ROYERSFORD >> As Pope John Paul II players trotted off the field, some mentioned they didn’t think they broke a sweat.
Sure, a 67-degree 1 p.m. start at home sounds like workout fuel, but with 42 unanswered points in the first half, the Golden Panthers were calm, cool and collected in a 42-14 win over Upper Perkiomen on Saturday.
With three minutes to go in the first half, Pope John Paul II (5-0) pulled its starters for the remainder of the divisional-opener.
“I think, and both teams did this, we brought in some other players and some of our guys who started the game were trying to help the guys who were trying to finish the game and talking through that,” Golden Panthers coach Scott Reed said. “I think it went back-and-forth, obviously it was more defensive in the second half with some of the younger guys in.”
Sophomore quarterback Luke Terlesky threw 9-for-10 for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first came six minutes into the game on third-and-15 with a short pass over the middle to Braden Reed (two catches, 74 yards) for a 41-yard score.
Q1, 6:06 — On third and 15, Braden Reed takes a short pass over the middle for the first score of the game.
Pope John Paul 7, Upper Perkiomen 0 pic.twitter.com/NkjPmsuU7d
— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) September 24, 2022
Terlesky then found his second end zone reception four minutes later on a 19-yard floater to Brendan Kenning to take a 21-0 advantage heading into the second quarter.
“I usually have time every time I pass. Our O-line, they give me time every time,” Terlesky said. “I don’t think we have one weak receiver on the whole team, I have so many options out there.”
Through the first four weeks of the season, Terlesky led the Pioneer Athletic Conference in passing yards (739) and passer rating (164.84). With six touchdowns through the air on the season now to go along with those numbers, the sophomore is getting more comfortable in the pocket with every snap.
“I feel I’ve improved from Week 1. Week 1 and Week 2, I didn’t really have a great time passing and throwing the ball but Weeks 3, 4 and 5 I feel like I’ve developed it a bit more,” Terlesky said.
On the first play following Reed’s touchdown reception, Boyd Skarbek made a pick-six to go up 14-0. Reed added another pick-six with four minutes to go before halftime. On the day, the Indians (1-4) had five turnovers with a lost fumble and another interception for Reed as well as one for Mike McNally.
Reed and Skarbek entered Week 5 leading the PAC, first and second in interceptions with three and two picks respectively and marched to the same beat defensively for Pope John Paul II.
“It gives our offense a break,” Skarbek said on the interception touchdowns. “It definitely gets us more hyped during the game and boosts our confidence a lot and gets us going as a team.”
Skarbek broke the plane once more with a 16-yard rushing touchdown one minute into the second quarter. The junior running back rushed for 21 yards on four carries to go with his score.
Just under six minutes remaining in the first half, Skarbek found the end zone for the third time of the day on a 5-yard outside run before Reed’s pick-six on the ensuing drive.
With seven different rushers and six different receivers all contributing, the Golden Panthers used a full arsenal and got much of their players involved offensively.
“I think it just helps us as a team get better. And we all have a job, we all do our part,” Skarbek said. “Whether it’s receivers blocking for us or catching the ball and getting us touchdowns. It really helps us that we can all get past whoever we want and still make good yards out of it and have a bunch of weapons to use. And if the run game’s not working, we know we can still pass.”
Jayden White recovered a fumble from Pope John Paul’s 22-yard line and ran it in to put Upper Perkiomen on the board one minute into the third quarter. With 4:28 to go in the game, Tyler Miller rushed through traffic from nine yards out to cap off the scoring.
Q4, 4:28 — Tyler Miller takes it nine yards in for the Indians.
Pope John Paul II 42, Upper Perkiomen 14 pic.twitter.com/lGU5rHEoVv
— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) September 24, 2022
Riding a 5-0 start to its season, Pope John Paul is getting its entire roster playing experience in the process while taking its first step toward the hopes of chasing a conference crown. But the Golden Panthers aren’t letting it get to their heads midway through the regular season.
“We just keep a 1-0 mentality. Just take each week one by one and focus on our next opponent each week,” Skarbek said on not getting caught up in the moment. “Don’t think about the past or anything, just keep up with what’s going on now. Just keep balling, doing our thing.”
Pope John Paul II 42, Upper Perkiomen 14
Upper Perkiomen 0 0 7 7 — 14
Pope John Paul II 21 21 0 0 — 42
PJP — Reed 41 pass from Terlesky (Bosio kick), 6:06
PJP — Skarbek interception return for TD (Bosio kick), 5:50
PJP — Kenning 19 pass from Terlesky (Bosio kick), 2:09
PJP — Skarbek 16 run (Bosio kick good), 11:04
PJP — Skarbek 5 run (Bosio kick good), 5:48
PJP — Reed interception return for TD (Bosio kick), 4:05
UP — White fumble returned for TD (Watkins kick), 8:00
UP — Miller 9 run (Watkins kick), 4:28
First downs 10 2
Rushes-Yards 26-88 16-15
Passing yards 152 44
Total yards 240 59
Passes C-A-I 10-16-0 7-17-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 3-5
Punts 3 8
Upper Perkiomen — Schwartz 6-9; Boyle 1-(minus-12); Northern 1-(minus-4); Romanowski 1-2; Weiss 1-(minus-1); Miller 5-13, TD; Krier 1-8.
Pope John Paul II — Reed 1-39; Skarbek 4-21, 2 TD; Terlesky 3-6; Mitala 2-4; Beach 6-12; Wessalt 4-(minus-1); DiBricida 6-7.
Upper Perkiomen — Boyle 5-12, 11 yards, 2 INT; O’Donnell 2-5, 30 yards, INT.
Pope John Paul II — Terlesky 9-10, 142 yards, 2 TD; Wessalt 1-6, 10 yards.
Upper Perkiomen — Romanowski 1-2; Northern 2-4; Eruba 1-5; Carino 1-3; Krier 1-9; Farrington 1-21; Miller 1-9.
Pope John Paul II — Reed 2-74, TD; Bass 3-31; Mitala 1-4; Skarbek 1-3; Kenning 2-30, TD; Gray 1-10.
Interceptions: Pope John Paul 3 (Reed, Skarbek, McNally.
Sacks: Pope John Paul 1 (Boccella); Upper Perkiomen 1 (Eruba).
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