LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Trailing by 10 points at the half, Pottsgrove turned up their level of play in the second half in what quickly became a shootout with visiting Phoenixville on Friday night.
Pottsgrove, which celebrated its Senior Recognition Night, came away with a 56-37 victory, outscoring the Phantoms 42-13 during the second half at Rick Pennypacker Field. The Falcons clinched the Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division title for the Falcons (4-0 PAC, 6-2 overall).
“You don’t see many games like that on this field,” said Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker. “It was a great game. There were a lot of weapons out there. Give Phoenixville credit. They played well. The first half we were very, very bad. It was probably the worst half of football we’ve played in 20 years with mistakes, fumbles and penalties.”
The contest also featured some outstanding individual performances by some of the top athletes in the league. Pottsgrove junior Rahsul Faison piled up 242 yards rushing on 31 carries, which included four touchdowns. Three of them came during the second half. Faison surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau for the season by gaining 109 yards in the first half alone, which included a 55-yard touchdown scamper on his first attempt of the evening.
Pottsgrove also got some got good gains from Jason Colbert, Avery Grant and quarterback Ryan Finn in a diverse showing. Kobey Baldwin had a couple of long kick returns that helped spark the Falcons down the stretch.
Phoenixville (1-3, 3-5) countered with its own star running back. Senior Matt Garcia chalked up 201 yards rushing on 26 tries, including a pair of long scoring runs that covered 77 yards on the first play from scrimmage to start the game and then a 61-yard burst during the second half.
Nasir Green grabbed five passes from quarterback Troy Rossman for 94 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Green also returned an interception 50 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.
“It was an unbelievable game,” raved Phoenixville’s third-year coach Evan Breisblatt. “You see how much this program has grown in the last two years. We gave Pottsgrove all they could handle. The second half they played well, but I am so proud of my kids.”
Finn flipped touchdown passes to Bailey Delp of 11 yards in the first quarter and then 38 yards to Adam Girafalco in the fourth quarter.
Phoenixville safety Bob Strunk scored on a 50-yard return of a fumble recovery that was created by Garcia.
Phoenixville junior placekicker Nick Sinapius contributed a 22-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Phantoms their 24-14 lead at the break. The first period ended with a 14-14 deadlock.
Breisblatt was especially pleased to see Phoenixville play so well in a road game against a team like Pottsgrove after the Falcons dismantled the Phantoms the past two years in Phoenixville.
Pennypacker viewed it as mistakes by his team that resulted in points by Phoenixville..
NOTES >> Pottsgrove honored 10 senior football players, eight senior cheerleaders and 11 senior band members in pre-game ceremonies. … It was also Pink Out Night at Pottsgrove Stadium’s Rick Pennypacker Field. … The Falcons got some key defensive plays from Desmond Austin, Nehemiah Collins, Tyler Smith, Michael Dickey and Ryan Bodolus. … Dickey and Smith posted second-half sacks.