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Perkiomen Valley vs Spring-Ford

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Recap

ROYERSFORD >> The athletic rivalry between Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford is fast becoming one of the most storied in all of District 1. In fact, an author could fill a book with tales of the twists and turns of Friday night’s football game alone.

The Rams’ faithful may want to skip the last few chapters.

Perkiomen Valley staged a furious comeback at Coach McNelly Stadium Friday night, scoring the game’s final 24 points in the last 12:41, including Jon Moccia’s 20-yard TD run with 1:47 to play, stunning Spring-Ford and a capacity crowd with a 27-20 win to clinch the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division for the third consecutive year.

Spring-Ford quarterback Ryan Engro cuts into a running lane as Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Lomonaco pursues. (MJ McConney – Digital First Media)

“I don’t know what to say,” said an emotional Rob Heist, head coach of Perkiomen Valley. “Our defense was incredible all night — we put them in some tough positions with turnovers, and you can’t do that against a team as good as Spring-Ford.”

The Vikings’ defense would turn the tables, getting their own offense good field position for the late rally.

Perkiomen Valley (7-2, 5-0 PAC Liberty) advances to next Friday’s PAC championship game at undefeated Pottsgrove, attempting to claim their third straight PAC championship.

Rivalries have ways of making unlikely heroes. Bucky Dent and Dave Roberts are a pair that comes to mind this time of year. Now, the SF/PV rivalry has one of their own in Ethan Kohler.

Perkiomen Valley’s Jacob Sturm (33) takes a carry after receiving the handoff from quarterback Ethan Kohler. (MJ McConney – Digital First Media)

Pressed into action late in the second quarter, the Vikings’ freshman quarterback shook off early jitters to finish with 138 yards and a late TD pass that tied the contest before Moccia’s deciding points.

“I was in a situation with a bunch of great guys around me,” said Kohler. “Offensive line, receivers, our running backs… this is an amazing team and a great situation for me.”

Cole Peterlin, the Vikings’ starting QB, wouldn’t allow such modesty toward Kohler. “This kid is a beast,” said the starter who left in the second quarter after aggravating an ankle injury. “He’s gonna be unreal for the next three years — he’s got what it takes.”

Moccia’s deciding TD came on the heels of a pass interference penalty that may be long debated between fans from both sides. On 4th and 14, Kohler threw a jump ball for Domine, double covered down the right sideline. Was it the right call? Hard to say, but it did take an extra second for the flag to emerge from the referee’s pocket.

Perkiomen Valley’s Jon Moccia (4) is tackled from behind by a Spring-Ford defender. (MJ McConney – Digital First Media)

Regardless, Perk Valley made it a moot point, dominating up front and overwhelming the Rams at the point of attack, freeing Moccia who broke through a tackle at the goal line for the deciding score with 1:47 to play.

“That,” said Moccia, “was all the offensive line. I don’t even deserve to share the credit!”

The night started slowly for both offenses, but PV capitalized, forcing an early punt then embarked on a 19-play, 72-yard drive that appeared destined to yield seven points when Cole Peterlin found Jon Moccia for a first down at the SF 3. The Rams defense stiffened, however, stopping a Jacob Sturm dive and two Peterlin keepers to force a 23-yard Brayden Basile field goal.

It was the closest PV would come for the remainder of the half. But for a while, neither offense could get much traction, until Rams’ senior LB Nick DelRomano changed the early complexion of the contest.

Facing 3rd and 5 at his own 13, Peterlin tried to thread a tight needle along the sideline to extend the drive. DelRomano wasn’t fooled, however, leaping in front of the pass and keeping his feet in bounds to give the Rams the ball at the PV 21.

Spring-Ford quarterback Ryan Engro runs to the outside as he’s pursued by Perkiomen Valley’s Jake Sterling. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

One play later, Ryan Engro found Dante Bonanni across the middle at about the 10-yard line, with Bonanni doing the rest to give SF their first score—and lead—at 7-3.

The first of Nathaniel Orkfritz-Robinson’s three sacks ended the ensuing PV drive—and may have played a role in ending the night of PV’s Peterlin. The quarterback, who played on gamely since a Week 5 ankle injury, was forced from the game following the play, unable to return.

Undeterred, Engro hit Bonanni for a 29-yard gain down the left sideline on the prettiest pass of the evening. Three plays later, the junior QB drew in the front end of PV’s defense on a mesh with Stephen Brill, but pulled the ball and ran up the middle untouched for a 22-yard score and a double-digit Rams halftime lead, 14-3.

The Vikings’ hope appeared to dissipate after half, as an errant snap past Kohler was recovered by DelRomano at the Perk Valley 4. From there Andrew Yoon powered through a host of PV tacklers and into the end zone for a 20-3 Rams advantage.

Spring-Ford’s Noah Baker leaps after making a catch over the middle against Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Yoon wasn’t finished, intercepting Kohler on the very first play of the ensuing drive. The Rams were set up on the PV 27, poised to put a cherry on top on a dominant performance. But it was PV linebacker Malik Smith who came up with a big hit to thwart that drive, the first of his two big game-changing plays. Suddenly, a turnover on downs gave PV the ball back. With three minutes to play in the third quarter, everything was about to change.

“Defense — we call ourselves the Hit Squad,” smiled Smith. “Heads-up football, secure the tackle. At that point it was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’”

Another Basile field goal, this one from 29 yards, brought PV within two touchdowns by the end of the third.

A big stand by the PV defense got the Vikings the ball back at SF’s 48, where Kohler came to life, starting the fourth by leading PV’s best drive to that point of the half, culminating in his own five-yard keeper around right tackle to close the gap to 20-12 with eight minutes to play.

As Spring-Ford tried to run clock, senior LB Smith made big play number two,forcing and recovering a fumble at the SF 35. After a Jacob Sturm eight-yard run, Kohler would find leading receiver Isaiah Domine, who’d been quiet all night, down the right sideline for a leaping 27-yard score. After Jon Moccia’s two-point conversion, the game, suddenly, incredibly, was knotted at 20.

“Isaiah’s a great receiver,” said Kohler. “A lot of our offense goes through him for that reason.”

With the game tied, PV’s defense stood tall once more, before the offense embarked on a 92-yard, game-deciding drive that started with Jacob Sturm’s (12 rushes, 115 yards) 51-yard scamper. The ensuing play to Domine and a timely penalty set the stage for Moccia.

Spring-Ford had one last chance, but PV’s tight coverage and pressure forced four straight Ryan Engro incompletions, the last a deep attempt down the seam for Noah Baker. As the ball struck the turf, the PV sideline and student section leapt for joy.

“I’m just so proud,” said Heist. “They never gave up. All respect to Spring-Ford, they always play us tough.”

For the defeated Rams (7-2, 4-1 PAC Liberty), there’s still plenty on the line next week when they travel to either Pope John Paul II or Upper Merion (depending upon the result of that game Saturday.) But the sting of Friday night will be difficult to leave in the past.

“The second half was awful,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “I don’t know, we seemed to take our foot off the pedal. Bad reads, big mistakes. It wasn’t good, and I don’t understand it.”

Both teams came into the night in the top 10 of District 1 Class 6A, and remain in the running to host a first-round game.

Details

Date Time League Season
October 19, 2018 7:00 pm PAC 2018

Results

Team1234OTT
Perkiomen Valley30321027
Spring-Ford01460020

Perkiomen Valley

Player Comp Att Yds TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM
Cole Peterlin4113501932000000000
Jacob Sturm0000012115000000000
Zach Lomonaco0000000000000000
Randy Washington0000000000001000
Malik Smith II0000000000000000
Austin Rowley00000180478000000
Isaiah Domine00000000250100000
Mike Dougherty00000000228000000
Doug Lingo0000000000000000
Brayden Basile0000000000000122
Logan Holloway0000000000000000
Jon Moccia0000013751217000000
Mason Thompson0000000000000000
Ethan Kohler618138118-5000000000
Nick Beaudoin0000000000000000
Jason Posner0000000000000000
Team000001-24000000000
Kevin Beattie0000000000000000
Brett Kuiken0000000000000000
Total10291731244201110173101122

Spring-Ford

Player Comp Att Yds TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM
Ryan Engro1129132111963100000000
Dante Bonanni00000000573100000
Nick Uba0000000000000000
Stephen Brill000009500111000000
Juantoni Browne0000000000000000
Armante Haynes0000000000000000
Nick Teets0000000018000000
Blaise Scarcelle00000000313000000
Joe Colletta0000000000000000
Ryan Kolander0000000000000000
Noah Baker00000000127000000
Andrew Yoon00000211100001000
Nick Delromano0000000000001000
James Albert0000000000000000
Alex Koretke0000000000000000
Cory Smith0000000000000000
Grant Sillyman0000000000000000
Taylor Smith0000000000000220
Total11291321130124211132102220