Spring-Ford ready for challenges Pottsgrove will bring

ROYERSFORD >> They have run roughshod over its Pioneer Athletic Conference competition throughout the past four games.

They have scored the most points of any PAC-10 team throughout the first five weeks, have broken school records for most first half points, not once, but twice.

They shattered a PAC-10 record for most points scored in a game and have a quarterback with an astronomical quarterback rating.

This week, however, Spring-Ford faces a challenge far greater than ones they’ve seen in the opening slate of its PAC-10 schedule as the Rams take on Pottsgrove, a team that has defeated them in the past three seasons.

For that, the Rams aren’t taking the Falcons lightly.

“They’re going to be really tough, they’re going to be really fast,” Spring-Ford senior quarterback Ricky Venuto said. “We have to be more physical than they’re going to be.”

Venuto, son of Villanova offensive coordinator Sam Venuto, has had a stellar senior season to date in leading the Rams to a 5-0 start (4-0 PAC-10). The senior signal caller has recorded a gaudy 232.2 quarterback rating (calculated by NCAA standards) and has thrown for 794 yards (No. 2 in the PAC-10) and 15 touchdowns (tied with Perkiomen Valley’s Stephen Sturm for first).

The Rams’ offense has reflected his production as they recorded a school-best 53 first-half points in a victory over Upper Perkiomen before shattering that record with 55 first-half points in a 82-0 victory over Methacton last week. The 82 points were the most any PAC-10 team has scored in the conference’s history.

But records aside, Venuto and the Rams know that Pottsgrove presents a tall task, one the team hasn’t seen since squaring off against State College in the season opener.

“Pottsgrove is the most physical and toughest defense we’ve seen all year,” Venuto said. “They play a lot of press-man coverage. They’re going to blitz us a lot so when we run the ball, if we break a tackle we’ll be in good shape and get some yards. We’ll be good if our receivers get off the press quickly, I put the ball on the money and our offensive line does a good job in protecting us.”

“We have to play up against their physicality and make sure we know what we’re doing,” Teddy Dylinski added. “We know we’ve had them the last few years and last year was a close game. I still want a couple plays back from that game.”

The Rams’ backfield that consists of Matt Gibson, Selwyn Simpson and athlete Stone Scarcelle, will go against the league’s top rated rushing defense (Pottsgrove allows 36.8 yards on the ground per game). Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense goes up against the league’s top runner in Tyrell Barr (785 yards and nine touchdowns).

Gibson knows how important it is to win the battle on the ground,

“I think it’s very important,” the junior back said. “You can’t just have a good passing game, you need to have a good run game. Our line is very good, they open up a lot of holes. We need to be physically prepared on both sides of the ball, offense and defense.”

If they’re prepared, the Rams could snap their losing streak right where they want to.

On their home turf.

“It would be huge (to win at home),” Venuto said. “We haven’t beaten them in three years. All of our focus is on Pottsgrove right now. We just have to come out, play fast and play good.

“If we can win,” Gibson added, “this game will definitely give us a lot of momentum going into the rest of the season.”

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