ROYERSFORD >> For some, Sunday marked an end of a chapter.
For Perkiomen Valley’s Justin Jaworski and Pottsgrove’s Ryan Finn, Sunday marked the end of much more.
The two closed out their football careers in grand style in Sunday’s Pioneer Athletic Conference Senior Bowl, Jaworski hauling in a game-high nine receptions with Finn scoring a touchdown of his own en route to Team Freedom’s 35-13 victory over Team Independence at Spring-Ford’s Coach McNelly Stadium.
“I just tried to enjoy it,” Jaworski said. “Unless I decide to come out of retirement, this will probably be the last game I ever play. I just tried to enjoy every play, take it all in.”
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Finn added. “This whole game we were pretty competitive but at the end of the day, it was all just for fun. It was cool going against our teammates, getting to meet new people and getting to know the guys we banged heads with all year.”
The two made sure to make their last games on the gridiron memorable. Pottsgrove’s Finn came away with his first pick-six of his career, intercepting a pass from Team Independence’s quarterback late in the fourth quarter to cap off the scoring. The gunslinger, who plans on attending Penn State University in the fall, finished the day 3-for-5 for 65 yards and a score, his 14-yard connection with Spring-Ford’s Matt Gibson (11 carries for 26 yards; two receptions for 58 yards) giving Team Freedom a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
“It’s just really cool to get my first pick-six,” Finn said. “To get it in this last football game and to go out with a win was a cool experience.”
Jaworski, committed to play basketball at Division I’s Lafayette after earning Mercury All-Area Player of the Year honors in both football and basketball, finished with 92 receiving yards on nine receptions and a touchdown coming from the arm of Upper Perkiomen’s Zeke Hallman that was laid perfectly between two defenders … one being his Viking teammate Matt Ford-Bey.
“I burned him all year in practice so scoring a touchdown on the first drive felt good for me,” Jaworski said with a laugh.
“It was the second drive,” Ford-Bey, who will attend Kings’ College, replied.
Ford-Bey got his revenge, picking off a pass intended for Jaworski in the second half. The defensive back finished with a game-high three interceptions.
“We were 1-for-1, he got a touchdown on me, I got an interception on him, so we’re tied,” Ford-Bey said.
Upper Perkiomen’s Hallman finished off his high school career in fine form, tossing for 177 yards and two scores. His first score was the aforementioned pass to Jaworski, which gave Team Freedom a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. His second TD pass went to Pottsgrove’s Adam Girafalco, a 54-yard touchdown score that made it 28-13 in the fourth quarter. Girafalco finished with a game-high 93 yards receiving. He had four receptions.
Team Freedom’s Barry White (Norristown) also scored, his five-yard run on a toss sweep giving Team Freedom a 21-7 lead in the third. He finished with 21 yards on seven carries.
Spring-Ford’s Danny Cassidy also had an interception for Team Freedom.
Perkiomen Valley’s Stephen Sturm, off to Bentley College in the fall, finished with 46 yards passing and a touchdown for Team Independence. Phoenixville’s Matt Garcia, who sported a chrome visor in the game’s opening minutes, showed why he was recruited to play at Mount Union after a sensational 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that ended with a dive for the pylon. Perkiomen Valley’s Sean Owens finished with three receptions for 28 yards and a score.
Spring-Ford took home its fourth straight Underclassmen Skills Competition victory plaque in the Liberty Division, finishing first in the bench press (78 reps), quarterback combine and second in the kicking competition. Pottsgrove won first place in the Frontier Division, their first-place finish in the skill relay a determining factor. … Both Freedom and Independence started the game with a three-and-out and a fumble. … Team Freedom had 18 first downs to Independence’s four and outgained their opposition 277-40.