RED HILL >> With two young football teams playing their season opener, a lot of interesting things were likely to happen and did on Friday night in Boyertown’s 35-27 win at Upper Perkiomen. The Bears led 28-27 after a wild first half and their defense buckled down and their offense controlled the ball when it needed to the rest of the way in the non-league contest at Indian Stadium.
Noah Segal threw for two touchdowns and ran for a team-high 82 yards for Boyertown, which lost to the Indians 35-8 in last year’s season finale. Logan Simmon rushed for 262 yards, including scoring runs of 65, 64 and 64 yards for Upper Perk.
The Bears allowed 360 total yards and fumbled the ball away twice in the first half, but blanked the Indians in the second half while giving up only 68 additional yards.
“That goes along with our youth,” said Boyertown coach T.J. Miller, whose team defeated Upper Perk 37-12 in last year’s opener. “We’re still very, very young, still trying to play the game. I’m really happy with our offensive and defensive lines. They’ve really been stepping up.”
“We’ve had some disappointing losses against that team,” said Indian coach Tom Hontz. “We played well. We didn’t have the gas in the tank in the second half. The wheels started coming off.”
Upper Perk drove 70 yards on the game’s first possession, with quarterback Hunter Flack running into the end zone from five yards out. Jamie Moccia returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to tie the score. But Simmon burst 65 yards on the next play from scrimmage to give the hosts a 13-7 edge just 2:19 into the contest.
“Coach Hontz does a great job,” said Miller. “We knew coming in this wasn’t a push-over team.”
The Bears took their first lead on a 53-yard TD pass from Segal to Connor Rohrbach late in the opening quarter and boosted the margin to 21-13 midway through the second on a 20-yard scoring toss from Segal to Roman Marinello.
Then Upper Perk came back for a 27-21 advantage on a pair of 64-yard runs by Simmon, who wound up with 254 rushing yards before the half. A 50-yard drive, topped off by a 3-yard run by Mason Marinello, gave the Bears their 28-27 lead 46 seconds before the break.
All of that action took its toll on the Indians, who punted three times and had a field goal attempt blocked before a final try to tie the score late in the game.
“We had some injuries, losing Tyrese (Reid) for the game,” said Hontz. “A lot of guys played both ways. We shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties.”
The outcome was certainly in doubt when Boyertown gained possession at its own 38 yard line with 4:52 remaining in the game and still up by only a point. But Moccia ran 21 yards to the Indian 35, Mason Marinello ran for 11 to the 16 and Jonathan Myers rushed in from there with 2:10 left.
Upper Perk took over at the 50, but lost 15 yards on an offensive pass interference call and Flack was sacked on a 4th-and-20 play with under a minute to go.
After its big offensive first half, the Indians wound up with just a 428-408 advantage in total yards and also had 14 penalties for 110 yards while the Bears were whistled for 11 infractions for 100 yards.
Zachary Davis ran for 80 yards for the Bears and Malachi Duka had four receptions for 80 yards and an interception for the Indians. Jeremy Hettrick picked off a pass for Boyertown, setting up a 21-yard drive for the 21-13 lead.
“We have a really young team and there’s a number of kids out there for the first time on a varsity football field,” said Hontz. “They did a good job. Hopefully we can build off this. We have some good athletes.”
“The Marinello brothers really stepped up,” Miller added. “My coaching staff … I’m so proud of the coaches on our team. They work tirelessly with the kids.”
Boyertown now leads the all-time series 42-18-3.