By Don Seeley
FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — There haven’t been a whole heck of a lot of hip-hip-hurrahs or all that much to shout about for Boyertown’s football team the past month and a half. Six straight losses can certainly mute the most devoted and loudest following.
The Bears themselves, ailing from an assortment of injuries, slowed offensively by breakdown after breakdown, and humbled defensively by one big play after another, have obviously been rather quiet, too.
So when Methacton went in front 24-7 with less than four minutes left in Saturday afternoon’s game, the Bears could’ve easily packed it in … ran out what few remaining snaps they’d get and call it a day.
Instead, they put together two near-flawless drives — arguably their best two in what has evolved as a very frustrating season — that had Methacton head coach Paul Lepre pacing up and down the sideline and the Homecoming crowd on the edge of its collective seats and lawn chairs.
Boyertown would run out of time, of course, and come up short 24-20.
But when you’re 1-7 and looking for anything to help keep your players, staff and most devoted fans on the same page, head coach Mark Scisly can only hope Saturday’s rally will re-energize everyone for the final two weeks of the Pioneer Athletic Conference season and a possible non-league game after that.
Comebacks in the Pioneer Athletic Conference are rare. Climbing out of a 17-point hole in the fourth quarter just hasn’t happened that often, if at all. Climbing out what had to seem like a 17-point crater with less than four minutes remaining has never happened in the 27 years of football in the Pioneer Athletic Conference (if the memory banks serve us well) … and still hasn’t.
But there was something to be said about how the Bears refused to quit when they very easily could’ve after Methacton put together its best 36 minutes of football of the entire season and created that 17-point deficit. Lepre applauded the effort, not so much because of any letdown or breakdown from the Warriors’ side of the ball, but because of his Bears’ commitment to play it out… play out those final three minutes and 43 seconds.
“We actually weren’t doing anything different,” Scisly said of the 12-play, 80-yard and 6-play, 50-yard drives — capped by Dylan Pasik touchdown passes to Matt Moccia and Nick Brough — that got his team within that final four-point differential with only three seconds left. “We just stayed with the basics. We just executed.”
“We’ve tried to make adjustments (during the season) and we’d move the ball. But then, all of a sudden, we’d have a breakdown. This was the best we’ve done since Week Three (a 51-47 loss to Pottstown), so I’m happy with the way we did move the ball.”
Scisly could also find some plus marks on the other side, or with his defense that surrendered its fewest points since Week Two. David Pettine returned from an injury and played well up front, and behind him — sophomore Mike Murphy at linebacker and sophomores Justin Siejk and Dalton Hughes in the secondary — had their best games against the versatile and dangerous Brandon Bossard, Methacton’s senior quarterback.
“We definitely made strides to get better,” Scisly said.
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Not giving up is something Pope John Paul II head coach Mike Santillo had to notice about senior Jake Kopchuk.
Kopchuk’s third season as a two-way starting tackle seemed to end soon after it began when he suffered a high-ankle sprain during practice on Sept. 20. His commitment to getting back on the field included rehabilitation every day, lifting weights, running, even going as far as acupuncture. Finally, after a month on the sidelines, doctors cleared him to play last Thursday.
Two days later, he responded with a sack and, unofficially, six other tackles in the loss to Phoenixville.
If Santillo ever needed some motivation for his injury-ravaged team over the final two weeks of the season, he can point to Kopchuk.
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Spring-Ford senior Hank Coyne broke the Rams’ career passing mark last week, but is moving up among the area’s all-time leaderboard in several categories as well. Coyne is currently fourth in career passing yards (4,844) and needs 156 more to become just the fourth area quarterback to go over the 5,000-yard plateau. With a minimum of three games remaining, Coyne could finish as high a second. He is exactly 1,000 yards behind Perkiomen Valley graduate Zach Zulli’s record of 5,844. ... Pottstown quarterback Sage Reinhart, who’ll match throws with Coyne this Friday, needs 137 yards for 3,000 in his career. ... Pottsgrove quarterback Tory Hudgins needs 530 yards to become just the second area quarterback to run for more than 3,000 career yards.
Don Seeley is the sports editor of The Mercury. His high school football column runs Tuesdays and Fridays through Thanksgiving. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.