BOYERTOWN >> At Friday night’s halftime ceremony, Boyertown High School celebrated Homecoming without naming a “King.”
Turns out there was no need. Declan Coyle would seize the crown about an hour later on the field.
The kicker nailed his first career field goal attempt from 24 yards away with four seconds remaining to give the Bears an upset victory over visiting Owen J. Roberts (5-2, 1-2 PAC), 24-21.
Coyle’s kick capped a furious comeback by a Bears team (2-1 PAC, 2-5 overall) that to this point of the season had struggled to finish at the end of games.
“We needed to be able to play four quarters, we stressed it at halftime,” said Boyertown coach TJ Miller. “We were not going to let another game get away, and [the way we won] is a testament to the incredible heart of these guys I’m coaching.”
Boyertown trailed most of the fourth quarter after OJR’s Hunter Scherfel gave his squad the lead with a 42-yard scamper — the second of his two TD runs — towards the end of the third quarter. However, the Bears survived a late fumble, getting the ball back in time for Ayden Mathias to find Jamie Moccia over the middle for a 52-yard score to knot the game at 21 with 1:16 to play.
After a quick OJR three-and-out, Mathias found Jerry Kapp on consecutive pass plays to cross midfield with 35 seconds left. A pass interference call extended the Bears’ drive, and a Mathias scramble plus a personal foul on the defense set the stage for Coyle’s heroics.
“I don’t even know what to say,” admitted the first-year kicker. “This time last year, I was watching these games (from the stands)… now I’m being mobbed by my teammates. I’m so happy I was able to create this memory with these guys.”
Coyle admitted the offense’s late heroics made his job a little easier.
“Kickers miss kicks, they make mistakes,” he said, “but I knew even if I missed, we’d go to overtime. It did help me relax.”
The Wildcats entered play Friday night tied with Coatesville for the District 1 lead in fewest points allowed per contest in the 2017 season (9.1 PPG). However, Boyertown established the run early with its’ three-headed backfield monster of Marcus Thomas and the Moccia brothers, Nick and Jamie. The Bears put up 383 yards on the evening; 255 of them coming on the ground.
Each Moccia brother ripped off a 20-plus yard run on the Bears’ first scoring drive, with Nick providing the capper, a 5-yard TD carry. On the ensuing kickoff, however, OJR’s Hunter Hinrichs took the ball all the way to Boyertown’s 22, before Dawson Stuart opened the second quarter by connecting with Sean Praweckyj from 20 yards out to even the score at 7.
Jamie Moccia wasted no time matching his brother’s 1st quarter score with a 65-yard dash of his own to put Boyertown back in front early in the second stanza. Jamie accounted for 116 of the Bears’ 193 first-half rushing yards.
Just before the half, however, Praweckyj made a sensational leaping grab inside the Boyertown 5 to set up a short run by Hunter Scherfel to knot the score at 14. Boyertown threatened again, but OJR stood tall in the red zone and headed into halftime with momentum.
“There are a lot of positives we can take from tonight,” concluded OJR coach Rich Kolka. “Disappointing outcome, but we will move forward. We still have a great shot at the playoffs and a lot of football ahead of us.”
The playoffs may not be in the cards for Boyertown this season, but now they have a signature moment for their 2017 season.