Boyertown grinds out 21-12 win over Pottstown

POTTSTOWN — Much like his Boyertown football teammates, Lawrence Garnett has made great strides since the beginning of the season.

When the Bears opened the season by being blanked in a 28-point loss to Exeter, Garnett was the proverbial deer in the headlights.

Saturday afternoon, though, the 6-foot-1, 189-pound junior seemed quite comfortable in the spotlight.

Garnett ran for a game-high 71 yards and two touchdowns — including a momentum-shifting (and highlight-reel) 8-yard scramble early in the fourth quarter — and also threw for another score to help the Bears turn away Pottstown 21-12 in a Pioneer Athletic Conference encounter at Grigg Memorial Field.

“My teammates are making it easy for me,’ Garnett said. “I have faith that my line will block, the running backs will carry out their fakes and the wide receivers will catch whatever I throw to them.’

And first-year Boyertown coach George Parkinson, in turn, has faith Garnett will continue to keep making the right decisions.

“I’d say he’s improved dramatically, not only physically but mentally,’ Parkinson said. “He’s improved in every aspect of his position, no doubt about it. He’s matured and he’s only going to get better. He’s really come a long way, and we’re really pleased with where he’s at.’

Parkinson was also pleased with the play of the offensive line, as Aaron Kratz, Mason Breyer, Alex Beidler, Shawn O’Donnell and 6-3, 310-pound Mike Banks paved the way for two extended second-half drives that ended in Garnett TDs — the second a 2-yard run providing the final margin with 1:36 remaining in the contest as the Bears improved to 3-2 in league play and 3-3 overall.

“We saw that they were getting tired in the third and fourth quarters,’ Parkinson said, “so we started pounding the ball — just old-fashioned football.

“The bottom line is, we’ll keep running it. If they’re giving it to us, we’ll keep taking it. If we’re doing well and blocking well on a certain play or something, we’ll keep running it. There’s no sense mixing it up.’

“They took advantage of their size a little bit,’ said Pottstown coach Don Grinstead, who had 10 players going both ways. “They’re big up front, and that starts to wear on you after a while.’

Pottstown (1-3, 2-4), which trailed 7-6 at the half, appeared to be in golden position to seize control of the game in the third quarter, when Gary Wise began a drive with a 22-yard run and cousin Bryant Wise followed with a 10-yard gain to move it to the Bears 33. But on a third-down run, Gary Wise injured his knee and had to miss the rest of the series.

On the next play, Bryant Wise somehow hauled in Brandon Tinson’s high-floating heave while prone on the ground for a 22-yard gain to the 8, but Dave Terry nailed Tinson for a four-yard loss on second down and back-to-back incompletions blunted the Trojans’ best chance to take the lead.

“We just made too many mistakes,’ said Don Grinstead, who saw an apparent TD run by Gary Wise nullified by a holding call earlier in the game. “We moved the ball OK, but then when we’d get in the red zone, we just didn’t get it done for whatever reason.’

To that point, the Potttsown defense — led by a lights-out effort from sophomore defensive lineman Ernest McCalvin — had pretty much held the Bears in check.

But with senior Mitch Warriner (11 carries, 65 yards) leading the way, Boyertown marched 90 yards on a 15-play drive.

Warriner, a 5-10, 210-pound senior playing for the injured Hunter Vogels (ankle), carried the ball seven straight times (six on sweeps to the right). Then, on a third-and-7 from the 8, the Trojans appeared to have Garnett under siege as he rolled to his right before he eluded several tacklers on the way to the end zone to put Boyertown up 14-6.

“Everyone on the sideline was saying, ‘ Go out of bounds, go out of bounds!’ recalled Boyertown safety/wideout Justin Siejk, “but he made something out of nothing and I think that changed the game.’

Still, Pottstown answered back with an 83-yard drive highlighted by Gary Wise’s 57-yard hookup with Aaron Diamond and culminating in Gary Wise’s 1-yard TD run that cut the deficit to 14-12 with 6:21 left. On the two-point conversion, however, Bryant Wise was stopped inches short of the goal line.

Boyertown then settled matters, taking over at its own 49 after recovering a squib kick. The Bears got critical third-down conversion runs from Warriner and Garnett sandwiched around a personal foul call on the Trojans before Garnett scored on a third-and-goal play to seal it.

“We came together as a team,’ Garnett said. “They couldn’t stop the run (in the second half), so we kept shoving it down their throats.’

“I was not too happy about the first half, but I was certainly happy with the way we came out in the second half and go the job done,’ said Parkinson.

With Gary Wise throwing for 197 yards and running for 70 yards, Bryant Wise amassing 119 receiving yards on three receptions and Diamond making three grabs for 79 yards, Pottstown outgained Boyertown 323-238. But it was the Bears who produced the game’s only two turnovers — a pair of interceptions by Siejk, who now leads the area with four picks.

“It’s extremely frustrating,’ Grinstead said. “It’s a bounce here or there that doesn’t go our way, but it’s our mistakes. We made a couple mistakes and we didn’t make a couple plays when we had the opportunity to, and that’s on us.

“We didn’t make them when it was time to make them, and then had a couple untimely undoings, and that always comes back to haunt you.’

Mike Murphy ran for 52 yards in a balanced rushing attack for the Bears, who won their third straight after a 1-2 start.

“We’re making progress every week,’ Garnett said. “We just have to keep doing that.’

“We’re a lot more disciplined,’ echoed Siejk. “We strive to become more disciplined every week, and we’re getting there.’


Thanks to a short field after recovering the opening kickoff on its own 49, Boyertown struck first when Garnett hit Dalton Hughes for a 22-yard TD cwith 7:05 left in the first quarter. … Pottstown got on the board when Bryant Wise turned a Gary Wise screen pass into a 72-yard TD that cut it to 7-6 with 1:39 left in the first half, but Gary Wise’s pass attempt on a fake on the PAT attempt was incomplete. … McCalvin had two sacks and Ronnie Fausnaught had one for Pottstown, while Warriner had 1.5 and Murphy a half-sack for Boyertown.

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