Thursday, December 08, 2022


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Sports Article
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Indians Roll Over Upper Merion
Written by Jake Hallman, Correspondent

Prepare for Pottsgrove

            One of the big keys coming into the season for Upper Perkiomen's football team was how quickly quarterback Tyler Keyser would adjust to the starting job.

            With no varsity starts to his credit before this season, and not a whole lot

of back-up action, Keyser spent the bulk of his career as a wideout.

            This season, though, Keyser has been thrust into the starting role. And though his last start under center came way back in the 8th grade, according to head coach Tom Hontz, Keyser is making the transition look seamless.

            That was on full display this past Thursday as Upper Perk entertained Upper Merion. Keyser looked quite comfortable as the signal caller as he led the Indians to a 35-14 Pioneer Athletic Conference win over the Vikings.

            Keyser not only completed 14 of 16 passes for 159 yards and a score, but added a pair of touchdown runs on 25 yards rushing. On the season, he has completed 85 percent of his passes (68 of 80) for 569 yards and eight touchdowns.

            "We have a lot of players and we try to spread the ball around," Hontz said, "but if someone is hot, we are going to try to ride the hot hand. Some nights it might be the speed of Tyrese (Reid), others we may pound with (Tyler) Whary and (Austin) Tutolo. I felt Thursday was Keyser's night and he was able to both run and pass effectively."

            Whary led the ground game as he rushed nine times for 103 yards and a pair of scores as Tutolo rushed six times for 52 yards. Bo Duka led all receivers with five receptions for 66 yards and Ryan Kendra pulled in three for 37 yards.

Keyser figured in on three of the five touchdowns for the Indians (2-0, 4-2) and ran in a conversion as the hosts grabbed a 35-0 lead at the half, scoring on all five of its first-half drives. Fellow senior Tyler Whary opened the scoring on Upper Perk's first march as he dove across the goal line from 5 yards out to cap a five-minute drive.

            After forcing a three-and-out, Upper Perk scored on its next drive, using a 13-yard pass to Bo Duka down the sideline, a 16-yard screen to Tyrese Reid and runs of 15 and 12 by Whary and Tutolo, respectively. Keyser then ran for a 20-yard scamper on an option to the 5, then found his way into the end zone on the same play.

            Keyser capped the scoring on the third drive, set up by a 12-yard reception from Duka, 19-yard run by Whary and a 17-yard pass to Duka to the 4. He sneaked his way in from one-yard out to make it a three-score game, 20-0.

            Whary accounted for the next score, rumbling for a 24-yard touchdown on an inside zone, as Keyser ran in the ensuing two-point conversion. Trevor Stephen put up the last score as he hauled in a 10-yard pass on a bootleg pass.

            The running clock in the second half allowed Hontz to substitute freely, giving the underclassmen a taste of varsity action. In the second half, the Indians were bolstered by a ground game paced by Malachi Duka and Ben Houseknecht, and the defensive play of Conor Martin, Jaden Fisher and Greg Kozminski.

            The Vikings (0-2, 0-3) were able to tack on a pair of fourth-quarter scores, breaking a three-game scoring drought.

            "It's nice from the standpoint that we kept everyone relatively healthy and we got to give some of the young guys some varsity experience against the big boys," Hontz said. "Upper Merion didn't have a lot of substitutes so we had freshmen battling tough against some of their starters."

            The win sets up a key Frontier Division match-up Friday as Upper Perk entertains Pottsgrove for Homecoming. The Falcons are 2-0, 6-0 and riding high on the legs of Rashul Faison. The Stony Brook University commit has rushed for 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns, and is off a six-score, 286-yard outing against Pottstown last week.

            "I've been pleased with our effort and enthusiasm the past two weeks," Hontz said. "We shall see if we can have that same intensity against a quality opponent like Pottsgrove. We're a very good team – we just have to prove it against another very good team."






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