POTTSTOWN — To hear Pottsgrove football coach Rick Pennypacker tell it, he could line up senior Sene Polamalu at virtually any position for the Falcons and he'd be effective.
"Sene is very quiet, but he's very smart,' Pennypacker said. "Probably one of the smartest kids I've ever coached. He plays hard every play, and he's one of those kids who just goes about his business and does all of the little things right.'
The 6-foot, 220-pound Polamalu did some big things as well Friday night, rushing for two touchdowns and putting in typically solid work on the defensive end as Pottsgrove defeated Pottstown 38-0 in a Pioneer Athletic Conference contest at Grigg Memorial Field.
Polamalu got the Falcons (6-0 PAC-10, 7-0 overall) on the board by shedding several tackles en route to a 38-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds left in the first quarter, then crashed in from the 1 four plays into the second quarter and ran in the resulting two-point conversion to help Pottsgrove seize command.
Though Polamalu spends a majority of his time at fullback opening holes for tailback Marquis Barefield and protecting quarterback Riley Michaels, he's proven to be pretty adept when his number is called. He ran for 55 yards on just six carries against the Trojans (0-5, 0-7), and for the season he's accumulated 362 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with a 5.9 yards per carry average.
"I just try to do whatever the team needs me to do,' Polamalu said. "If they need me to block, or need me to run, that's what I'm going to do.'
Polamalu, the younger brother of Navy linebacker (and former Pottsgrove standout) Maika Polamalu and the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, credited his older brother in his development.
"His hard work and effort really inspired me,' Sene said. "Since my freshman year, I've been working out with him every day, working out at 5:30 in the morning and lifting after school. He instilled a work ethic in me.'
That work ethic is apparent on the defensive side of the ball as well, where Polamalu is a key ingredient in the Falcons' vaunted defense from his outside linebacker spot.
"Sene's big enough to take on a block, fast enough to run down somebody and he's so smart from watching a lot film,' Pennypacker said. "He's invaluable to us.'
Another player whose value has risen immensely over the past few weeks for the Falcons is Tyrone Parker, who turned in a monster effort in special teams and on defense — blocking two punts and collecting a game-high 11 tackles.
"He plays with his hair on fire,' Pennypacker said of Parker, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior. "He's gotten better every week since the beginning of the season, and I think he's one of the best players in the league right now.'
Parker, who nearly blocked a punt in the first quarter, came charging in from the left edge and deflected Khary Mauris' attempt out of the end zone for a safety to put the Falcons up 17-0 with 5:32 left in the first half. Devon Fink hauled in the ensuing free kick and took it 65 yards to the house, then Mike Fowler came up with an interception to set up a Michaels-to-Jalen Mayes 43-yard scoring strike that gave Pottsgrove a 31-0 halftime lead.
Another blocked punt by Parker set up Orin Toomer's 2-yard TD burst with 6:06 left in the third quarter that provided the final margin.
Jeff Adams notched 10 tackles and Patrick Finn had a sack as Pottsgrove limited the Trojans to 16 total yards (zero passing).
"They're a hell of a team,' first-year Pottstown coach Don Grinstead said of the Falcons, who have won 20 straight PAC-10 regular season games. "The thing about their defense is that they're fast. You run inside, or you run outside, and they have seven (guys) to the ball. It's so hard to run or throw against them because they have good athletes in the back, and they're tough inside as well.'
Barefield ran for a game-high 63 yards and Toomer rushed for 56 yards for Pottsgrove, though Pennypacker wasn't all that thrilled with the overall offensive effort.
"The defense has been good for us all year,' Pennypacker said. "But I thought we were sloppy (on offense). We fumbled the ball away in the red zone twice, and you can't do that. It's lack of execution and lack of focus. If these guys don't start focusing and executing better, we're going to be in trouble.'
Former Pottstown great and NFL cornerback Aaron Beasley served as an honorary captain for the Trojans and was recognized in a pregame ceremony. Beasley donated a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey to the school. ... Fowler had a 37-yard punt return to set up Polamalu's 1-yard TD run. ... Jimmy Jordan and Josh Schuering each recovered fumbles for Pottstown, which got a strong defensive game from linebacker Vaughn Bertoti. ... Niko Teller was crowned Homecoming King, with Megan Remick earning Homecoming Queen honors.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD
Pottsgrove 7 24 7 0 — 38
Pottstown 0 0 0 0 — 0
PG-Polamalu 38 run (Klinger kick)
PG-Polamalu 1 run (Polamalu run)
PG-Safety, punt blocked out of end zone
PG-Fink 65 yard free kick return (Klinger kick)
PG-Mayes 43 pass from Michaels (Klinger kick)
PG-Toomer 2 run (Klinger kick)
First Downs 3 11
Rushing yards 191 16
Passing yards 56 0
Total yards 247 16
Passes C-A-I 2-3-0 0-7-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 4-0
Penalties-Yards 1-10 4-37
Punts-Avg. 2-31.5 10-25.1
Pottsgrove: Barefield 15-63, Toomer 9-56, 1 TD; Polamalu 6-55, 2 TDs; Michaels 4-21, Fink 2-2, Verdone 2-(-6).
Pottstown: Wise 13-20, Tinson 1-9, Johnson 4-6, Robinson 1-1, Harvey 6-0, Mohler 6-(-2), Nelson 1-(-3), Team 1-(-15).
Pottsgrove: Michaels 2-3-56, 1 TD.
Pottstown: Wise 0-7-0, 1 INT.
Pottsgrove: Mayes 1-43, 1 TD; Fowler 1-13.