Upper Perk junior running back Michael Felix takes off with the ball with Tyler Whary in tow for protection in Saturday's scrimmage against Council Rock South. Felix rushed for 307 yards on 54 carries last season.
Tom Hontz isn't quite ready to jot down league championships and playoff berths on his short list of goals for the 2014 season.
To put it simply, the first-year Upper Perkiomen football coach is just looking for a little respect. Hontz has inherited a team that has gone 1-19 the past two seasons, with the lone win coming against Pope John Paul II last year....
Upper Perk's Drew Kriebel chips onto the green at hole 3 during play in Friday's non-league match against Brandywine Heights at Butter Valley Golf Port. Kriebel led the team with a 36 for nine holes.
Drew Kriebel shot even par during Upper Perkiomen's opening match Friday. Kriebel's 36 on the front nine at the Butter Valley Golf Port clinched the Indians' one-stroke, non-league victory over Brandywine Heights, according to head coach John Brittain.
"Drew's game is solid," Brittain said. "He's phenomenal around the green."
According to the coach, Upper Perkiomen's performance in the Pioneer Athletic Conference will depend greatly on Kriebel, its number one player. "Drew is our top player by a large margin," he said.
Kriebel, who has served as the team's top player since the first match of his freshman season, has embraced a leadership role for the Indians, whose home course is Macoby Run. On Friday, he was paired with Anthony Boyle, a sophomore teammate making his varsity debut.
"Anthony is the kind of kid who takes the game seriously," Brittain said. "Hopefully, he will learn what it takes and see how to be a player."
In practice, Kriebel offers tips and enthusiasm to his Upper Perkiomen teammates that include senior Blake Bennett, juniors Aaron Benner and Ryan Sitko and Boyle. "This team is young and inexperienced," said Kriebel, who posted a one-over 37 on the front nine of Hickory Valley's Presidential course to in a 211-239 loss to Boyertown on Tuesday in its PAC-10 opener. "So I need to lead by example. If I can help turn them into better golfers, then I know we've all gotten better."
With a 1 or 2 handicap, Kriebel, a first team, All PAC-10 selection last year, expects to contend for the conference's singles championship. Reaching the regional and state tournaments are also attainable goals for the player, according to Brittain. "He is the smartest golfer I've ever coached," Brittain said of Kriebel, who finished fourth in last year's PAC-10 championship tourney. "Drew has the game to get through. He plays smart. He lays up when he has to. He never gets rattled."
Through experience, Kriebel said he has learned to stay calm after a bad shot. "I've had plenty of rounds where I struggled, but was able to salvage a decent score," he said. "Hitting one bad shot is no reason to get upset."
Recently, Kriebel has been working on controlling his tee shots. Also, he has incorporated more iron shots off the tee. "I've been trying to play it safe," Kriebel said. "The goal is to stay out of trouble and make more pars. I want to be on the green in regulation."
Brittain called another member of his team, Bennett, who is ia long hitter, "a wild card."
According to the coach, Bennett is working to improve his course management.
"Blake has as nice a swing as anybody I've ever coached," Brittain said. "But he lacks consistency. If he plays well, we will have a chance to beat some people."
Benner and Sitko, who posted some varsity rounds last season, will gain much needed experience, according to the coach. Brittain said that if they can score in the mid-40s, the Indians will have a chance to be more competitive.