Ex­eter edges Boyertown

Ex­eter’s ex­cel­lent run­ning game com­bines for 395 yards in 26-14 win over Boyertown

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Stover js­tover@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­curyXS­tover on Twit­ter

Its run­ning game has an en­vi­able pedi­gree.

Ex­eter’s of­fen­sive back­field boasts a pair of 1,000 yard rush­ing se­niors in quar­ter­back Bran­don Un­terkoe­fler and run­ning back Nick Sarangoulis. Add to that a third se­nior, Gage Mo­ran, who has the abil­ity to both pick up hard yards in the trenches and break off dou­ble-digit runs.

The Ea­gles ex­ploited that trio of leggy per­form­ers Fri­day evening, when they opened their sea­son against Boyertown. Their com­bined 395 ground yards and four touch­downs were key to a 2614 vic­tory over the Bears at BASH Memo­rial Sta­dium.

In the process, Sarangoulis set the Ea­gles’ sin­gle-game rush­ing record with his 257 yards on 22 car­ries and two touch­downs.

So how much of a chal­lenge is it for Matt Bauer’s coach­ing staff to keep that sta­ble of run­ners happy with the num­ber of touches they get?

“They’re very self­less kids,” Ex­eter’s field boss said. “They want to win, and they’re un­selfish ... they’ll block for their team­mates.”

It was a stout test for a Boyertown unit on the re­bound from last week’s sea­son-open­ing 4221 loss to Upper Perkiomen. The Bears hung with their guests through the first half and a good part of the sec­ond, keep­ing it a one-touch­down game un­til Ex­eter put up a fi­nal score with 2:51 left in the game.

“They have two 1,000-yard rush­ers, and a pow­er­ful line,” first-year Boyertown head coach T.J. Miller said, “but our kids played their butts off.”

Boyertown tried to counter Ex­eter’s ground-pound­ing ways with the throw­ing of quar­ter­back Ay­den Mathias and fel­low sig­nal-caller Jerome Kapp, used more in a re­ceiver’s role. That duo hooked up three times for 34 yards and a five-yard scor­ing shot that brought Ex­eter’s lead down to 19-14 in­side the fi­nal minute of the third quar­ter.

But after see­ing their next pos­ses­sion ground to a halt at the Bear 25, the Ea­gles cashed in on their next pos­ses­sion. They went from their 14 to the end zone in seven plays, Mo­ran (11 car­ries, 65 yards) go­ing up the mid­dle for the last one off Sarangoulis’ elec­tri­fy­ing 60-yard run to the one.

Boyertown then drove from its 33 to the Ex­eter 17 on 10 plays, in­tent on get­ting an­other touch­down back. But the clock ran off to leave them un­fin­ished at the end.

“Our kids played tough. They stepped up to the chal­lenge,” Miller noted. “They faced a team that could end up with a Berks Divi­sion I ti­tle, and they stayed with them.” Sarangoulis ended up with a whop­ping 258 yards on 22 car-

ries. He set an ap­par­ent fast tone for Ex­eter with a 45yard sprint around his right end at the 9:52 mark of the first quar­ter.

But that would be all the scor­ing un­til the 9:41 mark of the third quar­ter, when Sarangoulis fin­ished a kick­off-open­ing drive with a 22-yard bull up the mid­dle. The Ea­gles saw two promis­ing first-half drives into Boyertown ter­ri­tory end on downs at the 19, and an­other cul­mi­nate with a missed 30-yard field goal. Kapp’s in­ter­cep­tion of an Un­terkoe­fler pass at the Boyertown 30 put the brakes on an­other Ea­gle drive in­side the fi­nal minute of the first half.

“We have to clear a lot of things up,” Bauer said. “We made mis­takes and let them keep around us.”

Boyertown’s of­fense got un­tracked lit­tle more than three min­utes into the third quar­ter. Jami­son Moc­cia cov­ered 45 yards on a sprint around his left end which, capped by the first of De­clan Coyle’s two con­ver­sion kicks, cut the Ea­gles’ lead to 13-7.

Ex­eter an­swered with Un­terkoe­fler (72 yards on 17 totes) scor­ing on an off­tackle run on its next se­ries. Then Mathias (7-for-16, 97 yards) found Kapp (three catches, 34 yards) on a five­yard pass play to the right side which, fol­lowed by De­clan Coyle’s con­ver­sion kick, cut the Ea­gles’ lead to 19-14.

“With a player like Kapp out there, you have to pay at­ten­tion to him,” Miller said.

The Bear de­fense made an­other deep stop on Ex­eter’s next pos­ses­sion, halt­ing the vis­i­tors at the lo­cals’ 25. But they were forced to punt the ball away eight plays later, and the Ea­gles tacked on an in­sur­ance touch­down that left Boyertown fight­ing the clock down the stretch.

“We have a cou­ple play­ers who are able to spread things around,” Miller said. “We have ath­letes, and we’re start­ing to move things again.”

The Boyertown de­fense left Un­terkoe­fler 5-for-13 and gain­ing just 64 yards in the pass­ing game. His big­gest strike was a 24yard toss to Matt Feeney, who cov­ered 31 on a pair of catches.

“We’re start­ing to play a more full game,” Miller said. “Last week we spot­ted (Upper Perkiomen) 14 points. We started to fight this week.”

With his team’s de­but in the books, Bauer sees it not yet a fin­ished prod­uct in spite of its run­ning prow­ess.

“We still have ques­tion marks,” he said, “and we’ll ad­dress them to the best of our abil­ity. We have to tackle bet­ter, and elim­i­nate mis­takes.”

NOTES » Mar­cus Thomas was Boyertown’s rush­ing leader with 65 yards on 15 car­ries . ... Kevin O’Con­nor con­trib­uted an­other 46 yards on a pair of catches to the Bears’ air game . ... Robert Stahl ended with an un­ex­pected 10-yard run near the game’s end, the se­nior line­man re­cov­er­ing a fum­ble and mak­ing a first-down run.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ex­eter’s Matt Feeney makes an an­kle tackle on Boyertown’s Mar­cus Thomas Fri­day.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ex­eter’s Matt Feeney pulls down Boyertown’s Nick Moc­cia in the back­field Fri­day.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ex­eter run­ning back Nick Sarangoulis lunges for ex­tra yards on a carry against Boyertown on Sept. 1.

(Austin Hertzog - Dig­i­tal First Me­dia)

Boyertown’s Ay­den Mathias lofts a pass against Ex­eter.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ex­eter’s Gage Mo­ran runs into space against Boyertown Fri­day.

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