Pottsgrove looking to avenge last season’s loss to Perk Valley

They’ve been waiting for it.

Now on Friday night, Pottsgove will look to exact revenge on Perkiomen Valley in a battle that has historically played a major impact in deciding the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship, the winner earning at least a share of the title in 12 of the last 29 seasons.

This season, albeit earlier than their October 24 encounter last season, should be no different.

“It’s been a big chip on our shoulder,” Pottsgrove senior captain Wyatt Porter said. “Ever since the offseason started, everyone’s been talking about what Perk Valley is doing and what we need to do to get better. They did beat us last year so we have to come back harder this year.”

It was a loss unlike no other for Pottsgrove.

Winners of its previous six over Perkiomen Valley, the Vikings came in and torched the Falcons on their home field, sending them to a 49-21 loss. It was the Falcons’ worst loss in the series that has seen Pottsgrove come out on top in 22 of the 29 meetings.

More importantly, it stripped Pottsgrove of a chance at its third straight PAC-10 title.

This year, Porter and the Falcons want to reverse course.

“This win is very important for us,” Porter said. “Everyone knows how good Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford are this year. This week, like every other week, is a big one for us. We can’t take a week off because we have to keep getting better and better so when we do face a Perk Valley or a Spring-Ford we’re up at the level we need to be.”

Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker knows there will be a big-game feel.

“My kids will be fired up for this game, there’s no doubt,” Pennypacker said. “I know Scotty’s kids will be too. A lot of my kids didn’t play in these types of games last year. Some of those kids like Jaworski and Sturm and Williams and Arch, they’ve all played in big games. I’m a little worried about how we’ll react to it.

“We had a great week of practice, we’re counting on some sophomores to step up and fill in some holes that they may not be ready for but they have to be ready.”

Those sophomores will go against a trio of Vikings that torched the Falcons in their 49-21 victory a season ago, garnering the Vikings their first outright championship in school history.

Leading the trio on offense is quarterback Stephen Sturm who threw for 146 yards and two scores on 15-of-22 passing, Justin Jaworski had two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) and David Williams had two touchdowns.

Perkiomen Valley's Justin Jaworski is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the Vikings' 49-21 victory over Pottsgrove last season.
Perkiomen Valley’s Justin Jaworski is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the Vikings’ 49-21 victory over Pottsgrove last season.

There has been no let down this season for the Vikings offense with Sturm leading the league in passing yards (445) and passing touchdowns (8), Jaworski leading the league in receptions (13 for 166 and two touchdowns) while Williams is sixth in the league in rushing yards (19 attempts, 133 yards and four touchdowns). All of that is excluding Ronnie Arch, who is sixth in the league in receiving yards (96) and is averaging 19.2 yards per catch.

“They may be one of the best high school teams that I’ve seen in a long time,” Pennypacker said. “He (Reed) has it all. Scott’s a great coach. He and his staff do a tremendous job. He has some great weapons in his arsenal and he uses them tremendously.”

However, Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed knows how difficult it is to beat Pottsgrove, especially in consecutive years in hostile territory.

“It’s a monster game for both our programs. I think we both know that,” Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed said. “I think it’s a challenge. It goes a long way to the success of your season and the playoffs. It’s a huge game no matter what. It’s very hard to go to their home field and beat them at their place. It’s hard to beat them in general.

“Every year is its own challenge. Pottsgrove offers a challenge unlike we’ve seen all year. Big physical line, big physical backs. It’s like old school football. We’re going to find out if our team can match that physicality and intensity.”

Defense, Defense, Defense
Pottsgrove’s Tyler Smith and Chris Defrancesco will look to build off an impressive two-week stretch where they both registered three sacks apiece. They will present a big challenge for a Perkiomen Valley offensive line that Reed said “has been coming together the last two games.”
Perkiomen Valley’s TJ Foley will look to continue his success at Pottsgrove in Friday night’s go-around. Foley registered one of his area-high 10.5 sacks in last season’s win. He and Tim Nestor (7.5 sacks last season) will again be key players on the defensive line against a run game that saw Tyrell Barr rack up 324 yards and four touchdowns in the Falcons’ 44-20 victory over Pope John Paul II last Saturday.

Honoring the Military
Pottsgrove will be honoring the military in its annual Military Night Game. The Falcons honored close to 120 service men and women last season and are on pace for around the same number this year. Pottsgrove will wear camouflage pants for the occasion. Pottsgrove Control
“It’s a great night,” Pennypacker said. “I see guys out there that I went to high school with that were in the military, some of my former players are there. Then you see some guys from World War II, and the Vietnam War. It’s a great tribute to those guys. When they came home no one ever gave them any honors or any respect. I think now as history will show, we’re trying to honor those people and I think we do a pretty good job at that.”
For Porter, the honoring of the military is taken a step further with his father and uncle both veterans. His father is the ROTC Instructor at Pottstown.
“It’s real special,” Porter said. “I grew up in a military family. My dad was overseas once or twice in my childhood. My uncle, my dad’s brother, was also in the Marine Corps. He served a tour or two in Iraq so it means a lot to me that we get to honor the military members.”

Getting their Wings
Noticeably missing from their helmets in the opening two games, Pottsgrove’s helmets will now feature the familiar Falcon on both sides of the helmet.
“They have to earn them (the wings),” Pennypacker said. “Sometimes I give it to them when they get back from camp, sometimes I give it to them halfway through the year. These kids have been great kids for me. They didn’t go to school for a week, they had a lot of things hit them this week with injuries. I thought they had a great week of practice this week so we’re putting them on.”

Matchup to Watch
Perkiomen Valley receivers vs. Pottsgrove secondary: This will be where the game is won or lost with Jaworski, Arch, Williams and Aaron Morton providing a challenge to a young secondary that will rival Pottsgrove’s opening date with Ben Franklin.
“Our defensive backs are young,” Pennypacker said. “We’re playing four sophomores over there. They worked hard, they’re good athletes but we have to throw them in the fire and see how they react to being in the fire.”

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