By Dave Devlin
Call it a “Championship Drive."
How else can you describe Spring-Ford’s 11-play, 89-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter which catapulted the league leading Rams to another Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over Methacton 26-14 on Saturday afternoon?
Yes, the Rams (5-0, 6-1 overall) were not playing well and their usually explosive offense was largely held in check.
But the fact of the matter is that Spring-Ford was being challenged physically and they needed to make some clutch plays if they were going to get out of Fairview Village with a victory.
During that memorable drive the Rams faced third down three times. And on all three they came up winners.
First Jarred Jones came up with seven tough yards to extend the drive. Quarterback Hank Coyne then hit tight end Tyler Yazujian for 19 yards straight up the middle of the field needing 15 to convert.
And finally, Jones scooted 23 yards on third down into the end zone to give the lead back to Spring-Ford with just over three minutes remaining.
Yes, the Rams defense intercepted a Methacton pass to seal the victory with 1:29 left to play and the offense added a late touchdown, but the previous drive answered a big question for the league leaders: Could the Rams answer the bell in the late rounds when they were not at their best?
The answer is an emphatic YES!
There are still four league games remaining for Spring-Ford. And they will undoubtedly face every team’s best effort.
The league title is not a lock, but if the Rams end up with a PAC-10 title that game winning drive against Methacton will have been a pivotal moment.
WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – As stated in this column a week ago, Pope John Paul II is now gaining an identity in the PAC-10.
A thrilling 33-27 two overtime victory over host Perkiomen Valley marks a three-game winning streak and has clearly identified the Golden Panthers as a group of “No Retreat, No Surrender” football players who can take a puck and keep coming back at you.
Pope John Paul II trailed 14-0 at the half and 20-7 with just under 7 minutes remaining on Friday evening.
That’s when quarterback Dave Cotellese and his talented receiving corps took control of the game’s momentum.
Cotellese found John Cherneski on a 4-yard strike and pretty 27-yard strike to Matt Bildstein to tie it up late.
In overtime two Cotellese touchdown strikes Jamel Stinson won it for the visitors.
All told Cotellese connected with seven different receivers to complete 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns.
Lost if the effort was a gutsy performance by the Pope John Paul defense that gave up a mere 169 yards.
The Golden Panthers are now 3-3 in league play (4-3 overall) and are now positioned to grab a berth in the district playoffs.
Remaining games on their schedule include home dates against Phoenixville.
FINALLY ON THE BOARD – It took much longer than anticipated, but Boyertown finally got into the “win” column in the PAC-10 with a surprisingly easy 33-17 victory over Phoenixville.
As a matter of fact this was the exact type of performance most expected from the Bears heading into the 2011 season.
Boyertown, behind its rather large offensive line, piled up 363 rushing yards with two backs going over the century mark. Jon Neiman (136 yards) and Max Marcus (129 yards) found hole after hole in the Phoenixville defense to keep the hosts homecoming crowd subdued for the majority of the afternoon.
And the Bears were hitting on defense.
Phoenixville was held to 139 yards rushing and got 66 of their 270 total yards on the last play of the afternoon.
In other words ... Boyertown was as dominant as they were expected to be this season.
Unfortunately, the Bears (1-4 PAC-10, 3-4 overall) are out of the league championship race and on the outside looking in at a district playoff berth.
However, if Boyertown has found its legs and runs the table in its remaining games a more positive spin could develop on what has been an otherwise disappointing season.
THINGS I NOTICED THIS WEEKEND – Methacton is a much tougher team than they were given credit for entering the season.
The Warriors are a physical and determined bunch. They stood toe-to-toe with an explosive Spring-Ford offense and dominated both lines of scrimmage for stretches of play on Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Paul Lepre is surely disappointed with losing the last two games, but his troops have not gone down because they lack the toughness needed to be a player in the league.
I’m disappointed to see that a majority of school marching bands have not traveled for road games.
I know this is in large part due to the budget cuts for the school year and they are well reasoned decisions. For most schools the marching bands require significant funding to travel and most are now more focused on cavalcades and other functions.
But there’s something missing from Friday night and Saturday football games as a result.
Here’s hoping this changes down the road.
Thanks to all of those individuals who have taken the time to offer so many words of thanks for 1370 AM being back on the air to broadcast high school football games again this fall to myself and my broadcast partner Scott Fuhrman.
It’s been our pleasure.
ON TAP FOR WEEK 8 – Pottstown and Pottsgrove get together for another “Backyard Brawl” and 1370 AM will be there Friday night to bring you all the play-by-play action.
Upper Perkiomen will be seeking its third straight victory after starting the league season 0-3.
Methacton will look to get back on the winning track against Boyertown after two heartbreaking defeats in a row to Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford. The Warriors arguably had control of both games.
Pope John Paul II hosts Phoenixville on Saturday afternoon in what could be a pivotal game for seeding in the District I AAA playoffs.
Owen J. Roberts travels to Spring-Ford on Saturday afternoon for the Rams Homecoming game.
Dave Devlin is the news/sports and information director at 1370 AM. He can be reached at email@example.com.