Different stakes for this Pottstown/Spring-Ford tilt

In past years, this game hadn’t meant much.

But as Pottstown travels to Royersford to take on Spring-Ford on the Rams’ Homecoming, the stakes couldn’t be any more different.

Way, way different.

That’s because at Week 8, Pottstown has become a player for its first PAC-10 Championship since 2002, and will find out whether or not it’s a championship contender as it takes on undefeated Spring-Ford Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

“It’d be huge to get a win there,” Pottstown head coach Don Grinstead said. “One because that would really put us in the race in the conference and would have us in a good position with two weeks left. It’d be great for our kids and our program. We’ve been through a lot but we’re still learning. Every week is new to these kids and every week brings a new experience. It would be huge in a lot of ways.”

Grinstead has revitalized a down Pottstown (4-1 PAC-10, 6-1 overall) program into one of the conference’s best in 2015. It’s first 4-0 start since 2003 brought a feel good story arc to the beginning of the year. Now, two more wins and a loss to Perkiomen Valley has brought the Trojans on the cusp of championship success for the first time in 13 years, proving that they are more than a feel good story. They’re legit.

Credit the transformation to the defense not giving up big plays.

Credit it to better execution along the offensive and defensive lines.

More importantly, credit it to the three that carry the Trojans week-in and week-out: senior quarterback Brandon Tinson, senior running back Bryant Wise and junior fullback Isaiah Mayes.

The trio have emerged as potent playmakers at just the right time. Tinson, a true workhorse of a signal caller, has made his mark on the area rankings, sitting second in the PAC in rushing yards (772) with Wise right behind him at No. 4 (526).

Mayes, who has seen an increased role in 2015, ranks No. 13 in the PAC in rushing yards. However, his lead blocking has proven vital for a Pottstown team that ranks No. 2 in the PAC in total rushing (1804).

Nothing will change Saturday against Spring-Ford.

“Absolutely, nothing will change for us,” Grinstead said. “We’ll try to scheme as best as we can and see if we can put our kids in a chance to be successful. Those three guys will carry the ball. Those are our guys. If we’re going to have success, they are going to be a huge part of it.”

The trio goes against the second-ranked defense in the PAC-10 and one that is coming off huge performances in the last two weeks.

The Rams were led by a two-sack performance by Tim Rudderow as the team registered six sacks in total in a 22-13 win over Pottsgrove last week. That was followed by a solid effort in a win over Owen J. Roberts on Friday, allowing only 152 yards of total offense in a 35-14 decision. The Rams are allowing 188 yards per game entering Saturday’s tilt.

“Our defense has played very well the last two weeks, except for one drive versus OJR and a long play on a missed tackle versus Pottsgrove,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “Obviously, we’re concerned with Tinson and Wise, who have shown big-play capability.”

The Rams have their share of weapons as well.

Senior quarterback Ricky Venuto leads the league in passer rating and in seven games has thrown for 17 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That mixed with the dynamic play of Stone Scarcelle, the running of Matt Gibson (66 attempts for 443 yards) and Selwyn Simspon (56 attempts for 436 yards), and a stout offensive line has caused some worries for Grinstead.

“They play really well and they are really good at transferring power to speed and they get after it up front,” Grinstead said.

“I’m concerned with everything about them, they are pretty complete as a football team.”

How well Pottstown measures up will be seen Saturday.

NOTES >> Pottstown ranks third in total defense behind Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford. Grinstead says that can be contributed to a defense that doesn’t allow the big plays. “A lot of that has to do with our guys getting to the ball, we have seven or eight players flying to the football. “We’re also making sure we have proper leverage on every defensive snap. Even if the offense executes the play perfectly, it turns out to be a 4-6 yard gain, not a 60-yard gain. We tackle really well this year and have a nice blend of kids that can get nice penetration. When you look at our defense it’s all about leverage and tackles.” … Pottstown will need to start fast as the Rams are outscoring their opposition 107-5 in the opening 12 minutes and 205-19 in the first half. … Brubaker said that his team will focus on cleaning up their penalty woes from the last two weeks. In total, the Rams have been flagged 53 times for 421 yards, which ranks third-worst in the PAC behind Boyertown (60) and OJR (56). … The Rams will honor four new players into their TD Club Wall of Fame: Jamie Rotunda, Trevor Sasek, Steve Schein, and Michael Bach.

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