WEST NORRITON >> Rumor has it Spring-Ford’s Justin DeFrancesco owns real estate in the end zone. For as many times as the senior was in it Saturday, that’s the only possible explanation.
In total, the do-it-all back’s five touchdowns and 100-plus yard game on the ground was more than enough to help lift Spring-Ford to a 49-6 victory over host Norristown in both teams Pioneer Athletic Conference openers.
It marked the second straight game DeFrancesco finished with 100 yards or more on the ground. He finished with a game-high 163 yards on 16 attempts with four scores as he helped revive a Rams squad that struggled to turn it on through the first quarter-plus with two fumbles and a three and out. He figured in the Rams’ first three scores, a 12-yard touchdown reception and a 29-yard touchdown run on a counter in a span of two minutes giving the Rams a 21-0 lead late in the second.
DeFrancesco now ranks second in the PAC with 656 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns.
“We knew we just had to stay in the game and it would all come to us,” DeFrancesco said. “Our O-line really stepped up in the run block and the run scheme. We just stuck to our gameplan.”
“You got to get the ball into the hands of the guys who can make plays,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “Turnovers are something we have to clean up. We’re in league play now, so every week is important.”
Spring-Ford quarterback TJ Pergine had another productive day throwing for 163 yards and three scores, his most impressive coming on a strike to Dante Bonanni on a go route for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 28-0 before the half. DeFrancesco added five receptions for 56 yards and a score for a Ram offense that had five scoring drives that lasted less than two plays. Part of that plays credit to the Rams’ defense forcing three turnovers, including a blocked punt that led to the team’s second score.
“We know we have a lot of potential on this team and we haven’t even reached that potential yet,” DeFrancesco said. “We have a lot of people on our team that are just starting to be where they need to be. We’re all coming together.”
“We just need to put some drives together,” Brubaker said. “In a game like that, it’s good to score quickly, but I’d like to see us put some drives together.”
The result was never in question, but Norristown’s Izaiah Webb and receivers Boubacar Diawara and John Devine made enough plays to keep it interesting as the running clock was held off until the fourth quarter. Webb finished with 236 yards through the air with Diawara supplying seven receptions for 81 yards. Devine added three receptions for 49 yards and the team’s lone touchdown that capped a nine-play, 51-yard drive to open the second half. Norristown finished with 259 yards of total offense and were in danger of finishing with a negative total in rushing yards before Isaiah Tucker’s 30-yard run at the gun.
“We had them in advantageous down and distance situations and let them out of it,” Brubaker said. “Some of that is a credit to them and plays that they made and some of it is attributable to not doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”