RED HILL — The smile on Don Grinstead's face spoke volumes.
Through seven games since the Labor Day weekend, Grinstead was left dreaming of that magical first win as head coach of Pottstown's football program. That dream came to fruition Friday at Upper Perkiomen High's Tribe Stadium, the Trojans ending that empty span with a 28-14 victory over the Indians.
"This was like a big weight off my back,' Grinstead said after seeing his club play the spoiler at Upper Perk's Homecoming game. Professing happiness with his team as a whole, Grinstead saw it join every other Pioneer Athletic Conference program in the win column by getting ahead of — and then staving off — the one-win Indians.
Gary Wise had a hand in three of the touchdowns Pottstown (1-5 league, 1-7 overall) scored, the junior quarterback running for a pair and throwing to John Charles for another. Another Wise — sophomore Bryant Wise — provided the capper with the Trojans' longest run from scrimmage.
The Pottstown defense found itself challenged by Aidan Schaffer's workmanlike efforts on the ground, and the quantity of passing between quarterback Jacob Breyer and wide receiver Travis Kline. But it rose to the occasion with several stops on deep drives into the Trojans' end of the field, forcing three turnovers for good measure.
"I'm so proud of the kids, how hard they fought,' Grinstead said. "They were fighting their tails off.'
Gary Wise, with 80 yards on 17 carries, headed a ground game that showed considerable balance from the likes of Dayon Mohler (10 carries, 79 yards) and Bryant Wise (73 yards on four totes). He complemented that ground-pounding with a modest (4-for-10, 93 yards) passing effort going exclusively to John Charles, who was on the receiving end of a 43-yard TD toss with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
"I was hoping to get John going,' he said. "The line was giving me time to get plays.'
The guys in the offensive trenches — Alex Humma, Jalonte Lighty, Clayton Mitchell, Derrick Wilson and Travis Wallace, among others — were also lauded for their contribution to Pottstown's rushing game, which compiled 263 yards on the night. Najee Johnson chipped in with another 31 yards on seven carries to round out the ground numbers.
"We wanted to challenge the offensive line to start getting a push,' Wise added. "They got the momentum, and got the rest moving.
"When the offensive line got the push, we knew we were faster and could get around them (Indians).'
Upper Perk (1-6, 1-7) staked a large part of its offensive plan on Schaffer's legs, Breyer's arm and Kline's hands. They figured in all the Indians' scoring: Breyer (9-for-30) hooking up with Kline on a 32-yard TD pass in the first quarter, Schaffer (28 carries, 62 yards) bulling into the end zone on a one-yard run third.
Schaffer, at times taking the direct snap from center in the early going, ended up UP's principal ground threat. The same was true of Breyer and Kline in the air, the duo collaborating on almost all 137 yards the Indians got from the passing game.
"We expected to see a lot out of Schaffer,' Grinstead said, "but they (UP) changed up and threw the ball a lot. That kid (Kline) is a good receiver.'
Mohler, tasked with covering Kline on the defensive side, had a busy night shadowing the Indians' 6-foot-3 wideout. But he was able to intercept Breyer on a pass at the Pottstown 28-yard line with 1:42 left, enabling the Trojans to protect their two-touchdown lead by running the clock out on four rushing plays.
"I expected the pass to be at that end,' Mohler said. "I put myself in position to make the play.'
The Pottstown "D' got another pick on Breyer earlier in the fourth. That came courtesy of Brandon Tinson, who swiped a throw to Kline at the three with 8:13 left and returned it 40 yards. Though the subsequent series was a three-and-out, the Trojans were able to run 2:20 off the clock and keep it a two-possession game in their favor.
"We came up big on that one,' Grinstead said. "Making the interception at the goal line ... that was huge.'
And the touchdown runs by Gary Wise — a 14-yard run around his left end on Pottstown's first possession, a one-yard run up the middle 27 seconds before the half — helped set the winning tone for the Trojans.
"This was something we needed,' Mohler said. "It was our main goal this week. We couldn't wait any more.'
"I'm happy with the team,' Grinstead added. "They haven't been getting the credit they deserve for their toughness.'
Vaughn Bertoli's fumble recovery on the second play of the game set the stage for Pottstown's first TD little more than three minutes into the game. ... Schaffer had a modest role in UP's passing game. The senior running back had a nine-yard completion to Kline in the second quarter, and he caught a Breyr toss for zero yards. ... Kayla Smith was crowned Upper Perk's Homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies. Casey Umstead was announced as runner-up in the voting. ... Both teams did their part for breast cancer awareness. The Indians wore pink jerseys, Pottstown's helmets had pink logos and stripes, and both schools' cheerleaders wore pink T-shirts.
Upper Perkiomen 14
Pottstown 14 7 7 0 — 28
Upper Perkiomen 7 0 7 0 — 14
Pt-G. Wise 14 run (Keefer kick)
Pt-Charles 43 pass from G. Wise (Keefer kick)
UP-Kline 32 pass from Breyer (Godshall kick)
Pt-G. Wise 1 run (Keefer kick)
Pt-B. Wise 52 run (Keefer kick)
UP-Schaffer 1 run (Godshall kick)
First Downs 14 15
Rushing yards 263 47
Passing yards 93 137
Total yards 356 184
Passes C-A-I 4-10-1 10-31-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-63 3-30
Punts-Avg. 2-13.0 4-28.3
Pottstown: G. Wise, 17-80, 2 TDs; Mohler, 10-79; B. Wise, 4-73, 1 TD; Johnson, 7-31.
Upper Perkiomen: Schaffer, 28-62, 1 TD; Felix, 1-1; Breyer, 5-(-16).
Pottstown: G. Wise, 4-10-93, 1 TD, 1 INT.
Upper Perkiomen: Breyer, 9-30- 128, 1 TD, 2 INTs; Schaffer, 1-1-9.
Pottstown: Charles, 4-93, 1 TD.
Upper Perkiomen: Kline, 10-137, 1 TD; Schaffer, 1-0.
Interceptions: Pottstown-Mohler, Tinson. Upper Perkiomen-Kline.
Sacks: Pottstown-Mitchell. Upper Perkiomen-Godshall 0.5, Crossley 0.5.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.