For more than a year, the Owen J. Roberts football team had been pursuing a victory as vigorously as the Headless Horseman chased down Ichabod Crane.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their efforts wound up being as fruitless as Wile E. Coyote trying to corral the Road Runner.
Friday night at Bucktown, however, Owen J. Roberts finally underwent a satisfying reversal of fortune, taking down Upper Perkiomen 35-28 to snap a frustrating 12-game losing streak covering 53 weeks and 371 days.
The Wildcats got 164 rushing yards and a touchdown from feature back Wyatt Scott, a season-best pass/run performance from quarterback Mitch Bradford and a clutch go-ahead TD grab by wideout Kyle Hinrichs in the fourth quarter.
They also got a dramatic defensive stop culminating in Matt Lenge's pass breakup on a fourth-and-8 play from the OJR 9 with 1:08 left in the contest to notch their first win since a 49-21 in over Upper Perkiomen last Oct. 5.
"It gives the kids confidence in themselves that they can get the job done,' OJR coach Tom Barr said. "Our kids didn't quit after we went up 15 points (at 28-13) and they tied it, and that's one of the things I was most proud of. They reached down, kept playing hard and wanted to win the game.'
The Wildcats (1-4 PAC-10, 1-6 overall) had come close in a couple of earlier league games, giving up a late, long TD pass in an 19-15 loss to Phoenixville and hanging within a point of Boyertown well into the second half of a 21-13 defeat.
They finally got over the top against the Tribe (1-5, 1-6), as Bradford threw for 177 yards and one TD and also ran for 72 yards and a score. Hinrichs caught a season-high four balls, Steve Myers delivered a scoop-and-score fumble return, Antonio Civetta and William Dawson each notched sacks and Anthony Buehler had an interception.
"When one person came up with a big play, it seemed like someone else picked it up on the next play,' Barr said. "It was a little bit of a snowball effect.'
Though the Wildcats had struggled on both sides of the ball and have dealt with some injury issues for a good chunk of the first six weeks, Barr has seen some positive things.
He cited the unselfish play of Myers, a senior captain who started the season at right tackle but has also had to play center, guard and on defense. Freshman Eric LeVan has had an impact at right tackle and sophomore linebacker Bill Scherfel and Dawson have played well on defense, according to Barr.
Friday's game marked the first in nearly four weeks that linemen Dawson, Kolten Hainsey and Bryson Cahill (who had all been out injured) were back together.
"It seems like we've been snakebit at times, but we're starting to get back on the healthy side and I think we're right on that edge where we could be a pretty good football team,' Barr said. "We can't dwell on the first part of our season. We looked at Friday as Game 1 of our new season.'
Methacton's Homecoming game against Owen J. Roberts Saturday has a more profound meaning: it's the squad's third Play For the Cure contest, in which the Warriors will don pink jerseys to raise support and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The football team, cheerleaders, band members and parents have joined forces with a baked-goods sale, proceeds of which will be donated to the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery Women's Center.
During the game, Methacton will honor all individuals affected by cancer by reading their names off a dedication page.
WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?
Spring-Ford senior Alec Vagnozzi, who is among the area leaders in sacks with four, is keeping a family tradition alive by wearing the No. 42 jersey.
Vagnozzi's father Dean — a fullback/punter who played at Albright in the late 1980s — wore the number and his four children have all followed suit.
Gabrielle, a sophomore on the Rams' girls soccer team (which faces Upper Perkiomen in a PAC-10 semifinal tonight) also wears No. 42, as do 13-year-old Mitchell for his Upper Providence Legends travel baseball squad and 10-year-old Felicia for her Westmont United travel soccer team.
AROUND THE AREA
Before Spring-Ford's David Gulati booted home three field goals (from 24, 25 and 36 yards) Saturday, area kickers had combined for a total of just three field goals all season. ... Boyertown's Nick Brough has racked up 333 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 11 catches over the past two weeks. ... Perkiomen Valley's average of 4.0 points allowed per game ranks first in all of District 1 and fourth in the state, while the Vikings' average victory margin of 35.4 points is first in the district and 14th in the state. ... Boyertown's 62-7 win over Phoenixville Saturday matched the Bears' highest point total since a 62-26 win over Great Valley in the penultimate game of the 2009 campaign.
DISTRICT 1 DOINGS
Upper Dublin (7-0) is off to its best start since 1986 after Friday's 46-10 Suburban One American Conference victory over Upper Moreland, in which the Cardinals got three touchdowns from John Lee. ... Contestoga coach John Vogan picked up his 100th career win in Saturday's 35-0 win over Lower Merion. ... Coatesville (7-0) put up 50 first-half points in Friday's 56-7 win over Kennett.
Hempfield's 47-7 victory over Cedar Crest Friday was the 100th for coach Ron Zeiber, the former head man at Boyertown. ... Upper St. Clair had its streak of five straight shutouts snapped, but still downed Bethel Park 28-13. ... Fort Cherry defeated Serra 86-19 Friday. It was the most points scored by a WPIAL team since at leats 1952, according to Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Tyler Newman of Liberty (Nevada) threw nine touchdown passes in a 61-12 win over Del Sol to set a state record. ... Nate Drew of Chavez Academy (Michigan) caught 17 passes for a national single-game record 459 yards and seven TDs in Friday's 64-41 win over Mayville. ... Former NFL great Brett Favre is in his second year as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Oak Grove (Mississippi), which is currently 7-0.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.