Thursday, September 28, 2023


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Sports Article
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Perkiomen School Football Celebrates First Win
Written by Bradley Schlege, Staff Writer

             With 90 seconds remaining Saturday, Tautvydas Kupstas and Nguindjel Bayiha carried an orange water cooler in tandem towards the sideline. After pausing to strategically conceal it, Kupstas and Bayiha lifted the cooler and dumped the liquid

Nolan Pedrick, right, takes a handoff from Tejpal Khela. 

Pedrick, a Pennsiburg resident, ran for 55 yards and one

score on 13 carries for Perkiomen School.

on Casey Perlstein, the head coach of Perkiomen School's eight-man football team.

            The dousing set off a celebration of accomplishment. In a 44-16 victory over the Gunnery School, the Panthers earned their first win of the season.  "We put everything together," Perlstein said.

            "This feels great," sophomore running back Tony Holden said.

            Holden finished with 163 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to help Perkiomen School snap a five-game losing streak. Nolan Pedrick added 55 rushing yards and one score on 13 carries. 

            Tejpal Khela, a freshman quarterback, completed 9-of-15 passes for 131 yards and three touchdown to Kupstas for the Panthers (1-5), who scored the final 26 points to pull away. Kupstas finished with a game-high seven receptions for 90.

             "We made some great plays," Perlstein. The offensive line played very well. Kup caught every pass thrown to him."

            Their defense permitted just two touchdowns after allowing 60 points in a similar matchup in Washington, Ct. The unit forced three turnovers. Bayiha, a junior, pressured Gunnery quarterback Matt Lee several times and recovered a third-quarter fumble caused by Logan Simmons. Kupstas defended multiple passes and notched and interception.

            According to Holden, Perkiomen School was determined to snap their five-game losing streak and avenge a 60-58 loss to Highlanders on Oct. 20. "There was more focus this week than ever before," he said.

            Perlstein compared the initial meeting, played on a turf field, to a track meet. He said the muddy conditions in the rematch favored the Panthers, who trailed 8-6 midway through the first quarter.

            Holden's 28-yard TD run late in the quarter put them ahead 12-8. Their defense forced a Gunnery drive to stall eight yards from a touchdown just before halftime.

            In the third quarter, Perkiomen School scored three of four touchdowns. A one-yard toss from Khela to Kupstas early in the third extended the lead to 18-8.

            "Tejpal's starting to figure things out," Perlstein said.

            According to the coach, Khela showed progress in the passing game during the initial meeting with the Gunnery School when he read a safety sliding the outside, and threw to an inside receiver for a touchdown.

            A 7-yard TD catch by Julian Aviles pulled the Highlanders within 18-16 with 4:45 left in the quarter. However, Holden responded with consecutive touchdown runs 2 minutes, 26 seconds apart to take a commanding 32-16 lead. 

             According to Perlstein, Holden has made significant strides in his first season playing football.

            "Tony is quite an athlete," the coach said. 






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