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Phoenixville Upends Upper Perk in Football Finale
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2020-11-04

            Upper Perkiomen concluded its abbreviated season with a 20-12 loss to visiting Phoenixville in the annual Senior Night game in Keeny Stadium. Phoenixville's

Corey Jackson, left, reaches back for a pass while

a Phoenixville defender attempts to deflect it. The

pass fell incomplete.

rushing attack, led by quarterback Tre Davis, and the absence of junior Logan Simmon in the second half were key factors in the tough loss. 

            The Tribe (2-4), coming off two impressive wins and wearing camo-uniforms donated by the PA National Guard, was hoping to end its season an up note. But three Phoenixville rushing TDs, including a 52-yard jaunt by Davis, who finished with 149 yards on 22 carries, spoiled the evening.

            "It's very disappointing," said Coach Tom Hontz, "especially the way these guys worked all season long. It would have been nice to finish with a win for the seniors, particularly."

            Phoenixville got on the board first with a nine-play, 70-yard drive late in the first quarter. Junior Owen Koch (10-61) did most of the work, picking up 46 of those yards behind an offensive line that included 298-pound Nolan Martin and 297-pound Jamie Gray.

            Koch finished the drive with a 7-yard run to the end zone. Jack Kelly's extra point gave the Phantoms a 7-0 lead.

            The Tribe's offense was struggling to get on track against the bigger Phantoms but finally got going with a 52-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter. The unit's Big Three of Hunter Flack, Malachi Duka and Simmon were the key performers.

            Flack ran three times for 16 yards and hit Duka with two passes for 16 yards and Brady Thompson for 8 yards. Simmon, who finished with 44 yards on 11 carries, got the last word with a 7-yard TD run.

            When kicker Flack was roughed on the extra point attempt, Hontz decided to go for two after the penalty was assessed, but Duka was stopped short of the goal line and the Tribe trailed 7-6.

            It only took Phoenixville 45 seconds to respond. Davis executed a quarterback draw and raced 52-yards for the touchdown. The extra point put the team ahead 14-6.

"That quarterback was a heck of an athlete," Hontz said. "We just couldn't seem to stop him."

            After Simmon took the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to the Phantoms' 34, Flack found an uncovered Corey Jackson on the very next play down the left sideline for a touchdown.

            Again, the Tribe failed to convert a two-point try when Flack's pass fell incomplete.

            That's the way the half ended, although the Tribe squandered a chance to take the lead with just over two minutes left in the second quarter. 

            From the Upper Perkiomen 44-yard line, Flack hit Jackson (3 catches for 83 yards) on a deep post pattern but, on his way to a touchdown, Jackson was stripped of the ball which rolled out of the end zone, resulting in a touchback and Phoenixville possession.

            "It seemed like the last couple of weeks the breaks went our way and this game we couldn't seem to get the breaks," Hontz lamented.

            Simmon left the game early in the third quarter with a possible concussion and did not return, affecting all aspects of the team.

            Duka took over as the primary running back, but the offense struggled in the cold, windy conditions.

            "We just couldn't get anything rolling tonight," Hontz said. "They're a very physical team."

            Phoenixville took a 20-12 lead with 3:27 left in the third quarter when Ahmid Spivey scored from the two. Freshman back-up quarterback Ty Romance set the table for the touchdown by taking a lateral from Davis and tossing a 26-yard pass to Max Strunk, who made a leaping catch at the Upper Perk 6-yard-line.

            The Tribe's last gasp came on a drive that started at its own 22 with 4:40 left in the game. Two runs by Duka and a 10-yard pass to Jackson helped move the ball to the Phoenixville 37. But Flack, who complete 10-of-18 passes for 129 yards, was intercepted at the five after heaving a desperation pass out of a third-down scramble.

            Since Phoenixville had only played one game prior to Friday night (a 17-7 loss to Pottsgrove), Upper Perkiomen was at a disadvantage preparation-wise, especially because the Phantoms have an interim head coach, Anthony Ciarlello, this season.

            After the game, Hontz had high praise for his seniors, including Flack. "A lot was on his shoulders. He's so smart. He does a great job."

            Hontz cited the line play of Riley Decker, Ethan Wambold and Dalton Dunlap. He called Duka "a warrior".

            "It was a great season," Hontz said. "A great group of kids. I'm very proud of everything."


 

 

 

 

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