Methacton tops Norristown in season finale

WEST NORRITON — There were mixed emotions on the Methacton High side of the field Saturday afternoon after the Warriors finished their season with a 38-10 win over host Norristown.

There was jubilation and pride over becoming the first Methacton team since 2000 to collect eight wins in a season. But there was also sadness over a very tight-knit team playing together for the final time. And a few what-if thoughts over a season that saw the Warriors literally just a handful of points away from qualifying for the District One playoffs.

And as the Warriors and their families snapped dozens of post-game remembrance pictures on the turf at Norristown, the Methacton faithful were able to look back fondly on a very good and very nearly great season.

“These guys came out and prepared week in and week out, and it’s a credit to them that we enjoyed a successful season,’ said Warriors head coach Paul Lepre. “They overcame a lot, fought through injuries and never stopped trying to get better.’

“It was a great season,’ added senior quarterback Conner Derrickson, “and it was my favorite season because this was such a great group of guys.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but we really are a family. And I’m going to miss every one of them.’

On the opposite side of the field, the Eagles were doing some looking back of their own.

This was the first season under head coach Jason Powel, and while the team made strides, the team’s 4-7 record was not the ending the team was anticipating after a surprising 3-1 start.

“It was an unforgettable season for me,’ Powel said. “I learned a lot, and I think the players learned a lot.

“Both of us, us and them, made mistakes. But we know where the problems lie and how to correct them. And I think we’re going to be fine.’

The game, between these former Suburban One League rivals, was decided early, as the Warriors scored on their second play from scrimmage, a 54-yard touchdown pass from Derrickson to Louis Cotetta, then added another score on the final play of the first quarter when Derrickson connected with Dontae Thomas for a 60-yard score.

By the break, the Warriors led, 22-0, thanks to an Eagles punt that was blocked by Dylan Henry and covered in the end zone by Mike DelVecchio.

The visitors’ lead was stretched to 24-0 when Gil Price and two or three compatriots tackled Eagles running back Corey Davenport in the end zone for a safety.

The Eagles got a score back when Khalif Sinclair, playing at the running back spot, hit Derick Cross with a 50-yard score.

That score was matched by Derrickson’s 3-yard touchdown run with 8:22 left in the game.

Cotteta would add some gravy when he swept to the left side for an 80-yard touch in the contest’s final 2:00.

Sandwiched in between was a 45-yard field goal by Eagles placekicker Shane Hammer, a boot that had some long-time Norristown fans scrambling for the record book.

But as the two teams headed for the locker room for the final times this year, the mood was reflective.

“We played well enough to win quite a few games this year,’ Lepre said, “but I’d still like to have this group for another season, because with another score here or there we could have finished so much better.

“I don’t want to take away anything from what these guys accomplished this year, but what we were missing was a little more consistency.

“Next year we’re going to have to lean heavily on our eight returning juniors, and they’re going to have to try and live up to the expectations created by this year’s team.’

As for Norristown, Powel said the players and coaches, after working nearly non-stop since he was hired in June, need a break, “to get regenerated.’

But he can’t wait to get started on Season Two.

“We have a great core of kids coming back,’ Powel said. “The kids are excited, they’re ready to keep going because they know where this could end up.’

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