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Phoenixville comes up with the goods late to beat Pottsgrove for first time in 17 seasons

Phoenixville running back Sam Moore (26) runs with the ball during the first half against Pottsgrove at Pennypacker Field on Friday. (Evan Wheaton - MediaNews Group)

LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Gabe Rinda took the snap and stepped back in the pocket. Rain picking up, Pottsgrove’s junior quarterback lofted one out with visions of turning a one-score deficit into a tie game.

Ahmid Spivey had other ideas. The Phoenixville senior receiver/defensive back came up with an interception to bring Phantoms’ offense back out at midfield with three minutes left, effectively icing the game. Upon picking up one last first down, the Phantoms took victory formation.

In a game where leverage was hard to come by on both sides, Spivey’s pick sealed a 14-7 win for Phoenixville over the Falcons after a late game-winning drive at Pennypacker Field on Friday.

It was the first time since 2005 the Phantoms (5-2, 3-0 PAC Frontier) defeated Pottsgrove (3-4, 1-2 PAC Frontier).

“That’s 17 years down the drain. We’re not making it to 18 with that one,” Spivey said. “We couldn’t afford that, just keep going. I already said it before, this is a statement year. We’re letting everybody in the PAC know it’s different this year.”

Tied 7-7 late in the fourth quarter, Phoenixville received a punt at midfield following a three-and-out for the Falcons. Aided by a defensive pass interference call, the Phantoms drove down field and converted on fourth-and-1 with an outside run from Sam Moore.

With a fresh set of downs along the 1-yard line, Darius Watson (12 carries, 31 yards) punched it in up the middle to retake the lead with just 3:32 left to play.

“This line really is amazing. We drop these different plays and every single lineman is doing their job perfectly. Even if we mess up a play, we adjust off of them,” Moore said. “The whole backfield can run the ball. You’ve seen Darius, you’ve seen (Spivey), you’ve seen Deacon (Williams), all of them can run the ball. It really adds a level of diversity to our offense.”

Quite simply, Moore ate. Behind an offensive line spearheaded by Shane Callen, Andrew Kirk and TJ Howard, Moore chopped up 177 rushing yards on 26 carries.

“We really knew what the goal of this game was. The last time we beat Pottsgrove, our coach was on the team, coach Travis Ford-Bey,” Moore said. “In the back of our heads, we knew we needed to do this for them. I feel that was our motivation going out on the field, doing this for them.”

While the game was won on the ground, it got off to a suboptimal start in the air. On Phoenixville’s second drive, a batted pass from Talon Romance landed in the hands of Falcons junior linebacker Riley Delp, who took the ball in for a 26-yard return for a touchdown.

“Riley Delp’s a Pottsgrove football player who is everything I want in a football player and everything any coach in this area would want in a football player,” Falcons coach Bill Hawthorne said. “He plays every play as hard as he can until the whistle.”

Delp’s bang-bang play proved to be a thorn in Phoenixville’s side all game. The seven points created by the defense allowed breathing room for a Falcons offense that was held to just two first downs.

The Phantoms forced two fumbles, one for a turnover, and held Rinda to two completed passes for negative yardage.

Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, Phoenixville turned it over on downs but recovered a fumble on Pottsgrove’s ensuing offensive snap, getting the ball back along the Falcons’ 34-yard line. With the prime field position, Moore then punched in a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game before the break.

Otherwise Pottsgrove’s defense was also sound, forcing two fumbles with one for a turnover and another interception made by Trenton Allen to stall a Phoenixville drive that was moving the ball well just before halftime.

“This is bully ball. We can’t let them push us around even though they have a big front,” Spivey said.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Phoenixville began to play soundly on both sides of the ball after an early hiccup in the form of a lost fumble. That miscue was in the rearview mirror after Watson’s drive-capping touchdown and Spivey’s game-sealing interception, the pieces the Phantoms had been looking for all game.

“They just started doing what we asked them to do. The game plan didn’t change, it was block, run, score. We were doing one, not the other and can’t do the third without the first or the second together. That was our issue,” Phoenixville coach Anthony Ciarlello said. “You can’t get a steak and not get a fork and knife with it, and you can’t get a fork and a knife without getting the steak.”

With the win, Phoenixville remains undefeated in the PAC Frontier ahead of its Week 8 tilt against Upper Perkiomen (2-5, 1-2 PAC Frontier). Pottsgrove looks to regain ground in the divisional race against Upper Merion (3-3, 1-1 PAC Frontier).

“That whole sideline across the field from us did a lot of good things to win the football game. I give them the utmost credit,” Hawthorne said. “They were the better team tonight and they just played a little bit more sound football than we did and they deserve to win.

“Moving forward, we’re just gonna watch film and see what our best combinations are and we’re gonna try our darndest to put our kids in the right positions and the right frame of mind to have success. Quite frankly, we haven’t done that, so these young men deserve better and they’re gonna get the best coaching they’re gonna get from us and we’ll just keep fighting on.”

Phoenixville 14, Pottsgrove 7
Phoenixville 0 7 0 7 — 14
Pottsgrove 7 0 0 0 — 7

First quarter
PG — Delp 26-yard interception return (Tice kick), 6:46
Second quarter
PH — Moore 1 run (Sposato kick), 6:39
Fourth quarter
PH — Watson 1 run (Sposato kick), 3:32
First downs 11 2
Rushes-Yards 48-217 20-38
Passing yards 26 -1
Total yards 243 37
Passes C-A-I 1-9-2 2-9-1
Fumbles Lost 2-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-55 5-35
Punts 3 4
Phoenixville — Sam Moore 26-177, TD; Watson 12-31, TD; Spivey 5-6; Romance 4-1; Williams 1-2.
Pottsgrove — Mayes 14-28; Caffery 2-13; Rinda 2-(minus-6); Leibensperger 1-3.
Phoenixville — Romance 1-9, 26 yards, 2 INT.
Pottsgrove — Rinda 2-9, -1 yard, INT.
Phoenixville — Spivey 1-26.
Pottsgrove — Caffrey 2-(minus-1).
Interceptions: Phoenixville 1 (Spivey); Pottsgrove 2 (Delp-TD, Trenton).
Sacks: Phoenixville 1 (Howard); Pottsgrove 1 (White).

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