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Boyertown Rallies to Defeat Tribe
Written by Staff Report
2014-09-10

Upper Perk senior Somky Akpunonu rushes with the ball as the Indian offense clears a path for him.  Akpunonu had 15 carries for 47 yards and scored the first touchdown for Upper Perk. 

                There's an old saying that says high school football teams show the most improvement between the first and second games.

                And boy did Upper Perkiomen prove that statement true in last Friday night's game against visiting Boyertown. Granted, Boyertown was not as dominating a team or as experienced as the Indians' season-opening opponent Quakertown. But anyone who saw both games Upper Perk played the past two weeks no doubt noted the difference.

                The Indians did fall short in the Pioneer Athletic Conference opener, 29-15, but head coach Tom Hontz and company pointed out there was plenty to build on.

                "We were much more aggressive," Hontz said. "I felt we were swarming to the ball and carrying out most of our assignments until we sort of ran out of gas in the fourth. The long touchdown pass sort of deflated us, although we didn't quit."

                Hontz said he was pleased with the efforts of senior Somky Akpunonu and freshman Tyler Whary, both of whom made key contributions. Akpunonu got the nod at tailback (Michael Felix is on the mend with a shoulder injury), as well as linebacker. Akpunonu (15 carries, 47 yards) opened the scoring with a one-yard plunge in the first, and tallied a sack, fumble recovery and tackle for a loss on defense.

                Whary, making his first varsity start, led Upper Perk in rushing at fullback with 11 carries for 53 yards and caught two passes that covered 31 yards. He was also a force on special teams, setting up a score with a long kickoff return, and making a tackle on the kickoff team.

                Hontz also noted the efforts of Isaiah Stokes (two receptions, 40 yards, TD) and two-way starter Owen Leister.

                "Tyler Whary had a real nice day for his first high school action," Hontz said. "It's also nice to have Stokes and his athleticism. Somky played pretty well on both sides of the ball and I felt Leister stepped up this week and showed us something."

                The victory was the first for first-year head Boyertown coach George Parkinson. Parkinson's staff has an Upper Perk flavor as assistants Tom Paul, Bob Wisler and Tom Holliday all previously served under former Indian head coach Keith Leamer. Paul and Wisler both had sons who played for Upper Perk, and Holliday is an Upper Perk graduate and former athlete.

                "It was a messy game," Parkinson said. "But it's a win; we'll take it."

                Upper Perk (0-1, 0-2) took the early momentum as Stokes picked up a Boyertown fumble on the Bears' first play deep in Boyertown territory. Akpunonu took care of the rest as he scored from one-yard out, and sophomore quarterback Zeke Hallman (10 of 26, 100 yards, TD) found Leister in the endzone for the two-point conversion.

                Boyertown answered the score on its ensuing drive, cutting the lead to 8-6 with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Bears took the lead on its next offensive drive, using a pass interference call to set up a two-yard score.

                To its credit, Upper Perk answered right back. Whary's kickoff return set the offense up at Boyertown's 35-yard line, and Whary later rushed for a first down on fourth-and-2. Facing third-and-12 later in the drive, Hallman hit Stokes for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone.

                Upper Perk's 15-14 halftime lead held up until the fourth quarter, when Boyertown found its groove.

                The Bears (0-1, 1-1) scored on a 42-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, and tacked on some insurance with an 11-yard run later in the frame.

                The Indians will use the lessons learned against the Bears when it travels to Pottsgrove tomorrow night to take on the defending PAC-10 champs.

                "We are going to just keep working and learn to be tougher and more aggressive each week," Hontz said. "I hope we at least bring the same attitude and stand tough against them. We can learn a lot about our progress by stepping up against such a quality opponent as Pottsgrove."

                NOTES: Austin Bittenbender made a tackle for a loss and a touchdown-saving tackle in the second half. … Mahlon Schaffer forced a fumble, as did Julian Liguoro. … The game was delayed early in the first quarter as Boyertown senior captain David Stahl broke his ankle and was taken by stretcher to an awaiting ambulance. … Jake Pirri caught two passes for 16 yards, as did Jacob Breyer (16 yards) and Kevin Loose (four yards).


 

 

 

 

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