spring-Ford rallies past State College in season opener
BY RYNE GERY
firstname.lastname@example.orgSeptember 5, 2015
ROYERSFORD — State College coach Matt Lintal gathered his team on the field and tried to put a tough season-opening loss into perspective.
The Little Lions came into the year with high expectations, with goals to win the Mid Penn Conference Commonwealth division title and district championship, and to make a run toward more. Those goals remain within reach even after State College fell 28-25 to Spring-Ford on the road Friday night. Lintal made that clear to his players despite the disappointing start.
“That adversity can help us to become a better football team,” Lintal said.
The Little Lions (0-1) felt a range of emotions in a game that was decided in a wild fourth quarter. Spring-Ford scored 21 points in the final period on three touchdown passes by Ricky Venuto. The Rams quarterback completed 14 of 23 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns. He found Stone Scarcelle for the game-winning score, connecting on a 37-yard pass less than one minute after State College took a five-point lead.
The Little Lions benefited from a Spring-Ford miscue to set up their go-ahead touchdown with just more than four minutes to play.
The Rams faced fourth-and-4 at the 26-yard line and prepared to punt, but the snap sailed over Scarcelle’s head. Scarcelle chased the ball into the end zone, ran to his right and got a punt off to the right sideline.
State College needed to go 16 yards to erase a one-point deficit.
Running back Jordan Misher — who finished with 147 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries — rushed for six yards on first down. On the next play, State College quarterback Tyler Snyder fired a pass to Jay Shoop in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Little Lions’ two-point conversion attempt failed, but they led 25-20 with 4:08 left.
The lead was short-lived as the Rams answered with a kickoff return past midfield to the 45-yard line. Running back Selwyn Simpson picked up eight yards before before Venuto drilled Scarcelle over the middle of the field.
He took off for the left corner of the end zone to complete the 37-yard touchdown, and Bryce Dorsey punched in the two-point conversion to make it 28-25.
“That’s not what you’re hoping but you’re planning for that next series,” Lintal said. “So even as we came off, we tried to keep the kids real level-headed and get ready for their next set of downs, whether you’re trying to run the clock out or put the ball back into the end zone.
“Having those learning experiences throughout tonight, I think is going to pay dividends throughout the year.”
State College went three-and-out on its next series, and punter Brett Graham’s deep pass for Brandon Clark on fourth down was knocked down. The Little Lions regained possession with 26.3 seconds to go, taking over 80 yards away from the end zone.
Snyder hit Graham for 15 yards. Then, Scarcelle picked off his next pass lofted downfield, sealing the Rams’ win.
Snyder had an up-and-down night, getting off to a tough start before finding his rhythm in the middle of the game. His first two passes were incomplete on the first two plays of the night. He then threw a pass behind Misher for a fumble that gave Spring-Ford first-and-goal at the 4-yard line.
Venuto hit Quinn McKenna to give the Rams the lead.
Snyder completed 16 for 29 with two interceptions to go with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Noah Woods and his touchdown to Shoop.
“I think he’ll grow in confidence each and every week as any first-year starting quarterback kind of has to go through,” Lintal said. “I’m proud of him for keeping his head up, staying positive and just keeping that trust level there. He’s a great quarterback and he’s going to continue to develop week in and week out.”
Lintal thinks his team will learn from the loss, too.
“You never felt like either team had the game in hand right down to the final second,” Lintal said. “I’ll tell you our kids are going to learn a lot from this experience, and I think we just talked about how adversity is what can bring you together and as a football team, obviously that whole game was up and down. But we’re going to grow from this.”
Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2015/09/05/4905979/high-school-football-spring-ford.html#storylink=cpy
State College looks to replicate what it did in last year’s win over Spring-Ford
BY JOHN MCGONIGAL
email@example.comSeptember 3, 2015
STATE COLLEGE — On Aug. 29, 2014, a “new era” started for State College football as head coach Matt Lintal patrolled the sidelines for the first time after Al Wolski did the same for a decade.
The opponent? Spring-Ford. The result? A sometimes sloppy, but progressive 14-point win.
Then, the Little Lions were still getting comfortable with Lintal and his staff. Now, as State College prepares to play Spring-Ford again, this time on the road, at 7 p.m. on Friday, things are a little different.
“Compared to a year ago, I feel like we’re well ahead of where we were,” said Lintal, entering his second season. “The kids know what the expectation level is … They’ve bought into everything we’re doing as a coaching staff and as a program, and they’re really able to execute it now in a more confident fashion.”
Lintal is happy with how his players comprehend and follow out assignments in an attempt to set the pace and tone of the game.
Gameplan-wise, it’s what Lintal’s team did in last season’s season opener against Spring-Ford. The Little Lions pounded for 315 rushing yards, but kept the Rams’ defense honest with 141 passing yards.
That’s what Lintal wants again out of State College — a multiple offense.
On one end, the Little Lions know what it has in running back Jordan Misher. The senior tallied 1,539 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, and Misher’s illustrious campaign started with a 226-yard, three-touchdown performance against Spring-Ford.
Lintal said, after a notable preseason, there’s a lot of faith in State College’s offensive line to open holes for Misher to do much of the same.
“As long as we can be on the same page up front … hopefully Jordan can replicate that success from last season,” the coach said.
Paired with Misher in the backfield will be newly-appointed starting quarterback Tyler Snyder.
Snyder, a junior, was the Little Lions’ varsity backup last season while leading the junior varsity side to an undefeated campaign. In four 2014 varsity appearances, Snyder was 4 of 6 for 46 yards.
Despite his inexperience, Lintal is confident in his signal-caller.
“He’s a very good point guard of our offense,” Lintal said. “He knows he doesn’t have to make every play, but he’s got to get the ball to the guys that can make those big plays.”
What should help is the return of receiving weapons, one of which Snyder has a blossoming relationship with.
Tight end Brett Graham had 41 receptions for 467 yards and four touchdowns last season, and those numbers could grow starting Friday.
Graham, a senior, had four catches against Spring-Ford last year, and Lintal said he and Snyder have a bit of chemistry. The coach said in 2014’s first 7-on-7 camp, Snyder hit Graham for a touchdown.
While that connection has been well in place, Lintal noted that a familiarity with other receivers has been attained. He has potent options, too, especially senior wideout Kellin Valentine, who had 363 receiving yards and four scores in 2014.
“They now have a real trust in Tyler and what he’s able to do,” Lintal said.
Taking over for last year’s starter John Weakland likely won’t come without growing pains. But against a Spring-Ford defense that has “more of a bend don’t break” mentality, it could be an opportunity for State College to establish a run-pass harmony that Lintal not only craves, but also expects.
It would be easy for Snyder to get under center, take the snap, and hand it off to Misher play after play, which will still happen quite a bit. But Lintal has other plans in the team’s attempt to beat Spring-Ford for the second consecutive year.
“Our kids understand that we’re not just a running team. We’re not just a passing team,” Lintal said. “We’ve got to be multi-dimensional. We’ve got to get the ball in a lot of guys’ hands, not just Jordan.