Boyertown sinks Phoenixville
BOYERTOWN » Boyertown Area football coach TJ Miller’s challenge to his team for Friday night’s regular season finale with visiting Phoenixville was a tall one — pick up 300 yards rushing on the ground, 100 yards through the air and win the turnover battle.
It was nothing that he hadn’t challenged his team to do all season, but with the opportunity for an Eastern Conference championship berth on the line, he knew the challenge needed to resonate within the entire team. Mission accomplished. Offensively, the Bears (4-6 overall) rode a strong running game, highlighted by Jamison Moccia’s 187 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns and Marcus Thomas’ 115 yards on 17 carries, and used the arm of Ayden Mathias who threw for three scores on a 6-for-9 passing night and 150 yards en route to a 41-28 win at Bear Stadium.
“We challenged these guys this week,” Miller said. “We knew we needed that momentum going into next weekend, and being able to bring postseason football to Boyertown. We’re excited about that.”
Boyertown also was the beneficiary of a superb defensive effort from senior defensive back Jerry Kapp, who picked off Phantoms quarterback Connor Patania four times on the night.
“We made plays tonight, but we just turned the ball over too many times to win a football game, and we gave up too many big plays,” said Phoenixville coach Evan Breisblatt, whose team dropped to 2-8 on the season.
“But it’s been like that all year,” he added. “My kids compete, and they have competed against everyone all year. I may be crazy but we are a good 2-8 football team. I mean, needless to say, we had problems on the defensive side with tackling and that’s been our Achilles heel all year, and at the end of the day, the turnovers hurt us.”
Boyertown made its presence known right from the opening kickoff, going 80 yards on seven plays to grab the early 7-0 lead, but the Phantoms came right back and knotted the score when Alex Washington capped an 11-play, 57-yard drive with a nine-yard run up the middle to make it 7-7.
Boyertown answered quickly though needing just one play — an 87-yard touchdown run from Moccia to retake the lead, 14-7,
and widened the gap to 2014 after Mathias found receiver Kevin O’Connor on a 25-yard touchdown strike with 11:07 left in the second quarter.
Washington found the endzone for the second time on the night later in the quarter to cut the gap to 2014, but the Bears closed out the half with Mathias’ second strike of the night, this time an 18-yard touchdown pass to Thomas to take a 2714 lead into halftime.
Phoenixville chewed up a lot of clock to open the second half and was rewarded with a four-yard touchdown run from Travis Pannella to again make it a onetouchdown game, 27-21, but again, Boyertown had an answer, this time with Moccia’s 60-yard scoring run that made it 34-21.
Phoenixville tried to keep it close in the fourth quarter and cut the gap to 34-28 on a Pannella 11-yard scor- ing run, but Boyertown put the game out of reach with 3:08 to play when Mathias picked up his third touchdown pass of the night on a 12-yard strike to Thomas to make it 41-28.
“We wanted to control the clock, and we saw some opportunities where we could get some quick hitters in there and we did that,” Miller said. “Now, we have a chance to play some postseason football, and that is just awesome.”
NOTES » Kapp entered the night needing just three receiving yards to break Boyertown’s career receiving yardage mark of 1,197 yard, which was set by Brandon Mason in 2000. He picked up the needed yardage and then some on the second play of the game when he took a screen pass 14 yards to eclipse the mark. ... Pannella led the Phoenixville offense with 151 yards on the ground and one score to go with 30 yards receiving on the night. ... Patania was 10-for-22 with 154 yards. ... Sean Sabo blocked an extra point for the Phantoms.