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Sports Article
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Upper Perk Ends Season With Shutout of Phoenixville
Written by Staff Report

Upper Perk runningback Michael Felix fights his way through the Phantoms' defense as he carries the ball in Friday night's home game. Felix finished with 189 yards on 23 carries and four scores in the final game of the year.

        So much for a close game between two similar opponents.

        What promised to be a competitive Pioneer Athletic Conference finale between Upper Perkiomen and Phoenixville last Friday night proved anything but. The two teams came into the game with a host of similarities: victories over the same opponents, a one-point differential in total points scored this season, and respective defenses that yielded an average within 30 yards of each other per game.

        But when it came right down to it, all those statistics didn't mean anything. And the Indians, who jumped out to a three-score lead in the first quarter, rode the hot start into a 48-0 victory to close out the 2015 season on senior night with a 3-7 record.

        "I really think emotion played a big part in the game," said second-year head coach Tom Hontz. "We talked about the importance of being emotionally ready and our guys were really ready right from the start. Once we got things rolling, it just snowballed."

        The shutout against Phoenixville (2-8) was Upper Perk's first in a long time. The last time the Indians posted a goose egg was back in 2009 when the Tribe posted a 34-0 win in the pouring down rain in Fort Washington against Upper Dublin under then head coach Keith Leamer.

        Last Friday, Upper Perk wasted little time in establishing the momentum. After taking the opening kickoff, the Indians cashed in on their first drive as Tyler Whary rumbled for a 32-yard score. Phoenixville fumbled on their own 10-yard line on their next drive, and Michael Felix did the rest of the work from there as he scored on the first play of the drive on a toss. Felix did it again on a 16-yard run to make it 21-0 with 8:30 left in the first quarter.

        But Upper Perk wasn't done just quite yet.

        Felix and Austin Bittenbender picked off passes on a pair of Phoenixville drives in the second quarter, the second setting up a 30-yard run by Felix as he ran over a would-be defender at the goal line after passes to Kevin Loose and Austin Tutolo. Ryan Kendra pulled in a 17-yard pass from Zeke Hallman with six ticks left in the back of the end zone before the half on third down to give Upper Perk a commanding 34-0 halftime lead.

        In the second half, the Indians used a 44-yard interception return from Tutolo and Felix's fourth rushing touchdown to account for the 48-0 rout.

        "For the seniors it's a great way to end their career," Hontz said. "A solid performance in which every one of them contributed. For the underclassmen, it proved what we are capable of. When we execute and play with emotion, good things can happen."

        Felix finished with 189 yards on 23 carries and four scores, and with 774 yards and seven scores on the season, which puts him fourth in the league. Whary rushed for 61 yards on six touches and a score. Kendra led the Indians with four catches for 46 yards and a score to finish with 363 receiving yards and four touchdowns, 12th best in the PAC-10. Hallman was 7 of 12 for 83 yards and a score to finish with 1,040 passing yards on the season.

        Defensively, Bittenbender's pick put him with five on the season, which tied him for a league-best with Pottsgrove's Adam Girafalco, as Felix was tied for fourth with two on the year. Dylan Croissette finished with a league-best 10 sacks, as Tyler Smith was second on the team with 3.5.

        Seniors playing in their final game included Bittenbender, Felix, Loose, Croissette, Mahlon Schaffer, Dustin Derstine, Jacob Votta, Mike Knudson, Smith, Sylvester Inyang, Andrew Frantz and Julian Liguoro.

        "We had high hopes and big goals going in to the season," Hontz said. "It was difficult with how our schedule unfolded and then the two tough losses to Boyertown and Pottstown... We would have liked to finish a little higher in the standings, but realistically we can be proud of what we did achieve. We didn't back down from anyone, we played inspired ball even in the tough losses, and we stayed together as a team throughout.

        "Hopefully, this will continue to build and with the new realignment in the league and the state playoffs, perhaps we can start to climb higher in the rankings."







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