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Tribe Eliminated from District Playoffs
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A fake reverse on the opening kickoff provided Upper Perkiomen's football team with an early shot of enthusiasm and led to a quick touchdown. However, the

lead didn't last during last weekend's District One Class 4A championship game.

            Pottsgrove utilized a dominant running game and a hard-charging defense to post a 38-14 victory on Friday, November 10.  "We needed play a perfect game, especially on defense," said Cole Fryer, an Upper Perkiomen senior two-way lineman. 

            Rahsul Faison, the Panthers' standout running back, ran for 123 of his 205 yards in the second half. Their defense forced two turnovers and sacked Tyler Keyser twice in the final 24 minutes to help them defend their district title.

            "Pottsgrove just overpowered us up front," Fryer said. "They have a lot more size than we do."

            The Indians, who captured their first playoff victory in 20 years just six days earlier, got as far as they could according to head coach Tom Hontz.  "Getting to this game was their goal," the coach said. 

            Looking to earn an early edge, Upper Perkiomen (7-5) successfully completed a fake reverse on the opening kickoff. Austin Tutolo fielded the kick, bluffed a handoff to Tyrese Reid and raced 59 yards down the right sideline to the Falcons' 24-yard line. On the next play, Keyser and Ryan Kendra hooked up on a 24-yard touchdown pass to put their team ahead 6-0 just 20 seconds into the game.  "We couldn't have asked for a better start," the coach said.

            The Indians defense forced a three-and-out on Pottsgrove's initial possession. However, the team went ahead 8-6 the next time it got the ball. Quarterback Jay Sisko's 2-yard TD run, and a two-point conversion run by fullback Elijah Chhuour, capped an eight-play, 50-yard drive.

            The Falcons extended their lead to 22-6 late in the second half. Faison reached the end zone on a 32-yard run with 3:38 remaining in the quarter.  Then Ryan Bodolus caught a six-yard TD pass in the right corner of the end zone with 23.8 seconds to go. Hontz called the late touchdown a back breaker.  "We would have liked to keep it a one-score game," the coach said.

            According to Fryer, the Indians defense did a good job by limiting Faison, who collected 350 rushing yards and six touchdowns in a 55-24 victory over the Tribe last month, to just 82 yards on 16 first-half carries.  "We did a good job penning him in during the first half," said Fryer, a defensive tackle.

            Faison, a senior who has committed to Stony Brook University in upstate New York, delivered a 40-yard TD run on the initial drive of the third quarter. He ran for 34 yards on four carries during Pottsgove's early in the third quarter on a 29-yard field goal by Nathan Kasper.

            In between, Upper Perkiomen pulled within 28-14 on a one-yard touchdown run by Tyler Whary to highlight an 11-play, 66-yard drive. Bo Duka's reception on the two-point conversion, with 3:34 left in the third, capped the flurry. Whary finished the game with a team-high 77 rushing yards on 14 carries. He ended the season with 1,348 yards and 14 touchdowns on 158 carries.

            "The score did not indicate how we played," Hontz said. "We played tough. You've got to tip your hat to Pottsgrove. We couldn't afford to make any mistakes, and we didn't make many until late in the second half."

            The loss ended the football career of several seniors who have played together for since they were kids, according to Fryer. 

            Whary, Tutolo, Kendra, Keyser, Nico Liguoro, John Miller, Brandon Martin, Duka, Trevor Stephen, Jon Brown and Fryer played on the middle school team, coached by Hontz that finished 9-0 in 2013. "We had a great season," Fryer said. "We accomplished a lot of our goals."

            Hontz called the senior class a great group of kids that he will remember forever.

"It's an honor to have been their coach," he said.

            Three of the four teams that defeated the Indians during the regular season, including Upper Moreland and Cocalico, competed in the playoffs Friday.

            "We had a fun season," Hontz said. "Our losses came to some exceptional teams. We're not Pottsgrove, but we're a very good team."





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