By Jeff Stover
@MercuryXStover on Twitter
POTTSTOWN >> The fanciest things at Grigg Memorial Field Saturday may have been the dresses worn by the female members of Pottstown High’s Homecoming Court.
There was certainly nothing glitzy about the football team’s style of play in its game with Methacton: Basic, hard-hitting, come-at-you, meat-and-potatoes, and so on. But it was good enough for the Trojans to roll up a 40-14 victory on the Warriors, sending the Homecoming crowd home happy.
Racking up 364 yards rushing, and another 81 in the air, Pottstown muscled its way to three touchdowns while getting six more points from placekicker Logan Pennypacker’s two field goals. Defensively, the Trojans forced Methacton into five turnovers, converting a fumble recovery into a touchdown on a return covering almost the entire field’s length.
“This is a motivated group,” Pottstown head coach Don Grinstead said after seeing his club clinch a winning regular-season record regardless of its last two Pioneer Athletic Conference games with Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts. “These are the best kids I’ve had in the program.”
Pottstown (5-2 league, 7-2 overall) scored on its first possession of the afternoon — a clock-munching, 17-play, 83-yard drive that consumed a large chunk of the first quarter’s first eight minutes. It scored again 12 seconds before the end of the quarter, taking advantage of the first of two interceptions it collected, for a 14-point lead that wasn’t topped the rest of the day.
Methacton (0-8, 0-9) got only within a touchdown of its hosts, opening the second half with a 78-yard scoring pass from Jason Eckman to Ryan O’Toole. After yielding Pottstown 23 unanswered points and a 37-7 lead, the Warriors got another score through the air: Eckman’s three-yard hookup to Dylan Feaster with little more than seven minutes left.
“We were moving the football today,” Methacton head coach Paul LePre said, the claim backed by the 232 yards passing between Eckman and five different receivers. “I wish we were more productive, doing a better job in the red zone.”
While going deep in Pottstown territory eight times, the Warriors found a number of those marches halted by turnovers. One of two first-half interceptions, by Jamal Adams at his 33, set the stage for Pottstown’s second TD: A three-yard run by Isaiah Mayes off his right tackle. And two of three second-half fumbles got the Trojans the ball back for scoring plays in each quarter.
Additionally, Methacton’s Matt Kenwood was unable to convert a 24-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter, a muff on the snap resulting in Pottstown getting the ball back and keeping its shutout play intact.
“That’s always big, forcing turnovers,” Grinstead said. “That’s a big reason we put our offense in position.”
Brandon Tinson and Gary Wise compiled 100 yard-plus rushing outputs for Pottstown, accounting for four of the home team’s five touchdowns. While Mayes was the team’s ground leader with 143 yards on 15 carries — a five-yard TD run in the third quarter to his credit — Tinson (12 carries, 111 yards) ran for touchdowns of one and 47 yards.
Tinson also had a big play on a Methacton fumble, scooping it up at the Trojan seven and running down the home team’s sideline for a return TD good for a 37-7 lead.
“Methacton fought us early on,” Grinstead said. “They did some schematic things we were able to adjust to.”
The Warriors’ air game featured Eckman completing 14 of 27 tosses for 232 yards. His primary target was Eckman, who had six catches for 86 yards, though O’Toole covered a team-high 92 on three catches.
“Dylan is nursing a deep muscle bruise,” LePre explained. “He didn’t practice much this week, but he said he was ready to go.”
John Keenan, with three catches good for 37 yards, was the Warriors’ other receiver with multiple hookups.
“There were a couple jump balls that were 50-50. What can you do?” Grinstead said.
Pottstown’s other defensive highlights were Aaron Diamond’s “pick” of Eckman in the second quarter — one play after Methacton’s Karan Singh recovered a Pottstown fumble at the Warrior 44; and fumble recoveries from Ernest McCalvin and Diamond. Jimmy Zazzi figured in on two quarterback sacks, one of them in tandem with Nate Parson.
In his biggest outing since joining the Pottstown squad late in the season, Pennypacker converted the first two field goals he attempted this fall. The first was a 24-yarder with 3:15 left in the third quarter, the second a 37-yarder with 3:30 left in the game.
“That’s something we want to get going,” Grinstead of Pennypacker, whose late hookup with football was due to his participation with the boys soccer team. “If we can take the opportunity to get him on the field, that’s what we want to do.”
While Pottstown still has neighborhood rival Pottsgrove and Thanksgiving Day adversary Owen J. Roberts on its schedule — and, possibly, a berth in the District 1 Class AAA playoffs — Methacton will face Pope John Paul II next week. The teams will both be looking for their first wins of the season, the Golden Panthers coming off a 56-0 loss to Spring-Ford Saturday.
“Our guys area getting a real learning experience this year,” LePre said. “With the lumps they’ve taken, the hope is they’ll keep at it, doing more off-season work in the weight room.
“There’s a lot of heart in these guys. I couldn’t ask for more.”
NOTES >> Tinson’s modest passing game consisted of a 2-for-7 showing for 81 yards. It featured a 68-yard hookup with McCalvin on Pottstown’s second TD drive, and a 13-yarder to Wise prior to Tinson’s 47-yard scoring run at the start of the second half. … Henry gave Methacton a recovered fumble on Pottstown’s first touch off the opening kickoff. … Mardaije Pearson was crowned Pottstown’s 2015 Homecoming queen during the halftime ceremony. Connor Benfield was also crowned the school’s Homecoming king.