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Mercury-Area Week 8 Football Preview (Friday games)

Who wants some Saturday afternoon football?

Hopefully some hands are raised for Pioneer Athletic Conference fans because a season high three conference games will be played in the daylight hours, including the Mercury-Area Game of the Week: Upper Perkiomen at Pope John Paul II.

Saturday previews will come Friday night and will be in Saturday’s edition of The Mercury. For Friday’s games, here you are:

Click here for updated stats:  Team | Individual 

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

Each Falcons preview is starting to become redundant: Insert stat on star running back Rahsul Faison. Insert plug on offensive line that is looking strong as ever. Add another for a defense that continues to lead the PAC in nearly every stat category. In all seriousness, Pottsgrove (3-0, 7-0) is looking scary good as the regular season winds down, the Falcons outscoring their opponents 153-30 in their last three wins while recording a league-high three shutouts defensively. Faison sits at a district-high 1,679 yards on the ground with 23 touchdowns while Bailey Delp and Jimai Springfield are tied for fourth in the PAC with three interceptions. Phoenixville (1-2, 1-6) comes into Friday after recording its first win of the season. After a rough five-game stretch to start the year, Evan Breisblatt’s Phantoms have come on strong the past two weeks — taking an undefeated PJP team to overtime before exploding for a 41-6 win last week. The Phantoms will look to replicate their performance against the ‘Grove from last season, PHX holding a 24-14 halftime lead before eventually falling 56-37.

Kicking It >> Pottsgrove’s Nathan Kasper ranks second in the league with 40 points — all coming via extra point attempts. Phoenixville’s Nick Sinapius ranks fourth with 32 points (17 extra points and five field goals).

Prediction >> Pottsgrove 35, Phoenxville 16.

Bob Raines–Digital First Media
Methacton running back Mike Torcini breaks away from Norristown’s Malik Smith Oct. 7, 2017.

Owen J. Roberts’ Liberty Division hopes were levied a significant blow via the leg of Boyertown kicker Declan Coyle, who hit the game-winner in a 24-21 Wildcat loss. There’s still plenty for the Wildcats (1-2, 5-2) to play for as they head to Fairview Village ranked No. 15 in the 16-team District 1 Class 6A field. OJR’s defense still ranks No. 2 in the PAC in both total defense (181 ypg) and third in scoring defense (11.3), but will need its offense to come back into form. Since averaging 335 yards per game in the team’s 4-0 start, the OJR offense has struggled to move the ball, averaging 187 yards per game in a 1-2 stretch — its 52.3 yards coming through the air also a 100-yard decrease. Methacton (0-3, 0-7) will look to bounce back after being shut out for a fourth time this season in what ended up becoming a 35-0 loss to Norristown last Saturday. 

History lesson >> Owen J. Roberts is 1-6 against the Warriors in the past seven seasons, including a 14-12 loss last season. The Wildcats’ last victory over the Warriors came in 2015 in a dominating 47-7 victory that saw the team pile up 318 yards of total offense and limit Methacton to just 121 total yards.

Prediction >> Owen J. Roberts 28, Methacton 6. 

Pottstown running back Josiah Wiggins (12) tries to get to the outside on a carry as he’s pursued by Phoenixville’s Alex Washington (13). (Barry Taglieber – For Digital First Media)

Upper Merion (0-3, 0-7) visits Pottstown (0-3, 1-6) in a clash between the two bottom teams in the Frontier Division. The Vikings will look for some positives after being shut out for the fourth time this season in a 35-0 loss to Pope John Paul II. The same can be said for the Trojans, which have scored 12 points in its past two games — six in a 41-6 loss to Phoenixville last week and another six in a 49-6 loss to Pottsgrove in Week 6.

Staying Strong >> Pottstown’s Jamal Adams and Nehemiah Figueroa both look to continue their strong seasons. Adams ranks third in the PAC with 385 yards receiving on 20 receptions while Figueroa is third in the league in interceptions (four).

What to look out for >> If the previous seven games are an indication, look for a low-scoring contest. Upper Merion comes into Friday ranked 11th in the PAC with an average of six points per game. Pottstown is 10th at 10.0 ppg. Both offenses rank the same in total offense, Upper Merion at 137.4 yards per game and Pottstown at 199.0 ypg.

Prediction >> Pottstown 13, Upper Merion 8.

Perkiomen School plays the rare “home” game under the lights as the Panthers will call Upper Perkiomen’s Indians Stadium home for their contest against a 1-5 ANC squad. The Perk School (3-2 overall) comes into Friday’s tilt after a 53-14 loss to the Kiski School and will look to down the Lions for a third straight season. ANC is coming off its lone win of the season — a 23-9 victory over Bicentennial Athletic League’s Lower Moreland. Sophomore Devin Bryant was the standout in the win, rushing for 115 yards on 14 carries while hauling in four passes for 38 yards and a score.

Prediction >> Perkiomen School 24, ANC 21. 

The Blazers (2-1 Berks 1, 2-4) got back into the win column with a grind-it-out victory 28-21 over winless Fleetwood. The road gets a little tougher against a Reading squad (1-1, 1-5) that comes in after a 21-13 loss to Conrad Weiser in which the Knights let go of a 13-7 halftime lead. Still, history sides on Reading in Friday night’s tilt after the team has downed Boone in back-to-back years, a 32-13 victory last year following a 61-7 victory over the Blazers in 2015.

What to look out for >> Reading’s ground attack ranks third in Berks Conference, averaging 277.7 yards per game. The run-heavy offense features five backs with 400 rushing yards or more, including team’s leading rusher Jai Whitlock (1,341 yards on 182 attempts).

Prediction >> Reading 34, Daniel Boone 20.

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