Sturm leads Perk Valley in play and voice entering PAC-10 title battle

Meek and mild with a powerful arm.

That was the only way to describe Perkiomen Valley quarterback Stephen Sturm during his debut sophomore season.

He had a penchant for the scintillating performance, but an unwillingness to make his voice heard.

This year, that’s not a problem.

The junior QB is more than ready to lead with his play and his voice when the Vikings head over to Spring-Ford Friday with the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship on the line.

“Last year, I felt as a sophomore and as a underclassmen that there was a hierarchy to the team,” the junior quarterback said. “Part of me felt that it wasn’t right for me to be vocal and almost get on the older guys because they had been there for a while. For them to have a sophomore tell them what to do, I didn’t think that would go over too well.

“With a year under my belt now, I’ve taken more of a leadership role because I’ve been there before. I’ve been in big games, I’ve been in a playoff game. I know what I’m talking about a lot of times and it’s more comfortable for me to be that leader now that I’m a year older. They know I’ve played before when it matters most.”

No arguments there. Sturm’s level of play has displayed growth from his standout sophomore season, where he threw for 2,029 yards and 21 touchdowns, both on and off the field.

“They threw a lot of blitzes at me that I’ve never seen before when we played Downingtown East in the (2014 District 1-AAAA) playoffs, and in the first half I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,” Sturm said. “Now I understand the different coverages and how teams can disguise them. I learned that spending time in the film room and analyzing defense’s weaknesses is huge, so I’ve really been focusing on that.”

His understanding of opposing defenses and quick release has been vital for a PV team that saw the departure of a veteran offensive line that consisted of Seth Jonassen, Dan Roh, Darrell Philpot and others. That line had helped Sturm and his playmakers mature. This year, it was his turn to repay the favor with a young offensive line.

He did just that, while piling up the statistics to match. He leads the PAC-10 in yards (2,209) and touchdowns (26) and presents a major challenge for head coach Chad Brubaker and the Spring-Ford defense.

“It concerns me if he has a lot of time in the pocket to throw and he’s also a crafty runner,” Brubaker said. “He’s a kid who picks his spot and he’s a pretty smart quarterback. If we give him a lot of time or the pocket closes down and he chooses the right moment on a third-and-long (to run for) a first down, that will be disheartening. That will be our major concern with him.”

Sturm takes on Spring-Ford’s first-year senior starting quarterback Ricky Venuto, one who acts and plays with just as much veteran savvy and the statistical evidence to prove it.

“Obviously it’s on my mind that we’re neck and neck on the stat sheet, but I try not to focus on it,” Sturm said. “I couldn’t care less about how many yards I throw, I just want to win. If there was any game where I didn’t care about my stats, it’d be this game. Obviously Ricky’s a good quarterback. He manages their offense really well so it should be a really good quarterback battle.”

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