Pottstown, OJR, keep go­ing as Tur­key Day games dwin­dle

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Sam Ste­wart sstew­art@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Sa­muel_Ste­wart7 on Twit­ter

BUCK­TOWN >> It’s a tra­di­tion-rich ri­valry that has been gen­er­ally even-sided through­out the years. Un­til the past decade, that is. Owen J. Roberts will look to win its fourth straight con­test over Pottstown and sev­enth in the past 10 years as the Wild­cats host the Tro­jans in their an­nual ri­valry game on Thanks­giv­ing Day.

This is the 58th in­stall­ment of the Thanks­giv­ing Day se­ries be­tween the Wild­cats and the Tro­jans and one of nine still played in Dis­trict One. OJR holds a 3521-1 se­ries ad­van­tage and will look to make it four straight over the Tro­jans for the first time since ac­com­plish­ing the feat from 1998-2001.

“It’s one of the few games that re­mains so that’s kind of cool in that as­pect,” OJR head coach Rich Kolka said. “I like the guys that I’m coach­ing now, so it gets to ex­tend the sea­son a bit, and al­lows for the younger guys to get some valu­able reps. I like the whole thing about play­ing on Thanks­giv­ing, but the only thing I don’t like is the wait be­tween the last game and the Thanks­giv­ing game. Two-plus weeks with­out any games is tough.”

The Wild­cats, win­ners of two straight, will clinch their first win­ning sea­son since 2010 with a vic­tory over the Tro­jans. Run­ning back Hunter Scher­fel leads the team with 627 rush­ing yards on 157 car­ries and eight touch­downs while the ‘Cats rank third in to­tal de­fense (253.4 ypg).

“This is big for No. 7 for us in the pro­gram,” Kolka said. “To get a win­ning sea­son, with some­what of a quick turn­around (OJR is 16-44 in the past five sea­sons), would be ben­e­fi­cial for us. We could use that as mo­men­tum go­ing into the off­sea­son.”

They’ll go up against a Pottstown (1-4 PAC, 2-8 over­all) squad that has lost two straight and has strug­gled un­der first year head coach Gary Rho­den­baugh. Pottstown’s bright spot this sea­son has been the story of Marvin Pear­son, who scored his first var­sity touch­down a month ago de­spite go­ing blind at the age of 10. He was fired up for the game on Thurs­day, his first Thanks­giv­ing Day game.

“This will be my first and last Thanks­giv­ing Day game, so I want it to be spe­cial,” Pear­son said. “I think we’re ready for it and I hope we can come out of it with a win.”

Pottstown hasn’t won a Thanks­giv­ing Day game since win­ning two straight in 2011-2012.

Last Year’s Con­test

Owen J. Roberts’ fast start pro­pelled the Wild­cats past Pottstown 4113 in 2015. Daw­son Stu­art was 9-for-12 for 124 yards and three touch­downs as the Wild­cats built a 20-0 lead in the first quar­ter be­fore hold­ing on for the win. The game also marked the last for Pottstown head coach Don Grin­stead, who led the Tro­jans to their first dis­trict play­off ap­pear­ance since 2002.

Stat This

Pottstown ranks No. 11 in the PAC in to­tal of­fense (194.4 ypg) and will go up against the third best rush de­fense in the PAC in OJR (116.9 ypg) . ... Pottstown’s Isa­iah Mayes leads both teams with 807 rush­ing yards while Scher­fel is sec­ond with 627 yards . ... OJR’s Hunter Hin­richs comes into the game as the lead­ing re­ceiver, haul­ing in 26 passes for 450 yards (good for 11th in the PAC).

Dis­trict One Do­ings

• No. 1 North Penn and No. 10 Gar­net Val­ley square off in the Dis­trict 1 Class 6A ti­tle game Fri­day night. Gar­net Val­ley is com­ing off a 44-27 vic­tory over Perkiomen Val­ley in which the Jaguars rushed for 426 yards in a dom­i­nat­ing ground ef­fort. North Penn topped Coatesville, 42-25, to earn their 11th trip to the dis­trict ti­tle game.

• North Penn quar­ter­back Reece Udin­ski, along with PV’s Stephen Sturm, eclipsed the dis­trict record for pass­ing yards in a sea­son (3,300) set by Downingtown East’s Pat Devlin in 2005. Udin­ski is now up to 3,402 yards af­ter go­ing for 257 on 11-of-17 pass­ing in the semi­fi­nal vic­tory over the Red Raiders, which sent North Penn to a dis­trict fi­nal for the 11th time in the past 15 sea­sons.

Sturm cur­rently holds the dis­trict sea­son mark af­ter his 264-yard ef­fort in PV’s loss in the semis to put his fi­nal to­tal at 3,438 yards.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Owen J. Roberts cel­e­brates vic­tory over vis­it­ing Pottstown Tro­jans in one of their tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing Day show­downs. The teams duel again to­day.

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