Fall sports sea­son hits the post­sea­son.

The Southern Berks News - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff De­wees For Digital First Me­dia

REIFFTON » The 52nd edi­tion of the Pig Iron Tro­phy Game was a one-sided af­fair Fri­day night Ex­eter High School, with the host Ea­gles blast­ing the Daniel Boone Blazers 42-0 to re­tain pos­ses­sion of the plaque for a sixth con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Ex­eter now leads the all-time se­ries with the Blazers, 32-19-1. Daniel Boone last tri­umphed in the se­ries in 2011.

But there was far more at stake for the Ea­gles than ter­ri­to­rial brag­ging rights on Fri­day night: The vic­tory se­cured the eighth and fi­nal play­off spot for Ex­eter (7-3, 5-1 Berks 1) in the District 3 Class 5A play­offs. It has been a re­mark­able re­cov­ery, fin­ish­ing with five straight wins, for a team that was 2-3 and founder­ing in early Oc­to­ber.

“We’d like to take this mo­men­tum into the post­sea­son,” Ex­eter head coach Matt Bauer said.

“These kids have worked very hard to get to this op­por­tu­nity. We faced some ad­ver­sity ear­lier this sea­son and the way the kids have re­sponded is a true tes­ta­ment to their loy­alty to the pro­gram.

“We’re ex­cited to keep this go­ing. The kids don’t want this thing to end. These kids love play­ing foot­ball and they have a lot more to play.”

Ex­eter will face top-seeded Har­ris­burg, last year’s district champ and PIAA fi­nal­ist, in the first round of the D-3 5A tour­na­ment.

Ex­eter quar­ter­back Bran­don Un­terkoe­fler be­came the first player in Berks League his­tory to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons.

Un­terkoe­fler fin­ished his night 8 of 14 for 184 yards pass­ing with three touch­downs. He added 91 yards on eight totes the ground, dis­play­ing that record-break­ing versatility in his high school ca­reer reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale. That dis­tinc­tion was earned with a first-half pass to run­ning back Gage Mo­ran.

“He’s a tremen­dous player and I’m thank­ful to have the op­por­tu­nity to coach him,” Bauer said of his quar­ter­back.

Mo­ran, the start­ing run­ning back af­ter Nick Sarangoulis’s sea­son-end­ing in­jury, ran for three touch­downs Fri­day night on the back of his 91 rush­ing yards. He scored on runs of 13, 37 and 14 yards – the first one opened the scor­ing, the se­cond set the mercy clock in mo­tion for the se­cond half and third closed the scor­ing.

Ex­eter had a 7-0 lead five snaps into the game on Mo­ran’s 13-yarder, cap­ping a five-play, 65-yard open­ing drive in 1:29. Two of­fen­sive snaps later, the ea­gles made it 14-0 when Un­terkole­fler found tight end Jon Swenson for 28 and score. The quar­ter­back capped a nine-play, 48-yard cam­paign with a 4-yard burst to pay dirt, cor­rect­ing a march that was headed in re­verse for a spell un­der a bliz­zard of flags. Mo­ran threw a key block on the cor­ner for the touch­down.

For the Blazers (2-8, 2-4), a dif­fi­cult 2017 cam­paign on and off the field reached its con­clu­sion in Reiffton. Boone was held to net mi­nus-3 yards rush­ing on 25 at­tempts, never hav­ing re­placed se­nior run­ning back Spencer McIn­tosh in the lineup af­ter he suf­fered a bro­ken wrist early in the sea­son. Blazers quar­ter­back Josh Ehst was 9 of 15 pass­ing for 72 yards, but the lack of any for­ward push with the run game made him a sit­ting tar­get in the pocket. He was sacked five times.

Boone in­terim head coach Ryan Con­tento re­placed for­mer head coach Bill Parks in late Septem­ber. It’s been a tough spell, but Con­tento is op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture, adding the per­ma­nent job has been posted and he’s ap­plied for it.

“I’ve learned a lot on the fly,” Con­tento. “The kids … there’s prob­a­bly never been a team that’s gone though the num­ber of in­juries on top of los­ing its head coach at that point in the sea­son. They bat­tled. There’s no quit at all. Zero.

“If there’s any­thing to be proud of for me this year, it’s that they did not give up. They bat­tled in ev­ery game they played. And they could have packed it in.”

DFM FILE

Ex­eter quar­ter­back Bran­don Un­terkoe­fler.

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