Tinson, Wise power Pottstown past Upper Perkiomen

POTTSTOWN >> He had to be wondering how many times fate would smile on his team before the smiles reversed into frowns.

Don Grinstead saw his Pottstown High squad open Saturday’s Pioneer Athletic Conference game with Upper Perkiomen by getting opportunities to score on its first four possessions. But the Trojans had only one touchdown to show for their efforts in the early going, against an Indian unit hungry to add to its win-column total.

It took a second-half regroup — along with big individual efforts from Brandon Tinson and Bryant Wise, and team play from the defense — for Pottstown to win its Senior/Parent Recognition game at Grigg Memorial Field, 21-13.

John Strickler - The Mercury Pottstown's #11 Quantell Washington catches a long pass over the middle during the first quarter as Upper Perkiomen's #4 Austin Bittenbender defends.
John Strickler – The Mercury
Pottstown’s #11 Quantell Washington catches a long pass over the middle during the first quarter as Upper Perkiomen’s #4 Austin Bittenbender defends.

“Turnovers and miscues … it got to the point where we just needed to get out of the first half,” Grinstead said after seeing Pottstown win for the sixth time in seven outings this fall (5-1 PAC-10). “The kids had to refocus and execute better.”

That became the telling story in the second half. Tinson and Wise, joined by backfield mate Isaiah Mayes, sparked the offense to touchdowns in each quarter to break open their tie game. Defensively, Pottstown touched UP (1-5, 1-6) for four interceptions and a fumble while making the clock the Indians’ enemy after they scored in opening seconds of the fourth quarter.

“After playing 7-7 in the first half,” Wise said, “we came out in the second half working as a team to come out with the ‘W.’”

Wise had a bang-up game on the offensive side, running 15 times for 81 yards and catching four Tinson tosses for 23 yards. But he had an even more “bang-up” performance — literally — at his linebacker position when it counted.

Inside the game’s final minute, with UP moving from its 32-yard line on third down, quarterback Zeke Hallman tried to hook up with Austin Tutolo on a route across the middle of the Pottstown secondary. But Wise laid a hard hit on a leaping Tutolo, who went down unable to hang onto the ball.

The next play, Hallman threw again only to have Wise pick off the pass and return it to the UP 14. From there, Tinson took a knee on one more snap — the Indians having exhausted their supply of timeouts — to close out the win.

“We were in a cover-two (defense),” Wise said, “and when he (Tutolo) came across the middle, I broke with the player, not the ball.”

“When we go with a two-safety look,” Grinstead added, “it makes it difficult to throw across the middle on us.”

Up to the final four minutes, it was an even contest … a missed conversion kick the difference in Pottstown’s 14-13 lead.

After seeing their first two touches of the game halted on downs, the Trojans got on the scoreboard when Tinson — his day’s numbers were 22 carries for a game-high 131 yards, and 5-for-8 passing good for another 52 — made the third time charming with an eight-yard scamper around his right end with 2:27 left in the first. The first possession, set up by Ernest McCalvin’s recovery of UP’s muff of the opening kickoff, ended on a fourth-and-nine at the Indian 19; the second, at the visitors’ 15, halted by a stack-up of Mayes on a fourth-and-two.

John Strickler - The Mercury Pottstown's #3 Brandon Tinson cuts up field as Upper Perkiomen's 34 Tyler Whary makes a diving tackle in the first quarter.
John Strickler – The Mercury
Pottstown’s #3 Brandon Tinson cuts up field as Upper Perkiomen’s 34 Tyler Whary makes a diving tackle in the first quarter.

Pottstown was in good position to bolster its lead when it drove to the Upper Perk six before being stalled. Logan Pennypacker came on to attempt a 23-yard field goal, but the snap got away and resulted in him being downed at the 24.

“We needed to stay together as a unit, motivate each other,” Wise said.

Upper Perk’s air game did the bulk of the heavy lifting on its offensive side, Hallman completing 15 of 29 passes for 136 yards compared to the ground attack’s 52 stripes. It also accounted for both the Indians’ touchdowns, Hallman hooking up with Ryan Kendra on a 10-yarder in the final minute of the first half and with Tyler Whary on a five-yard toss six seconds into the fourth.

The missed conversion kick prevented UP from pulling even with its hosts, who padded their lead with Mayes bulling through right tackle 14 yards at the 1:04 mark. That left Tom Hontz and his coaching staff the consolation of seeing their charges turn in a competitive effort in the wake of recent lopsided losses to Owen J. Roberts (37-7) and Pottsgrove (47-6).

“The kids gave a good effort,” he said. “That’s a pretty decent football team over there. We put together a good defensive effort. I was pleased to be part of a good, exciting Saturday afternoon game. The two teams scrapped … they both stepped up.”

Tinson showed big play on both sides, intercepting Hallman at the Pottstown two to thwart a march set up by Austin Bittenbender’s interception of a Wise pass on a fake-punt situation in the second quarter. He also produced the Trojans’ go-ahead score at the 2:12 mark in the third, on a 15-yard run around his right end.

“It’s good having athletes who are great … a couple guys who can make people miss is important,” Grinstead said. “Mayes is a hard kid to tackle, and Anthony Wiggins has his moments. We have four guys who can play big.”

John Strickler - The Mercury Upper Perkiomen's #34 Tyler Whary runs through a big hole as Pottstown's #79 Nyles Rome moves in to make a tackle in the second quarter.
John Strickler – The Mercury
Upper Perkiomen’s #34 Tyler Whary runs through a big hole as Pottstown’s #79 Nyles Rome moves in to make a tackle in the second quarter.

NOTES >> Jamal Adams had a two-interception day for Pottstown, his picks coming in the first and fourth quarters. Both set the stage for Trojan touchdowns. … Wise’s punting game, aided by the wind, was another key to the Pottstown victory. A fourth-quarter boot from his 17 traveled to the UP eight, a 75-yard play. “That was a huge play, making them feel they had to throw the ball,” Grinstead said. … Kendra was Hallman’s frequent target in the passing game, getting eight catches for 90 yards. … The game was also the stage for Pottstown’s observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with pink in vogue at the stadium.


Upper Perkiomen7613

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 Tutolo000007804220000000
Austin Bittenbender000002-202190010000
Ryan Kendra000000008901000000
Zeke Hallman152913614270000001200
Tyler Whary0000010390150000000


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
Brandon Tinson585200221312000010000
Bryant Wise01001158104230010000
Quantell Washington000000001290000000
Jamal Adams00000000000020000
Anthony Wiggins000001-10000000000
Isaiah Mayes0000010280000000000
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