Skarbek shoulders the load in Pope John Paul II’s 35-7 win over Pottsgrove

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> There was no reason to stop giving the football to Boyd Skarbek on Saturday afternoon as long as it kept on working. And that’s what Pope John Paul II did time after time as the Golden Panther senior running back carried the ball 32 times for 157 yards and four touchdowns.

Skarbek also scored on defense for PJP in a 35-7 Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division win over visiting Pottsgrove.

The Panthers (2-0 Frontier, 6-0 overall) led by just 14-7 at the half after the Falcons (1-1, 3-3) scored in the last minute of the second quarter, but regained control with a long drive after receiving the second half kickoff.

“It’s the one-back look and he’s the back,” PJP coach Scott Reed said concerning Skarbek. “He’s been our guy for the last couple years.”

“If that’s what makes us win, we might as well keep doing it,” said Skarbek. “Our passing game is there, too, but our running game was successful today.”

The PJP defense forced a quick punt on the opening possession of the game and the Golden Panthers marched 65 yards down the field on 11 plays in just over four minutes to take a 7-0 advantage. Then late in the opening quarter, Skarbek stepped in between the quarterback and running back on an attempted lateral, snatched the ball out of the air and ran 22 yards untouched into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

Despite that, Pottsgrove was still in the game at the half when quarterback Gabe Rinda (8-for-14, 69 yards) rolled to his left and hit Tommy Sambrick with a perfect pass in the left corner of the end zone with 21 seconds to go until the intermission.

“Give credit to their defense,” Reed said “They made us work for everything. We had to grind things out. At halftime, we said there was no reason to panic. We were hurting ourselves. We had to score the football and let the defense do their job.”

And that’s exactly what the Golden Panthers did as Skarbek ran for seven yards on each of the first three plays of the second half and the hosts drove 62 yards in all on 13 plays over nearly five minutes to make it 21-7.

“I give all the credit to PJP,” said Pottsgrove coach Bill Hawthorne. “They ran the ball down our throats. That kind of took the wind out of our sails.”

“I was really proud of that first drive coming out of the half,” said Reed. “It was great for us to be pushed. It motivated our kids. We said we were playing ball today.”

The Panthers ground out another drive (11 plays, 65 yards) early in the fourth quarter and scored again with under four minutes remaining after Pottsgrove went for a first down and failed on its own 30 yard line.

Meanwhile, the Falcons were held without a first down in the second half while gaining only 33 yards.

“We made our defensive adjustments, pretty much shut them out on defense,” said Skarbek. “Our defense, every week, works so hard. It’s just a whole group effort.”

PJP wound up with 193 yards on the ground.

“Our line was making holes for me,” said Skarbek. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Quarterback Luke Terlesky chipped in 75 yards through the air for the Panthers on 10-for-16 passing, including three tosses to Brent Mitala for 56 yards.

For Pottsgrove, Rinda went 8-for-14 for 69 yards with three passes to Cameron Waller for 43 yards, Jake Palladino rushed for 36 yards and Brandon McGinley intercepted a pass.

“They’re a good football team,” Hawthorne said concerning PJP. “They wore us down in the second half. We’ve got to play a full game, not make mistakes that hurt us. If we can play four quarters, put the little things together, we can be a formidable opponent, like they are.”

Pope John Paul II 35, Pottsgrove 7

Pottsgrove 0 7 0 0 – 7
Pope John Paul II 14 0 7 14 – 35

PJP-B Skarbek 3 run (Bosio kick)
PJP-B Skarbek 22 fumble return (Bosio kick)
PG-Sambrick 4 pass from Rinda (Williams kick)
PJP-B Skarbek 1 run (Bosio kick)
PJP-B Skarbek 5 run (Bosio kick)
PJP-B Skarbek 6 run (Bosio kick)

Team Stats
First Downs 6 16
Yards Rushing       58193
Yards Passing       6975
Total Yards           127268
Passes C-A-I       8-14-010-16-1
Fumbles                3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yds        5-33 6-60
Punts-Avg              4-23.3 1-25

Individual Stats
Pottsgrove: Palladino 10-36; Caffrey 4-10; Mayes 6-6; Rinda 6-6; Rivera 2-0; Totals 28-58

Pope John Paul II: B Skarbek 32-157, 4 TD’s; Terlesky 3-15; Mitala 2-14; Reed 3-5; DeAngelo 3-2; Totals 43-193, 4 TD’s

Pottsgrove: Rinda 8-14-69, 1 TD

Pope John Paul II: Terkesky 10-16-75, 1 INT

Pottsgrove: Waller 3-43; Grinnage 1-7; Sambrick 1-6, TD; Caffrey 1-5; Delp 1-4; Mayes 1-4; Totals 8- 69, 1 TD

Pope John Paul II; Reed 6-11; Mitala 3-56; D Skarbek 1-8; Totals 10-75

Interception: Pottsgrove-McGinley

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