Zollers, Scott lead Spring-Ford in aerial assault of Governor Mifflin

ROYERSFORD >> It didn’t take long for Matt Zollers to remind the area why he was co-offensive player of the year in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division last fall.

The first team Mercury All-Area quarterback was as unforgiving as he was calculated on Friday night. Both masterful and cruel to defenders, the 6-foot-4 signal caller was as comfortable under center as Gordon Ramsay is in the kitchen.

Zollers threw for 294 yards, ran for another 71 and put up six total touchdowns in a 49-19 win for Spring-Ford over Governor Mifflin at Coach McNelly Stadium.

“We really worked hard over the summer, getting our connections right,” Zollers said of his receiver corps. “Mason (Scott), Belal (Abdelrahman), (Ryan) Kerchner, Jordan (Marsilio), I trained with them all summer, just getting our connection and timing right. That’s what’s put us over the edge.”

Q1, 6:48 — Matt Zollers (@MattZollers) keeps it and runs in for a 6-yard score.

Spring-Ford 7, Gov. Mifflin 0 pic.twitter.com/Dah7pVsRZz

— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) August 25, 2023


In the first half alone, Zollers – who holds a Division I offer from Old Dominion University – amassed 200 yards passing with five total touchdowns. His first was a 6-yard keeper to go up 7-0 at the 6:48 mark in the first quarter.

Despite the lopsided outcome, the Mustangs (0-1) clapped back immediately. Reese Hohl (three carries, 20 yards) returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the house, cutting the game 7-6.

That explosive play on special teams proved to be the biggest highlight of the night for Governor Mifflin, albeit a botched PAT after.

“Reese Hohlt, he’s a junior and he’s up and coming,” Mustangs coach Jeff Lang said. “He’s got speed, he’s a really good athlete. The kickoff team got their blocks and he got in through the hole and took off. He’s definitely an athlete for us.”

Governor Mifflin running back Grady Garner, center, moves the chains against Spring-Ford at Coach McNelly Stadium on Aug. 25. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Zollers hit Scott with a 64-yard go-ahead touchdown in the open field to extend Spring-Ford’s lead, 14-6 with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the Rams’ next possession, Zollers commanded a three-play, 70-yard dash capped with another 21-yard loft to Scott in the end zone to balloon ahead, 21-6.

Scott was the main weapon of Spring-Ford’s aerial assault, hauling in a third touchdown reception with 8:31 left in the third quarter on a 28-yard bomb from Zollers – the Rams leading 42-6 by that point.

Spring-Ford wide receiver Mason Scott (3) makes a reception along the sideline against Governor Mifflin at Coach McNelly Stadium on Aug. 25. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

This past track season, Scott was the PAC champion in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter events. That raw speed was apparent in his route running, creating separation often. Scott finished with five receptions for 162 yards to go with his hat trick.

“It just makes it really easy for me,” Zollers said on Scott’s athleticism. “Once he starts to get going, they’re going to have to tag onto him and start double-teaming him and it opens up everyone else.”

Q2, 11:09 — Mason Scott has his second of the night after a 21-yard hookup from Zollers.

Spring-Ford 21, Gov. Mifflin 6 pic.twitter.com/XHHUKrlMNC

— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) August 25, 2023


Spring-Ford piled on two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half to create a 35-6 cushion heading into the break. After another 17-yard keeper into the end zone, Zollers displayed his gutsiest series of the night.

A pre-snap penalty on a 32-yard field goal attempt pushed things back five more yards. The Rams’ offense came back out, and on 4th-and-21, Zollers found Kerchner (five catches, 83 yards) for another walk-in score.

“Actually, I was upset with myself for not calling a screen the play before because we knew they were coming and we should’ve called a screen the play before,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “We kind of felt we were on the edge of field goal range.”

Q2, 0:29 — What a sequence.

Gov. Mifflin forces 4th and long, Spring-Ford brings out its field goal unit, 5-yard penalty pushes them back further, but Rams offense comes back out.

Zollers finds TE Ryan Kerchner for a 21-yard walk-in.

Spring-Ford 35, Gov. Mifflin 6 pic.twitter.com/U7kUotBb35

— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) August 26, 2023


Mike Bendowski (five rushes, 23 yards) tacked on a 6-yard rushing touchdown with 7:28 left. The Rams ran for 150 yards altogether, opting to carve out bigger yardage in the air.

“They played man-concept most of the time and they kept guys in the box. They’re two defensive tackles were hard to move and we’ll take what we can get,” Brubaker said of Governor Mifflin. “If we can run the ball, we’ll run the ball. If we can throw, we’ll throw. We’re not going to be picky about that.”

Governor Mifflin running back Javian Sanchez (6) runs the ball against Spring-Ford at Coach McNelly Stadium on Aug. 25. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Brandon Jones (seven rushes, 37 yards) closed the scoring with an 18-yard rushing touchdown for the Mustangs with 1:19 left.

Governor Mifflin went 3-7 last year, just the first losing season for the program since 2003. Built on a winning tradition – and a traditionally dominant rushing offense that produced current Penn State running back and national Gatorade player of the year Nick Singleton – the Mustangs kept things on the ground for 162 rushing yards.

Senior Bryce Wunderlich, junior Javien Pletz and sophomore Lebron Leaf all competed for the starting QB job for Governor Mifflin following the graduation of Delsin McNeil. Against Spring-Ford, it was Wunderlich who had the start, but Pletz who saw most of the reps.

According to Lang, the two are expected to be a tandem as the season progresses.

“Bryce Wunderlich started it out and then we went with Javien and kind of just went back and forth,” Lang said. “Javien just gives it a little bit more with the athleticism getting it on the outside if we can get there, which we didn’t get there quite enough tonight. Bryce is a great team player, he went out there and played a little receiver for us too.”

Spring-Ford tight end Declan Finney (83) makes a reception against Governor Mifflin at Coach McNelly Stadium on Aug. 25. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Spring-Ford is coming off a season that saw a 7-6 loss to PAC champion Perkiomen Valley, followed by a large comeback over Ridley and double-overtime loss to Garnet Valley in the District 1 Class 6A tournament.
If the non-league opener against 5A Governor Mifflin is any evident, the Rams using those close shortcomings as bulletin board material.

“We’re really hungry. I think about that every day, especially the PV game,” Zollers said. “But I’m just worried about next week.”

Spring-Ford 49, Gov. Mifflin 19

Gov. Mifflin 6 0 6 7 — 19
Spring-Ford 14 21 7 7 — 49


First quarter
SF — Zollers 6 run (Fields kick), 6:48
GM — Hohl 96 kick return (kick failed), 6:32
SF — Scott 64 pass from Zollers (McGarvey kick), 4:42
Second quarter
SF — Scott 21 pass from Zollers (Fields kick), 11:09
SF — Zollers 17 run (McGarvey kick), 4:03
SF — Kerchner 21 pass from Zollers (Fields kick), 0:29
Third quarter
SF — Scott 28 pass from Zollers (Fields kick), 8:31
GM — Pletz 1 run (kick failed), 3:52
Fourth quarter
SF — Bendowski 6 run (Fields kick), 7:28
GM — Jones 18 run (Lance kick), 1:19


First downs 22 8
Rushes-Yards 25-150 28-162
Passing yards 294 6
Total yards 444 168
Passes C-A-I 16-22-0 3-4-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-45 4-40
Punts 0 2


Governor Mifflin — Jones 7-37, TD; Hohl 3-20; Sanchez 1-2; Garner 12-52; Pletz 4-41, TD; Huber 1-10.
Spring-Ford — Bendowski 5-23, TD; Lewis 8-37; Zollers 7-71; Scott 2-19; Broderick 2-1; Yoder 1-(minus 1).
Governor Mifflin — Wunderlich 3-for-4, 6 yards, INT.
Spring-Ford — Zollers 16-21, 294 yards, 4 TD; Yoder 0-1-0.
Governor Mifflin — Pletz 2-2; Jones 1-0; Alvarez 1-2.
Spring-Ford — Scott 5-162; Abdelrahman 2-24; Kerchner 5-83; Marsilio 1-10; Moyer 1-5; Bendowski 2-8; Finney 1-2.
Interceptions: SF 1 (Earley).
Fumble recoveries: SF 1 (Cox).

Leave a Reply