BUCKTOWN >> It was a memorable 2019 season Boyertown experienced.
But Matt Kerr, one of the current Bears to live through that storied campaign and its highlights — a 22-3-2 overall record, Pioneer Athletic Conference championship, District 1-4A second place, PIAA 4-A semifinal finish — is more focused on making the most of the 2020 season.
“Last season was great,” the senior forward said following Thursday’s game with Owen J. Roberts, “but we want to make our own legacy this year.”
Kerr set the tone for the start of Boyertown’s 2020 transformation at Wildcat Stadium. Figuring in on three of his team’s goals, he led the Bears in a second-half surge that fueled the Bears on the way to a 4-3 victory.
Kerr had goals in each half, bringing Boyertown (2-3) even with OJR (1-3) in the first half. He then scored a go-ahead tally around the 17-minute mark of the second half, after Beckett Wenger pulled the visitors back even with their hosts little more than 2-1/2 minutes later.
Kerr also assisted on one of the Bears’ other goals, part of the Bears’ unanswered three goals scored in a 10-minute span of the second. The “hat trick” proved key as Roberts cut the deficit to one with little more than a minute left in the game.
“They were all team goals,” he said. “That’s the special part.”
Kerr figures the game will go be a timely cure for what’s ailed the Bears in the first part of their season.
“It’s all mentality,” he said. “We’ve been down and not playing with a lot of heart. We’re going to change the season with the aid of a great team effort.”
OJR got a pair of goals from PJ DePorry at the game’s beginning and end. But them, and Julian Funaro’s go-ahead tally around the 24-minute mark of the second half, were offset by what head coach Eric Wentzel termed “really bad defensive mistakes.”
“You can’t do them against a good team,” he said. “We did good things in both halves, but there were glaring bad mistakes.”
DePorry got Owen J. going at the 25:20 mark of the first half, taking a centering pass from Stephen Mullen and connected while going right to left in front of the Boyertown cage. That lead held up until the clock worked down to 3:17 in the half, Kerr nailing a shot high into the nets.
Funaro got his goal off a five-yard set shot by DePorry at 24:20. Wenger then brought Boyertown even with OJR, capping a breakoff into Wildcat territory at 19:56.
Kerr’s conversion of a penalty kick at 17:15 got the Bears their first lead of the night. Ryan Goffice angled a kick into the cage at 10:44 — a goal that proved ample insurance even while DePorry took Johnson’s pass off a restart and got Owen J. within one of Boyertown with 1;06 to go.
OJR took one final shot at goal with the clock down to 17.5 seconds, but Boyertown covered the ball to sew up the victory.
“Our kids are working hard,” Wentzel noted, “and they do what we tell them to do. They’ll clean up the mistakes in time for Saturday (home vs. Methacton).”
NOTES >> Boyertown had a narrow edge (10-9) in shots on goal over Roberts. … Owen J. goalkeeper Andrew Keddie was credited with five saves, one more than the Bears’ starting keeper, Nick Chlanda. … Boyertown had an apparent goal at 12:25 in the first half nullified by an offsides call. … OJR had a total of three scoring opportunities in the game’s final 12 minutes, in and around their last-minute goal. Boyertown’s final opportunity, with 3:48 left in the game, saw a 15-yard set shot blocked.