Phan­toms drop sea­son opener to Great Val­ley.

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Tucker Ba­gley For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Great Val­ley out­lasted Phoenixville in an of­fen­sive shootout Fri­day night, best­ing the Phan­toms, 50-31.

Phoenixville led at the half, 18-16, but the Pa­tri­ots were able to ride the duo of Damien Carter and Nate Gra­eff to their first vic­tory of the 2017 sea­son.

Great Val­ley led early in the game af­ter Philip Wel­lener made a field goal, but the Phan­toms an­swered quickly when Bobby Strunk re­turned the en­su­ing kick­off 83 yards for a touch­down. Great Val­ley took back the lead on a Mark Mon­tague touch­down run, but once again, the Phan­toms an­swered, this time with a 65-yard touch­down pass from Con­nor Pata­nia to Do­rian County and a Nick Si­na­puis field goal.

But the story of the game was the Carter-Gra­eff con­nec­tion.

“We’ve been best friends since sev­enth grade,” Gra­eff, a tight end, said. “We have great chem­istry and he knows he al­ways has me to throw to.”

Despite play­ing with a gimpy an­kle, Gra­eff fin­ished the day with eight catches for 168 yards and three re­ceiv­ing touch­downs.

Gra­eff first found the end zone late in the first half with the Pa­tri­ots trail­ing by nine points. But Carter hit Gra­eff streak­ing down the side­line for a 38-yard score.

Af­ter Phoenixville and Great Val­ley traded touch­downs, the Pa­tri­ots again found them­selves be­hind, but a 37-yard touch­down from Gra­eff put Great Val­ley ahead for good.

Carter fin­ished the day with 124 yards on the ground in ad­di­tion to his 163 pass­ing yards and Great Val­ley head coach Dan El­lis took no­tice.

“We’re re­ally lucky be­cause Carter and Jake Prevost are both great quar­ter­backs on our ros­ter,” El­lis ex­plained. “Jake had been work­ing re­ally hard and I thought he de­served an op­por­tu­nity to play, but when Damien is run­ning like he was tonight, it’s hard to take him out of the game.”

Alex Crouse paced the Pa­tri­ots on the ground, pick­ing up 185 yards on just 15 car­ries, while also adding two touch­downs, in­clud­ing a 29-yard score that iced the game in the clos­ing min­utes when Phoenixville was try­ing to mount a come­back.

BARRY TAGLIEBER - FOR DFM

Great Val­ley’s Damien Carter is brought down by Phoenixville’s Sam Per­rone and Xan­der Craw­ford.

BARRY TAGLIEBER - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Phoenixville’s Jor­dan Ford breaks away from Great Val­ley’s de­fense last Fri­day.

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