GRATERFORD >> Eighteen years had passed since Perkiomen Valley’s last home district playoff win.
It comes as no surprise this senior class was the one to snap the drought.
Senior wide receiver Justin Jaworski shattered his own Pioneer Athletic Conference single-season receiving record and finished with three of the team’s seven total interceptions as the Vikings ran away with a 55-28 victory over No. 14 Penn Wood in the District 1 Class 6A opening round Friday night at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
Jaworski, who missed three games after injuring his knee in Week 4’s victory over The Haverford School, bested his previous record of 1,195 yards. He now sits at 1,203 yards.
“It’s awesome to get the record again, especially after getting hurt earlier this season,” Jaworski said. “I thought my season was over to be honest. To get that was awesome. But the record is just a testament of how great my teammates are. (Stephen) Sturm is a great quarterback. He’s the reason I have all my yards and the offensive line has always been great for us.”
The Vikings, who boast a 15-2 home record the past three seasons, won a district playoff game in front of their home crowd for the first time since a 48-14 victory over Lansdale Catholic in the Class AAA playoffs in 1998. Perkiomen Valley (11-0 overall) will host No. 6 Downingtown East in next Friday’s second round contest.
“That’s quite the accomplishment,” Perkiomen Valley senior receiver Sean Owens said when told about the Vikings’ new feat. “We won the PAC against a great Pottsgrove team but this is a new season; lose one game and your season was over. We wanted to get a high seed to play in front of our home fans. We did that. We just need to keep it rolling.”
Friday night’s loss marked the end of a resurgent year for Penn Wood under third-year head coach Nick Lincoln. The Patriots, winners of only five games in the past five seasons, finished up with a 7-4 overall record and the team’s first district playoff berth since the 2010 season.
“This group of guys over the past three years that I started coaching here has fought so hard and they bought in to what we wanted to do as a program,” Lincoln said. “They are going to set the legacy. We’ll be back here, we’ll be back in the District 1 playoffs. Our program understands how to win now but we just need to fix the little things.”
Running back Answered Gleplay finished with a game-high 140 yards rushing on 15 carries with Tyreem Welton adding another 52 yards on 14 carries. Receiver Rahiem Bowens hauled in six passes for 77 yards, his two scores in the first half keeping Perkiomen Valley from running away early.
Seven interceptions, however, was just way too much to overcome.
Matt Ford-Bey and Jaworski finished with three interceptions apiece for a Vikings defense that had its hiccups, allowing Penn Wood to keep it close late in the second quarter after a busted coverage allowed Bowens to spring free wide open on a flag route for what may be the easiest 40-yard touchdown he’s scored to make it 21-14. The defense then lapsed again in the third as Welton caught a swing pass and broke three tackles before tip-toeing the sideline to make it 34-20.
Yet for any hiccup, the Vikings defense was always there to answer. Penn Wood followed up three of its touchdown drives with interceptions on its next possession and couldn’t claw back into the game after the team’s sixth interception led to PV’s David Williams’ seven-yard touchdown run to make it 55-28 late in the fourth.
“Seven picks, that’s great, but we’re going to have to do it again next week,” Ford-Bey said. “That was a great team that we played that was extremely athletic.”
“At the beginning of the season I think a lot of our d-backs were a little shaky,” Jaworski said. “It’s nice to see the progression throughout the year. Tonight we weren’t perfect. I let up a touchdown and we had a busted coverage, but it’s awesome to see that we’re getting better each week.”
Senior quarterback Stephen Sturm finished with a game-best 213 passing yards with seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rushing). Senior running back David Williams rushed for 96 yards on 12 carries with a score while Brendan Schimpf finished with 56 yards receiving and two touchdowns for a Vikings squad that scored on eight of its 12 total drives.
Rasheed May finished with the Vikings’ other interception.