UPPER MERION >> Upper Perkiomen quarterback Zeke Hallman has a big-time arm. He showed it off time and time again Friday night against Upper Merion to the tune of 164 yards. But it was the short, soft throws that were his most impressive of the night in a 26-8 Pioneer Athletic Conference win at Upper Merion Area High School.
The first came on Upper Perk’s opening possession on fourth and goal at the one yard line. Hallman faked the handoff to the running back and lofted a pass to the wide open tight end, Trevor Stephen.
His second key throw came on a third and four with a minute left in the half. The Indians held a 7-0 lead and had the ball around midfield. Hallman took the snap from the shotgun, drifted back, drew in the pass rushers and dropped a perfect screen pass to running back Tyler Whary. Whary raced 50 yards to the one yard line and Hallman snuck it in one play later for a two-possession Indians lead.
“(Hallman is) a third-year quarterback and we trust him,” Upper Perk coach Tom Kontz said. “He can throw the fastball and he can take a little off of it.
“He gets to the line, sees things and we let him audible. He did that a number of times tonight.”
In all Hallman finished 10-for-20 for 164 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Whary also played a big role in the Indians victory. The bruising runner carried the ball 26 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Whary’s score came from two yards out and put Upper Perk ahead, 19-0, in the third quarter.
Upper Merion scored its first points with 3:31 left in the game on a three-yard Kyle Smith run to cut its deficit to 11, 19-8.
Hallman responded with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Keyser Tyler to seal the victory.
The Vikings touchdown was its first score after getting shutout in the previous two games.
“We’re just banged up up front,” Vikings coach Hal Smith said. “It’s not an excuse (for not scoring). We haven’t had a starting o-line consistent for two games in a row yet this year. We have to keep fighting and figure out.”
A highlight for Upper Merion was defensive lineman Mark Picariello. He seemed to be all over the field for the Vikings defense and even intercepted a shuffle pass inside his own 10 yard line to save points.
Upper Merion QB JP Batten threw for 166 yards and the team’s leading rusher was Zach DeSanto, who ran for 51 yards. DeSanto’s biggest play of the day was a 46-yard scamper in the second quarter, but the drive ended with zero points when a 26-yard field goal sailed wide left.
Upper Perk improves to 2-0 in league play with the win. Hontz said the team is already focusing on its big test with Pottsgrove next weekend.
Upper Merion falls to 0-2 with the loss.
“We have to win next week (at Pope John Paul II),” Smith said. “We have to focus and figure it out.”