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Indians JV Football Closes Out Season at 4-4
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent

Upper Perk JV quarterback Tyler Keyser takes off with the ball, breaking through the Perk Valley defense, as his teammate, Sylvester Inyang, runs toward him to provide support in Friday's final game of the season at Upper Perk. 

        Four varsity wins and four junior varsity wins this fall were important strides out of the barren desert Upper Perk football has been trapped in. Even more encouraging was the culture shift taking place on the junior varsity level.

        While the football season officially ended for Upper Perk on Friday afternoon in a 20-6 JV loss to Perk Valley, leaving the team 4-4, coaches spoke excitedly about the future of the Tribe program in general.

        "I think we came into this season with a bunch of guys, other than the freshmen, that had kind of become accustomed to losing," said coach Jake Engle who ran the offense on JV game days while Toby Cole was in charge of the defense.

         "By the end of the year, you really started to see a desire to win and understanding what it takes to be a winner, with some of the success that we've had."

        Cole added, "They put in a lot of hard work. Now they know what it's like; they know what to expect."

        Both Engle and Cole point to the junior varsity's second game of the season, when the team rallied to record a 36-30 win, as the turning point in the program's ascendency.

        "Against Boyertown we had a huge comeback," Engle recounted. "It was eye-opening to them that all the hard work and conditioning is really what led them. It kind of clicked after that that all the hard work really does pay off towards the end of games."

        That began a domino effect that accelerated the varsity's improvement as the season went along.

        "When you have better JV guys, you have better practices and that whole mentality of kids just getting tougher and making them realize that they have to push the varsity level guys, and they've done a great job with that," varsity head coach Tom Hontz explained.

        In the season finale against the visiting Vikings, the Tribe JV jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the first offensive series. Freshman Tyler Keyser connected with freshman Trevor Stephen for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

        Keyser (6 for 13, 73 yards) also collaborated with Dylan Reinford for 21 yards on the drive.

        Perk Valley took a 7-6 lead by halftime when Aaron Morton hit Kyle Beaudoin on a seam route for a 37-yard score. Rafiq Clark-Walker kicked the extra-point.

        The Vikings broke the game open with two scores in the fourth quarter, 15- and 14-yard runs by Morton, a 6'2 junior.

        Austin Tutolo, another freshman, was a workhorse for the Tribe, gaining 73 yards on 15 carries.

        "Without a ninth grade team, a lot of these freshmen really need to get the opportunities to play," Hontz said. "We're very fortunate that we have some talented freshmen that are getting a lot of playing time.

        "While they're getting some time on the varsity level, this is really important for them to get a full game experience."

        Engle, a fierce competitor in football, wrestling and baseball in his playing days at Upper Perk, praised the freshmen for bringing a winning mentality into the season. They have been "pretty successful" during their careers, according to the first year coach.

        Eleven graduating seniors need to be replaced in 2015, and Engle is enthusiastic about the skilled players who will contribute to the program for the next couple of years; players like Keyser, Tutolo, Ryan Kendra, and Tyler Stefan among others.

        Cole, a hard-nosed UP athlete and lineman from the late nineties, added, "We have pretty good guys up front, at least, to have a foundation. I think they have a lot of potential. They just have to meet it."






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