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Upper Perkiomen gets into win column with 31-14 handling of Owen J. Roberts

Upper Perkiomen running back Logan Simmon rushes to the outside against Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog - MediaNews Group)

RED HILL >> Tom Hontz crossed sports Friday, using a baseball analogy to assess Upper Perkiomen’s mindset going into its game with Owen J. Roberts.

“It’s like when you have a donut on your bat,” he said, a reference to the Indians’ previous games with Pioneer Athletic Conference powers Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford. “We got the donut off the bat tonight.”

After losing to the Vikings and Rams by a combined 89-0, Upper Perk was ready to show its stuff against the Wildcats. It did so, ringing up a 31-14 victory to which its contributions spanned all aspects of the sport — and numerous players wearing blue and gold.

PHOTO GALLERY: Upper Perkiomen-Owen J. Roberts football 10.16.20

Unsurprising highlights included Logan Simmon running for 222 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Hunter Flack threw for 168 yards and two TDs. There was also a defense that kept Owen J. from adding to its point production over the final 32½ minutes — the biggest effort stopping the ‘Cats with a goal line stand at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter — and Flack kicking an estimated-record 45-yard field goal that was all the scoring in the second half.

Upper Perkiomen’s Malachi Duka makes a diving catch at the 5-yard line in front of Owen J. Roberts defender Anthony Villarosa. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

It all added up to Upper Perk’s first victory in four games thus far … and a poised performance against a Owen J. Roberts squad (2-2) knocked out of a three-way tie for second place behind unbeaten Spring-Ford.

“We got through the gauntlet with Perk Valley and Spring-Ford,” Hontz said. “This was huge.”

Simmon finished the night with three touchdowns, a 27-yard pass collaboration with Flack coming after he rolled 85 yards for one score and bulled four yards for another in the first quarter. He was effusive in his praise of the teammates who cleared out the lanes for him to rack up his big yardage on just 17 totes.

“The line play was unbelievable,” the UP junior said. “I could have driven through those holes with a truck. The wide receivers were getting the edge and making great catches.”

The O-line was also key to Flack going 9-for-15 in the passing game for 168 yards. His main target was Corey Jackson, whose four-catch, 61-yard outing was headed by a 20-yard TD snare inside the first two minutes of the second quarter.

“Everyone stepped up and made big plays,” Flack said. “On the jump balls, we had the confidence to make big plays.”

Upper Perkiomen quarterback Hunter Flack rolls out on a pass away from Owen J. Roberts defender Aidan Tamms. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

UP’s line play also received credit from OJR head coach Rich Kolka. Even while Roberts had its own triple-digit runner in Avrey Grimm (130 yards on 27 carries), it couldn’t overcome the UP defense on a fourth-quarter drive that saw Grimm stacked up on a fourth-and-goal at the Tribe’s one-yard line, with Owen J. behind 28-14 but a good chunk of time left.

“They killed us up front, their defensive and offensive lines,” he said. “Not scoring from the one-yard line hurt.”

Roberts’ passing game chalked up more than 200 yards on the night. Quarterback Mike Reed, a sophomore in the fray with senior Matthew Cutrone injured since the second game of the season, combined with Dante DeNardo on 13 of his 18 completions and for 147 of the Wildcats’ 211 yards. They teamed up for a 16-yard scoring toss in the first quarter, Roberts’ other points coming off Reed’s 56-yard bomb to Grimm (three catches, 66 yards) in the second.

“He’s one of the better wideouts in the league,” Kolka said of DeNardo. “But we couldn’t match scores with them.”

Owen J. Roberts’ Dante DeNardo, center, looks for extra yards after catching a short pass against Upper Perkiomen in the first half. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

On the defensive side, Brady Thompson and Damon Faraco were getting their numbers called frequently during the night for the Tribe. Faraco complemented a sack of Reed with drops of him and Grimm on Roberts’ offensive series spanning the third and fourth quarters.

But on the crucial fourth-down run by Grimm, the center of the Indians’ D-line rose up to keep Owen J. out of the end zone to halt a six-play drive that saw OJR get the ball on the UP 18 after a high snap on a UP punt attempt and Grimm making a 31-yard return to the 18.

“The goal-line stand was huge,” Thompson said. “We played tough team football for four quarters.”

Buoyed by the stop, Upper Perk drove 80 yards on 11 plays. Facing a fourth-and-nine at the OJR 27, Flack was called on to attempt a 45-yard field goal … which he made, though even he admitted he wasn’t sure it was good.

“I didn’t think I had the leg,” Flack said of the third field goal he tried this season. “I thought it was short, but I was hoping.”

“He’s practiced them,” Hontz added. “I knew he had the leg to do it.”

Upper Perkiomen quarterback Hunter Flack rolls out on a pass away from Owen J. Roberts defender Aidan Tamms. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Getting the ball one more time, Owen J. got it to the UP 26. But that drive died with 29 seconds left on the clock, Thompson intercepting Reed to seal the affair.

“We played as a team,” Simmon said. “We finally figured it out. It feels good to win.

NOTES >> Upper Perk had 418 yards total offense to OJR’s 316. … All of Flack’s aerial hookups were for 10 or more yards. He completed five passes to start the game before his first miss. … Seven of Reed’s completions were for double-digit yardage.

Upper Perkiomen’s Corey Jackson (24) is tackled after making a long catch over the middle against Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Results

Team1234OTT
Owen J. Roberts7700014
Upper Perkiomen141403031

Owen J. Roberts

Player Position Comp Att Yds TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM FGA Longest Points
Michael Reed-1829211214-2000000000000
Avrey Grimm-00000211300366100000000
Will Whitlock-0000021000000000000
Hunter Rhoads-0000020000000000000
Dante Denardo-0000000013147100000000
Anthony Villarosa-000000001-7000000000
Dan Cashman-0000000015000000000
Carson Johnson-0000000000000200000
Total 18292112129129018211200200000

Upper Perkiomen

Player Position Comp Att Yds TD Int. Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec. TD Sacks Def. Int XPM XPA FGM FGA Longest Points
Hunter Flack-91516821618000000200100
Logan Simmon-00000172222127000000000
Malachi Duka-000004100352000000000
Corey Jackson-00000000461100000000
Brady Thompson-00000000128000000000
Riley Decker-0000000000010000000
Damon Faraco-0000000000010000000
Brady Thompson-0000000000001000000
Total 915168212725029168121200100

Upper Perkiomen 31
Owen J. Roberts 14
OWEN J. ROBERTS 7 7 0 0 – 14
UPPER PERKIOMEN 14 14 0 3 – 31
UP- Simmon 85 run (Flack kick)
OJR- DeNardo 16 pass from Reed (Johnson kick)
UP- Simmon 4 run (Flack kick)
UP- Jackson 20 pass from Flack (kick failed)
OJR- Grimm 56 pass from Reed (Johnson kick)
UP- Simmon 27 pass from Flack (Thompson pass from Flack)
UP- Flack 45 FG

TEAM STATISTICS
OJR UP
First downs 16 18
Rushing yards 105 0
Passing yards 211 0
Total yards 316 0
Passes C-A-I 18-29-1 9-15-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 7-60
Punts-Avg. 3-28.0 2-23.5

Upper Perkiomen and Owen J. Roberts play under a vibrant colored sky on Oct. 16, 2020. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

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