PHOENIXVILLE — Phoenixville appears as though it will be a football team with a penchant for big plays this year.
For the second straight week, the Phantoms were able to break loose some big plays, this time two long touchdown runs and one long TD pass, to earn their second straight Pioneer Athletic Conference victory with an 18-13 come-from-behind victory over Pottstown Friday night at Washington Field.
First, Pottstown fumbled on a fourth-and-one play at the Phoenixville 19-yard line following a nice drive, and the Phantoms' Damien Davido recovered the ball at the Phantom 23. Then on a fourth-and-eight call, Phoenixville quarterback Kyle Karkoska found wideout Mackensie Thomas on a 75-yard touchdown pass with 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Phantoms their 18-13 lead.
It marked the second straight week that Karkoska and Thomas connected on a scoring bomb, following last week's 19-15 win over Owen J. Roberts in Bucktown. Thomas is a first-year senior football player who is a star sprinter on the Phantoms' track team.
"Lightning strikes twice,' said Phoenixville substitute head coach Chris Alston, who directed the Phantoms for the first time due to the two-week suspension of head coach Bill Furlong.
The Phantoms caught the Trojans in a cover-two defense and Thomas wound up isolated on a defensive back on the left side of the field.
Phoenixville (2-0, 2-2) held a 6-0 lead after one quarter on a 69-yard TD scamper by Donnie Jackson on the first play from scrimmage. The Phantoms went ahead 12-0 on a 41-yard scoring dart by Rahim Beasley. But Pottstown (0-2, 0-4) made it 12-6 by halftime on a 1-yard TD plunge by quarterback Gary Wise.
Neither side scored in the third period.
The Trojans' Dayon Mohler scored on a 13-yard run around the left side with 9:42 left in regulation time, and Tyler Keefer booted the extra point to give Pottstown a 13-12 edge.
Pottstown (0-2, 0-4) suffered another frustrating setback on a night when the Trojans won the statistical war. The Trojans outgained the Phatnoms in total yardage, 349-314, and rolled up 20 first downs to nine by the Phantoms. But Pottstown also turned the ball over twice, once on the fumble and another on an interception, also by Davido. The Phantoms, on the other hand, did not have any turnovers.
"In the beginning of the game, we were telling our guys to keep playing,' said Alston. "We thought at some time in the game, we are going to make plays. Our focus was on keeping our guys playing disciplined, assignment football.'
He said an athletic team like Pottstown is going to move the football because the Trojans are difficult to stop with their speed and quickness, especially at the skill positions. The important item is to stop the Trojans at key times.
"What won the game was our guys banded together as one when they were down in the last two minutes,' said Alston. "They stuck together until the end. Someone is going to make a big play and they kept their heads in it.'
Jackson rushed five times for 82 yards and also had a big game in the secondary. Karkoska gained 58 yards on nine tries with another dual effort at safety. Beasley finished with 57 yards on seven attempts and also had a sack. Justin McDougal and Matt Palubinsky also did some rushing for the Phantoms.
Palubinsky, the 6-3, 185-pound sophomore, was also active on defense along with Zack Gallow, Matt Raniszewski, Jason Waltman and linemen Paul Hossler and Melvin Obando in the middle.
Wise completed eight of 20 passes for 104 yards for the Trojans. John Charles made five receptions for 75 yards. Wise also ran keepers 16 times for 65 yards.
Najee Johnson gained 87 yards on 10 plays while Mohler netted 55 yards on nine rushes. He also caught two passes for 19 yards. Bryant Wise and Don Johnson also did some running for the Trojans.
Pottstown first-year head coach Don Grinstead said his staff challenged the Trojans' offensive line and they responded well by pushing all night.
"Those guys worked their tails off,' said Grinstead. "We needed one more first down. Unfortunately, we made a mistake at the wrong time. That has been our sentiment, mistakes at the wrong time.'
Defensively, the Trojans got some good work from Bryant Wise, Jimmy Jordan, Alex Humma, Travis Wallace, Jalonte Lighty and Clayton Mitchell.
Pottstown 0 6 0 7 — 13
Phoenixville 6 6 0 6 — 18
Px-Jackson 69 run (kick failed)
Px-Beasley 41 run (run failed)
Pt-G. Wise 1 run (kick failed)
Pt-Mohler 13 run (Keefer kick)
Px-Thomas 75 pass from Karkoska (pass failed)
First Downs 20 9
Rushing yards 245 230
Passing yards 104 84
Total yards 349 314
Passes C-A-I 8-20-1 3-9-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 2-15
Punts-Avg. 2-34 4-24.5
Pottstown: N.Johnson, 10-87; G.Wise, 16-65, 1 TD; Mohler, 9-55, 1 TD; B.Wise, 3-18; D.Johnson, 8-15; Mitchell, 1-5.
Phoenixville: Jackson, 5-82, 1 TD; Karkoska, 9-58; Beasley, 7-57, 1 TD; McDougal, 7-21; Palubinsky, 2-12.
Pottstown: G.Wise, 8-20-104, 1 INT.
Phoenixville: Karkoska, 3-9-84, 1 TD.
Pottstown: Charles, 5-75; Mohler, 2-19; B.Wise 1-10.
Phoenixville: Thomas, 1-75, 1 TD; Alati, 1-7; McDougal, 1-2.