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Upper Perkiomen celebrates Senior Night with 48-0 win over Phoenixville

RED HILL >> Mike Felix, Austin Bittenbender, Dylan Croissette and the rest of the Upper Perkiomen Indians celebrated their football Senior Night in fine fashion Friday night.

Felix scored a career-best four touchdowns, and Bittenbender and Croissette entered the Indians’ record book for career defense as the Tribe blitzed Phoenixville, 48-0, in Pioneer Athletic Conference action.

Upper Perkiomen's Michael Felix evades Phoenixville's Matt Simes Friday. (Barry Taglieber - For Digital First Media)

Upper Perkiomen’s Michael Felix evades Phoenixville’s Matt Simes Friday. (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

Upper Perkiomen jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and pushed it to 34-0 by halftime before putting the running clock into motion with a 14-point third period.
Felix rushed for 189 yards on 23 carries and scored his four touchdowns on runs of 10, 16, 30 and 15 yards. His longest run of the night covered 30 yards.

“We knew it was our last game,” said Felix, who is one of 12 Upper Perkiomen seniors this year. “We just gave it everything we had. It was Senior Night and the last football game we’ll ever play here.”

Upper Perkiomen closed out the 2015 campaign with a 3-6 league record (3-7 overall). Phoenixville ended its PAC-10 slate at 2-7 and stands at 2-8 overall with one non-league road contest remaining on the schedule against Strath Haven on Nov. 13.

Felix also had one of three Upper Perkiomen interceptions and returned the theft 30 yards while Bittenbender and sophomore Austin Tutolo had the other picks. Bittenbender intercepted his fifth pass of the season and ended his career a school-record nine interceptions. Tutolo posted his pick-six with a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown. Croissette registered one sack for a 7-yard loss and completed his career with 10 sacks for second-best on the all-time Tribe charts.

Besides Croissette, the Indians also had two more sacks by Nick Benner and Roberto Rosado.

Felix gave a lot of the credit for Upper Perkiomen’s performance to head coach Tom Hontz, who has shifted over from wrestling head coach at Upper Perkiomen to work with some of the Tribe football players he formerly coached at the middle school level.

“Coach Hontz knows I can carry the ball a lot without getting tired,” said Felix. “It was good play-calling by coach Hontz.”

Hontz felt the Indians may have saved their finest showing of the season for the final game of the year.

“This was probably our most complete game of the year,” said Hontz. “From the get-go we were clicking tonight. We played tough tonight. I am proud of them.

“We knew we could ride Mike Felix. He is an outstanding runner and we got him going. Once we got him moving, we knew we were in good shape. Tonight he got going in the open field and he makes people miss. He is just a great athlete.”

Junior quarterback Zeke Hallman completed seven of 12 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown to Ryan Kendra that covered 17 yards on the final play of the first half that put the hosts ahead 34-0 at the break. Hallman was also 6-for-7 in kicking extra points. Kendra had four receptions for 46 yards with the one score. Sophomore fullback Tyler Whary added 61 yards rushing on six tries with one touchdown, including a long run of 32 yards.

Junior linebacker Dylan Reinford had five tackles for the Indians while Bittenbender had four tackles and four pass defensed. Senior linebacker Jake Votta also made a number of key hits for the Tribe.

Upper Perkiomen’s senior football players include Bittenbender, Felix, Kevin Loose, Croissette, Mahlon Schaffer, Dustin Derstine, Votta, Mike Knudson, Tyler Smith, Sylvester Inyang, Andrew Frantz and Julian Liguoro.

Upper Perkiomen’s senior band members, cheerleaders, student trainers and golfers were also honored.

Phoenixville had some of its usual bright spots on offense with quarterback Troy Rossman, wideouts Matt Palubinsky and Nasir Green taking turns in the limelight. Green made one outstanding catch for 27 yards along the right sideline in the fourth quarter. Palubinsky also had a stellar catch on a 13-yard reception in the second period when he basically pulled in the catch with one hand.

That happened along the Phoenixville sideline. The Phantoms’ Travis Pannella broke loose on a 35-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter.

Phoenixville got some good defensive plays from Palubinsky, Cory Bird, Matt Branch, Durron Johnson, Green, Ian Brown and Matt Simes.

Phoenixville played as many as six sophomores at one time in its lineup.

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