Roman Catholic’s grip on the game began to loosen.
Perkiomen Valley had the ball deep in Cahillites territory ready to get back within one score.
It took two plays for Roman to regain its stranglehold and maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the contest.
A strip sack by Jason Patterson Jr. followed by an 81-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Semaj Beals to Tyseer Denmark wasn’t quite a knockout punch, but a 26-10 Roman victory never seemed in doubt after the two game-changing plays.
“It was a real big moment,” Patterson said. “It just shows that we can make a flip on any play. We’ve still gotta do better. We should have been up by more in my opinion, but we’re getting better at the end of the day. We’ve got a lot to prove still.”
Roman (4-0) and Perkiomen Valley (3-1) both entered Friday’s contest undefeated. The Vikings broke open the scoring in what started as a defensive slugfest when Ryan Klimek booted a 25-yard field goal with 2:28 left in the first half.
The advantage was short lived as only three plays later Cahillites running back Jamir Robertson broke off a 45-yard touchdown to give Roman a 7-3 halftime lead. He ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Roman never hit full gear, but a handful of explosive plays provided enough scoring to pull out the victory. The Cahillites covered 216 yards in seven plays to score 20 consecutive points on their final possession of the first half and first two possessions of the second half.
Quarterback Semaj Beals (14-for-23, 209 yards, 2 TDs, INT) tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Trey Woodley on the Cahillites’ first possession of the second half to extend their lead to 14-3. Then came Woodley’s strip sack and the bomb to Denmark (three catches, 125 yards, TD) and the Roman lead went to 20-3 with 6:29 left in the third.
“First half, we had to get ourselves up,” Beals said. “Halftime we were ready to go.”
The Perk Valley defense slowed the Roman offense enough to give the Vikings a chance, forcing four turnovers (three fumbles, one interception) to aid the effort.
Klimek ran in a 12-yard touchdown with 11:04 to play to turn what looked to be a runaway contest into a 20-10 game.
“I’m really proud of the way our defense played,” Perk Valley coach Rob Heist said. “Every single one of their skill players is lightning in a bottle. … Big offensive line up front. They’re a very good football team. There’s a reason they went up to Wilson and won. They’re 4-0. … I’m proud of the way our defense played.”
Perkiomen Valley sophomore quarterback Patrick MacDonald, making his second consecutive start for the injured Danny Koehler, gutted things out for PV after he was slow to get up after a hit early in the game.
With Roman bottling up the Vikings’ ground game (12 yards), MacDonald completed 15-of-24 passes for 136 yards. A 25-yard completion to Michael Poruban (four catches, 82 yards) set up Klimek’s fourth-quarter touchdown run to give PV some late life.
He had the Vikings marching again two drives later to try and make it a one-possession game before Jordan Montgomery picked off a pass with 3:55 to play. Robertson scored a 10-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive to close out the Roman win.
Roman’s Walter Clymer and Jaleel Davis-Shabazz also intercepted the sophomore signal caller, who was under constant pressure from the Cahillites’ defensive line. Roman sacked MacDonald seven times, including six by Patterson.
Jameial Lyons and Rakeem Redding-Refile were other standouts up front for Roman up front, piling up tackles for losses throughout the contest.
“Schematically, I think that’s one of the best defensive lines I’ve seen in person in a long, long time, if not ever,” Heist said. “All the way across their base four front, their two ends (Patterson and Lyons) are absolute beasts and (Redding-Refile) is an animal. They really did a nice job up front of controlling the line of scrimmage. Their backers can run. … Big chunk plays that we’re used to were just really small gains for us tonight. We had to work for everything, so that’s a testament to their defense.”
The Vikings started last season 2-2 in non-league play before running the table in Pioneer Athletic Conference play en route to their first league title in three seasons.
The reigning PAC champs hope Friday’s loss is a moment that will help them grow as they look to return atop the league standings once again this season.
“I feel really great about where we are,” Heist said. “We’re 3-1 after a pretty tough non-league schedule. I like our football team. We’ve had a run of bad luck with some injuries, but we preach to these kids, ‘Next man up,’ and that’s what we’re going to continue to believe. We’re ready to start PAC play up at Owen J. next week and we’re going to learn from this and we’ll be ready to play next Friday night.”
Roman is in unfamiliar territory at 4-0 to start the season. They Cahillites have a five-game win streak dating back to last season that marks the longest stretch of wins since 2007, according to MaxPreps.
They haven’t posted a winning record since 2012 but look poised to make some noise in the Catholic League after victories over Wilson, Trinity, West Catholic and now Perkiomen Valley.
“This is a different team this year,” Patterson said. “No one’s used to us winning. We’ve got a lot to prove.”
Roman Catholic 26, Perkiomen Valley 10
Roman Catholic 0 7 13 6 — 26
Perkiomen Valley 0 3 0 7 — 10
PV – Klimek 25 FG
RC – Robertson 45 run (Whittle kick)
RC – Woodley 54 pass from Beals (Whittle kick)
RC Denmark 81 pass from Beals (kick fail)
PV – Klimek 12 run (Klimek kick)
RC – Robertson 10 run (kick fail)
First downs 15 15
Rushes-Yards 33-183 35-12
Passing yards 209 136
Total yards 392 148
Passes C-A-I 14-23-2 15-24-3
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 5-1
Penalties-Yards 13-102 6-51
Punts-Avg. 4-32 7-36.3
Roman Catholic – Robertson 20-153, 2 TDs; Howell 9-43; Mines1-9; Team 3-(-22).
Perk Valley – Klimek 8-25, TD; Stewart 13-24; Curci 1-11; MacDonald 10-(-23); Team 3-(-25).
Roman Catholic – Beals 14-23, 209 yards, 2 TDs, INT.
Perk Valley – MacDonald 15-24, 136 yards, 3 INTs.
Roman Catholic – Denmark 3-125, TD; Woodley 3-51, TD; Mosley 2-19; Mines 3-8; Robertson 1-6; Watson 1-1; Figueroa 1-(-1).
Perk Valley – Poruban 4-82; Keough 2-25; Peterlin 2-19; Stewart 3-15; R. Sturgess 1-1; Klimek 3-(-6).
Sacks: RC – Patterson 6, Lyons; PV – R. Sturgess.
Interceptions: RC – Montgomery, Clymer, Davis-Shabazz; PV – Grayson.
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