Phantoms drop season opener to Great Valley.
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.
Great Valley’s Damien Carter is brought down by Phoenixville’s Sam Perrone and Xander Crawford.
Phoenixville’s Jordan Ford breaks away from Great Valley’s defense last Friday.