RED HILL — Pottsgrove fumbled the ball away twice early in Friday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference contest at Upper Perkiomen. The Falcons also turned it over on downs once more late in the game.
In between, the Falcons were unstoppable, as they scored six touchdowns on the ground, another on their only pass attempt of the night, and two more on punt returns in a 63-7 win.
Marquis Barefield ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns and opened the scoring for Pottsgrove (2-0, 3-0) with a 61-yard punt return two minutes into the game. Quarterback Riley Michaels added 93 yards on the ground on eight attempts, including a 48-yard scoring run, and hit Michael Fowler with a 45-yard touchdown pass. Aidan Schaffer ran for 68 yards for the Indians (0-2, 0-3).
Pottsgrove moved the ball from the start but led by just a 7-0 score late in the opening quarter after the long punt return by Barefield and the two fumbles.
"We always come out ready to play,' said senior quarterback Michaels. "But give credit to Upper Perk. They came out ready to hit.'
But the Falcons added to their lead on a 10-yard TD run by Barefield with 3:32 left in the first quarter and Michaels hit Fowler over the middle for a score on the first play after one of the Indians' eight punts and then ran for a two-point conversion for a 22-0 advantage with less than a minute left in the quarter.
Barefield scored again on a 58-yard burst down the left sideline two minutes into the second quarter and Michaels cut toward the right and then back to the middle of the field on his long TD jaunt to make it 37-0 with 8:28 still remaining in the half.
"Our offensive line really got off the ball tonight,' said Michaels. They got a little beat up at Pope John Paul last week. That's what leads our team.'
"I think we were a little sloppy to start out, but I think we picked it up,' said Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker. "I think Barefield ran well tonight. I think our kids played with intensity.'
All the while, the Falcon defense allowed no first downs and only 18 total yards in the first half."Our defense played very well,' Pennypacker added.
The margin was up to 56-0 after scoring runs by Jalen Mayes and Sene Polamalu and a 77-yard punt return by Mayes.
Then Upper Perk put together its best drive of the night as Schaffer picked up the hosts' initial first down of the game early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run, moved the ball into scoring position with a 39-yard run, and took it into the end zone from eight yards out.
"I give the Upper Perk kids and coaches a lot of credit,' said Pennypacker. "They're a little short-handed, but they play hard. (Head coach) Steve Moyer does a great job over here.'
The Falcons wound up with nearly nine yards per carry, gaining 359 on 40 attempts. Michaels has now thrown for four touchdowns on only eight pass attempts and isn't concerned about his lack of opportunities through the air.
"We're known as a running team,' he said. "With play action, we're always going to have some guys who are targets we can throw to. The coaches have confidence in me.'
The Falcons will try to get off to a faster start next week when they play their first PAC-10 home game of the season against Methacton.
"Our offensive line has got to be a little better,' said Pennypacker.
"We learned from our mistakes,' Michaels added. "And we'll get better next week.'
Upper Perkiomen 7
Pottsgrove 22 22 12 7 — 63
Upper Perkiomen 0 0 0 7 — 7
Pg-Barefield 61 punt return (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 10 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Fowler 45 pass from Michaels (Michaels run)
Pg-Barefield 58 run (Michaels run)
Pg-Michaels 48 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Mayes 13 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Polamalu 4 run (kick failed)
Pg-Mayes 77 punt return (kick failed)
UP-Schaffer 8 run (Godshall kick)
Pg-Brid 53 run (Bleakley kick)
First Downs 16 2
Rushing yards 359 63
Passing yards 45 11
Total yards 404 74
Passes C-A-I 1-1-0 3-12-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 2-15 5-30
Punts-Avg. 0-0 8-28.6
Pottsgrove: Barefield 12-133, 2 TD's; Michaels 8-93, 1 TD; Brid 3-55, 1 TD; Polamalu 8-43, 1 TD; Fowler 1-17; Mayes 4-19, 1 TD; Kelsy 1-2; Barr 3-(-3).
Upper Perkiomen: Schaffer 16-68, 1 TD; Godshall 2-6; Brumm 2-1; Felix 6-0; Breyer 2-(-12).
Pottsgrove: Michaels 1-1-45, 1 TD.
Upper Perkiomen: Breyer 3-9-11; Brumm 0-3.
Pottsgrove: Fowler 1-45, 1 TD.
Upper Perkiomen: Kline 2-12; Leister 1-(-1).
Sacks: Pottsgrove-Parker 1.5, Pond 1.0.