Upper Perk defensemen James Clingman, Josh Wolfe and Rico Marrero force a fumble from Boyertown running back Austin Hoffman in Friday night's home game.
Sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t tell the entire tale of a football game.
Take, for instance, last Friday’s Pioneer Athletic Conference tilt between Upper Perkiomen and Boyertown. Any casual observer who saw the 47-15 Boyertown win would say it was a one-sided steamroll. The statistics would back up that notion as well – the Bears outpaced the Indians’ offense 531 total yards to 162, held a first-down advantage of 25-9 and punted just one time compared to the Indians’ seven attempts.
But take a closer look at the make-up of Upper Perk’s squad and you’ll understand why head coach Steve Moyer wasn’t all that upset afterwards.
Remember, the 2012 Indians are a team with just a sprinkling of returning varsity experience. Many players, Moyer said, were stepping on a varsity field for just their second time. And many of those upperclassmen on the squad are playing both sides of the ball, and sharing in the special teams duties as the team isn’t particularly deep in numbers.
“It’s exciting to see the improvement,” Moyer said. “We definitely took a step forward from where we were last week. How many steps, we don’t know, but there was improvement.”
Moyer and his staff had to be most pleased with the way the team started and finished.
After holding the Bears (1-1) to a three-and-out on its first offensive series, a questionable personal foul penalty on the punter led to a 46-yard touchdown on the next play. Undaunted, Upper Perk answered later in the quarter. Granted, it did come after a red zone fumble, but the Tribe’s Owen Leister returned the favor as he pounced on a loose ball on the Bears’ 11.
That set the stage for a two-yard scoring plunge from junior running back Aidan Schaffer on fourth-and-2, set up nicely by an eight-yard grab from Dylan Wesley to Robbie Hinson. The 7-6 lead with 4:24 left in the opening quarter would be Upper Perk’s last advantage of the game.
And though the momentum did swing the way of the Bears from there on, evidenced by 35 unanswered points, Upper Perk kept coming. Schaffer, who simply refused to quit until the final horn sounded, ripped off a 65-yard score as he started right, cutback to his left and evaded a pair of would-be tacklers near the goal line with four minutes left in regulation. He finished with 86 yards and two scores on 14 carries, and helped out on defense with a fumble recovery and interception. Quinn Perlstein, who also ran hard until the end, rushed 13 times for 42 yards.
“We played hard until the end and we were running out of gas at the end,” Moyer said. “But this is where we have to start.”
Defensively, Upper Perk held it own early, but eventually showed signs of wear under Boyertown’s run-happy offense. Jack Hovanec came up with one of Upper Perk’s four fumble recoveries as the Bears put the ball on the turf six times. Derien Lopez had a tackle for a loss, as did Dan Heinrichs, Leister and Rico Marrero.
Boyertown spread the ball around to four different rushers. Cody Richmond proved its most prolific as he rushed 16 times for 160 yards and two scores. Matt Moccia finished with 117 yards on 15 carries and Eric Heller amassed 93 yards on 18 carries.
“Our kids were excited to play tonight,” said Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly. “We liked the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving, so we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder tonight. It’s a shame we had the lightning delay because our kids were pumped. I’m happy with the points but not the penalties and turnovers. We have a lot of work to do, but we’ll take the win.”
Upper Perk’s next few weeks won’t be any easier. The Tribe will entertain the ever-tough Pottsgrove Falcons tomorrow night at home before traveling to defending PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford the week after. Pottsgrove is coming off a 53-14 victory over Pope John Paul II.
“The first half of our schedule is tough, but we just need to get through it and get better,” Moyer said.