BUCKTOWN >> After a stagnant offense produced only seven points on six possessions in the first half, Owen J. Roberts decided to open things up a bit after receiving the kickoff to start the third quarter of its Pioneer Athletic Conference crossover game against Pottsgrove on Friday night.
First, quarterback Derek Hinrichs kept the ball himself three times for a total of 24 yards, jump-starting a 50-yard touchdown drive that was completed by a 4-yard run by Logan Brower. That opened things up for the passing game, with Hinrichs hitting Colin King down the middle for a 36-yard touchdown play on the Wildcats’ next possession.
By then, OJR was well on its way to a 34-7 win at Wildcat Stadium in the regular season finale for both teams. King caught a 21-yard TD pass later and finished with three catches for a total of 86 yards and Brower ran for 100 yards and three scores on 14 carries. The Wildcats 8-2 and will head to the District 1-6A playoffs.
Gabe Rinda ran for 68 yards and passed for 174 for the Falcons (5-5), including a 15-yard scoring toss to Riley Delp.
“I saw a bunch of openings in their defense, and decided to try to take advantage of that,” said Hinrichs, who rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries. “Everything worked out for us in the second half.”
“Definitely, we ran the ball pretty well,” said King. “It set up the pass. Playing out wide helped, let me go out and play the pass. It was a great night for me.”
The Wildcats could not score after an interception by Justin Daubert gave them the ball at the Falcon 16-yard line early in the contest. They failed to score again after taking over at the Pottsgrove 45 and then were forced to punt on their next possession.
They finally broke the 0-0 deadlock midway through the second quarter on a four-play, 40-yard drive. Brower ran the last 32 yards on three plays, including a 4-yard burst up the middle into the end zone.
The OJR offense was hurt by the loss of starting running back Mekhi Graham to injury after he ran just four times for a total of 13 yards.
“We had to make a decision,” said Roberts coach Rich Kolka. “When you lose your big playmaker in the first half, you have to decide what to do.”
After being held to just 74 total yards and a 7-0 lead at the half, the Wildcats gained 213 yards after the break and wrapped up the win on a 21-yard touchdown run by Brower with just over two minutes remaining.
“Whenever we were in the empty set, it opened things up,” said Hinrichs. “It will open up the field for us, throwing and running.”
“We did a really nice job on defense when our offense was struggling,” said Kolka. “I thought we could take advantage of a couple things in our running game. We were much sharper in the second half than we were in the first half.”
Pottsgrove, which will head to the District 1-4A playoffs, gained 311 total yards to 281 for the Wildcats.
“They’re a very good opponent,” said Kolka, whose team downed the Falcons 14-7 in the second week of the season. “No. 1 (Bruce Caffrey) is a heck of a player.”
Caffrey caught four passes for 39 yards as Rinda went 18-for-29 through the air.
OJR came into the game ranked ninth in the district, needing to move up one spot to be able to host a game in the first round.
“Hopefully, we will get to No. 8,” said Kolka. “No. 9 is our highest ranking in 6A in school history.”
“We definitely want to host a playoff game,” said Hinrichs.