PENNSBURG — It took more than 26 minutes for Tom Aaron to get his first carry.
But once he got the ball, he never stopped, scoring three touchdowns in the Perkiomen School Panthers' 20-0 victory over the George School Cougars Friday night in their first-ever home night game at Upper Perkiomen's field.
"It's a real nice feeling, (coach) trusting me, thinking I'd be able to run,' Aaron said.
"He works hard,' said Perkiomen coach Tom Calvario.
Aaron's first carry was with the score knotted at zero with roughly 3:30 left in the first half.
Before Aaron touched the ball, neither team managed to get into much of a rhythm on offense. Both quarterbacks threw the ball 13 times but Perkiomen's Patrick Scotto only connected three times for 37 yards and George's Christian Sparacio completed four for 40 yards.
Ball carries on both sides were kept under 50 yards, as well.
"Our two skill guys, (Derek) Fosbenner and (Isaiah) Smith, they just weren't getting the yards,' Calvario said.
Then Smith ripped off three rushes for 27 yards to end the half.
When they got the ball to start the second half, it was very clear the Panthers had finally taken momentum and weren't giving it up, courtesy of Aaron.
"(I had) great blocking,' Smith said. "Running isn't much. It's just following what you have to do.'
Behind his line's push, Aaron was the only player who touched the ball, gaining 56 yards on a drive he capped off with a 7-yard touchdown run up the gut.
Perkiomen leveraged Aaron's strength by going mostly between the tackles with him, but he got into space on occasion and showed off some speed. On the very next drive after his first score, Aaron went off the left tackle for an 18-yard dash to score.
"I kind of just went out really quick and went as fast as I could,' Aaron said.
For the night, Aaron had 134 yards to go with his three touchdowns and solid play on the defensive line.
Calvario said Aaron, who cycled in at fullback in the team's two previous games, hadn't started, but hinted that might change after Friday's performance.
Although Fosbenner and Smith had trouble getting going on offense, they provided two drive-killing interceptions in the first half, with Smith's coming in his own end zone late in the half to save a touchdown. Despite those, the Perkiomen defense seemed to play with a bend-but-don't-break style.
"Probably the key of the game was we got down there on the 4-yard line and we throw an interception,' said George coach John Gleeson. "We thought we had them coming in.'
In the second half, however, with Aaron taking care of the other side of the ball, the defense really settled in.
Ja'Ren Hampton and Alex Arhontoulis had a sack apiece and Alex Williams scored two to really clamp down on George. Andy Young also managed to recover a fumble in the third quarter to kill a George drive.
"First half, we played hard, we played spirited. They're bigger than us,' Gleeson said. "The first half, we battled back and really neutralized them.'
In the second half, though, Gleeson felt his defense was worn down by Aaron and the Perkiomen line.
"They've got to learn how to be winners. You've come this far, time to put it away. That's the next step for them,' Gleeson said. "They just pushed us and we didn't push back.'
Christian Hellmuth was George's most consistent player on both sides, rushing for 49 yards on 14 carries and playing well on defense, sometimes coming through to the Perkiomen backfield untouched.
"(Number) Thirty-three is a beast. He's a very good football player,' Calvario said of Hellmuth.
But two interceptions and two lost fumbles by the George offense derailed any effort Hellmuth could have put forth.
"You can't turn the ball over,' Gleeson said. "You have to generate offense and keep the defense off the field.'
"George is a good school. They're a good team, we were just fortunate to come out and score,' Calvario said. "We match up well, from a football mentality standpoint...We're pretty even across the board.'
Moving forward, Calvario said his offense needs to work on its passing game.
Scotto threw just two passes in the second half, one incomplete and the other caught for a touchdown but called back for offensive pass interference.
"We've got to continue to work with that this week,' Calvario said. "The timing is not there with the pass yet. It's getting better and there's going to be schools where we have to pass the ball.'
In the meantime, the Panthers will savor their first-ever home victory under lights.
"It was fun, real fun,' Aaron said, grabbing his gear and trotting off to catch the team bus.
Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.
Perkiomen School 20
George School 0
George School 0 0 0 0 — 0
Perkiomen School 0 0 14 6 — 20
PS-Aaron 7 run (Scotto run 2 pt. conervsion) 7:58 3rd
PS-Aaron 18 run (2 pt. conversion failed) 4:11 3rd
PS-Aaron 12 run (2 pt. conversion failed) 8:24 4th
First Downs 7 9
Rushing yards 105 213
Passing yards 109 37
Total yards 214 250
Passes C-A-I 7-21-2 3-14-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 0-0 5-50
Punts-Avg. 7-44.3 5-40.4
George School: Hellmuth, 14-49; Haver, 4-17; Sparacio, 8-(-4).
Perkiomen School: Aaron, 18-134, 3 TDs; Briddell, 9-57; Fosbenner, 6-20; Scotto, 7-2.
George School: Sparacio, 7-21-109, 2 INTs.
Perkiomen School: Scotto, 3-14-37.
George School: Klaver, 3-63; Haney, 2-11; Fritz, 1-24; Beverley, 1-11.
Perkiomen School: Hampton, 1-17; Fosbenner, 1-12; Smith, 1-8.
Interceptions: Perkiomen School-Fosbenner, Smith.
Sacks: George School-Tongluo 2, Fritz. Perkiomen School-A. Williams 2, Arhontoulis, Hampton.