LOWER POTTSGROVE — Not every painting can be a masterpiece. Not every hit can be a home run. And not every victory can be a smashing success.
So it was with the Pottsgrove Falcons in Friday night's 28-7 Pioneer Athletic Conference win over Methacton.
True, the Falcons (3-0, 4-0) did bring home their 17th straight PAC-10 victory — opening a 21-0 halftime lead and holding the gritty Warriors (1-2, 1-3) at bay from there.
They also got a game-high 135 rushing yards and one touchdown from Marquis Barefield, two rushing scores from Riley Michaels and nine tackles each from Jeff Adams and Tyrone Parker to lead a defensive effort that allowed just 130 total yards.
But for a lot of the second half, veteran Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker wore the countenance of a guy who had forgotten his umbrella as a thunderstorm broke out.
"I thought our kids did a pretty good job,' Pennypacker said. "But I felt like we lost momentum. I think our kids relaxed a little bit, I think our coaches relaxed a little bit and I think I didn't do a good enough job.
"We got a lead and you've got to be able to keep pounding it, but in the second half we came out and went three-and-out too many times.'
A tough-as-nails performance by the Methacton defense was largely responsible for that, as the Warriors pretty much made the Falcons earn all 231 of their total yards.
Methacton got within 21-7 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Conner Derrickson to Dillon Alderfer with 8:22 left in the third quarter, then had three more possessions to try to make it a one-score game.
Pottsgrove, however, clamped down from there and got a game-sealing 6-yard TD run from Sene Polamalu with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter.
"They're a tough team and they came at us hard,' said Pottsgrove senior nose tackle Nico Demetrio, who collected two sacks. "We were just going at it the whole game.
"At first, I feel we came out really strong. Then we slowed down a little, but once they got the touchdown and adversity hit, we got together again.'
On Military Appreciation Night, the Falcons — clad in green camouflage pants — certainly hit the ground running.
Michaels, their 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior quarterback, capped their first possession with a 13-yard TD run less than three minutes in. Then Michaels polished off the next drive — set up by a 26-yard punt return from Michael Fowler — with a 1-yard run that made it 14-0 with 3:00 left in the first quarter. Barefield tacked on a 17-yard scoring jaunt 1:25 before the half.
"They dominated the first quarter,' Methacton coach Paul Lepre said of the Falcons. "I just think instead of coming out and dictating the pace, our kids wanted to see what Pottsgrove was going to bring. If you come out like that against a team like them, they're going to be up 14-0. They're too good. They have too many skill people, their linemen come off the ball, and they get 11 hats on the ball.'
That said, the Warriors didn't roll over — not by a long shot — and basically played the Falcons even over the final two quarters.
"When they came off the field after the second touchdown, (assistant) coach (Eric) Ranieri challenged them,' Lepre said. "He said, ' Is this going to go all night?' and ' What are you guys going to do about it?' They stood up and came on like gangbusters.'
With Mike Cassidy and Bido Gouda spearheading the charge, Methacton forced three straight Pottsgrove punts in the third quarter, with Cassidy ending another drive by recovering a fumble.
It was still 21-7 midway through the fourth quarter when Michaels found Adams for a 35-yard gain on a third-and-10 play, and after a procedure penalty Polamalu crashed in on the next play to close out the scoring.
"Right now, we still have a lot to work on,' said Fowler, who returned three punts for 55 yards and two kickoffs for 40 yards. "We're there, but we're not all the way there.'
Derrickson finished 10-for-21 for 101 yards for Methacton, with Alderfer (63 receiving yards) and Akeem Walcott each grabbing four receptions. Cassidy ran for a team-high 45 yards, though the rest of the team combined for minus-16 rushing yards.
"I asked them at the end of the night, ' Which team do you want to be?'' Lepre said. "The team that showed up in the first quarter, or the team for the last three quarters that played its butts off and got after it. Hopefully we can build on that and take it from there.'
The Falcons, who got 51 rushing yards and a sack from Polamalu, have a highly anticipated showdown with Spring-Ford at Royersford next Friday.
"We've got to go back this week and practice hard, play hard and see what happens,' Pennypacker said. "We got some things we need to fix and straighten out, and if we don't, we'll be in trouble.'
Both squads got strong punting efforts, with Pottsgrove's Fowler averaging 42.8 yards on his five attempts and Methacton's Cassidy punting seven times for a 37.7 yard average. ... Alderfer's touchdown was the first allowed by the Falcons' first team defense. ... Pottsgrove finished with seven sacks, with Pond (1.5), Mark Mandia (1), Adams (1) and Patrick Finn (0.5) also getting into the act. ... Methacton plays host to Upper Perkiomen next Saturday.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.
Methacton 0 0 7 0 — 7
Pottsgrove 14 7 0 7 — 28
Pg-Michaels 13 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Michaels 1 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 17 run (Klinger kick)
Me-Alderfer 21 pass from Derrickson (LeSage kick)
Pg-Polamalu 6 run (Klinger kick)
First Downs 7 10
Rushing yards 29 191
Passing yards 101 40
Total yards 130 231
Passes C-A-I 10-22-1 2-4-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-37 6-55
Punts-Avg. 7-37.7 5-42.8
Methacton: Cassidy, 4-45; Walcott, 2-7; Lowery, 3-3; Torcini, 2-3; Team, 1-(-8); Derrickson, 12-(-21).
Pottsgrove: Barefield, 18-135, 1 TD; Polamalu, 10-51, 1 TD; Fowler, 1-7, Michaels, 13-0, 1 TD; Mayes, 1-(-2).
Methacton: Derrickson, 10-21-101, 1 TD, 1 INT; Lowery, 0-1-0.
Pottsgrove: Michaels, 2-4-40.
Methacton: Alderfer, 4-63; 1 TD; Walcott, 4-25; Lowery, 2-13.
Pottsgrove: Adams, 1-35; Fowler, 1-7.
Sacks: Methacton-Gouda 2, Lowery 1, Hepp 1. Pottsgrove-Demetrio 2, Pond 1.5, Mandia 1, Adams 1, Polamalu 1, Finn 0.5.