POTTSGROVE >> Repetition is the key to perfection.
The Pottsgrove offensive line is all too familiar with it. However, under the guidance of head coach Rick Pennypacker, none of them complain.
They are seeing the results it provides.
“Coach Pennypacker’s a technique freak,” senior Ryan Cassidy said. “If you’re too high, you’re doing the play again. If you take the wrong step, you’re doing the play again. You keep doing it until you get it right.”
“This is what makes the team his,” senior Dylan Rolando added. “Having your offensive line get their technique down and making them the best that they can be, that’s what forms the team around us. Coach Pennypacker always says that it starts with the offensive line and we all believe that. We’re learning from one of the best.”
Pottsgrove enters the PIAA Class 4A first round with a clash against District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic Friday night at 7 p.m. at Northern Lehigh High School. The Falcons’ offensive line and the play of junior running back Rahsul Faison are a big reason why. Faison has rushed for 1,966 yards on 253 carries (7.8 yard per carry) and can become the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s first 2,000 yard rusher since Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Brumfield in 2010 and the first Pottsgrove player to accomplish the feat since Brent Steinmetz in 2001 (2,314 yards).
“He finds the open holes and makes that one cut and just goes,” junior Ephraim Hurt-Ramsey said. “It’s a 50-50 effort. We make the holes, he does the rest.”
“It feels good to know he’s getting close to 2,000 yards,” Cassidy said. “It means we’re doing a good job. We all take pride in knowing that what he’s doing is a product of what we’re doing.”
That’s not the only aspect they take pride in either. These kids love to hit.
“It’s pretty fun because you never know when someone will blitz. You have someone try to rush up the gap and you just put them right down,” Hurt-Ramsey said. “It’s fun banging heads every play. If you win that play, you’ll look good on film and everything else.”
“Every single play you get to knock people, try and pancake people every single time,” Parris Janusek, who moved from fullback to right guard prior to this season, added. “I love it.”
The offensive line gets a new challenge this week in perennial District 11 power Bethlehem Catholic (9-3). Becahi’s road to the PIAA tournament has been anything but a cakewalk. The Golden Hawks upset Central Catholic 39-33 — a team that had dismantled them by 34 three weeks prior — in the District 11 semifinals before winning its 11th district title with a 27-21 victory over Saucon Valley.
Becahi is led offensively by quarterback Javon Clements (1,317 passing yards, 16 touchdowns) and running back David Terry (1,371 yards), who rushed for more than 130 yards and a pair of scores in last week’s victory.
Yet, Pottsgrove has all the confidence they need after a thrilling come-from-behind 27-26 overtime victory over Interboro last week, a key defensive stop lifting the Falcons to their first district title since 2011.
“We had a great week of practice all of last week and then that game on Friday,” Hurt-Ramsey said. “That momentum has carried over into practice this week and I feel like that momentum is going to keep carrying over.”
“As a senior class, that was the first championship we ever won,” Rolando said. “We have something to prove. We’re not another class that hasn’t done anything. We’re something special as well.”
NOTES >> Pottsgrove’s last foray into the state playoffs was brief, the Falcons falling to Archbishop Wood 41-22 in the Class AAA playoffs in 2011. Wood went on to the win the state title, 52-0 over Bishop McDevitt.