PHOENIXVILLE — Phoenixville’s defense spent the week preparing to play against Pottstown’s high-powered offense, which includes a potent running game and a strong passing attack as well.
The Phantoms knew they had to contend with the area’s top-rated quarterback in Sage Reinhart as well as the leading rusher in Monroe Hampton plus the Trojans’ other weapons.
Phoenixville exerted better pressure along the defensive front in establishing a 21-7 halftime lead and utilized its own productive running game plus some big momentum-changing plays on offense, defense and special teams to crank out a 42-27 victory last Friday night at Washington Field.
Ryan Yenchick rolled up 204 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns to anchor a Phoenixville offense that provided 313 yards rushing and 349 total yards compared to Pottstown’s 139 rushing yards and 238 total yards of offense.
“They have the top-rated offense in the area,” said Phoenixville linebacker Ryan Pannella, who played another strong game on both sides of the ball. “I am proud of the way our team stepped up. Our offense started clicking and our defense we started to play well. I think we just took over the game.”
The Phantoms, who celebrated their second annual Play for the Cure Night to benefit breast cancer, spotted Pottstown a 7-0 first-quarter lead and then rebounded with 21 second-period points to take the lead to stay. Pannella scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Chris Demey, and Yenchick scored on runs of three and 62 yards to put the hosts on track. The Phantoms also carried a 28-20 lead into the fourth quarter and then held up with two additional scores by Yenchick on runs of 17 and 22 yards to seal the deal. Ian Harrigan boomed kickoffs into the end zone all night and added six extra point kicks to aid the cause.
The Phoenixville defense, anchored by Pannella and Brian Madden at inside linebacker, limited Hampton to 74 yards rushing on 14 carries and no touchdowns. The Phantoms also pressured Reinhart into a 14-for-29 passing night for 144 yards that did include three TD throws, two to Antonio Moore and one to Dayon Mohler.
Zack Gallow had 1.5 sacks and Madden assisted him with another one. Phoenixville also recovered a fumble and executed a fake punt for a key first down with Cole Luzins passing to Demey besides recovering an onside kick that led to the final touchdown.
Theo McLemore blocked an extra point, while Justin McDougal chipped in with 50 yards rushing and a one-yard scoring run as Phoenixville’s offensive line established itself on the heels of last week’s 35-19 upset loss to Owen J. Roberts in Bucktown.
“We came up with some big plays and that gave us some momentum for building on,” said Yenchick.
Phoenixville coach Bill Furlong was pleased with his ballclub’s performance after the Phantoms moved to 2-1 in the PAC-10 and 3-2 overall.
“We did a bunch of good things,” said Furlong. “The best thing is we did play a little sloppy early with a fumble and the kids didn’t put their heads down. They play hard all the time and they didn’t let it take them off course. They recovered and kept playing hard.”
Pottstown (1-2, 2-3) capitalized on the early fumble recovery to move in for the early lead on Mohler’s three-yard TD run with 6:04 left in the opening period. Sharefe Montgomery kicked the point after for a 7-0 lead.
After the fake punt went for 19 yards from Luzins to Demey on the right side, Yenchick scooted 22 yards around right end to set up McDougal’s one-yard scoring plunge on the second play of the second quarter that knotted the game at 7-7 after Harrigan’s placement.
“The kids realized that with all of their weapons on offense, we needed to run the ball well, and our offensive line did a really nice job,” said Furlong. “And our defensive line did a real nice job with a nice pass rush. Brian Madden and Ryan Pannella took care of the plays that were turned inside.”
Pottstown coach Brett Myers felt special teams helped cost his team another game, noting the fake punt in the first half that helped spark Phoenixville with some momentum.
“Bill Furlong came up with a big play and that was a big momentum swing,” said Myers, who blamed himself.” But our kids weren’t bothered by it. The second half we kept playing. I have been saying we have tough kids who play hard, and we have a pretty balanced team. I thought we gave up 21 points on special teams.”
Reinhart, who ran 14 times for 35 yards, hit Gary Wise for four passes for 33 yards, Moore three times for 72 yards, Hampton three for 44, Mohler two for 20 and Darrius Bookard two for 11.
Moore scored on pass plays of 36 and 11 yards and Mohler from 22 yards away.