FRAZIER — Chris Temple ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while the Great Valley defense held Pottstown to only two first downs as the Patriots rolled to a 35-7 victory in Don Grinstead's homecoming on Friday night.
"It was weird. I spent a lot of good years here and this place was real good to me,' Grinstead said. "I'm happy where I am, I love my kids. This place gave me the opportunity to come here and I'm appreciative of that.'
Grinstead, who roamed the sidelines with Great Valley's head coach Michael Choi for four years as an assistant, made the move to Pottstown earlier this offseason — and according to Choi — the move will pay dividends for the Trojans in the long haul.
"This game was really difficult because I'm playing my best friend in the world,' Choi said. "We beat a good team. Those guys play hard, they are aggressive. They are heading in the right direction.
"Over the last four years Don and I have taught each other a lot of things, it hasn't just been a one-way relationship,' Choi added. "If you give him a little patience and a little time then that program will be outstanding. He's a heck of a football coach. What he brought to the table here (at Great Valley) was toughness. He taught toughness, he taught discipline. He taught work ethic.'
However, on Friday, the Trojans were still showing growing pains.
Similar to the fast start it had in a 49-7 loss at the hands of Spring-Ford last Friday, Pottstown wasted no time in the first quarter as Denzel Harvey took a jet sweep right and sprinted for a 79-yard touchdown on the first offensive play from scrimmage for the Trojans.
Unfortunately for Pottstown, that was the only highlight of the night.
After a River Johnson 21-yard touchdown run and a Doug Strang 10-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Sean Fitzpatrick helped build a 14-7 advantage for the Patriots, Great Valley leaned on their rushing attack to keep the Pottstown offense at bay.
Great Valley's offensive line consisting of Ryan Buchholz, Tim McGowan, Jimmy Guilin, Lake Johnson, Dean Lang and Connor Agnew allowed the Patriots' rushing attack to accrue 354 yards on the ground as the team coasted to 35-straight points.
Temple became a mainstay for the Patriots offense as it switched back-and-forth from a double-tight look to the shotgun formation. Temple's two touchdowns came late in the game as the bruiser capped off his night with a runs of 15 yards and eight yards to solidify the 35-7 edge.
"I have to give our offensive line and offensive coaches a lot of credit,' Choi said. "They kept them off the field. They are a really explosive team as you can see on that first play. It was important for us to sustain drives and make sure that we took time off the clock so that we could limit the number of offensive plays that they had.'
For Pottstown, Grinstead also used the word sustaining.
Yet, for the Trojans, it was a lack of sustaining drives that did them in. Garnering two first downs in the contest while only racking up 38 yards on the ground after Harvey's touchdown run, Pottstown saw a 21-7 halftime deficit morph into a 35-7 defeat.
"We just didn't do a good job of sustaining,' Grinstead said. "They were tough. To try and run against them is hard. Give them the credit, they are a tough team.'
Heading the defensive pressure was Buchholz. With the constant pressure from the Great Valley star and consistent efforts from D'Angelo Brown and Conor Middleton, the Patriots were able to force Pottstown quarterback Gary Wise into throwing three interceptions — two of those coming on back-to-back drives late in the third quarter. The last of his interceptions led to Temple's 15-yard touchdown score.
"Ryan (Buchholz) is a big star that played exactly the way we expect him to play,' Choi said.
For Great Valley, its season comes to a close but not before making some history. With its victory over Pottstown, the Patriots recorded only their 10th eight-win season in the last 51 years. As seniors still walked around the field following their last high school game, Choi took some time to reflect on his senior class.
"I'm really proud of our seniors. I'm proud of this whole football team. I came in four years ago and we had a building process that we needed to go through and the seniors led the way. Our team has come together, to put together an 8-3 season is everything I could of hoped for. These guys are a special bunch.'
For Pottstown, all eyes shift to its Thanksgiving Day clash with Owen J. Roberts.
"Owen J. is a tough team; they run the ball really well,' Grinstead said. "We're going to have to spend the last three weeks and prepare for that big battle. It's a big game, a lot of people from our area really care about it and it's going to be a big game for us.'
River Johnson finished the game with 68 yards on seven carries while scoring one touchdown. Fitzpatrick went 4-for-9 for 79 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Pottstown's Gary Wise went 3-for-10 for 17 yards. Harvey led Pottstown with 84 yards rushing on two carries.
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Great Valley 35
Pottstown 7 0 0 0 — 7
Great Valley 7 14 7 7 — 35
PT- Harvey 79 run (Keefer Kick)
GV- R. Johnson 21 run (Berger kick)
GV- Strang 10 pass from Fitzpatrick (Berger kick)
GV- R. Johnson 3 run (Berger kick)
GV- Temple 15 run (Berger kick)
GV- Temple 8 run (Berger kick)
First Downs 2 24
Rushing yards 117 354
Passing yards 17 76
Total yards 134 430
Passes C-A-I 3-10-3 4-9-79
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 10-75
Punts-Avg. 4-31 3-34.7
Pottstown: Harvey, 2-84 TD; G. Wise, 9-38; B. Wise, 2-2; Robinson, 1-2; Tinson, 2--9.
Great Valley: Temple, 21-132 2 TDs; R. Johnson, 7-68 TD; Nelson, 5-45; Fitzpatrick, 10-38 TD; Tillett, 2-24; Ames, 3-11; Hungerbuhler, 1-11; Rubin, 2-7; Ludwig, 1-7; Hubley, 2-6; Carroll, 1-5.
Pottstown: G. Wise, 3-10-17 3INTs.
Great Valley: Fitzpatrick, 4-9-79 TD, INT.
Pottstown: Tinson, 2-13; B. Wise, 1-4.
Great Valley: Strang, 2-44 TD; Adderley, 2-35.
Interceptions: Pottstown- Tinson; Great Valley - R. Johnson (2), Adderley.
Sacks: Pottstown - Mitchell.