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Phoenixville hosts Upper Merion in must-win matchup

The PAC field is settled. Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove will meet for the inaugural Pioneer Athletic Conference Championship next Friday.

Any intrigue left in Week 9?  You bet.

Phoenixville, ranked No. 18 in the recent District 1 Class 5A power rankings desperately needs a win to keep their district playoff hopes alive as Upper Merion comes to the land of purple and white Friday night.

Class 4A provides the same. Pottstown and Pope John Paul II enter Saturday’s contests tied for fourth, the last playoff position. The Trojans host Upper Perkiomen, a team they haven’t beaten three of last four years. Meanwhile, PJP hosts Pottsgrove, a team they haven’t come close to beating in the school’s history.

Phoenixville's Matt Garcia breaks through the Upper Perkiomen secondary en route to a 64-yard touchdown run during the first quarter. (Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

Phoenixville’s Matt Garcia breaks through the Upper Perkiomen secondary en route to a 64-yard touchdown run earlier this season. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Phoenixville looks to continue riding Garcia

Phoenixivlle’s Matt Garcia comes into Friday’s contest as the school’s single-season leading rusher with 1,416 yards on 189 attempts. He continues to be a workhorse for the Phantoms (1-3 PAC, 3-5 overall), even in losses. The senior back torched Pottsgrove’s top-five run defense for 201 yards. Friday he faces an Upper Merion (1-3, 2-6) team that’s allowed an average of 170 rushing yards per game. Watch out.

Prediction >> Phoenixville gets needed victory, wins 21-14.

Perkiomen Valley, Spring-Ford look to continue dominance

Methacton’s run in the PAC has had its upside … just not against Perkiomen Valley. The Warriors (2-2, 2-6) are 0-8 in the “Battle Ax” game since the team entered the conference and haven’t beat Perkiomen Valley since a 35-13 win in 1993 capped a four-game win steak over their neighboring rival. Don’t look for the streak to end, as Perkiomen Valley (4-0, 8-0) comes in Friday firing on all cylinders. Senior wide receiver Justin Jaworski needs 45 yards to eclipse 1,000 for the second-straight season.

Perkiomen Valley's Stephen Sturm breaks through the line en route to a touchdown run during the second quarter. (Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

Perkiomen Valley’s Stephen Sturm breaks through the line en route to a touchdown run against Boyertown. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Spring-Ford (3-1, 6-2) boasts a similar streak as the Rams haven’t lost to Owen J. Roberts (2-2, 4-4) since 2009. The Rams host the Wildcats Saturday at 2 p.m. for the team’s Homecoming. Senior defensive end Tanner Romano needs two tackles for loss to tie his brother Mason’s mark of 19, set in 2012.

Predictions >> Perkiomen Valley extends streak, wins 35-14; Spring-Ford does the same, tops OJR 31-13.

Daniel Boone makes trek to Gettysburg

The Blazers (2-2, 3-4) make the long trek to Gettysburg to face a Warrior (3-1 York Adams II, 4-3 overall) squad that has won three of its last four games. Daniel Boone receiver Ryan Okuniewski comes in ranked No. 4 in the Berks Conference with 26 receptions for 416 yards.

Prediction >> Gettysburg keeps it going, wins 28-27.

Pottstown looks to leapfrog Pope John Paul II

PJP’s three-game win streak seemed to put the Golden Panthers on a trail to the district playoffs. Now, after two straight losses to Upper Merion and Upper Perkiomen, the team is deadlocked with Pottstown for the No. 4 seed in the District 1 Class 4A race. Both PJP and Pottstown face two heavyweights in the Frontier Division. PJP has Pottsgrove, a team that’s scored 55 or more points in the last two games and is seeking to give head coach Rick Pennypacker his 225th win, while Pottstown has Upper Perk, which ranks No. 3 in the PAC in total offense (371.8). This race will be the one to watch the next two weeks.

Sam Stewart - Digital First Media Pottstown’s Isaiah Mayes runs through an arm tackle before being brought down by Sun Valley’s AJ Basht (58). (Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

Pottstown’s Isaiah Mayes runs through an arm tackle before being brought down by Sun Valley’s AJ Basht (58). (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Predictions >> Pottsgrove escapes PJP, 42-20; Upper Perkiomen passes past Pottstown 28-12.

Boyertown looks to snap skid

The Bears (1-3, 2-6) are the first team to be shut out in three straight league losses since 2006. They travel to Norristown (0-4, 0-8) to face an Eagle team that’s struggled to score all season, averaging 11 points per game.

Boyertown's Hunter Vogels is congratulated by teammate Ryan Zern after a long touchdown run in the second quarter against Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog - Digital First Media)

Boyertown’s Hunter Vogels is congratulated by teammate Ryan Zern after a long touchdown run in the second quarter against Upper Perkiomen earlier this season. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Prediction >> Boyertown snaps scoreless streak in first, tops Norristown 21-16.

Elsewhere in the area

The Hill tries to snap its four-game losing streak at Blair Academy (3-3) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Blair made news in late August as it held a three-team no-tackle scrimmage in order to protect its 35 players for the duration of the season.

Perkiomen School hosts Wyoming Seminary Saturday at 1 p.m. and will try to extend its winning streak to five games.

Before PJP’s Homecoming game, the school is dedicating the end zones to two coaches from PJP’s Legacy schools. The end zones will be dedicated to Coach Jim Mich, from St. Pius X and Coach Chris Bockrath, from Kennedy-Kenrick. Mich will be present along with members of the Bockrath family. Bockrath passed away at the age of 48 in 1997. The ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m.

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