GRATERFORD — Eleven seconds into Friday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference showdown between visiting Pottsgrove and Perkiomen Valley, Thomas J. Keenan Stadium suddenly went dark due to a power outage that hit the area.
When the game eventually resumed nearly a half-hour later, the Falcons defense simply turned the lights out on the Vikings' high-powered offense.
Pottsgrove got 11 tackles from linebacker Tyrone Parker, an interception from Mike Fowler, a fumble recovery by Riley Michaels and another collectively outstanding performance from its ' D' in turning the much-anticipated showdown into a rather one-sided 23-12 victory.
On the other side of the ball, fullback Sene Polamalu rushed for a career-high 154 yards and one touchdown and tailback Marquis Barefield ran for 110 yards and one score as the Falcons (8-0 PAC-10, 9-0 overall) clinched at least a share of the league title with their 22nd straight PAC-10 regular season victory.
"We've played in big games before, and we're used to the hype,' Pottsgrove senior linebacker Jeff Adams said. "I have to give credit to our coaches. They come up with some of the greatest game plans, and it comes down to each and every one of us.'
That would be the front of Patrick Finn, Nico Demetrio, Tom Sephakis, Anthony Pond (and later Matt Faulkner), the linebacking corps of Polamalu, Adams and Parker and the secondary of Fowler, Barefield and Riley Michaels.
"Our secondary covered well, and I thought our guys up front played very well tonight,' Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker said.
Pottsgrove's defense set the tone from the outset, after Perkiomen Valley's Ryan O'Donnell returned the opening kickoff 44 yards to the Falcons 43. Three plays later, Parker put a hat on Vikings star quarterback Rasaan Stewart on a third-and-five play to force a fumble that Michaels recovered.
It would be a recurring theme throughout as the Falcons made life miserable for Stewart, harassing him into a 14-for-30 effort for 135 yards and holding him without a TD pass for just the second time all year.
"We had defenses designed to give them different looks every play,' Pennypacker said. "You have to pick your poison against them. You either cover Stewart and (Mark) Bonomo against the run or try to go out there and take (receivers Dakota) Clanagan and (Clay) Domine and those guys out of the game.'
Offensively, the Falcons were able to grind away at the PV defense, setting the stage for some game-changing runs by Polamalu and Barefield.
On a second-and-7 situation five plays into the second quarter, Polamalu broke free off left tackle and raced 60 yards to put the Falcons up 6-0.
Perkiomen Valley (6-2, 7-2) answered with its best drive of the contest, a 13-play march highlighted by five Stewart completions culminating in Stewart's 2-yard dive over the pile that tied it at 6-6.
Before the Vikings could wrest away momentum, however, the Falcons seized it back thanks to a 35-yard halfback option pass from Barefield to Fowler that set up Jon Klinger's 39-yard field goal that put Pottsgrove up to stay 4:05 before halftime.
"You have to give credit where credit's due,' PV coach Scott Reed said. "Pottsgrove came out and had a great game plan and the kids executed it. They did a good job of what they do. They fire off the ball, get downhill and get on top of you quickly.'
The Falcons took the pooched second-half kickoff at their own 43 and drove to the PV 5 before the Vikings stopped Polamalu on a fourth-down play.
Again, though, their defense took command — forcing a three-and-out followed by a 44-yard run by Barefield that set up a 2-yard scoring run by Jalen Mayes that made it 16-6 with 5:29 left in the third.
Perkiomen Valley's Mark Bonomo ripped off a 40-yard run to put the Vikings in position to answer, but Fowler intercepted Stewart in the end zone and the Falcons responded with a punishing 13-play march capped by Barefield's 10-yard run that put Pottsgrove up 23-6 with 9:05 left and basically settled matters.
"Our kids were pretty focused,' Pennypacker said. "We've played in big games like this, and we felt if we could go out there and establish a little momentum, we could maybe get them. We've played in a lot of big games, and a lot of their guys haven't played in big games. We knew we had to be even-keel the whole game, through the ups and downs, and I thought our kids did that.'
"We all have heart; you open up our chests, and our hearts are like this,' said Parker, spreading his arms for effect.
"We were waiting for them seven days, while they were waiting for us a year,' Fowler said. "But we were just more hungry for it.'
Bonomo rushed for a team-high 94 yards for the Vikings, including a 1-yard TD run that provided the final margin with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter. Stewart ran for 75 yards. ... Clay Domine had five catches for 67 yards. ... Perkiomen Valley lost linebacker Austin Gansz to a leg injury in the first half, while two-way threat Clanagan was slowed throughout with a quad injury. Pottsgrove also had to make due without two-way lineman Pond, who left the game with what Pennypacker called a tricep injury. ... Fowler had two receptions for 43 yards, while teammate Orrin Toomer ran effectively in the second half and contributed 39 yards.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.
Perkiomen Valley 12
Pottsgrove 0 9 7 7 — 23
Perkiomen Valley 0 6 0 6 — 12
Pg-Polamalu 60 run (kick failed)
PV-Stewart 2 run (kick failed)
Pg-Klinger 39 FG
Pg-Mayes 2 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 10 run (Klinger kick)
PV-Bonomo 1 run (pass failed)
First Downs 15 16
Rushing yards 355 179
Passing yards 46 135
Total yards 401 315
Passes C-A-I 3-5-0 14-30-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 5-37
Punts-Avg. 3-43.7 5-37.2
Pottsgrove: Polamalu, 14-154, 1 TD; Barefield, 17-110, 1 TD; Toomer, 7-39; Michaels, 5-32; Fowler, 4-15; Mayes, 2-5.
Perkiomen Valley: Bonomo, 12-94, 1 TD; Stewart, 10-75; 1 TD; Holland, 2-7; O'Donnell, 1-2; Clanagan, 1-2; Team, 1-(-1).
Pottsgrove: Michaels, 2-4-11; Barefield, 1-1-35.
Perkiomen Valley: Stewart, 14-30-135, 1 INT.
Pottsgrove: Fowler, 2-43; Polamalu, 1-3.
Perkiomen Valley: Domine, 5-67; Wilson, 3-38; Bonomo, 3-9; O'Donnell, 1-12; Holland, 1-7; Clanagan, 1-2.
Sacks: Pottsgrove-Mayes. Perkiomen Valley-P. Delaney.