Friday, February 23, 2024


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Sports Article
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Tribe Ends Season With Loss to Perk Valley
Written by Town and Country Staff Report

Upper Perk's Somky Akpunonu, center, looks to squeeze through an opening made by the offense as he rushes with the ball in last Thursday night game at Perk Valley. 

                It was an unfitting ending to an otherwise successful season.

                Nonetheless, Upper Perkiomen's football team wrapped up the 2014 season last Thursday night at Perkiomen Valley. The Vikings, who already secured at least a share of the Pioneer Athletic Conference title, put a no-doubt-about-it exclamation point on the outright crown as they handled the Indians, 56-7.

                As lopsided as the score ended, things sure didn't start out that way. In fact, the Indians actually mustered a 7-0 first-quarter lead. It all started as Upper Perk forced the Vikings into a three-and-out on their first offensive drive. On Perk Valley's next touch, Indian cornerback Austin Bittenbender picked off a pass on a tipped ball and returned it into PV territory.

                Mike Felix (18 carries, 76 yards) shouldered the bulk of the work from there, along with a nine-yard pass to freshman Ryan Kendra that moved the ball to the 2-yard line. Felix then fumbled into the end zone, but an alert Dustin Derstine jumped on the ball to give the junior center the score.

                Unfortunately for the Tribe, the highlights considerably slowed down from there. Perk Valley put up 21 points each in the second and third quarters, and added a 14-spot in the fourth to account for the seven-score differential.

                Along the way, Perk Valley piled up 552 yards and 25 first downs. Upper Perk, meanwhile, finished with just eight first downs and 136 total yards of offense, the bulk of which came on the ground.

                Defensively, Kendra also picked off a pass and Mike Felix finished with nine tackles. Senior Mark Saucedo played well in his final game as he made seven stops, along with Somky Akpunonu (two tackles for a loss) and Jake Votta. Austin Orsini and Owen Leister both had five tackles apiece.

                Felix is currently the league's third leading rusher with 884 yards on 115 carries and five scores. He trails Pottsgrove's Devon Fink (141 carries, 1,106 yards) and Methacton quarterback Conner Derrickson (164 carries, 1,100 yards). Akpunonu, who carried eight times for 30 yards in the loss to Perk Valley, is 11th on the list with 403 yards on 66 lugs.

                First-year head coach Tom Hontz said the 4-5 season (4-6 overall) was a good start, with more work ahead.

                "We were pleased to get to four wins; we felt that was possible in the beginning of the season, but a lot of things would have to go right," he said. "Looking back now, a lot of things did go right. We saw great improvement from our seniors, we found a lot of potential talent in the underclassmen and we really developed a team identity. Football, and wins and losses became important again. The team, staff included, became very excited that their hard work was paying off."

                With a new mindset, and a modicum of tangible success in terms of wins, Hontz said the next challenge is to continue to set new goals.

                "The next level is all relative," he said. "We have a long way to go in order to run with the Spring-Fords, PV's and some of the other big schools, but I hope we can continue to compete with the other AAA schools in our league and maybe get a few more AAAA wins and possibly get a playoff shot. The gulf between the top teams and the other teams in the PAC-10 is pretty wide and it will be quite a challenge to compete at that level."

                Looking back on his first season, Hontz said he and his staff have learned a lot about what it takes to prepare and organize for a season. Likewise, the players also have a full year under their collective belts of the staff and system and know the expectations.

                "We still have much more to learn and improve upon and are anxious to get started," he said.






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