Daniel Boone, Exeter set to scrap for Pig Iron Trophy

For the past two seasons, Daniel Boone’s biggest rivalry game has been one its most lopsided losses.

The Blazers will look to reverse that trend Friday at Brazinsky Field, when they play host to archrival Exeter in the annual battle for the Pig Iron Trophy.

Though Exeter (4-1, 7-2) has had the upper hand with 35-7 and 41-6 victories in the past two meetings of the Berks League Section 1 neighbors, Boone (3-2, 6-3) hopes to turn the tables in what has to be the biggest game in coach Bill Parks’ three-year tenure.

“Our seniors’ goal at the beginning of the season was (to go) 7-3 and make the (District 3-AAA) playoffs,’ Parks said. “Now it’s dangling there right in front of them.’

Boone, which has won 4 of 5 games since a 2-2 start, ranks 14th in the most recent district power ratings and could still make the 16-team field with a loss. But Parks doesn’t want to leave it up to the fates like last year, when the Blazers fell in their finale and wound up 17th (missing the tourney by less than two thousandths of a point).

“They get that it’s a big deal,’ Parks said. “That’s all in the back of their heads. The biggest part is bringing that trophy back to Boone, and the seniors leaving their mark by bringing it back and getting that (district) playoff berth.’

A couple of seniors who have left indelible impressions for the Blazers are running back/cornerback Paul Galanti and linebacker/fullback Jon Passifione.

Galanti has played a lot bigger than his 5-foot-7, 170-pound frame, turning in some giant ground efforts. Over the past four weeks, he has piled up 655 rushing yards and seven TDs, including a career-best 226-yard effort in a 35-12 win over Reading in Week 6. Galanti is sitting at exactly 1,000 yards on the season.

“He’s done an exceptional job,’ Parks said. “The kid just has great vision. He’s little but like Mighty Mouse; he’s super strong.’

Passifione, likewise, has turned in a strong effort at middle linebacker as the leading tackler for the second straight year for a defense that’s gotten big contributions from Cinque Ramsey, Darius Hinton and Connor Johnson up front.

The Blazers’ D-line will be put to the test against an Exeter front led by 6-5, 263-pound junior tackle and Division 1 prospect Michal Menet.

Senior quarterback Chase Yocum (1,102 passing yards, 15 TDs vs. one interception; 974 yards rushing, 14 TDs) leads a potent offense for Eagles coach Matt Bauer that hasn’t been held under 24 points this year.

“Their line is very good; they’re very big and physical,’ Parks said. “Plus, tackling Yocum when he runs the ball is a challenge for anybody. If you give him space, he’s going to be dangerous. He’s throwing the ball better than ever. A dual threat like that, you’ve got to take that seriously.’

Exeter also presents a serious challenge on the other side of the ball, with Menet and fellow tackle Dyllon Scott (eight sacks) spearheading a defense that ranks fourth in Berks (allowing 224.1 total yards per game) and has pitched three shutouts this year.

Boone counters with an offense that has several playmakers besides Galanti — most notably wideout Jonathon Charles, who has become junior QB Nick Hughes’ favorite target and has amassed 349 receiving yards and five TDS over the past three weeks.

The Blazers also have a trio of motivated captains in Galanti, Passifione and Hughes, according to Parks.

“They’ve really set the tone for us,’ Parks said. “They’ve kept the kids grounded and focused. There’s a lot on their minds this week, with the trophy and the playoffs. We can’t be guaranteed we’ll still be in with a loss, and that’s motivating them as well right now. Last year, we let it up to everyone else, and we had regrets. Hopefully that was a learning experience.’


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