At first glance, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of positives for Upper Perkiomen’s football team to take away from last Friday night’s 56-7 loss.
Pottsgrove looked every bit the defending District 1 AAA champions from last season as they grabbed a 35-0 lead in the first quarter. That five-score cushion all but decided the Pioneer Athletic Conference contest as the Falcons (2-0) piled up over 500 yards of offense, 420 of which came on the ground.
The Falcons had a pair of 150-yard rushers, one of whom is a freshman back-up quarterback, as eight different ball carriers had touches.
And many of Pottsgrove’s eight touchdowns came off big plays. Only two touchdowns came from less than 10 yards out, as Pottsgrove notched scoring runs of 42, 72, 66 and 24 to go along with a 59-yard touchdown pass and a 53-yard interception return that went the distance.
With all that said, Upper Perk did have its moments. Junior running back Aidan Schaffer again proved he could be the Tribe’s workhorse as he earned every one of his 93 yards on 11 carries. He got help from fellow back Quinn Perlstein, who carried eight times for 49 yards, sophomore Somky Akpunonu (seven carries, 44 yards) and wideout Robbie Hinson (six carries, 38 yards).
Upper Perk’s offense also showed it could mix up its traditional look, as quarterback Dylan Wesley worked primarily out of the shotgun with a one-back set. Upper Perk managed to rush for 205 yards, and bounced back from Pottsgrove’s initial onslaught of scores to post nine first downs.
The Indians (0-2) got on the board late in the third quarter as Wesley hooked up with Hinson on a 15-yard score. Other highlights came in the special teams department, with solid kickoff returns from Schaffer and Hinson, as well as a fumble recovery on defense from Cory Gibson. Perhaps most importantly, the Tribe showed its discipline and didn’t let the emotions or the score get the best of them, as Upper Perk was whistled just twice for 25 yards (none of which were personal fouls).
While the Indians have no doubt faced their share of adversity in the opening two weeks of the PAC-10 season, facing Boyertown and Pottsgrove, things won’t get any easier this week. Tomorrow night Upper Perk will travel to Spring-Ford to take on the defending league champion Rams.
Spring-Ford routed Pope John Paul II 56-31 last Saturday in a game Rams head coach Chad Brubaker said he wasn’t happy with on both sides of the ball.
The Rams’ stellar junior running back Jarred Jones sat out the second half against the Panthers with a nagging shoulder injury, albeit after rushing for 184 yards as part of the Rams’ 500-yard offensive showing. Even with Jones on the sidelines, Spring-Ford has depth in the backfield, and one of the league’s most natural quarterbacks in Hank Coyne.
The interesting thing to see will be how Upper Perk will respond to the adversity. Taking on two league powers back-to-back is no easy feat, especially after a rout. The good news for the Tribe is that the schedule will ease up after this Friday. The Tribe’s middle to end of season schedule includes games against Methacton, Owen J. Roberts, Pottstown, Perk Valley, Phoenixville and Pope John Paul II – games all of which the Tribe can compete in if they continue to show improvement each week.