A look back at the Mercury-Area Season from A to Z

Records were shattered.

Pottstown was reborn.

Perkiomen Valley made the district playoffs for the third-straight year.

All while Spring-Ford ended the regular season undefeated and with its first PAC-10 Championship since 2011.
It was a crazy season and here’s a look back, from A-to-Z.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] is for Arch: Perkiomen Valley senior Ronnie Arch closed out his Vikings career in style, running for 856 yards on 114 carries, an average of 7.4 yards per tote. His 19 total touchdowns (15 rushing and four receiving) were tops in the PAC-10.

[dropcap]B[/dropcap] is for Barr: Pottsgrove’s Tyrell Barr seemingly came out of nowhere as he rushed for 324 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-20 win over Pope John Paul II in Week 2. Barr closed out his senior season as the PAC-10’s leading rusher (1,332 yards) for a Falcons team that once again made the District 1-AAA playoffs.

[dropcap]C[/dropcap] is for Courage: Two weeks after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Pottsgrove senior Chris DeFrancesco registered a safety and a half sack while helping his team overcome Methacton in Week 7. After the team’s victory over Boyertown the following week, DeFrancesco was forced to sit out the next two weeks as he recovered from surgery, only to return in the Falcons’ District 1-AAA opener. Currently, Defrancesco does not need chemotherapy, and faces a 50 percent chance of recurrence. However, even in recurrence, he has more than a 99 percent chance of the cancer being curable.

[dropcap]D[/dropcap] is for Defense: There’s a reason why Spring-Ford won the PAC-10 this season and it was defense. The Rams allowed a PAC-best 206.5 yards per game (only 78.8 yards per game on the ground). Senior Steven Rice led the team with 52 tackles while junior Tanner Romano led the way with eight sacks, good for third in the PAC.

[dropcap]E[/dropcap] is for Exeter: Nothing short of special from the Eagles as the team won its first Berks Section 1 title since 1997, all while finishing with its first undefeated record since 1970.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap] is for Four: The PAC-10 featured four teams in the District 1 playoffs for the first time since (2012) as Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford earned berths in the Class AAAA playoff with Pottsgrove and Pottstown earning spots in the Class AAA bracket. Only Perkiomen Valley survived the first round before the Vikings were ousted by Pennsbury in the second round two weeks ago.

[dropcap]G[/dropcap] is for Grinstead: He’s already in Florida after accepting a sports director position at a YMCA in the Sunshine State, but Grinstead’s work this season was nothing short of phenomenal. The Trojans (7-5) finished with their most wins since 2002, advancing to their first District 1-AAA tournament in 13 years.

[dropcap]H[/dropcap] is for Henry: Methacton’s Dylan Henry broke a PAC-10 record for sacks in a game, registering a monstrous 6.5 sack performance as the Warriors topped Pope John Paul II in Week 10 for their first win of the season.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] is for Interceptions: Pottsgrove’s Adam Girafalco led the PAC-10 with five interceptions in 2015. His three interception performance in a 47-3 win over Owen J. Roberts was a big reason why.

[dropcap]J[/dropcap] is for Justin Jaworski, AKA Jaws: The junior Perkiomen Valley wideout shattered the PAC-10 record for most receiving yards in a season, his 1,195 yards shattering Upper Perkiomen’s Ronnie Gillespie’s mark of 1,020 set in 2010. Jaworski also finished with a PAC-best 74 receptions and 11 touchdowns to close out a record-breaking campaign.

[dropcap]K[/dropcap] is for Kapp: Boyertown sophomore Jerry Kapp broke a school-record for receiving yards in a season, his 645 yards besting a previous mark that had been held by Nick Brough (‘13), who hauled in 603 yards on the year.

[dropcap]L[/dropcap] is for Lawrence: Boyertown’s dual-threat quarterback rushed for the most yards of a gunslinger with more than 80 pass attempts (sorry Brandon Tinson), finishing the season with 715 yards on the ground, good for seventh in the conference. Garnett’s 1,240 yards passing was good for fifth in the PAC while his 16 touchdown passes ranked third.

[dropcap]M[/dropcap] is for McClure: Methacton’s Liam McClure was featured in a special documentary produced by the Philadelphia Eagles. The eight-minute ‘Road to Victory’ documentary focuses on McClure from his birth to his high school years, growing up with a form of autism. The Eagles production staff came down to Methacton High School to film the feature during the first week of training camp back in August. McClure hauled in his first reception, good for six yards, in the team’s loss to Pottsgrove. The link to the video can be found under the videos tab on philadelphiaeagles.com

[dropcap]N[/dropcap] is for No Surprises: The top of the PAC-10 showed no signs of change with Spring-Ford, Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove once again in the Top 3. It is the fifth year in a row that these teams have been featured atop the PAC (Methacton and Pottsgrove finished tied for third last year).

[dropcap]O[/dropcap] is for Offense: There was no shortage of offense in the PAC as three teams: Perkiomen Valley (442.8), Spring-Ford (386.5) and Pottsgrove (339.5) all finished the year averaging more than 300 yards of total offense a game. The Vikings’ 42.7 points per game was a PAC-best.

[dropcap]P[/dropcap] is for Panthers: Perkiomen School rebounded from two straight four-win seasons, finishing the 2015 season at 7-2. The Panthers’ two losses on the season came by five combined points.

[dropcap]Q[/dropcap] is for Quarterbacks: 2015 was the year of the quarterback. Perkiomen Valley’s Stephen Sturm and Spring-Ford’s Ricky Venuto went toe-for-toe all year, Sturm leading the league in passing yards (3,087) and touchdowns (31) with Venuto finishing first in quarterback rating after throwing for 1,873 yards and 25 touchdowns opposed to only two interceptions. Pope John Paul II’s Matt Duff, despite a winless season, finished with 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns.

[dropcap]R[/dropcap] is for Rejuvenation: Look no further than the progress Owen J. Roberts and Pottstown made in 2015. Under the first-year guidance of Rich Kolka, the Wildcats finished with a 6-6 record, their best finish since 2010. Pottstown, with the senior leadership of Brandon Tinson, Bryant Wise and Jimmie Zazzi, won five more games than it had in the past two years combined (2).

[dropcap]S[/dropcap] is for Spring-Ford: The Rams put the pieces together in 2015, winning their first PAC-10 championship since the 2011 season after defeating Perkiomen Valley 28-14 in the de facto championship tilt the last week of the season. The Rams finished with the second ranked offense (386.5 yards per game) and the league’s top-rated defense (mentioned above) en route to a perfect 9-0 regular season record. Matt Gibson finished third in the PAC with 858 rushing yards while two receivers — Quinn McKenna (31) and Stone Scarcelle (27) — finished in the top 15 in receptions.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap] is for Tinson: Pottstown’s Brandon Tinson finished the year as only the second rusher to reach 1,000 yards. The senior quarterback finished with 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns, his 151-yard, two-touchdown performance in a win over Boyertown in Week 3 relegated as one of his strongest games in his career.

[dropcap]U[/dropcap] is for Undenied: The Hill School, facing the possibility of going winless in 2015, put together a 60-29 stomping of Mercersburg in its penultimate contest.

[dropcap]V[/dropcap] is for Vikings: They were the last team standing in 2015, making up for a loss in the PAC-10 Championship to Spring-Ford. All-in-all, 2015 was another signature season for the Vikings as they advanced to the District 1-AAAA tournament for the third time in a row. To go along with record-breaking performances, TJ Foley registered 11.5 sacks while the offensive line — a major question mark to start 2015 — allowed 12 sacks in Sturm’s 327 dropbacks.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap] is for Weathering the Storm: Pope John Paul II had a winless season, but to go along with Duff’s third-place finish in the area quarterback race, Dan Cirino and Jared Johns-Lupold finished No. 3 and No. 4, respectively in receptions. Cirino finished his season with 43 receptions for 558 yards and four touchdowns while Johns-Lupold registered 40 receptions for 684 yards and seven scores for the Johnnies.

[dropcap]X[/dropcap] is for X-Factor: Every team had one. Boyertown had Jerry Kapp, Methacton had Dylan Feaster, OJR with Bryce Weeks, PV with Justin Jaworski, Phoenixville with Matt Palubinsky, PJP with Jared Johns-Lupold, Pottstown with Brandon Tinson, Pottsgrove with Wyatt Porter, Spring-Ford with Stone Scarcelle and Upper Perkiomen with Michael Felix, all stepped in when needed most and performed at the highest level when times got tough.

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap] is for Youth: Boyertown’s Jerry Kapp broke a school record as a sophomore. PV’s Stephen Sturm and Justin Jaworski (along with most of their team) are only juniors. OJR’s Dawson Stuart was only a sophomore as he threw for 811 yards and led a defense at linebacker. Spring-Ford’s Matt Gibson, Stone Scarcelle, Selwyn Simpson and Tanner Romano all were juniors and were integral pieces of the team’s championship run. All will be back next year. Watch out.

[dropcap]Z[/dropcap] is for Zulli: Zach Zulli’s all-time PAC-10 record of 2,541 passing yards set in 2008 was shattered by Stephen Sturm as he finished with 3,087 yards in 2015.

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