UPPER PROVIDENCE — You could say first-year Boyertown football coach George Parkinson is a proponent of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ theory.
If something is working, Parkinson is going to keep hammering away. And hammering. And hammering.
Which is exactly what the visiting Bears did in Saturday’s 58-28 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over Pope John Paul II.
The Bears (5-3, 5-4) mounted a scorched-gridiron campaign against the Golden Panthers (1-7, 1-8), rushing for a staggering 586 yards without having to complete a pass.
With the offensive line of Aaron Kratz, Mason Breyer, Alex Beidler, Shawn O’Donnell and Mike Banks in road grader-mode, junior quarterback Lawrence Garnett rushed for a career-high 249 yards and four touchdowns while backfield mates Mitch Warriner (179) and Will Scholl (126) also enjoyed career-best efforts while scoring two TDs apiece.
“The line was opening up great holes, and I thank them for that,’ Garnett said. “It was like a sea I could run through.’
“I couldn’t be more happy with the offensive line,’ said Parkinson, whose squad has won 4-of-5 since a 1-3 start. “As good as our backs played, we don’t go anywhere without our line making those holes. They did a great job, every one of them made it easy for our backs. And credit our backs, too, because they ran hard and with passion.’
Pope John Paul II, which got a career-best 271-yard, three-TD passing effort from junior QB Matt Duff, actually struck first, as Duff hooked up with area receptions leader Jared Lupold for a 21-yard scoring strike to the game’s first possession.
Unfortunately for the Golden Panthers, that 7-0 lead proved to be short-lived.
Three plays later, Garnett ripped off a 64-yard TD run to tie it. Then on the next Bears possession, Warriner took a direct snap 26 yards to set up Garnett’s 13-yard scoring run that put Boyertown up to stay at 13-7 with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
While the Bears’ ground game continued to churn out the yards in the second quarter (when Garnett had a 10-yard TD run and Scholl scored on a 3-yard run), the Golden Panthers stayed in it thanks to an air attack led by Duff and receivers Matt Mesaros, Lupold and Chase Lynch.
Trailing 27-14, PJP scored on the final play of the first half when Duff found Lynch for a 13-yard TD connection on a fourth-down play.But any hopes of a Golden Panthers upset were soon dashed once play resumed, as Garnett raced 40 yards for a TD on the fourth play from scrimmage in the second half. Warriner’s conversion run extended the lead to 35-21 as the Bears salted it away with a 28-point third-quarter explosion that also saw scoring runs of 3 and 11 by Warriner and 62 by Scholl.
“I just think they were physically stronger up front than us and that was the key,’ PJP coach Rory Graver said. “I thought we had momentum coming out of halftime, but we just came out flat and they pounded us in the second half.
“Offensively we did some nice things; I thought we played a great first half. Obviously in the second half, turnovers hurt us. We turned it over three times, and that’s kind of been the story for us this year.’
Boyertown got interceptions from Justin Siejk (his area-leading fifth of the season) and Dashon Rodriguez, while Dave Terry recovered a fumble.
Terry, Beidler and O’Donnell also got one carry each as Parkinson rewarded the big guys for their effort.
Up 55-28 heading into the fourth quarter, Boyertown was in prime position to break its school single-game scoring record of 62 points. But Parkinson was content to send his second-teamers out by then, and a 25-field goal by Elijah Giorgio four plays into the final period was the final scoring in a game that featured 940 combined yards of total offense.
“They were telling me 62 points was the school record, but I said, ‘ That’s not what we’re about,” said Parkinson, who was the head coach at St. Pius X for its final four seasons. “It’s about playing with sportsmanship and class.’
For a team that had scored a combined 56 points in its previous four games, Saturday’s explosion was a welcome sight for the Bears.
“We needed this,’ Warriner said. “This was a good feeling.’
A big rush, you could say.
Lupold had a game-high six catches for 60 yards to increase his season total to 38 catches and also had an interception. … Duff hit Mike Frazier for a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter. … Mesaros had five catches for 91 yards and Lynch had five catches for 50 yards for PJP, with Mike Salvo rushing for a team-high 48 yards. … Garnett only attempted three passes. … Boyertown’s Andrew Bill averaged 45.5 yards for two punts. … Pope John Paul II’s Steve Pinone and Jessica McCann were named Homecoming king and queen.