Owen J. Roberts’ rushing attack overmatches Upper Perkiomen, 37-6

RED HILL >> It’s becoming a stable of runners capable of making many a horse fancier envious.

Owen J. Roberts’ offense boasts a potent backfield with no less than six players who have the ability to rack up hard yards and reach the end zone. They were out in force Friday at Upper Perkiomen, and at least a half-dozen contributed to the Wildcats’ 37-6 victory.

Four different backs scored for OJR in this Pioneer Athletic Conference contest, played on a turf field wet down by Friday’s late-afternoon thundershowers. But the skies stayed dry, and Roberts (3-1 league, 3-3 overall) scored its second straight victory with help from the guys toting the ball in the trenches and around the ends.

“It’s not a goal, but that’s cool,” OJR head coach Rich Kolka said about his squad’s multi-faced ground game. “We like to keep our running backs fresh. The more we can rotate, they fresher they’ll be.”

The touchdown parade featured Bryce Weeks, whose game-high 74 yards on nine carries was highlighted by a 22-yard scoring jaunt around his right end on Owen J.’s second possession of the game; and Adam Pinelli (nine carries, 60 yards), who got the Wildcats’ scoring started with a 15-yard sprint through his right end seven plays from the opening kickoff. Rayquon and Khalil Stewart got into the scoring act in the second half – Rayquon (nine carries, 26 yards) with a one-yard burst off center less than 3-1/2 minutes into the third quarter, Khalil (13 yards on six carries) going two yards up the middle on what would be the Wildcats’ final scoring drive. Quarterback Mitch Bradford also added 57 yards on 11 totes to a running game that amassed 268 yards on the ground.

He also got into Roberts’ scoring act … though not in the same fashion as his other offensive backfield mates.

Bradford got his touchdown on the defensive side of the ball. With less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, he picked off a pass by Upper Perk quarterback Zeke Hallman at the hosts’ 36-yard line and returned it to the end zone, staking OJR to a 20-0 lead.

“It was a third-and-15 situation,” Bradford recalled of the first “pick six” of his gridiron career. “They were running a cover route. I was in position to make the interception, and I got a great block on the way to the end zone.”

In and around the touchdowns, Owen J got the added bonus of a Matt Dinnocenti field goal. The OJR senior launched a 36-yarder with 2:57 left before the half, staking Roberts to a 23-0 lead that went to 30 before UP (1-3, 1-4) was able to get on the scoreboard.

“We know he can kick (field goals) inside the 40,” Kolka said of Dinnocenti, who also made four conversions on the night on a similar number of tries. “He does a nice job getting the ball off quickly.”

While Roberts was riding its stable of backs up and down the field, Upper Perk’s offense was trying to get a spark going. That didn’t happen until the 2:38 mark of the third quarter, when Tyler Keyser – alternating with Hallman at various points on the night – hooked up with Austin Bittenbender on a 68-yard pass play down the middle.

“Tyler’s a sophomore, and we’re trying to get him into the offense,” UP head coach Tom Hontz said. “He’s been coming along as a receiver, and we want to put him in the backfield.”

Up to that point, the Indians suffered through a number of turnovers.

A fumble on their first touch of the game was recovered by Weeks, who took the ball in four plays later at the 6:17 mark. Along with Bradford’s “pick,” Dawson Stuart had one off Hallman (4-for-17, 48 yards), and Anthony Buehler intercepted Austin Tutolo’s halfback toss in the third.

“We emphasized that,” Kolka said. “We hadn’t been getting many turnovers the last couple weeks. And it was big that we took advantage of the turnovers to get points.”

The lone turnover Upper Perk forced – a fumble recovery by Mike Felix – proved significant in the early going. It came at the Indians’ one-yard line, stopping a nine-play 44-yard march with about seven minutes left in the first half and OJR holding a 20-0 lead.

“At times, it looked like we were taking a step backwards. At other times, it looked like we were taking a step forward,” Kolka said of his club, which is now 3-1 in its last four outings.

The UP coaching staff, in the meantime, is trying to get back on track after successive one-sided losses to the Wildcats and Pottsgrove (47-6) last week.
“A disappointing loss,” Hontz said. “Giving up a long return (Pinelli’s 44-yard run with the opening kickoff), the fumble and a ‘pick six’…”

On the defensive side, Upper Perk was bolstered by sacks from Dylan Croissette and Tyler Smith. Tutolo and Austin Bittenbender also got their names called numerous times making stops on OJR’s runners.

NOTES >> Kolka noted Owen J. has now won two games in a row for the first time since 2012. … Owen J. racked up numerous penalties, whistled 14 times for 115 yards. UP was assessed a relatively-lower six times for 38 yards.


Owen J. Roberts2037737
Upper Perkiomen66

Owen J. Roberts

Player Comp Att Pass Yds Pass TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM FGA
Matthew Dinnocenti00000000000004411
Dawson Stuart1136004270000010000
Adam Pinelli000009601130000000
Matthew Brownley000000002510000000
Ted Bradford00000150000000000
Anthony Buehler00000140160010000
Rayquon Stewart000009261000000000
Bryce Weeks0000010741000000000
Khalil Spriggs000006131000000000

Upper Perkiomen

Player Comp Att Pass Yds Pass TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM FGA
Austin Tutolo01001320000000000
Austin Bittenbender000000001681000000
Ryan Kendra000000003210000000
Tyler Keyser116810460000000000
Zeke Hallman5174802380000000000
Michael Felix000009120000000000
Bo Duka00000120000000000
Kevin Loose000000001160000000
Tyler Whary000006430000000000
Damion Noble000000001110000000
Dylan Croissette00000000000100000
Tyler Smith00000000000100000
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