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Putting it Behind: Owen J., Pope John Paul II and Upper Perk continue to build toward future success

As Owen J. Roberts, Pope John Paul II and Upper Perkiomen put the finishing touches on dominating victories, more was gained than another notch in the win column,

A 2-0 start may not appear as a notable feat during an arduous grind through a 10-week slate, but for these programs, it marked an end of three streaks that all three would likely want to forget as they continue their turnaround toward building a culture that exudes winning,

Fans have waited years. Same too, the programs.

For Upper Perkiomen, it’s the Indians’ first 2-0 start since finishing 8-4 in 2009, likewise for Owen J. Roberts, which also snapped an eight-year streak since starting 2-0 en route to an 11-2 finish. For Pope John Paul II, it was the Golden Panthers’ first 2-0 start in school history.

It may be a knee-jerk reaction to call them playoff teams, but statistics do play in their favor.

“Like Coach (Rich) Kolka says, the teams that go 2-0 in the first three games have an 80 percent better chance of making the playoffs,” OJR senior linebacker Brendan Krumenacker said before the Wildcats defeated Great Valley 20-8 on Friday night. “That’s what we’re going for now.”

So too, did each team’s performance Friday night.

The Wildcats’ defense lived up to its billing against a Great Valley team coming in hot after a Week 1 victory over Phoenixville. Six sacks became the main highlight of the night as Devan Banos, Aidan Hayward and Jake Puderbach made their home in the Patriots’ backfield, applying hurries on quarterbacks Damien Carter and Jake Prevost on nearly every pass play. Whenever they didn’t get to the quarterback, the secondary led by Sean Praweckyj and Matt Brownley was there to supply some shutdown coverage, each finishing with an interception. Krumenacker and Dawson Stuart stood out at linebacker, limiting Great Valley to 55 yards on the ground, 47stemming from Carter on scrambles — his longest of 23 yards coming on the game’s final drive.

“There is a lot of experience,” Kolka said of the defense. “They play well together, practice well, and they have a lot of leadership on there. They’re a tough group.”

Upper Perkiomen, coming off a huge victory over Boyertown in Week 1, did as expected and took control of an undermanned Kutztown squad en route to a 47-12 victory. Tyrese Reid nearly ran for more than 100 yards for the second-straight contest, finishing with 96 yards and two touchdowns on eight touches.

“I’ve read somewhere that a 2-0 start is a good path to get into the playoffs,” Upper Perkiomen coach Tom Hontz said. “And that is ultimately our goal.”

“We’ve put a lot of work into practice and have conditioned ourselves really hard,” quarterback Tyler Keyser said. “Our seniors are stepping up and we’re playing like we know how to.”

Upper Perkiomen’s seniors have played a major part in their turnaround. Same goes for PJP’s veteran class as the Golden Panthers routed Sun Valley 34-0 behind the efforts of seniors Ricky Bearden, Matt DeLaurentis and Dan Cirino. Bearden finished with three touchdowns, a 19-yard touchdown reception preempting a 42-yard touchdown reception before sealing his day with an 89-yard interception return to cap off the scoring.

Keep up the performances and these three will be in the playoffs. They’re not worried about that, yet, however. Week 3 is the only game on their mind.

“We need to keep focused on improving,” Bearden said. “We need to tackle and block better. We’re happy to be 2-and-0, but we want to keep it going.”

Pa Prep Live Top 20

St. Joseph’s Prep and Archbishop Wood stay at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. From there, however, the rankings received a major shakeup: Top 20 Rankings Here

Fantastic Faison

Pottsgrove running back and Stony Brook commit Rahsul Faison was explosive in Friday’s 56-0 victory over Methacton, rushing for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries … in the first half. Faison, who finished with a PAC-best 2,117 rushing yards last season, leads the league with 378 rushing yards on 41 attempts.

Fast Start

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media
Perk Valley’s Jon Moccia works to elude an Upper Dublin defender September 1, 2017.

Perkiomen Valley erupted for 28 first-half points en route to a 31-9 victory over Upper Dublin. Cole Peterlin was 20-of-28 for 166 yards – 121 in the first half – and two touchdowns while Jon Moccia ran 14 times for 77 yards and two scores as the Vikings, ranked No. 7 in this week’s PAPL Top 20, won their first two games for the third straight season.

Battle at Kottemyer

Garvey Jonassaint Scores in the fourth quarter. (MICHAEL REEVES)

In a battle between two of the Top 10 teams in the Pa Prep Live Top 20, No. 8 Downingtown East’s offensive exploded en route to a 61-44 victory over No. 7 North Penn. The Cougars’ (2-0) Brassir Stocker rushed for 150 yards on just 14 carries as the game saw five lead changes in the first half. The Cougars took control in the second half, scoring 27-unanswered points at the end of the first half and into the third quarter to come away with the win.

Wild Comebacks

Unionville’s Joe Zubillaga

Unionville came away with the comeback of the young season, scoring two touchdowns in the final one minute and 49 seconds to stun Academy Park 23-20. A huge defensive play by cornerback Dante Graham, who stripped the football from Knights’ quarterback Skylor Fillis with a minute remaining, was a critical piece to the comeback as it allowed quarterback Alex Gorgone to hit Joe Zubillaga for a 31-yard score with 23.1 seconds left.

Hatboro-Horsham also came away with a dramatic victory this week, toppling Central Bucks East 21-17 via a Chris Edwards 57-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining.

Player of the Week

Pottsgrove’s Rahsul Faison breaks free from the line during the first half. (Sam Stewart- Digital First Media)

Rahsul Faison, Pottsgrove >> Stated above, Faison went off in Friday’s victory and put some gap between him and the rest of the rushers in the league.

Coach of the Week

Rory Graver, Pope John Paul II >> The Golden Panthers have started 2-0 for the first time in school history and did so with a dominating 34-0 victory over a Sun Valley squad that bested them 40-25 last season.

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