FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Penalties and dropped passes short-circuited Spring-Ford’s usually electric offense at times in the first half Friday. Power outages don’t last long for the Rams, however, when you have defense and explosiveness like they do.
The Rams shut down Methacton’s running game, and it was only a matter of time before the Rams, leading only 17-0 at halftime, got rolling on all cylinders. They fired out of the second half gate and went on cruise control to win 45-0.
Junior quarterback TJ Pergine threw three touchdown passes, completing 12-of-18 for 205 yards. Matt Gibson (122 yards, 14 carries, a touchdown) led a robust running game that amassed 250 yards. Selwyn Simpson galloped for 80 yards on 12 carries and two TDs. Quinn Mckenna caught two TD passes and Dan Cassidy snared another.
Spring-Ford (2-0 PAC, 5-1 overall) got a great effort defensively, limiting the Warriors (0-2, 1-5) to 124 yards of total offense. Methacton quarterback Jason Eckman showed some nice mobility as well as passing capability, but was often under a big pass rush and was sacked three times.
“We weren’t trying to have the offense dictate what we did on defense,” Ram middle linebacker Ryan Yanulevich said. “We stayed focused, worked our game plan and got off the field on third down.
“We had good trust in our D-backs to go man if we needed to, and we had a good pass rush.”
Spring-Ford held Methacton to two first-half first downs and six for the game.
“They’ve been playing great all year,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said of his defense. “We can get pressure with our front four, which is always a bonus. They did a great job tonight.”
It wasn’t an altogether crisp night for the Spring-Ford offense in the first half, when there were four dropped passes and numerous penalties that slowed momentum. For the game, Spring-Ford had 85 yards in penalties. Brubaker wasn’t happy with the drops or the four fumbles (none lost), but he was pleased to see McKenna come back strong after missing two weeks with a twisted ankle, and happy with Pergine’s continued development.
It could have been worse for Methacton, and in fact it was far worse last year, when they lost 82-0 to the Rams. The Warriors, undersized, competed hard and put up good resistance in keeping the game within 17-0 at halftime.
“That’s marked improvement,” said Methacton coach Paul Lepre. “Our defense keeps us in games. We’ve got a scrappy bunch of guys on that side of the ball. We emphasize not giving up the big play, and when we do that, we execute, we can go into halftime at 17—0 behind a team that’s superior athletically.”
It took Spring-Ford barely a minute on the opening possession to go 80 yards and cap it with Gibson’s 16-yard score. But it wasn’t easy for the Rams the rest of the half. Ryan O’Toole, a good two-way player for the Warriors, made an interception when the Rams reached the red zone again later in the first quarter.
Methacton’s John Keenan made a nice leaping catch for a 21-yard gain near midfield but the Warriors then were stymied. They got good field position after forcing a Ram punt, but penalties and swarming Spring-Ford ‘D’ stopped them inside the Ram 30.
McKenna gathered a nice pass over the middle for a 34-yard TD 2:26 before halftime. In the third quarter, after another ferocious defensive series by the Rams, topped by Toby Poet’s sack, Spring-Ford set up at its own 47 and, after Simpson’s 20-yard burst, McKenna scored again from 33 yards out.
On the next Spring-Ford series, Pergine shook off a near sack and found Gibson for 14 yards before Simpson powered into the end zone.
Lepre lamented offensive mistakes that made his team’s climb harder, but complimented their heart.
“I’ve got to give my kids credit on that,” he said.