Upper Perkiomen ready to take next step in 2015

Upper Perkiomen showed growth in Tom Hontz’ first season at the helm.

Now, with Hontz firmly entrenched in his second season, the Indians are ready to take the next step.

“It’s been night and day since my first year,” Hontz said. “We got into camp much more prepared. Our staff is really a tremendous group of guys who have worked really hard and just having that year under our belt really helped.”

Finishing 2014 with a 4-6 record — an improvement from a 1-9 finish in 2013 — the Indians return key playmakers on the offensive side of the ball while returning seven of its 11 starters on defense including sophomore linebacker Tyler Whary, senior cornerback Austin Bittenbender and senior defensive end Mahlon Schaffer. All in which helped the Indians win three out of their last four games to finish an injury-plagued season.

“Our health is going to be the big factor,” Hontz said. “We don’t have a lot of depth but our front line guys are pretty tough. Our goal this season is to be above .500 and be in the playoff race.”


On offense, Michael Felix returns at tailback for the Indians after compiling 877 rushing yards on 115 carries with five touchdowns last season, good for fourth in the Mercury Area. Zeke Hallman returns behind center with sophomore wideout Ryan Kendra and Bittenbender his primary receiving threats. Julian Liguoro, Cole Fryer, Dustin Derstine, Sylvester Inyang and Mike Knudson figure to start along the line for Week 1 against Quakertown.

Hontz was high on his first teamers effort through camp, including sophomore running back Austin Tutolo.

“Tyler Whary and Austin Tutolo are really looking tough on both sides of the ball,” Hontz said. “Michael Felix is everywhere on both sides of the ball. Austin Bittenbender has been doing a nice job for us on both sides of the ball as well. Sylvester Inyang is going to do good things for us this year.”

Stiff Test Early

Upper Perkiomen faces a similar gauntlet of early season games that it faced last year. The Indians open up with a home tilt against Quakertown before traveling to Boyertown and Spring-Ford the next two weeks. The Indians fumbled its way through the opening of 2014, falling to Quakertown 38-0 before hanging tough with Boyertown in a 29-15 loss. UP then lost three of its next four by a margin of 162-59, including a 62-7 loss to Spring-Ford that capped off its 1-5 start.

None of that is in the plan for Hontz and the Indians this season.

“Coming out of the gate, Quakertown is loaded for a non-league game. Then we really hit the hammers early on with Spring-Ford and Boyertown.

“It’s going to be a great test for us. Last year we got beat up by those teams. If we can stand up to them and gain some confidence from that, who knows, we can pull off a shocker here and there.”


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