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Taylor, Pottsgrove run over Pottstown, 45-6

POTTSTOWN >> He ran for more than 200 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns covering more than 100 stripes.

And that was just in the first half Friday.

Isaiah Taylor’s banner night did more than just set the tone for Pottsgrove. It foretold a big night of overall solid play that propelled the Falcons to a 45-6 victory over Pottstown on the opening night of Pioneer Athletic Conference divisional play.

Before the game was over, Pottsgrove got a pair of rushing TDs from quarterback Jay Sisko, an aerial score to Ryan Bodolus, another ground-pounding TD from Isaiah Glover and a booming field goal by Michael Sereny. It all served to keep the Falcons (5-0) perfect at the start of their first season under new head coach Bill Hawthorne.

“Pottstown/Pottsgrove … they play hard,” Hawthorne said. “The kids look forward to this game. But we’re just taking them one game at a time.”

Pottsgrove’s Ryan Bodolus makes a shoestring catch.

Taylor excited the Falcon faithful on the first play from scrimmage. The junior running back took the ball at the Pottsgrove 42, blew through his right tackle and roared down the field for a 58-yard score just 20 seconds into the traditional-laden “backyard brawl.” Two series later, he went 55 yards around his left end to stake the visitors to a 15-0 lead with 3-1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.

“We wanted an opportunity to score with good field position,” Taylor said. “When I saw green grass, I just went. This is probably the best o-line we have.”

Taylor’s night was ended after making a 12-yard run to start the second half — a possession set up by Rylee Howard intercepting a Pottstown pass four plays from the kickoff, and one capped by Sisko going 11 yards through his left tackle to get the Falcons the running clock with 9:27 left in the quarter. He finished with 215 yards on 12 carries.

“I was a little disappointed,” Taylor said of his early finish, “but we were able to get some young guys in.”

Glover followed Taylor’s two-pack with a one-yard burst up the middle with 8:10 to go in the second quarter. Sisko then added a 17-yard scoring run through right tackle 1:03 before the half to stake the Falcons to a 28-point lead.

“Taylor, Glover, JaDore (Colbert) … they’re all unselfish,” Hawthorne noted. “They try so hard to get other running back touchdowns. They’re tough and they work hard.”

Pottstown’s Nehemiah Figueroa tries to escape after an interception. (Barry Taglieber)

Their success in the running game — they covered 285 in the first half, 331 for the game — gave the Falcons the opportunity to work the airways. They did so in getting their sixth touchdown, Sisko (4-for-9) hooking up with Ryan Bodolus (3-29) on a 12-yard throw with 8:19 left in the third.

Pottsgrove’s scoring was capped by Michael Sereny booting a 40-yard field in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Sereny had four other conversion kicks to his credit on the night.
Pottstown (3-2) averted the shutout when Ezra Figueroa came off the bench to pick up 46 yards on four totes in the fourth, then scored on a five-yard burst through his right tackle at the 8:06 mark. The Trojans saw an earlier opportunity to get on the board — they were at the Pottsgrove seven after Josiah Wiggins connected with Nehemiah Figueroa on an 11-yard pass — dashed when a Wiggins pass was tipped at the goal line and picked off by Howard, who ran it all the way to the Pottstown 40.

“I thought we’d go down and put it in there,” head coach Mark Fischer said. “Our goal was to pitch a shutout in the second half.”

Nehemiah Figueroa had a big play on the defensive side for the Trojans, picking off a Sisko pass attempt late in the first quarter. He was also a presence on special teams, returning a number of kickoffs and punts for sizeable yardage.

Jon Oister also distinguished himself on special teams, blocking Pottsgrove’s conversion kick attempt on its third touchdown. But those highlights weren’t enough to keep pace with Pottsgrove.

“It was a tough night, disappointing,” Fischer admitted. “But the thing for us is, this doesn’t define who we are. We’ll get things fixed for next week’s game with Phoenixville.”

For Pottsgrove, one key issue was resolved by its scoring surge in the first half.

“We’ve had struggles early,” Taylor said. “We needed to come out with abandon and get the ball rolling. We needed to step up in the first half.”

“We came up big on the first play from scrimmage the last two weeks,” Hawthorne added. “We want to be sharp, improving every week. When we get started, we want to set the tone.”

NOTES >> The Pottsgrove defense held Pottstown to under 100 yards on the ground and through the air. … Bodolus was part of two sacks of Wiggins on the night. … Bryce Kennedy was credited with the recovery of a Trojan fumble that put the Falcons in position for Taylor’s second score.

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