FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — On a day when Methacton's Mihaela Codreanu was winning her second straight Pioneer Athletic Conference girls tennis title, the Warriors football team found itself in a veritable tennis match of its own against Upper Perkiomen.
Through a first quarter that saw a combined 28 points, neither the Warriors nor Indians could break the other team's serve, so to speak.
Over the final three quarters, however, Methacton kept firing winners and Upper Perkiomen simply couldn't answer the continuous offensive volleys as the Warriors ran away with a 56-20 PAC-10 victory.
Junior quarterback Conner Derrickson threw for three touchdowns and ran for two scores, Dillon Alderfer contributed three touchdowns and Akeem Walcott collected two interceptions to help Methacton improve to 2-2 in league play and 2-3 overall.
The Warriors broke open a 28-14 halftime advantage courtesy of a 28-point third-quarter explosion as they rang up their highest point total in the four-year tenure of coach Paul Lepre.
"The offensive line played amazing today,' said Derrickson, who completed 6-for-9 passses for 143 yards while also rushing for a team-high 128 yards. "I didn't get sacked once. It was great. Our blocks were excellent and we found our holes and kept plugging away.'
Upper Perkiomen (1-3, 1-4), fresh off last week's 37-14 victory over Pope John Paul II that snapped a 14-game losing streak, drew first blood after the opening kickoff on an impressive seven-play, 55-yard scoring drive exclusively out of the Wildcat formation. Senior running back Aidan Schaffer, who had run for 392 yards and six TDs last week, toted it five times during the march, including a 6-yard scoring run with 8:45 left in the opening period.
Methacton answered with a 12-play drive capped by Derrickson's 19-yard scoring strike to Dillon Alderfer, but the Tribe needed just three plays to go back on top as Schaffer raced 53 yards for a score that made it 14-7 with 2:26 left in the first.
The Warriors, though, held serve with a 46-yard touchdown connection from Derrickson to Lowery to tie it with 26 seconds left in the opening quarter, then the Methacton defense finally began to clamp down.
Methacton opened the second quarter by forcing a three-and-out and Derrickson scored on a 1-yard run to put the Warriors up to stay with 8:46 left in the period.
With Upper Perkiomen trying to draw even and on the 12th play of the ensuing drive, Walcott intercepted Jacob Breyer's pass attempt to set up Derrickson's 59-yard TD pass to Alderfer that put the Warriors up 28-14 1:08 before the intermission.
"Defensively, we had to shut them down, but we just couldn't,' Indians coach Steve Moyer said. "You could see physically we were starting to get handled on both sides of the ball as the game wore on. We battled for a while; we just couldn't stay with it.'
The Warriors, meanwhile, kicked it into overdrive in the third quarter — which they opened with a six-play drive culminating in Derrickson's 31-yard TD scamper.
"Our big thing is that we always tell our guys if we're going to get the ball (to start the) the second half, we've got to make a statement,' Lepre said.
Methacton made one that was loud an clear, as a Walcott had an interception that set up Lowery's 2-yard scoring run before scoring himself on a 4-yard run, and Alderfer scooped up a Nick Torcini-forced fumble and took it 25 yards to paydirt to put Methacton up 56-14 with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
After seeing Schaffer carry it 17 times for 112 yards in the first half, Methacton held him to 15 yards on eight second-half carries.
"Our goal was to stop him,' said Walcott, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior cornerback. "The first half he came out and gave it to us and they ran the ball down our throats. But we came back in the second half. He's a tough guy. I give him all the props for all he's done, but our defense picked it up in the second half.'
"We just challenged the guys at halftime to step up and do their jobs,' said Lepre. "I think some guys were trying to do a little too much, and then getting themselves out of position.
"They're big up front, and were getting movement on our D-tackles, and we weren't coming up and filling the gaps, linebacker-wise or defensive end-wise. We challenged them to do their job and they stepped up and got after it in the second half.'
Methacton finished with 251 yards on the ground, 70 of that total coming from Mike Cassidy, who moved the pile on several of his 12 carries.
"Their quarterback does a nice job,' Moyer said of Derrickson. "He can run the ball and he throws the ball well, and they have a heck of a fullback (Cassidy). He's a tough kid. We couldn't seem to put him on the ground.'
Or, for that matter, stop the Warriors — as a see-saw affair eventually turned one-sided.
Travis Kline caught five passes for 68 yards for the Tribe, who also got 82 rushing yards from Mike Felix. ... Methacton only had to punt once, with Cassidy booming a 44-yarder into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. ... Cassidy also had an interception as the Warriors forced four turnovers.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.
Upper Perkiomen 20
Upper Perkiomen 14 0 0 6 — 20
Methacton 14 14 28 0 — 56
UP-Schaffer 6 run (Godshall kick)
M-Alderfer 19 pass from Derrickson (LeSage kick)
UP-Schaffer 53 run (Godshall kick)
M-Lowery 46 pass from Derrickson (LeSage kick)
M-Derrickson 1 run (LeSage kick)
M-Alderfer 59 pass from Derrickson (LeSage kick)
M-Derrickson 31 run (LeSage kick)
M-Lowery 2 run (LeSage kick)
M-Walcott 4 run (Besley kick)
M-Alderer 25 fumble return (Besley kick)
UP-Felix 1 run (kick failed)
First Downs 13 20
Rushing yards 223 251
Passing yards 66 143
Total yards 289 394
Passes C-A-I 6-11-3 6-9-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 5-42 3-32
Punts-Avg. 3-22.3 1-44.0
Upper Perkiomen: Schaffer 25-127, 2 TDs, Felix 11-82, 1 TD; Godshall 2-9, Breyer 1-5.
Methacton: Derrickson 13-128, 2 TDs; Cassidy 12-70, 1 TD; Walcott 3-26, 1 TD; Koehler 3-14, Keenan 2-4, Cotteta 1-3, Lowery 1-2, 1 TD; Torcini 1-2, Heffelfinger 1-2.
Upper Perkiomen: Breyer 4-8-52, 3 INTs; Schaffer 2-3-14.
Methacton: Derrickson 6-9-143, 3 TDs.
Upper Perkiomen: Kline 5-68, Leister 1-(-2).
Methacton: Alderfer 2-78, 2 TDs; Cassidy 2-16, Lowery 1-46, 1 TD; Walcott 1-3.
Interceptions: Methacton-Walcott 2, Cassidy.
Sacks: Methacton-Walcott 0.5, Gouda 0.5;