Friday, January 27, 2023


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Sports Article
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Boyertown Pulls Away to Defeat Indians in Season Opener
Written by Staff Report

Indians junior running back Tyler Whary rushes with the ball in the season opener last Friday night at Boyertown. Whary finished with 44 yards on 10 carries in the non-league game.

                As first games go, this one followed the gameplan the way Upper Perkiomen Head Coach Tom Hontz scripted….in the first half, that is.

                In that first half at Boyertown last Friday, Upper Perk scored on its first two offensive possessions to grab a two-score lead behind an efficient ground game that set up the pass.

                That strategy needed to be revised, though, in the final two quarters as the Indians were without the services of both of the starters in the backfield. The wrinkle forced Hontz to air things out, and what was a one-point lead for the Tribe turned into the eventual 34-27 Boyertown victory. Although the game marked the season opener for both Pioneer Athletic Conference teams, it was not counted as a league game because of conference reorganization this year.

                "It was a disappointing loss," Hontz said. "But we were very pleased with the overall effort. It's very frustrating after coming out so strong and building a lead, but we couldn't continue to hold them off, nor could we do all the things we would have liked offensively with so many injuries and other issues depleting our roster."

                Upper Perk started the game without five seniors, who were out for disciplinary reasons, before junior running backs Tyler Whary and Austin Tutolo went down in the same offensive drive. Whary, who rushed 10 times for 44 yards, suffered from leg cramps, leaving a hole on both sides of the ball. And Tutolo, who led the team in rushing with 55 yards on 11 carries, broke his thumb and sprained his ankle.

                Those aforementioned openings gave the opportunity for others to fill in. Hontz said the yeomen effort of linebackers Nick Benner and Aidan Rowles, linemen Nico Liguoro and Dylan Reinford helped keep things together. Cornerback Brandon Martin helped out the defensive effort with a key pick before the half, as the Bears threatened to score.

                The Indians' offense was then able to rack up more than 400 total yards. The main culprits behind those impressive numbers were senior quarterback Zeke Hallman and junior receiver Ryan Kendra, who accounted for nearly half of that total. In the process, the offensive tandem helped re-write some of the Indians' school records.

                Hallman finished the night 19 of 32 for 303 yards and four TDs, only the second 300-yard passing game in Upper Perk history and a new school record. Hallman eclipsed Adam Weiss' previous mark of 302 set back in 1993 against Owen J. Roberts.

                Kendra was equally as proficient as he tied the school record of 11 receptions for 203 yards and three scores. His receiving yardage is now tops for the Indians, as Kendra surpassed Travis Kline's previous school-best 182 receiving yards in a game against Perkiomen Valley in 2013.

                The Hallman-Kendra combo staked Upper Perk out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown passes of 9 and 43 yards. On that first drive, the Indians used 19 plays over seven minutes and two converted fourth downs to find the end zone.

                Boyertown cut the lead in half early in the second quarter before Whary made his only catch of the night count on an athletic 17-yard tip and rumble across the goal line. Boyertown put a pair of scores up in the third quarter to lead, 26-21, before Kendra hauled in a 58-yard bomb to give the visitors a one-point lead, 27-26 with 10 minutes left in regulation.

                Boyertown sealed the win as quarterback Jerry Kapp (18 carries, 157 yards, 3 TDs) scampered for a 30-yard yard score that proved the difference.

                "Zeke…was outstanding," Hontz said. "Ryan Kendra was impressive with over 200 yards receiving, and Tyler Whary and Austin Tutolo were having tremendous games on both sides of the ball until injuries derailed them."

                Upper Perk will look to bounce back in another non-league game tomorrow night at home against Kutztown. The Cougars, a member of the Berks Inter-County 2, were 0-10 last season and will play its first game Friday night.

                "We will get some people back this week, which will provide some much needed depth," Hontz said. "We are hopeful to have our backfield intact and running on all cylinders for the home opener. We need a win over Kutztown to just build the overall confidence of the team and get on the winning track."






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