RED HILL >> Upper Perkiomen’s offense was firing on all cylinders on Thursday night at Indian Stadium.
Mixing in a steady dose of quarterback Tyler Keyser, along with a hot-hand approach out of the backfield from the get-go, the Tribe were all over Upper Merion on the way to a 35-14 win.
“Enthusiasm, excitement — that carried the day for us,” said Upper Perk head coach Tom Hontz. “I was happy with the way we spread the ball around. We had a lot of contributors come in and make plays tonight. That’s good for the confidence of all our guys.”
With the win, Upper Perk improves to 2-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Frontier Division and 4-2 overall. The Vikings drop to 0-2 in the Frontier Division and 0-6 overall, despite ending their run of three straight games of being shut out.
Upper Perk was in full control from the start, racking up the game’s first 35 points in the first half then handing it off to the junior-varsity roster for the duration. The Tribe defense held Upper Merion to just 55 yards and three first downs in the first half, which also featured a pair of three-and-outs.
Keyser was impressive under center, completing 14 of his 16 passing attempts for 159 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown strike to Trevor Stephen just before the end of the first half. He also finished with a pair of rushing touchdown and 25 yards on the ground.
Bruising back Tyler Whary carried it nine times for 103 yards and a pair of scores while Austin Tutolo piled up 52 rushing yards on six carries.
Bo Duka pulled in five catches for 66 yards while Ryan Kendra made three catches for 37 yards.
“We’ve all been playing together for a long time,” said Keyser, who took over signal-calling duties for the first time this fall since he was an eighth grader. “This is what we expect to do every time we take the field. It’s just a matter of executing. We should do this every night.”
It was yet another frustrating night for Upper Merion head coach Victor Brown, still seeking his first career scholastic coaching win.
The Eagles couldn’t generate any sort of rhythm offensively, evidenced by quarterback Anthony Swenda’s 3-for-10 passing totals. Running backs Tyrese Leach and Dave Brown combined for 120 yards rushing while Leach and Michael Zelli accounted for late scoring runs.
“We’ve got six sophomore starting for us,” said Brown. “So we’ve been learning as the season goes on.”
Even amid the frustrating run, Brown is focused on the positives, trying to will his team to consistently improve each week.
“Every Saturday when we wake up, we’re 0-0,” he said. We can’t dwell on what happened, we’ll never get that back. We’ve just got to continue to work ahead and get better. I told these guys I only know one way to do it — we’re gonna come in, correct and prepare.”
Once again, the Tribe is rolling. Fresh off last week’s 44-20 win over Phoenixville, Upper Perk has put a forgettable two-game skid in the rearview mirror.
Now they shift focus to the task ahead — a powerful, unbeaten Pottsgrove team anchored by the area’s leading running back, Rahsul Faison.
“We didn’t want to look past this game,” admitted Whary of Thursday night’s matchup with Upper Merion, “but we knew that Pottsgrove is on the horizon. That’s what we’ve been working toward all year.”
Upper Perk’s last win over Pottsgrove came during the 2006 season, when the Tribe put together a 41-21 win. Both teams will put it all on the line next Friday, Oct. 6.
“We’ll be ready,” said Keyser.
NOTES >> Upper Perkiomen was hosting its annual Cancer Awareness Night. All proceeds from the game were being donated to local cancer charities around the area.