RED Hill >> Upper Merion was simply unstoppable in the first half Friday night at Upper Perkiomen. The Vikings scored on a 61-yard run on their second play from scrimmage. After that, a trio of running backs continued to pick up large chunks of yardage through gaping holes in the line. And when they weren’t carrying the ball, senior quarterback Zayd Etheridge threw in some pinpoint passes to add to the Indians’ defensive woes.
By the time the halftime break rolled around, the Vikings had scored on all six of their possessions and racked up 355 total yards and a 42-point advantage on the way to a 49-14 Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division win at Bill Keeny Stadium.
Etheridge hit on 7-for-9 passes for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Justin Besz led the ground game for the Vikings (1-1 PAC, 3-3 overall) with 145 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries. Zach Schwartz ran for 58 yards and Mike Boyle passed for 52 for Upper Perk (0-2, 1-5).
“We’ve got options,” said Etheridge. “We’ve got depth. Our depth is a real big part of this team.”
Yusuf Riley ran for 72 yards and two scores as part of that deep backfield for the Vikings and Qwynne Seals gained 13 and 11 yards on two early first-half carries as the Vikings averaged over 13 yards on their 26 plays before the intermission.
Besz burst into the open and ran 61 yards into the end zone just 29 seconds into the contest. Then the Upper Merion defense forced a quick punt and the Vikings followed with a 48-yard drive with Besz scoring again from one yard out. The score was 21-0 after a 73-yard drive topped off by a 1-yard run by Riley and Marcus Crittendon caught a 6-yard TD pass from Etheridge seven seconds into the second quarter. Scoring runs by Riley from one yard out and Besz from 37 made it 42-0 at the break.
“I feel like everyone came into the game really confident,” said Etheridge. “Everybody showed up.”
On the other hand, the Indians had a tough time gaining any rushing yards against the big Viking line, picking up just 22 on 12 first-half carries.
“We knew they were a bigger team from films,” said Boyle. “We had a good week of practice. We just didn’t show up tonight. That’s not us out there.”
Things didn’t get any better for the hosts early in the second half as they fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to a 10-yard scoring pass from Etheridge to Preston Thomas.
But to the Indians’ credit, they scored on a 34-yard run by Schwartz early in the third quarter and a 17-yard pass from Boyle to Chidike Eruba early in the fourth.
“We were really just trying to make the most of it,” said Boyle. “They kept their No. 1’s in there almost as long as we did. It’s little mistakes we’re going to fix this week and bounce back harder than ever.”
And while the Indians will try to regroup, the Vikings will look for continued improvement.
“We had a really good week of practice,” said Etheridge. “We jelled really well. We’re having fun while we’re learning to get better.”
The Vikings finished with 279 rushing yards and 437 total. Upper Perk gained 140 yards in the second half after being held to only 43 in the first.
“We were really focused,” said Etheridge. “And having fun with what we do.”
[event_results 43483 site_id=”2″]
[event_details 43483 site_id=”2″]
UM-Besz 61 run (Palladino kick)
UM-Besz 1 run (Palladino kick)
UM-Riley 1 run (Palladino kick)
UM-Crittendon 6 pass from Etheridge (Palladino kick)
UM-Riley 1 run (Palladino kick)
UM-Besz 37 run (Palladino kick)
UM-Thomas 10 pass from Etheridge (Palladino kick)
UP-Z Schwartz 34 run (Renzi kick)
UP-Eruba 17 pass from Boyle (Renzi kick)
First downs 16 13
Rushing yards 279 97
Passing yards 158 86
Total yards 437 183
Passes C-A-I 9-11-0 8-16-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-45 0-0
Punts-Avg. 4-22.0 0-0
UPPER MERION – Besz 7-145, 3 TD’s; Riley 11-72, 2 TD’s; Seals 2-24; Savior 5-23; Clayton 1-11; Garcia 4-7; Etheridge 1-2; Solley 1-(-5)
UPPER PERKIOMEN – Z Schwartz 13-58,1 TD; Boyle 3-26; Northern 1-8; romanowski 1-5; White 1-0
UPPER MERION – Etheridge 7-9-127, 2 TD’s; Solley 2-2-31
UPPER PERKIOMEN – Boyle 8-16-52, 1 TD, 1 INT; O’Donnell 1-3-34
UPPER MERION – Seals 3-47; Scavello 2-54; Crittendon 2-43, 1 TD; Thomas 1-10, 1 TD; Wallace 1-4
UPPER PERKIOMEN – Northern 3-19; Z Schwartz 2-14; Krier 1-34; Eruba 1-17, 1 TD; Romanowski 1-1; Hoffer 1-1
Interceptions – Upper Merion Thomas
Sacks – none
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