LOWER POTTSGROVE — It was an emotional night at Pottsgrove High School's stadium Friday.
Not only because of a football game with Owen J. Roberts, which the Falcons won in a 63-7 runaway. The flow of emotion came from the school's annual "Pink Out' game, held to raise awareness of cancer and support the battle against the deadly disease.
"This is an emotional thing to me,' Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker said at the conclusion of the game, which kept his team unbeaten and atop the Pioneer Athletic Conference standings. "I lost my two parents to the disease, and I have another family member who's struggling with it.'
Pink was everywhere to be seen: On signs at the front of the bleachers, on T-shirts specially crafted for the event, on the pompoms waved by the Pottsgrove cheerleaders. A particularly poignant moment came pre-game, when Kristen Lawhorne — a 10th-grade student at Pottsgrove who lost her right leg to cancer — served as honorary team captain for the Falcons and took part in the traditional coin toss.
As for the game itself ...
"That was anticlimactic,' Pennypacker said. "What we wanted to do was get our kids in and out ... get our young kids work.'
Pottsgrove (5-0 league, 6-0 overall) accomplished both goals in a quick and efficient manner. It scored on nine straight possessions after turning the ball on its first touch — and that deep in Owen J. Roberts territory.
The home team's lead ballooned to 49 by halftime, then to 56 two minutes into the third quarter. And after Owen J. marched 76 yards for a shutout-averting touchdown, Pottsgrove capped its productive offensive night with the second of Brian Brid's two rushing TDs.
"We're on our way,' Pennypacker said. "We need to keep getting better.'
The Falcons' offensive line set the tone for the team's 435-yard rushing output. Barefield had 168 of it on nine first-half carries, with touchdown runs of 52, 61, seven and three yards in the process. Sene Polamalu had another 75 on five carries, and Jalen Mayes had five carries for 34 — also coming in the first half.
Tom Sephakis, one of the stalwarts in the trenches, conveyed the pride the entire unit — starters as well as reserves — puts into its work.
"We share the same mentality,' the senior lineman said. "We give our all to be a better team. We work to achieve our goals, and to win.'
The stretch run saw the Falcons' second unit keep the pace going. Orrin Toomer (five carries, 72 yards) had a four-yard scoring run that was the team's sixth of the night, and Brid (60 yards on nine carries) rang up TD runs of 41 and 28 yards.
Along the way, quarterback Riley Michaels made the most of Pottsgrove's limited passing game. Michaels was 2-for-3 on the night, but both completions went to Michael Fowler for touchdowns of 28 and 19 yards.
"We were coming off a couple physical games with Methacton and Spring-Ford,' Pennypacker noted, "so I thought our kids were tired. We wanted to get them in and out.'
Owen J. Roberts' last two possessions proved to be its most sustained drives.
The first, with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, culminated with Brad Kinckner scoring on a three-yard burst inside the 2-½ minute mark. The second moved OJR (0-4, 0-6) down to Pottsgrove's 34-yard line before ending on downs.
"At halftime, we had a nice chat,' Wildcat head coach Tom Barr said. "We told them to go out, play hard and not give up.
"These first six games, being 0-6, forget that. We're starting a new season, and working toward our last six games.'
Wyatt Scott was again the workhorse of the OJR ground game, his 62 yards on 16 carries including several first-down gainers on the touchdown march. As a whole, the Wildcats collected 108 yards on the ground and another 25 on quarterback Mitch Bradford's 5-for-10 passing.
"They didn't quit. We can build on that,' Barr said. "A new season starts Monday.'
And for Pottsgrove, its latest winning effort enhanced the night's rally in the fight against cancer.
"Most of our players have families who've dealt with it,' Sephakis said. "We're fighting for those people. It's a great cause.'
"This has gotten bigger every year,' Pennypacker said. "The nice thing is, Pottsgrove does it the right way. The school spirit, the shirts the National Honor Society sells ...the administration does it right. It makes me proud to be part of Pottsgrove.'
While the Pottsgrove players wore pink jerseys and other uniform accessories, Sephakis noted their involvement went even beyond that. "Different people had things written on their arms. The names of family members, ribbons on themselves,' he said. "They decaled themselves to show their spirit for the cause' ... Another offshoot of the Falcons' offensive production was marked by the fact they did not punt the entire game. Their only non-scoring possession was the first, which ended with a fumble at the Owen J. 22.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.
Owen J. Roberts 7
Owen J. Roberts 0 0 7 0 — 7
Pottsgrove 28 21 7 7 — 63
Pg-Barefield 52 run (DeMetrio kick)
Pg-Fowler 28 pass from Michaels (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 61 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 7 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Barefield 3 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Toomer 4 run (Klinger kick)
Pg-Fowler 19 pass from Michaels (Klinger kick)
Pg-Brid 41 run (Klinger kick)
OJR-Kinckner 3 run (Dinnocenti kick)
Pg-Brid 28 run (Bleakley kick)
First Downs 10 18
Rushing yards 108 435
Passing yards 25 47
Total yards 133 482
Passes C-A-I 5-12-1 2-3-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-24 2-25
Punts-Avg. 5-31.6 0-0
Owen J. Roberts: Scott, 16-62; Lee, 7-31; Bradford, 4-12; Kinckner, 6-12, 1 TD; Reitnour, 2-4; Glanski, 3-4; Thomas, 1-(-17).
Pottsgrove: Barefield, 9-168, 4 TDs; Brid, 8-96, 2 TDs; Polamalu, 5-75; Toomer, 5-72, 1 TD; Mayes, 5-34; Lopez, 2-(-3); Doctor, 1-(-5); Team, 1-(-2).
Owen J. Roberts: Bradford, 5-10-25, 1 INT; Gadzicki, 0-1-0; Lenge, 0-1-0.
Pottsgrove: Michaels, 2-3-47, 2 TDs.
Owen J. Roberts: Hinrichs, 2-13; Scott, 1-6; Reitnour, 1-5; Lenge, 1-1.
Pottsgrove: Fowler, 2-47, 2 TDs.
Interceptions: Owen J. Roberts-None. Pottsgrove-Barefield 1.
Sacks: Owen J. Roberts-Hudak 1. Pottsgrove-None.