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UP Football Upsets Owen J. Roberts with Team Effort
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-10-21

            Quarterback Hunter Flack and Head Coach Tom Hontz rightly praised the contributions of everyone who played in Upper Perkiomen's 31-14 win over visiting

Logan Simmon outruns OJR defenders.  Simmon finish-

ed with 222 rushing yards on 17 carries in the 31-14 win.

Owen J. Roberts on Friday night. The offense dazzled in the first half, piling up 28 points, while the defense took center stage in the second half.

            "We really played as a team tonight," Flack said. "I felt like from the beginning of the game, the line just opened up holes. Our defense stepped up and made big plays."

            Hontz felt the same way. "The greatest thing about this team is that everybody contributes," he said. "We need everybody and they did it and that's why we were victorious tonight."

            Flack directed an offense that clicked with big plays and long drives throughout the first half.

            On the third play of the game, running back Logan Simmon bolted through the line and outraced the Wildcats for an 85-yard touchdown to put the Indians on top.

            The visitors answered immediately, however, with a nine-play drive that ended with a Michael Reed to Dante DeNardo 16-yard pass for the tying touchdown.

            The Tribe (1-3) regained the lead late in the first quarter with a 6-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Simmon taking an option pitch four yards for a TD.

            "He's such a workhorse and as he keeps going he just wants to run people over," Hontz said of Simmon. "He had a couple of touchdowns that were just pure determination."

            Malachi Duka (three receptions for 52 yards) set the table for Simmon's second TD run by making a leaping 27-yard reception between two defenders.

            Simmon (222 yards on 17 carries) amassed 160 of his yards before halftime.

            After the Upper Perkiomen defense forced a three-and-out to end the first quarter, Flack and receiver Corey Jackson (four catches for 61 yards) combined to give the Tribe a two-touchdown lead.

            First, Jackson's 20-yard reception took the ball to the OJR 32-yard line. After a 12-yard run by Simmon, Flack lofted a pass to the back of the end zone where Jackson made a toe-tapping catch between two defenders.

            A fumbled snap aborted the extra-point attempt, but the Tribe led 20-7.

            The Wildcats (2-2) again bounced right back when Avery Grimm broke free on a screen pass and raced 56-yards for a touchdown.

            After OJR's Anthony Villarosa recovered a fumble at his 27, the Upper Perkiomen defense held, keyed by Brady Thompson's sack of Reed near midfield.

            The teams exchanged possessions until Upper Perk got the ball back at its 43-yard line with 51 seconds left in the first half. It took the Tribe just 12 seconds to score.

            Following a 16-yard reception by Jackson and a personal foul penalty against OJR, Flack hit Simmon down the left sideline, and the junior running back sidestepped a defender inside the five to complete a 27-yard TD play.

            Flack (9-15, 168 yards) hit Thompson in the end zone for the two-point conversion.

            The Wildcats were not done, however.

            Passes to Grim (46 yards) and DeNardo (13 yards) moved the ball to the Upper Perk 11 with 20.6 seconds left in the half.

            Reed (18-of-29 passing, 211 yards) was sacked as time expired but a facemask penalty gave the Wildcats another shot at a score. Trey Robinson rose to the occasion and batted away a pass intended for DeNardo (13 receptions, 147 yards) in the end zone to preserve Upper Perkiomen's 28-14 lead.

            Save for a record field goal by Flack in the fourth quarter, the second half belonged to the defenses.

            At the start of the final quarter, the Upper Perkiomen defense rose up with another goal line stand – led by Damon Faraco – that deflated the Wildcats.

            After an 8-yard run by Grimm on second down to the Upper Perk one-yard line, Faraco stonewalled a sneak attempt by quarterback Reed. On fourth down, Faraco and the rest of the line stopped Grimm inches from the end zone.

            "That was a really important statement for us to be able to make that stop and then finish out the game," Hontz said, noting that too often in the last couple of years, the defense had wilted in the same situations.

            The Tribe's offense responded with a 12-play drive that consumed over seven minutes of the clock.

            Faced with a fourth-and-17 at his 28, Hontz gave the go-ahead for Flack, who lobbied for the opportunity, to attempt a 45-yard field goal.

            "It was Hunter. He said, 'I can make it. I've been making it in pre-game and stuff.'"

            The kick made it over the crossbar with a couple of yards to spare and eclipsed the previous school record set by Jason Jarinko's 38-yarder versus St. Pius in 1993.

            Despite spending the last two weeks suffering through lopsided losses to much bigger schools, Hontz felt his team actually benefitted from the experiences.

            "I used a baseball analogy with the guys. I said, 'you know for the past couple of weeks we've been swinging the bat with a donut on it.' In a way, it helped us prepare for this team. We were able to feel confident and the most important thing is to get that win. You could see it on their faces. It's such a great feeling."

            On Friday, the Tribe travels to Boyertown for a 7 p.m. kickoff.


 

 

 

 

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