Upper Merion gets better of Methacton

UPPER MERION >> The Methacton football Warriors’ season ceased being about wins and losses a long time ago.

In a season that featured pounding after pounding, Methacton kept going. Whether it was the 60-0 loss to Perk Valley, or 82-0 drubbing to Spring-Ford it didn’t matter. Save for a brief respite against Pope John Paul last week, who the Warriors played wasn’t significant, because the end result was always the same.

So, what’s to play for then?

Well, if you stuck around (and chances are you didn’t) after the team’s 26-10 loss at the hands of the Upper Merion Vikings, you found out.

Head coach Paul Lepre gathered his players on the northeast side of the Upper Merion field for a post-game talk, and afterward, the players hung around and spoke to each other, led by the team’s seven seniors. As they were finishing, Lepre called out for the underclassmen and coaches to form an aisle, with players and coaches both standing side-by-side.

The seven twelfth-graders — Alex Picone, Dylan Feaster, Kyle Flemming, Scott Stueben, Nick Rossi, Carson Williams, and Johnny Heere — all walked through the two rows of bodies, stopping to shake hands and hug everybody standing there for them. Really, everyone — players, coaches, team managers. There were no exceptions.

That bond, signified by a small gesture that maybe a dozen other people were privy to, is what the Warriors were playing for.

And really, when it comes down to it, that’s what high school sport is about.

“After going down 13-0 tonight, it would have been easy to quit,” Lepre said. “But we didn’t. That hasn’t been our M.O. all year.”

“They kept going out,” he went on, “for the love of the game, and for each other. It shows. They keep their heads about themselves.”

Early on, it was the Isaiah Graham-Mobley show that put the Vikes ahead. The Temple-bound standout caught a 14-yarder for the team’s first score, and took an interception 96 yards to the house for its second. Facing the beginning of a blowout, Methacton hung in.

They battled for a field goal early in the second, and eventually scored on Jason Eckman’s two-yard run with 14 seconds left in the half. Upper Merion went into the game’s midway point up 20-10, and eventually extended it to 26-10 on Kyle Smith’s one-yard score in the fourth, his second of the day.

That’s how the contest would end.

Smith had a nice game for Upper Merion, finishing with 67 yards and a pair of scores on 15 carries. Graham-Mobley led the team in yards from scrimmage, with 32 rushing and 69 receiving (101 total) on five touches.

Far and away the best athlete on the field, Graham-Mobley will play safety for the Owls come next fall.

“He’s a different type of kid,” Viking coach Harold Smith said. “He’s a leader.”

“Not just on the field, but off of it too,” he went on. “He doesn’t get in trouble, always does what he’s supposed to do. He’ll be missed. Everyone here respects him — players, and coaches.”

The Vikes will conclude their season with a 10:00 a.m. home Thanksgiving day game against Norristown.

For Methacton, Eckman probably had the best night. He finished with 75 yards passing and another 63 on the ground, and scored Methacton’s only touchdown.

With the loss, the Warriors’ 1-10 season, mercifully, is over. Even with the ugly record and all of the blowouts, Lepre told his team that he wouldn’t have traded them for any other team.

“I really mean that,” he said, “because of the effort I got from these guys.

“When we came out, I know they were going to play a game that people can appreciate,” he said. “Anybody who understands football can appreciate that a team that is getting beaten up and taking their lumps could easily turn around and fold.”

“And these guys aren’t that kind of team,” he went on.

“They won’t do that.”

That — the day-in, day-out dedication to a craft in the face of adversity —is what devoting yourself to a sport really means.

And if the Methacton Warriors can take anything away from a season that featured more bruised egos than it did banners, it’s that they kept going and loved each other and the game along the way.

Isn’t that what it’s really all about anyways?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply