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Boyertown pulls away from Phoenixville for 31-19 victory

BOYERTOWN >> When Boyertown needed them most on Friday night, role players came through, and came through in a big way.

With do-everything running back Jamie Moccia pretty much bottled up for the final three quarters and holding the slimmest of leads at 14-13 after Phoenixville’s 12-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that took nearly six minutes off of the clock, the Bears were forced to get away from riding their senior star’s legs and move in another direction in an effort to free him up.

Moccia carried the ball just four times over the rest of the game, including a six-yard touchdown run to give his team a 20-13 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the game; backfield mate Dominick Tomaselli added another on a 1-yard scoring run a little over four minutes later; and placekicker Declan Coyle added a late field goal as Boyertown (3-7) pulled away for a 31-19 win in Pioneer Athletic Conference crossover action.

“In terms of coming back in the second half, we had been unable to finish all year. We asked (the team) at halftime how they wanted to end this chapter, and they ended it with some passion and that was good to see,” Boyertown head coach TJ Miller said.

Both the Phantoms and Bears entered the Week 10 matchup in fifth-place in their respective divisions, but neither team showed any signs of packing it in.

Much the opposite, their contrasting offensive styles were on full display.

Boyertown needed just four plays, highlighted by a 40-yard Moccia touchdown, on the first drive of the game to take a blink-and-you-missed-it 7-0 lead before the Phantoms answered by grinding out an 11-play, 65-yard run-heavy drive to knot the score at 7-7.

Moccia then opened the Bears’ third drive with a 26-yard scamper before quarterback Mason Marinello finished it with a 30-yard touchdown strike to little brother Roman Marinello to make it a 14-7 game.

The score would remain that way through the second quarter and coming out of halftime before Phoenixville made it a one-point game — 14-13 — on its third quarter-opening drive.

After holding Boyertown to eight yards on six plays on its next series, Phoenixville quarterback Jack Pizor showed off his arm strength with what looked to be an easy six points when he found a wide open Anthony Stevenson in the middle of the end zone from 60 yards away, but the perfectly placed pass went through Stevenson’s hands and the Bears held onto their narrow lead.

Moccia made it a 21-13 game on the ensuing drive with his second score of the night, and after Roman Marinello picked off Pizor’s pass attempt as he rolled out of the pocket on the Phantoms’ next series, Tomaselli widened the margin to 28-13 with his 1-yard scoring run.

Coyle’s 28-yard field goal increased Boyertown’s lead to 31-13, but on the final play of the game, senior backup quarterback Quinn Hoffman hooked up with Stevenson from 32 yards out for the score as the game ended, 31-19.

For second-year Phoenixville head coach Don Grinstead, some of the mental mistakes late in the game — the dropped touchdown pass, some key drive-killing penalties and two late interceptions — were just too much for his team to overcome.

“We had our opportunities, and we have no one to blame but us. Not taking any credit away from Boyertown, but we had our opportunities,” Grinstead said. “Too many penalties in bad situation and turnovers, and took a shot late and dropped a touchdown pass.

“It’s just who we’ve been. We play well enough in spurts and hang tough in at points during the game, but we make just too many mistakes in the interim. I don’t know if it is the youth or whatever, but we just have to keep working to overcome it.”

Moccia finished night with a game-high 122 yards on 16 carries and his two touchdown runs, while Zachary Davis chipped in with 46 yards on 14 carries of his own. Mason Marinello was 7-for-13 for 104 yards and a touchdown pass and two interceptions.

For Phoenixville, Aidan Foley carried the ball 21 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while Hoffman was 1-for-1 for 32 yards and one touchdown.

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