BOYERTOWN >> Boyertown’s Jerry Kapp and Methacton’s Jason Eckman turned BASH Memorial Stadium into the Pioneer Athletic Conference version of the O.K. Corral Friday night.
When the smoke finally cleared after one of the league’s all-time shootouts, Kapp and the Bears – like Wyatt Earp and his cohorts – had survived a 46-41 victory in the league opener for both squads.
Junior back Marcus Thomas scored on a 1-yard run with 10 seconds left as Boyertown (1-0, 2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak and kept the gutsy Warriors (0-1, 0-5) winless.
“The momentum of the game swung a lot, and we just had to keep battling through it,” Thomas said.
Methacton, which battled back from an early 21-7 deficit, had plenty of momentum when southpaw quarterback Eckman hooked up with Ryan O’Toole for a 30-yard scoring strike that put the Warriors up 41-40 with 3:05 left in the see-saw affair.
But the Bears got a big spark on the ensuing kickoff, when sophomore special teamer Blaise Caroselli returned a squib attempt 17 yards to the Bears 45 – seemingly dragging a pile of bodies for the final five of them.
Kapp, a 6-3, 175-pound junior who entered the year as a wideout before taking over at QB when Evan Giannetti was hurt in the preseason, then directed Boyertown down the field with the nerve of a gunslinger.
Kapp, who threw for 176 yards and two TDs and ran for 121 yards and three more scores, hit Chris Berry for a clutch 23-yard connection that put the ball on the 12. Then, on a second-and-5 from the 7, he scampered six yards to set up the game-winning score.
“We were going to run a QB sneak,” Kapp said. “But they (the Warriors) were calling it out and then they called time out, so me and Marcus got together and said, “Let’s run toss,’ because they were crowding the inside.”
It proved to be a wise decision, with the 6-2, 215-pound Thomas (14 carries, 60 yards) taking the pitch right and hitting paydirt.
“We needed to win that game,” Thomas said.
After scoring just 27 points in its previous three games, the Bears erupted for 34 in a first half that saw them rack up 315 yards of total offense.
Kapp found do-it-all Hunter Vogels for a 35-yard TD on Boyertown’s second play of the game, but Methacton answered right back on O’Toole’s 58-yard halfback option toss to John Keenan (five receptions, 98 yards).
Kapp’s 23-yard TD pass to Berry and 1-yard TD run on the second play of the second quarter gave the Bears a 21-7 lead and some apparent breathing room, but the Warriors kept coming.
Dylan Henry delivered a 12-yard scoop-and-score to provide a second-quarter spark, and despite continually absorbing Boyertown’s offensive haymakers, Methacton gradually picked itself off the canvas.
Trailing 34-21 at the half, the Warriors converted a third-and-12 with a halfback pass from O’Toole to Eckman for 13 yards to set up Eckman’s 1-yard sneak with 6:43 left in the third.
Then, when Kapp missed a series after going down with an ankle injury, Methacton took advantage of a bad snap that O’Toole recovered and Eckman eventually scored on a 3-yard run to give the Warriors their first lead at 35-34 with 32 seconds remaining in the third.
But Kapp gutted it out to return and showed he still had a little left in his holster, scoring on a 7-yard run with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter to put the Bears back up and set up a dramatic final few minutes.
“They got resurgent when he came back,” Methacton coach Paul Lepre said. “He’s a great athlete. When he came back in, you could see those guys rallying around him. That propelled them.”
“Jerry’s a competitor,” echoed Boyertown coach George Parkinson. “He’s a good athlete, he’s tough, and he understands the game. That’s why he makes plays for us.”
And why on this night, he was the difference in a Wild-West-like finish.
NOTES >> Boyertown inducted Richard Schell (Class of 1951), Harry Adrian (1969) and Brandon Mason (2000) into its Football Hall of Fame at halftime. … The Bears visit Perkiomen next week, while the Warriors play host to Spring-Ford. “We were resilient tonight,” Lepre said. “I think for the first time this year, along with playing hard, there was a sense they finally turned the corner.”
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