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Mercury Week 4 Football Review: Taking stock of the PAC after conclusion of non-league play

The teams from the Pioneer Athletic Conference got in their final non-league games this past weekend before the beginning of PAC play on Friday.

None of the league’s teams survived the non-league slate unscathed with each squad entering league play with at least one loss. Pottstown (0-4) and Norristown (0-4) are still looking for their first wins of 2021, though the Trojans hung tough with Methacton in a 14-7 loss Friday night.

Speaking of the Warriors … Methacton and Owen J. Roberts currently hold the best overall record in the league at 3-1. The Warriors survived their defensive battle with the Trojans with an 81-yard kick off return touchdown by Giancarlo DeFilippis and a rushing touchdown by Dan Brandi.

Led by another big day on the ground by senior Avrey Grimm (26 carries, 204 yards, TD), the Wildcats stormed past Reading 39-6, for their third straight win since a loss to Conestoga in their opener. Through four games this season Grimm (95 carries, 786 yards, six touchdowns) has already surpassed his yardage and matched his touchdown total from the six-game 2020 campaign.

2021 Mercury Area Football Leaders

OJR and Methacton are followed by Pottsgrove (2-1), which lost its first game of the season 42-35 to Boyertown in four overtimes, and Upper Merion (2-1), who had a contest cancelled this week due to a COVID outbreak at an opposing school.

Falcons’ junior running back Amir Brunson (25 carries, 110 yards, 2 TDs) ran for 100+ yards and multiple scores for the third straight game but Boyertown’s defense matched an impressive effort by Pottsgrove and eventually made one more play in the fourth overtime — a forced fumble Anthony Famularo and recovery Anthony Panarello — to walk away with the win.

The Bears are one of four PAC teams who finished up non-league play at .500. Spring-Ford, Perkiomen Valley, Pope John Paul II are also 2-2 through four games after challenging non-league slates.

Sophomore Ryder Gehris led the charge for Boyertown in the quadruple overtime thriller — the longest contest in Bears’ history — passing for 103 yards and two touchdowns and adding 86 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The win was Boyertown’s first since Week 1 against Upper Perkiomen after dropping one-sided contests to District 3 powers Exeter and Wyomissing.

Boyertown’s Jason Oakes (8) runs with the ball Friday against Pottsgrove. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley both dropped games in the week leading up to their marquee PAC Liberty showdown this Friday. The Rams fell 26-13 to Manheim Township for their second consecutive loss. Fellow Liberty Division favorite PV was outdueled by Manheim Central, 43-40, despite Ethan Kohler’s four total touchdowns. Kolten Kqira hauled in a pair of touchdowns in the Rams’ loss.

Kohler leads the area with 823 yards passing with nine touchdowns compared to just one interception through four games. He’s added five more touchdowns on the ground. Kqira is second in the area in receiving with 22 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Kohler’s teammate Dawson Debebe is the area’s top pass threat thus far hauling in 16 passes for 333 yards and three scores.

The Golden Panthers, likely one of the top contenders in the Frontier, rallied from 27 points behind against Berks Catholic, but they concluded their non-league slate with a second straight tough defeat, falling 47-40. Kese Williams had his biggest day of the season (six catches, 147 yards, TD), while Josh Little continued his dominance on the ground with eight carries for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Little leads the area with nine rushing touchdowns and is currently averaging an astounding 12.3 yards per carry.

Phoenixville (1-2) and Upper Perkiomen (1-3) round out the rest of the PAC. The Phantoms, who saw their season delayed a week due to a COVID-related issue in Week 1, earned their first victory of the season 36-33 over Octorara on a late TD pass from sophomore quarterback Ty Romance to junior Ahmid Spivey. Senior running back Owen Koch ran for 231 yards a two touchdowns. Sophomore wideout Hayden Tenbroeck has been one of the area’s breakout stars with nine catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

The Indians ended their non-league slate with a loss to Schuylkill Valley. Brady Thompson had his second 100-yard effort of the season in the defeat, carrying 16 times for 126 yards and added in a fumble recovery touchdown.

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