Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My favorite fall moments

By Darryl Grumling

The area's fall scholastic sports season kicked off in late August with golf and tennis openers and lasted all the way until the final day of November, when Spring-Ford's football team fell to Coatesville in the District 1-AAAA final.

I was fortunate enough to see plenty of memorable and magic moments in several sports. Here's a look back at my eight favorite memories from the fall sports season:

8. MAPL mastery
Lawrenceville rivalry weekend is a special time for Hill School athletes. On a crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon Nov. 10, Joey Monzo connected off a sweet cross from Colten Habecker early in the second half to give the Blues boys soccer team a 1-0 victory over the Larries that clinched their second straight Mid-Atlantic Prep League title.

7. Vance goes low
Brandon Vance didn't win the District 1 boys golf championship. But the Methacton junior did put on a pretty darned impressive display in the final round at Turtle Creek Oct. 11. He was 3-under through 13 holes before finishing with an even par 72 that helped him finish sixth, four shots behind winner Steve Cebara of Holy Ghost Prep.

6. PKs in PAC-10 final
100 minutes of regulation and overtime couldn't decide a winner in the Pioneer Athletic girls soccer championship between Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts Oct. 18. But on the final attempt of the first round of penalty kicks, Bears' senior Danielle Lentz connected to the lower-right corner as Boyertown outlasted the Wildcats 5-4 at Spring-Ford's Coach McNelly Stadium.

5. Field hockey Ram-page
With a talented and experienced lineup, Spring-Ford dominated the PAC-10 field hockey scene, going a perfect 13-0 in league play. In the PAC-10 Final Four playoffs, the Rams dispatched Phoenixville 5-1 to set up a highly anicipated championship clash with Upper Perkiomen at Indian Stadium Oct. 19. Thanks to two goals from Gabby Major; one goal from Emily Coyne; assists by Simone Vagnoni, Alyssa Chillano and Sammi Haas; and a strong defensive effort keyed by Vagnoni, the Rams brough home their first league field hockey title since 2001 with a 3-1 win.

4. Potent PV
Keeping stats while Perkiomen Valley's football team is running its patented no-huddle offense is harder than keeping Lindsay Lohan's car dent-free. That said, the Vikings offense was a quite entertaining sight to behold thanks to the efforts of quarterback Rasaan Stewart and skill people such as wideout Clay Domine and backs Mark Bonomo and Kean McKnight. PV reeled off seven straight wins after a season-opening loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh before giving Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford all they could handle in its final two week of what wound up an 8-3 campaign.

3. Pottsgrove power
With my boss (Mercury Sports editor and area football maven Don Seeley) on vacation, I was fortunate enough to be on hand for the Week Five showdown between Pottsgrove and visiting Spring-Ford Sept. 28. In a battle of unbeatens, eventual PAC-10 champ Pottsgrove got a dominating effort from its secondary and a big second half from tailback Mark Dukes to pull away for a 26-0 victory over the defending league champs.

2. Rams' run
Heading into this season, Spring-Ford hadn't won a single postseason game. Thanks to a November to remember, the Rams changed that in a big way with District 1-AAAA victories over Garnet Valley (43-27), Ridley (28-26) and Pennridge (35-24). Though Hank Coyne, Zameer McDowell, Jarred Jones and Co. saw their dream season end in a 59-28 loss at the hands of Coatesville in the district final, they had long since carved their niche in school and area history.

1. SportsCenter moment
It began innocently enough, as I wandered a few yards onto the field to get some iPad video for "Mercury Sports Live" just prior to Spring-Ford's Nov. 9 District 1 playoff opener against Garnet Valley. As I was shooting the Rams' run-out, and after most of the excited squad had scattered past me whooping and hollering, sophomore Mat Goodrich (in the back row of the pack) happened to be looking off to the side, and then suddenly, BAM! ... helmet met iPad, and iPad plummeted to the Coach McNelly Stadium turf. Goodrich and I kind of grabbed ahold of each other to lessen the blow, apologies were quickly exchanged, and I reached down to pick up the iPad, which remarkably was still filming.


The end result was a hilarious clip that colleague Steve Moore sent to ESPN in the hopes of it going viral. We got our wish the following week, when it made the rounds on the "Mothership," capped by a co-No. 3 spot on the network's Weekly "Not Top 10" video package.


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