BRYN ATHYN >> One man does not make a team, but one man can embody a team.
Case in point would be Perkiomen School quarterback Nicholas Guadarrama, who steadfastly refused to stay on the ground and stood as a rallying point for his teammates. Despite taking a lot of hits, Guadarrama made enough plays, throwing for 170 yards and three scores while rushing for another, to lead his team to a 28-13 win at Academy of the New Church on Saturday.
“(ANC) is a good team and their record does not show any indication of the type of team they are,” Perkiomen coach Tom Calvario said. “Some of the breaks went our way today and we capitalized on what we had to capitalize on. My hat is off to ANC, they gave it their all, we just happened to score a few more points than they did.”
ANC (1-5) started the game as well as possible, getting a big kick return from Kyle Mattison, then eating up the remaining 38 yards on four plays with Zahir Reed punching it in for a 15-yard score. After that drive, things stalled for the Lions, their offense hindered greatly by penalties and Perkiomen’s defense.
The Lions were tagged for nine penalties for 73 yards and the holds, delays and false starts hitting early in drives to derail the offense. ANC’s defense held its ground for a while, but playing mostly in its own half eventually wore down the Lions.
“Penalties will do that to you,” ANC coach Ty Klippenstein said. “Our game is predicated on being able to get five or six yards at a time and it changes significantly when it’s 1st-and-20 or 1st-and-15. It’s our fault and we have to get better at it.”
Early on, ANC put a beating on Guadarrama, sacking the Panthers (5-1) quarterback three times in the team’s first two drives. In all, Lions defenders sacked Guadarrama seven times, three of them courtesy of ANC linebacker Bryson McCurdy.
Perkiomen’s passing game had also been slow to start, with ANC applying so much pressure, but on the Panthers’ third drive, Guadarrama finally connected on a big gain, hitting Joshua Cruz for a 40-yard strike with 8:43 left in the first half. With no kicker, Perkiomen goes for two on every score, but didn’t get it on the first touchdown.
The Panthers did get two points after their second score, another passing strike from Guadarrama to Chandler Brooks on a 15-yard dart with 59 seconds left in the half. Guadarrama ran in for two, absorbing a big hit as he did so.
“He has been a blessing in disguise,” Calvario said. “Words can’t describe how we feel about Nick. A lot of heart, a lot of soul, a lot of guts and he showed it today.”
ANC had a good start to the second half, getting a stop on the opening drive, then marching down the field and getting in position to knot the score when Mattison charged in from seven yards out. The big play on the drive was a 41-yard pass from Matt McCabe to Kam Kitrells with Kitrells turning a short pass into a field-flipping gain.
Unfortunately for ANC, the Lions would not tie the game when the extra point hit off an upright, taking some air out of the team.
“I was all set to go for two then I switched it up and didn’t get it,” Klippenstein said. “We’re not getting the luck very much these days.”
ANC’s next drive was on the cusp of turning into something when Mattison was ruled a few agonizing inches short of the marker at the Lions’ own 42 on a 4th-and-2 run.
“I want to see that one on film,” Klippenstein said. “I thought he made it, it looked crystal clear, even when they spotted it. I thought the spot was generous for (Perkiomen) but looking at the sticks, the ball looked like it was in front of it.”
Perkiomen cashed in after a penalty when Guadarrama hit Brooks for a 47-yard touchdown to push the lead to 20-13 with 11:46 left. The Perkiomen defense got another stop by backing ANC deeper into its own end, then started on the Lions’ 37 after a nice punt return.
By keeping ANC pinned into its own end most of the game, the Panthers’ defense gave the offense, which featured many of the same guys, a lot of energy.
“It lifts the defense and it lifts the offense when they see the defense doing that,” Calvario said. “Most of our guys are going both ways but it’s that psychological momentum-type of thing. We made a good stop and let’s continue on and go score.”
So, Perkiomen went down and scored when Guadarrama capped off his day with a two-yard rushing score, then running in again for the two-point conversion.
“He loves to run the ball,” Calvario said. “We call a play and he always wants us to say its him as the one running the ball.”
Klippenstein said aside from the flags, his team’s biggest issue offensively was creating time for quarterback Matt McCabe. Much like Guadarrama, McCabe took a lot hits during the game but kept going back out to take the snap.
Unlike Guadarrama, who stands about 6-foot-5 and 206 pounds, McCabe is 6-foot, 155 pounds and the hits eventually took their toll.
With three games left to play in the season, ANC is looking to finish strong, but also stay healthy in doing so. The Lions have played as hard as possible in every game, but haven’t been rewarded in the win column.
“Losing even one guy for us means putting in a JV guy, probably a freshman who’s probably not ready,” Klippenstein said. “That’s the thing we’re going to have to contain. We have to be able to fight through, these guys have to be tough. The game’s great for that, it tells you who’s tough and who isn’t, but it’s tough to go out and fight and be tough and then not win.”
Perkiomen School 0 14 0 14 – 28
Academy of the New Church 7 0 6 0 – 13
ANC – Zahir Reed 15 run (Matt McCabe kick) 9:40
P – Joshua Cruz 40 pass from Nicholas Guadarrama(2-point fail) 8:43
P – Chandler Brooks 15 pass from Guadarrama (Guadarrama run) :59
A – Kyle Mattison 7 run (kick fail) 5:09
P – Brooks 47 pass from Guadarrama (2-point fail) 11:46
P – Guadarrama 2 run (Guadarrama run) 5:32
First Downs 10 7
Rushes-Yards 24-13 35-94
Passing 12-20-3-0 3-9-0-1
Passing Yards 170 42
Total Yards 183 136
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-30 9-73
Punting 4-31 4-25.8
Rushing: P – Nicholas Guadarrama 17-0, Steven Ratigan 4-4, Joshua Cruz 2-1, Chandler Brooks 1-8; ANC – Kam Kitrells 1-12, Kyle Mattison 19-109, Zahir Reed 6-13, Matt McCabe 7-(-41)
Passing: P – Guadarrama 12-19-3-0-170, Cruz 0-1-0-0-0; ANC – McCabe 3-9-0-1-42
Receiving: P – Cruz 7-84, Aidan O’Brien 3-24, Brooks 2-62; ANC – Kitrells 3-42
Interceptions: P – Guadarrama