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Upper Perk Uses Big Plays to Hold off Pottstown
Written by Jake Hallman, Correspondent
2018-10-25

            This one was all about the big play.

Tyrese Reid weaves his way around the Pottstown defense in Friday

night's game at Upper Perk.  The junion led his offense with 173 yards

rushing and 114 receiving, and scored three touchdowns.

            From Upper Perkiomen's first score, to the final game-clinching interception with less than two minutes in regulation, there were plenty of highlight-reel moments as the Indians held on to defeat Frontier Division Pioneer Athletic Conference foe Pottstown, 21-20, in front of a homecoming crowd last Friday night.

            Throw in a pair of picks for the Indians (1-4, 2-7), as well as a successful fake punt and a sack, and there was plenty for head coach Tom Hontz to be pleased with.

            "I was just so happy the boys were able to win a big game against a pretty good squad on homecoming weekend," Hontz said. "We've been close in a few other games this year, so we just needed to close the door and get the win."

            Long touchdowns were the order of the night, as the average score came from 57 yards out, with only one coming under 20 yards.

            While the Trojans (1-4, 4-5) were without the services of standout quarterback Josiah Wiggins, forcing Darius Smallwood into emergency service, Upper Perk was for one of the few times this season, relatively healthy. Wiggins, suffering from a leg injury, came into the game as the league's third leading rusher with 676 yards and 10 TDs.

            Tyrese Reid showed the force he can be when at his best as he accounted for nearly 80 percent of Upper Perk's offense. The speedy yet diminutive, 5-foot-7, 140-pound junior led his squad in both rushing (173 yards, 2 TDs) and receiving (114 yards, TD) as the rest of the offense combined for the remaining 72 yards.

            His first score came on Upper Perk's first offensive play as senior quarterback Tyler Weber (8-18, 114 yards, TD, 2 INTs) found Reid on a swing pass to the visitor's side that went 75 yards. After a Pottstown score, Reid did it again, this time on the ground as he took a handoff up the gut and through the teeth of the Trojans defense for an 80-yard burst. Reid capped the scoring late in the third quarter as he took an option toss from Weber, found the edge and raced down the home sidelines 35 yards across the goal line.

            "For us, scoring on the opening play was huge," Hontz said. "It just gave us confidence and a desire to win. The third-down play to Tyrese in the second half on an option pitch was key. Also, Malachai Duka's stop on their two-point conversion before halftime was key as it would turn out was the difference in the game."

            Not to be outdone was the yeomen's effort from the Upper Perk defense. Despite giving up over 350 yards of total offense, the defense came up with big plays when needed. The big plays started in the second as Andrew Carducci and Corey Jackson (three solo tackles, pass break-up) teamed up for a fourth-down stuff of a Trojans ball carrier inside Upper Perk's 30-yard line that set the stage for Reid's first score.

            Later in the second came Duka's stop on the Trojans' two-point conversion after the visitors scored with just eight seconds left before half. Hunter Flack came up with a key pick in the fourth quarter as he outjumped a Pottstown receiver and pulled down the ball in the end zone. In Pottstown's final offensive drive and threatening to score in Indian territory, Jackson leapt up in front of a would-be receiver to seal the deal with an interception.

            "With the exception of the few really big plays they had, we were pretty solid on defense," Hontz said. "But you can't give up the big plays and you need to be disciplined to avoid plays like the one at the half."

            Linebacker Ben Houseknecht tallied four solo tackles and broke up a pass, as fellow backers Luke Whary (four solo tackles, two pass break-ups) and Owen Reinhart (three solos and a tackles for a loss) also came up big. Up front the defense was paced by Riley Decker (two tackles for a loss, sack, three solo tackles) and Logan Hollingsworth (four solo tackles).

            Upper Perk will close out the season tomorrow night at home in a PAC crossover game against the Liberty Division's Boyertown. The last time the two teams met back in week one, the Bears claimed a 37-12 decision in Boyertown.

            "Hopefully we are not too satisfied because a re-match victory against Boyertown would be a great way to finish the season," Hontz said.


 

 

 

 

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