Fast starts keys Owen J. Roberts’ 41-13 victory over Pottstown

POTTSTOWN >> Tuesday afternoon’s practice offered little insight to the success of Owen J. Roberts halfback pass.

So did every practice for that fact … because it never worked.

Well, at least until it mattered.

OJR's Mitch Bradford hauls in a pass during the first half. (Kevin Hoffman - The Mercury)
OJR’s Mitch Bradford hauls in a pass during the first half. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

Mitch Bradford’s 53-yard heave to CJ Weaver on the jet-sweep pass pulled the pin on an explosive start for OJR as the Wildcats built a commanding 20-0 first-quarter lead before coming away with a 41-13 victory over Pottstown on Thanksgiving Day.

“It’s awesome,” Bradford said. “On Wednesday we told the seniors that this was going to be our last game, maybe ever. To go out like this, it was a good way to end our careers.”

It’s the third-straight season that the Thanksgiving Day trophy returns to Bucktown and the first Turkey Day victory for first-year head coach Rich Kolka, who was doused with a Gatorade bath in the waning moments Thursday.
Dawson Stuart finished the game 9-of-12 passing for 124 yards and three touchdowns while Weaver finished the game with 108 yards on five receptions and two scores.

His first reception was one of the biggest.

Following an illegal man downfield penalty that gave the Wildcats a second and long on the team’s opening drive, OJR pulled out the tricks, motioning Bradford from the slot where he took the handoff and launched a strike to the streaking Weaver who pulled it in before getting knocked down at the 9.

Bryce Weeks (5 carries, 77 yards) made the play pay off as he found the end zone from 14 yards out (false start penalty pushed OJR back) to key a dominant first quarter, seeing the Wildcats (5-4 PAC-10, 6-6 overall) put up 20 points in the first 10 minutes, capped by a sensational grab from Bradford in the quarter of the end zone off a Stuart pass.

OJR's Bryce Weeks stiff arms Pottstown's Brandon Tinson in second half action. (Kevin Hoffman - The Mercury)
OJR’s Bryce Weeks stiff arms Pottstown’s Brandon Tinson in second half action. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

“We were thinking we were going to get it today and we did right off the bat,” Bradford said of the halfback pass. “That was huge and gave us a lot of momentum right at the start. We got it inside the 10 and then punched it in right after.

“It was part of our goal to get off to a quick start,” Kolka said. “We thought that they did some things defensively not honoring our pass game that we could take advantage of, and do so early. When you execute things you practice, it makes a difference.”

Pottstown made a game of it in the second, trimming to the lead to 20-13 midway through the quarter, but turnovers and the elimination of Brandon Tinson as a running threat spelled doom for the Trojans, which finished with 221 total yards of offense (51 in the second half) and six fumbles (two lost), one of which was returned for a touchdown on the opening play of the second half by Bill Scherfel, the third generation of Scherfel to play in the Thanksgiving Day game.

“We gameplanned for Tinson all week because we know he’s a great runner,” Scherfel said. “That was our gameplan, to shut him down. Scoring that touchdown was a great way to start the second half and it got the momentum on our side.”

“We didn’t play well to start the game,” head coach Don Grindstead said. “We go down 20-0 and we did a nice job of trying to dig ourselves out of that in the second quarter but the fumble to start the second half kills you. We just made too many mistakes.”

Tinson finished the game with a season-low one yard on the ground on 13 carries before getting knocked out of the game in the fourth from a horse collar tackle, his team already down 41-13 after Rayquan Stewart’s 23-yard touchdown put the game out of reach. Bryant Wise, also leaving due to injury late, finished with 80 yards rushing and a score while Isaiah Mayes added 74 yards on 15 carries in Grinstead’s last game at the helm of the Trojans. Under his guidance, Pottstown (5-4 PAC-10, 7-5 overall) finished with the most wins since 2002, earning their first District 1-AAA berth in 13 years.

Pottstown's Brandon Tinson breaks through the OJR defense and is tackled by Owen J. Roberts' Ted Bradford. (Kevin Hoffman - The Mercury)
Pottstown’s Brandon Tinson breaks through the OJR defense and is tackled by Owen J. Roberts’ Ted Bradford. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

“There was a lot of change that needed to happen,” Grinstead said. “I’m glad that we did it but I wish I would be here to see it all the way through. That hurts. It hurts leaving here, it hurts leaving the kids, I love them so much.

“I wish it was faster but I feel like we’re still a year away. If we do the right thing administration-wise and hire the right coach, they’re still going to be where they need to be next year. We have some qualified guys on our coaching staff that deserve the opportunity to be head coach.”

NOTES >> Conor Mitchell finished the game with two sacks for OJR with Christian Krumenacker tallying one and Scherfel and Vincent Hunt 0.5. Stewart finished the game with 58 yards rushing on nine carries. … Tinson finished the game with 91 yards passing. Ernest McCavlin had a season-high 75 yards receiving in the loss.


Owen J. Roberts20714041

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 Dinnocenti00000000000005600
Conor Mitchell00000000000200000
Dawson Stuart91212430340000000000
Adam Pinelli000008200000000000
Anthony Buehler000000002130000000
Rayquon Stewart000009581120000000
Bryce Weeks000005771000000000
Bill Scherfel000000000000.500000
Christian Krumenacker00000000000100000
Vinny Hunt000000000000.500000
Jake Umstead00000130000000000
CJ Weaver0000000051082000000


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 Tinson3891001310000000000
Bryant Wise0000088011160000000
Owen Morton139002-70000000000
Anthony Wiggins000007-40000000000
Isaiah Mayes0000015741190000000
Ernest McCalvin000000002750000000
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