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PJP Rolls to Shutout Win Over Indians
Written by Jake Hallman, Correspondent
2018-09-26

            What a difference a year makes.

            Last season, it was Upper Perkiomen's football team that had Pope John Paul II

Freshman running back Jose Vera breaks out of the
pack as he rushes with the ball in Saturday's game
at Pope John Paul II. Vera carried times five times
for 12 yards.

figured out. In that 7-5 campaign, the Indians bested the Panthers not once, but twice – once in the Pioneer Athletic Conference regular season, and then again in the District 1 4A playoffs.

            But 2018 has been a different year for Indian head man Tom Hontz. And what was a senior-led team in 2017 with tested varsity talent has led to a much younger squad in 2018 looking for that varsity experience.

            And that youth showed this past Saturday in Royersford as Upper Perk fell on the wrong side of a 40-0 shutout.

            "We have hard working kids who want to succeed, but the eye test tells you we are not as athletic as most of our opponents, especially when top players like (Malachi) Duka and (Tyrese) Reid on the sidelines due to injury," Hontz said.

            With Upper Perk's now 0-1 in the PAC, 1-4 overall, Hontz and his staff are taking a new approach for the rest of the season.

            "We are going to continue to work and realize that we are the underdogs from here on out. Our goal is to work hard, play tough and see if we can gain a sense of pride from the rest of the season. We are also going to continue to blend in some of the younger guys and get a look at them for the future."

            As the score indicated, this game was all PJP (1-0, 5-0). The Panthers held a 263-146 advantage in total yardage, forced three turnovers and didn't have to punt once as they scored on their first five possessions. PJP got the benefit of some good field position on those drives, starting inside the Indians' 30-yard line on each.

            Bright spots for Upper Perk included Luke Whary (14 carries, 43 yards), Max Kratohwill (five catches, 30 yards) and Owen Reinhart (third-quarter interception). Jaden Fisher and Riley Decker, meanwhile, combined for a sack.

            Quarterback Tyler Weber was 8 of 14 for 46 yards, and sophomore Hunter Flack finished 2 of 6 for 16 yards with 20 rushing yards.

            "My staff and I are disappointed because we want these kids to enjoy their football experience, but it is difficult with outcomes like Saturday's game," Hontz said. "We are searching for reasons, but the reality is that with only seven seniors, and about 28 kids total at practice, and with limited talent it is difficult to correct the issues that we face. It's frustrating, but we are going to continue to encourage the kids to fight; to keep working to get better."

            Upper Perk will look to make that statement tomorrow in a home league game against Upper Merion. The Vikings are 1-0, 3-2 and coming off a 24-14 home win against Phoenixville last week. In that game, Upper Merion's Dale Clayton, who is also the team's leading passer, rushed for two scores, and the defense held the Phantoms to 70 total yards, forcing an interception and a pair of sacks.

            "As far as Friday's game, hopefully being home for only the second time this year will energize us," Hontz said. "Our goal is to play solid football and see what happens. Upper Merion is not a juggernaut, but they are a solid team that has been improving since last year. If we can get healthy and eliminate mistakes/turnovers – it should be a good game."


 

 

 

 

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