The Indians' Ronnie Gillespie jumps backwards in the air in an attempt to catch a pass in the endzone. Gillespie caught four passes for 39 yards in the game Saturday at Methacton.
No coach will ever say a double overtime loss is exactly what a team needed, but for Upper Perkiomen’s football team, it was a step in the right direction.
And as much as Indian head coach Keith Leamer would have liked to be on the other side of the 21-20 heartbreaker to Methacton last Saturday in Fairview Village, the coach was quick to point out all that went right for the Tribe.
For starters, the defense put together four quality quarter of football. Remember, the Indians (0-3 Pioneer Athletic Conference, 1-4 overall) came into the game against the Warriors yielding nearly 60 points a game in its last two outings – albeit against some quality competition.
Senior inside linebackers Dalton Fleming (10 total tackles, sack) and Cody Caciolo (seven tackles) both had big outings, as did Kyle Fox (five tackles) in the secondary. Cornerback Nick Kozrad had four total tackles as Jody Peart notched a sack, as did Zach Chatman (who returned after being sidelined with a knee injury) and Chris Limbert.
That defensive unit held Methacton scoreless for three quarters, allowing just one score in regulation before the two in the extra sessions. Methacton finished with just 159 total yards – easily making it the Tribe’s most standout defensive effort of the season.
The offense also made its share of progress against the Warriors (2-1, 3-2). The Indians showed its balance, rushing for 146 and passing for a season-high 139 – nearly doubling up Methacton’s offensive output.
John Olson picked up all but six of the Indians’ rushing yards as he lugged the ball 27 times for 138 yards and one score to push his season total over 600 yards. His average per carry to date is an impressive 6.5 yards.
Junior quarterback Dylan Wesley was an efficient 11 for 21 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target, senior Ronnie Gillespie, caught four passes for 39 yards as Ryan Harris, who hasn’t had a catch all year, came on strong against the Warriors as his two receptions went the distance in overtime.
The defensive battle stayed deadlocked at 0-0 until early in the fourth quarter when Methacton scored on a 10-yard run. Upper Perk answered four minutes later when Olson rushed his way to the end zone from 25 yards out and Leland Yoder added the extra point.
In overtime Methacton and Upper Perk traded scores thanks to Wesley’s four-yard pass to Harris. The Tribe responded right back, using a 12-yard pass from Wesley to Harris, but the ensuing extra point was blocked. With the momentum, the Warriors capped off the scoring with a six-yard run, and converted the all-important extra point to seal the victory.
Upper Perk’s improvement came after a constant challenge from Leamer for his senior-laden team to take ownership of the squad and lead his team from here on out. The team will need the focus it showed against Methacton in this Friday night’s home contest against a struggling and injured Owen J. Roberts.
The young Wildcats come into the game with an identical 0-3, 1-4 record as the Indians. Their offense has struggled, putting up an average of 16 points per game, while its defense has been effective at times. OJR is led by running back Dylan Frierson, who has racked up over 300 yards to date and scored twice and is one of its standouts on the other side of the ball. Quarterback Blake Bradshaw has completed nearly half of his passes on the year and has thrown for four scores. His favorite target, Jay Thomas, has nearly 200 receiving yards and accounts for over half of his team’s receptions.