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Mercury Week 3 Football Review: Will second win mark turning point for Methacton?

About 18 months ago, Dave Lotier took over a Methacton program with a total of four wins over the previous three seasons. By the end of the 2017 campaign, only 19 players were listed on the team’s roster.

Progress was slow at first, and “victories” were marked by a different standard—getting almost 60 players out for the team last season and playing a full 48 minutes against area contenders. The 2018 squad topped a struggling Boyertown team in Week 5 last year for its only win, and Methacton started this season with a 34-6 blowout of a rebuilding Harriton team.

But there was no underplaying Friday’s victory over Upper Merion, a Class 5A playoff team one year ago. The Warriors ran for almost 250 yards, 80 of them coming on Mike Torcini’s touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in claiming a 21-12 victory.

The victory marked several accomplishments for the program, both tangible and symbolic. For one, it’s the first time in five years that the Warriors have possessed a winning record beyond Week One of the season.

“I’m not surprised how they played – that’s a physical football team,” said Upper Merion coach Victor Brown. “Penalties killed us, and I would have liked us to be a little sharper there.”

Methacton’s Matt Blakemore picked off UM’s Dale Clayton late in the first quarter, setting the stage for Torcini’s second long TD run, this one a 57-yarder. Upper Merion would mount a comeback, but Methacton recovered a late onside kick and ran out the clock to cement a defining victory.

“It goes back to the practice we put in throughout the week, and the mentality we’ve been instilling for the past two years,” said Lotier. “We’ve learned from our failures, and it does feel like a turning point for us.”

The victory was particularly satisfying after the Warriors struggled last week in a 35-7 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh. Lotier was pleasantly surprised by the squad’s response.

“I was a little bit concerned, to be honest. We thought we’d compete in that P-W game, and we went in there and got smacked,” he said. “When the kids showed up on Monday though, they were ready to get after it. We really emphasized conditioning, and when you do that you usually get some stragglers. We didn’t have to tell one kid to kick it up. That’s a testament to our seniors leading by example.”

The lone down note for Methacton coming out of Friday night appeared to be a big one – Torcini, who ran for 185 yards and two scores in the first half, spent the second half on the sideline with his arm in a sling.

“We were thinking broken collarbone, and he’d be done for the year,” said Lotier. “It’s definitely going to be a several-week injury, but we’re hopeful that he’ll be back there again sooner rather than later.”

Justin Carfrey and Nick Olivieri figure to see the bulk of the carries in Torcini’s absence.

Looking at the big picture, Lotier wasn’t shy about sharing the team’s goals, and where he feels they stand going into a game with 2-1 Pottstown Friday.

“The goals we set were to finish above .500, and if you do that you should be in position to fight for a playoff spot,” Lotier said. “And that’s where we are.

“We took one day to enjoy this (Upper Merion) win, then our focus changed immediately to getting to a 3-1 record. Pottstown beat us last year in a game we thought we could have had. We think we’re at a point where we can both compete with anyone on our schedule, but we also can’t look past anyone.”

2019 Mercury Area Rushing Leaders

RankPlayerTeamRush Att.Rush YdsRush TDRush Avg
1Isaiah TaylorPottsgrove2311338165.8
2Anthony SwendaUpper Merion1961144155.8
3Tanner VandersliceDaniel Boone176107386.1
4Armante HaynesSpring-Ford1641054126.4
5Jamie MocciaBoyertown131867116.6
6Jacob SturmPerkiomen Valley10982367.6
7Zion MaloneNorristown10976687.0
8Joneil OisterPottstown13374795.6
9Josh JacksonOwen J. Roberts14671594.9
10Anthony StevensonPhoenixville12666055.2
11Taiyan LobbanUpper Merion7864748.3
12Cooper ChamberlainOwen J. Roberts12656694.5
13Jon MocciaPerkiomen Valley9652665.5
14Andrew McDonaldPope John Paul II6749867.4
15Mike TorciniMethacton7248556.7
16Zach DavisBoyertown11547704.1
17Ezra FigueroaPottstown9847344.8
18Kamal GrayPope John Paul II9044074.9
19Ryan EngroSpring-Ford108434124.0
20Logan SimmonUpper Perkiomen34410612.1
21Harry AdieyefehSpring-Ford5536926.7
22Daniel DardenPottstown6734425.1
23Trey BlairHaverford13311423.9
24Justin CarfreyMethacton7731014.0
25Daylin GoodenPope John Paul II3830938.1
26Larry WilliamsDaniel Boone6029715.0
27Chris BruderPope John Paul II4628746.2
28Stanley BryantDowningtown East28286410.2
29Trey RobinsonUpper Perkiomen6526904.1
30Aidan FoleyPhoenixville4626565.8
31Mason MarinelloBoyertown8125333.1
32Jack PizorPhoenixville7825253.2
33Steele DepetrilloPope John Paul II5224524.7
34Owen KochPhoenixville2723738.8
35Justin DeMildDaniel Boone8623122.7
36Kayden WhitePottsgrove3822916.0
37AJ HoferDaniel Boone3221026.6
38Isiah TuckerNorristown3918014.6
39Elijah ThymanNorristown2117528.3
40Rasheem GraysonPerkiomen Valley1817329.6
41Jonathan MyersBoyertown3816524.3
42Nicholas OlivieriMethacton5014202.8
43Marc ClaytonUpper Merion1514119.4
44Josh LittlePope John Paul II1413729.8
45Dale ClaytonUpper Merion5013552.7
46Ethan KohlerPerkiomen Valley8813411.5
47Ben RenoDaniel Boone3613303.7
48Amir BrunsonPottsgrove2113016.2
49Malachi DukaUpper Perkiomen4212913.1
50Max NeesonPottsgrove1512908.6

Around the Area >> Upper Merion’s loss means Owen J. Roberts is the PAC’s lone remaining undefeated squad. It wasn’t easy to maintain that status, however, in a 14-13 win over Avon Grove. Jonathan Hannevig made the play of the night, taking down Avon Grove’s Sean Glatts on what the Red Devils hoped would be the decisive two-point conversion. But after recovering an onside kick, Avon Grove moved into field goal range, only to see Bobby Smith’s 51-yard effort glance off the crossbar.

For the night, Hannevig had a 78-yard TD reception, an interception and the tackle to prevent that decisive two-point conversion.

A simple look at the final score made Friday’s Boyertown-Pottsgrove tilt look like a one-sided affair, but in reality, the Bears held a one-point lead going to the fourth quarter before the Falcons turned it on. Isaiah Taylor finished the evening with 255 yards rushing and five scores as Pottsgrove (1-2) broke through with a 41-21 victory. The Falcons’ defense forced four interceptions and benefitted from three sacks by Darrian Seaman. For the Bears, Jamison Moccia had his third career kickoff return of 90+ yards, a school record.

Speaking of school records, Ryan Engro and Dante Bonanni rewrote a significant portion of the passing/receiving marks at Spring-Ford Friday, as Engro went 25-of-50 passing for 409 yards (school records for completions, attempts, and yardage) in a loss against District 3’s Wilson West Lawn. Bonanni accounted for 174 of the receiving yards, pushing him past Andrew Scanlan for the school’s all-time receiving mark.

2019 Mercury Area Receiving Leaders

RankPlayerTeamRecRec YdsRec. TDRec Avg
1Justin KormosPope John Paul II388531022.4
2Dante BonanniSpring-Ford54792414.7
3Randy WashingtonPerkiomen Valley307311024.4
4Dante DenardoOwen J. Roberts44644814.6
5Steve SkarbekPope John Paul II43505711.7
6Jon HannevigOwen J. Roberts35464213.3
7Andrew McDonaldPope John Paul II32439613.7
8Nicholas TeetsSpring-Ford39435311.2
9Dylan WalkerPope John Paul II264141015.9
10Isiah TuckerNorristown30387312.9
11Jon MocciaPerkiomen Valley29370312.8
12Jahzeel WatsonPottstown20369618.5
13BJ BeardSpring-Ford32352811.0
14Larry DickersonMethacton20343417.2
15Mike DoughertyPerkiomen Valley21323315.4
16Taiyan LobbanUpper Merion25301112.0
17Garrett GlendenningBishop Shanahan8289336.1
18Malachi DukaUpper Perkiomen23280112.2
19Jacob SturmPerkiomen Valley25278111.1
20Anthony StevensonPhoenixville18260314.4
21Blaize ScarcelleSpring-Ford16251215.7
22Levi CarrollNorristown22233210.6
23Christian GrossiOwen J. Roberts20222311.1
24Roman MarinelloBoyertown10205320.5
25Dominic NaveDaniel Boone10204020.4
26Messiah SmythePottsgrove6198133.0
27Marc ClaytonUpper Merion14195113.9
28Logan HollowayPerkiomen Valley14193213.8
29Aaron AndersonUpper Merion11191117.4
30Travis CummingsNorristown11186116.9
31Zion MaloneNorristown12180115.0
32James AlbertSpring-Ford12172014.3
33Kayden WhitePottsgrove9162018.0
34Connor RohrbachBoyertown9158217.6
35Parker JanusekPottsgrove3157152.3
36Justin MitalaPope John Paul II9156117.3
37Marcus MelleMethacton11150313.6
38Alex VassalloDaniel Boone2014847.4
39Nick McMenaminPerkiomen Valley10141114.1
40Justin GumiennyMethacton10139013.9
41Connor NobleDowningtown East4139034.8
42Matt CutroneOwen J. Roberts11138012.5
43Brady AseltonPhoenixville131361410.5
44Zach HighSpring-Ford12131010.9
45Trey RobinsonUpper Perkiomen1412819.1
46Ron FondotsMethacton11121111.0
47Andrew CarducciUpper Perkiomen1411618.3
48Jamie MocciaBoyertown6111018.5
49Chris BruderPope John Paul II7104114.9
50Anthony SwendaUpper Merion9101011.2

Phoenixville’s first victory came in a decisive 60-6 win over Dobbins of the Philadelphia Public League, with four different Phantoms accounting for eight rushing touchdowns. Anthony Stevenson eclipsed the 100-yard barrier and added a pair of scores, while Aidan Foley contributed 80 yards and three TDs. The defense held Dobbins to only 54 total yards and forced a turnover.

Perkiomen Valley slugged its way past Pennridge, 24-6, limiting Rams QB Bobby Croyle to 5-of-25 passing and limiting Pennridge to only seven first downs on the evening. Jon Moccia had 71 yards rushing and two scores for the victors.

Pope John Paul II put together its most complete performance of 2019 in a 28-0 shutout of Chichester. Kamal Gray accounted for 270 total yards (161 passing, 109 rushing) and three scores, but for the second straight week, the Golden Panthers’ defense was the story, holding Chichester to 142 total yards and forcing three turnovers.

Daniel Darden and Ezra Figueroa each ran for over 100 yards in Pottstown’s Senior Night victory over Kutztown, 37-14. The Trojans’ defense allowed only 23 total yards before halftime, with the second half played under running clock rules.

Area schools won’t be too sad to see Upper Moreland move off the schedule, as the Bears claimed their second straight victory over a PAC Frontier opponent, this time topping Upper Perkiomen, 26-0. The Tribe managed only 65 yards of total offense against a Bears defense that held the area’s leading rusher, Logan Simmon, to minus-10 yards on the evening.

A Look Ahead >> There’s no rest for the weary when Perkiomen Valley travel to Kottmeyer Stadium in Downingtown to take on the Whippets. After a Week 2 loss to Downingtown East, the Vikings now try their hand against D-West, arguably District 1’s most impressive team through three weeks with convincing victories over Garnet Valley, Central Bucks South, and Neshaminy.

Two big inter-division matchups are on tap as Methacton travels to Pottstown and Upper Merion hosts Owen J. Roberts. All four squads boast winning records and will try to gain divisional bragging rights and valuable momentum for the start of PAC play in Week 5.

Norristown hosts Cheltenham in its first night game at the school’s new stadium, while Phoenixville welcomes Chichester. The rest of the PAC teams play opponents from outside of District 1, highlighted by Pottsgrove’s encounter with Christ the King (NY). Spring-Ford travels to Exeter, Boyertown visits Berks Catholic, Pope John Paul II battles Schuylkill Valley, while Upper Perkiomen hosts Fleetwood.

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