Outstanding offensive efforts were a big part of the area football scene over the first two weeks of the season.
In Week 3, however, defenses definitely dictated the action.
That theme was epitomized by Spring-Ford's 14-7 victory over Perkiomen Valley Friday, when the Rams and Vikings slugged it out in a knock-down, drag-out brawl.
But there were plenty of other impressive defensive doings that opened some eyes around the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
Pope John Paul II pitched its first shutout in the four-year history of its program Friday, taking down Pottstown 24-0.
Methacton, meanwhile, shut down a Boyertown team that had been averaging 53.5 points per game in a 48-10 victory over the Bears Saturday.
And the area's top-ranked defense as far as yardage allowed, Pottsgrove, continued its stingy play on that side of the ball in a 63-7 victory over Upper Perkiomen Friday.
The most impressive display of dominating '˜D' came from Spring-Ford, which put the clamps on the Vikings' high-powered no-huddle attack — which averaged 36.3 points per game last year and had racked up 77 points in two one-sided wins this season.
"We did an excellent job of executing the game plan and disguising our looks,' Rams coach Chad Brubaker said. "We tackled very well and only had one major defensive breakdown. Or kids trusted the plan and executed it.'
Nose guard Alec Vagnozzi had two sacks, Robby Varner and Jarred Jones each had one sack and defensive backs Joe Bush and Cody Davis each had one interception.
Brubaker also lauded the efforts of linebacker Connor Murphy and corner Jared Shoemaker.
Somewhat lost in defeat was the game performance from the PV defense, which allowed just 169 total yards. The Vikings are allowing 7.0 points per game through three weeks, tops in the area.
Pope John Paul II, on the other hand, had been torched for 88 points and an average of 423.5 yards over its first two games — albeit to a couple of very strong squads in Berks Catholic and Pottsgrove.
The Golden Panthers (who hadn't held an opponent under 14 points in their four years) turned it around in a big way in limiting the Trojans to just 114 total yards (16 through the air).
"What really helped was that the turnover ratio was in our favor,' said PJP coach Mike Santillo, who got an interception from Liam Steiert and two other takeaways.
The Golden Panthers linebacking corps of Kirk Cherneskie, Nick Howarth, John Bacchi, John Bildstein and Mike Mead played a prominent role in the shutout, according to Santillo.
"That was the biggest thing,' Santillo said. "Those five guys attacked the football and got after it.'
You could say the same for Methacton, which got typically strong efforts from linebackers Mike Cassidy and Nick Torcini and what coach Paul Lepre called "the best game of the season,' by fellow backer Devin Bradley.
"We didn't give up any long plays,' Lepre said. 'We made their offense grind it out and earn all they got, and our front four did a great job not getting pushed back by a much larger offensive line. They played hard, unselfish defense.'
That's been the case thus far at Pottsgrove, whose first team defense hasn't allowed any points through three games.
The Falcons, getting big efforts from Tyrone Parker, Jalen Mayes and Michael Fowler, held Upper Perkiomen to just two first downs and 74 total yards. Pottsgrove, by the way, has allowed an average of just 105 total yards per game — and given up a total of only 38 passing yards all season.
JUST FOR KICKS
Alex Wertman, a starting defender on Phoenixville's Frontier Division-leading girls soccer team, made her gridiron debut in Friday in the Phantoms' 19-15 victory over Owen J. Roberts, booting home an extra point after Kyle Karkoska's go-ahead 62-yard TD pass to Mackensie Thomas late in the fourth quarter. Wertman had banged her initial PAT attempt off the upright.
Speaking of kicking, Methacton punter Mike Cassidy is averaging 44.9 yards on his 11 attempts thus far.
AROUND THE AREA
Pottsgrove wideout Mike Fowler has caught three passes so far: all for touchdowns. Falcons quarterback Riley Michaels, has put it up just eight times this year, completing five passes, four going for TDs. ... Pottsgrove remains No. 9 in this week's Pennsylvania Football News Class AAA state poll, while Spring-Ford holds steady at honorable mention in the PFN Class AAAA poll. ... The 48 points scored by Methacton in its win over Boyertown matched the Warriors' best point output since a 48-12 victory over Pottstown in Week 6 of the 2008 season.
DISTRICT 1 DOINGS
Neshaminy's 28-0 victory over Souderton was the Redskins' third straight shutout. ... Penn State recruit Daquan Worley ran for 226 yards and two touchdowns on no less than 38 carries to help Coatesville improve to 3-0 with a 27-14 victory over Central Dauphin East. ... Plymouth-Whitemarsh got a game-tying 12-yard TD pass from Connor Hanlon to James Rogers and conversion pass to Jose Vega with eight seconds left, then a 1-yard run from Vega and conversion run from Hanlon in overtime to stun Downingtown West 36-34.
Wilson quarterback Matt Timochenko fired seven touchdowns passes in a 46-6 victory over Reading. ... University Prep QB Ronald Brown continues to put up mind-boggling numbers, throwing for 525 yards in a 52-21 win over Carrick. ... Central Mountain's Tyler Palalko had kickoff return TDs of 90 and 87 yards in a 57-35 loss to Mifflin County.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kirk Cherneskie, Pope John Paul II
Versatile senior was all over the field in Friday's 24-0 victory over Pottstown. The 5-foot-7, 200-pounder ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns, kicked a 20-yard field goal, hit three extra points, punted twice for a 28-yard average and also keyed a defensive effort that notched the first shutout in team history.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford
Fourth-year coach directed the Rams to a 14-7 victory over previously unbeaten Perkiomen Valley. Brubaker, who has a 33-9 mark at Spring-Ford, is just one of only two active coaches in Pennsylvania with more than 30 wins and less than 10 losses.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.