PHOENIXVILLE >> At this point in the season, the Methacton football team is just trying to find their identity.
Beseaged by the injury bug and a lack of numbers, the consistency one would hope for just hasn’t been there. Add in the fact that the Warriors (0-3) were forced to play what was their home game at Phoenixville due to field issues with Methacton’s turf, and the issues have just been piling up.
Having to face a hungry and strong Central Bucks East team that itself had fallen to 0-2 on the season heading into Friday night’s non-league contest, didn’t help matters either.
Patriot quarterback Evan O’Donnell connected on 14 of 17 passes on the night for 167 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Jake Ventresca carried the ball 16 times for 115 yards and two scores as Central Bucks East cruised to a 41-0 victory over the Warriors.
“(The Patriots) were 0-2 and we were 0-2, and they made the playoffs last year, so I am sure they were saying to themselves that ‘hey, we have to go out strong tonight and have a statement game and get us back into the picture,’” Methacton head coach Paul Lepre said. “We are still trying to find ourselves. We’ve been bit a bit by the injury bug, and that is no excuse, but the same 11 haven’t been on the field together, and we are trying to piece things together by position, and it takes a while to gel. We just haven’t had that kind of opportunity.”
The Warriors struggled offensively from the opening kickoff, managing just 11 yards of total offense in the first half, and were held without a first down until 6:06 left in the first half. Defensively, Methacton didn’t fare much better, as the Patriots seemed to have their way in picking up all 41 points in the first half of play.
Quarterback Dylan Schultz finished the night going just 4-for-10 for 32 yards pass and an interception, while running back Athaniel Cougle carried the ball 15 times for 26 yards.
“If you want to take a moral victory from it, we came out an shut them out in the second half,” Lepre said of his team’s late-game effort against Central Bucks East. “We moved the ball a little bit, and we just have to watch film and see where we can make improvements and let the guys self-evaluate and come out with goals next week and going forward.”
Matters were made even worse by the fact that Methacton had to play their home game at Phoenixville due to what Methacton Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe said in a statement released on the district web site was an issue with metal filaments discovered in the turf during a routine cleaning of the facility.
In his statement, Zerbe noted that “while the amount of filaments (discovered in the turf) are not considered significant, they were not anticipated.
“In an abundance of caution, we decided to temporarily stop field use. We sought engineering and manufacturer assistance and have determined that it is unlikely there is a problem with our fields. However, since we are dealing with the safety of our children, we will take additional steps to deep clean these fields this weekend and on Monday and take subsequent analysis to confirm our current understanding,” Zerbe said.
Methacton Athletic Director Paul Spiewak confirmed Zerbe’s comments and said he is hopeful that all Methacton fall sports programs will be able to resume normal activities on the turf fields at some point next week.
He was also quick to thank Phoenixville and, in particular, Athletic Director Matt Gionta for the assistance provided in making the transition to Washington Field for the game an easy one.
“It is incredibly comforting to know that we have the ability to call on another district in our league when needed,” Spiewak said. “When we were going through our construction, Phoenixville was very good to use and let us use their fields. But, at the last second, not only did Matt give up his Friday night with an assistant of his as well, but there was water for the officials, water for the coaches, water for everybody in the pressbox; everything was set up on the field. The locker rooms were top-notch and there were signs everywhere. I mean, it was so meticulous and to make us feel welcome during a time of need, I am just very grateful to know that a school in our league and an athletic office in our league would go out of their way so much to alleviate some of the stress that we were going through.”