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PHOENIXVILLE - As part of its repertoire on offense, Phoenixville allows its offensive linemen to carry the football at different times during a game, especially down near the goal line. Phoenixville coach Bill Furlong, a former lineman himself, believes in the theory that became famous with former Chicago Bear lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry during the mid-1980s.
He figures it is nice at times to give some of the unsung heroes up front a chance for some glory and rare limelight.
It happened again Saturday afternoon during Phoenixville’s 2012 Homecoming as senior tackle Brian Hyland drew the call on two short touchdown runs as the Phantoms defeated Pope John Paul II, 40-19, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference contest at Washington Field.
Hyland scored the first and fourth touchdowns for Phoenixville on runs of two yards and one yard as the Phantoms mounted a 13-0 halftime lead and extended the margin to 26-0 in the third quarter before the Golden Panthers reached the scoreboard.
“It was good,” said Hyland. “We put that play in during practice. I was excited at being thought of. After being close, I really wanted it. It is nice to give the big men some credit.”
Hyland, a 6-foot-2, 235-pounder, capitalized on the golden opportunity on a day when the Phantom seniors won their first Homecoming game in three years.
“We really wanted to come out and get a win,” said Hyland. “The seniors have lost on Homecoming the last two years. And we want to make it to (district) playoffs so we have to keep winning all our games. We want to try to go far in the playoffs again.”
Phoenixville upped its PAC-10 record to 4-2 (5-3 overall) while keeping their guests winless at 0-7 (0-8 overall).
The Phantoms accumulated 425 yards of total offense on the day, including 276 yards rushing, while scoring six touchdowns on the afternoon. Ryan Yenchick scored two touchdowns, one through the air and the last one of the day on the ground, while Sean Hesser and Ryan Pannella were also on the receiving end of scoring passes from quarterback Chris Demey.
Demey completed nine of 10 passes for 149 yards and the three scores.
Defensively, the Phantoms limited the Golden Panthers to 39 yards rushing on 21 tries and 265 total yards of offense. Phoenixville registered three sacks of PJP sophomore backup quarterback Matt Mesaros, who still finished the day 17-for-38 for 226 yards and two TD passes to John Bildstein. He also scored on a one-yard plunge. Tom White, Hesser and Zach Gallow recorded the sacks for the Phantoms, and Yenchick had an interception on a tipped pass during the third period.
Jake Kopchuk, who just returned from an injury, picked up the lone sack for the visitors.
“We like to keep the other teams off balance,” said Hyland. “We like to account for all of our running backs.”
Hyland is the first offensive lineman to score two touchdowns in one game during Furlong’s 10-year tenure thus far in Phoenixville.
“I guess it’s the lineman in me,” said Furlong. “Brian Hyland worked as hard as any kid in this program. He works. It is something we try to do.
“There were a lot of good things. Some of our young kids are really contributing, and some of our older kids are staying consistent. I think we’re getting better each week, and that’s what we want to do.”
Furlong applauded PJP for advancing the football, especially through the air, against the Phantoms.
“They threw the ball effectively at times,” said Furlong. “We also made some plays. Their kids work hard, too, and their coches work hard. They had a good plan. Then they had to throw to make up for a short amount of time. You are not going to shut teams down all the time.”
The Golden Panthers, who have been hit hard by injuries, continue to struggle in terms of wins and losses. But they still keep battling each week under coach Mike Santillo.
“We do what we’ve got to do,” said Santillo. “We had to throw when we got behind like that. It is a shame we could not have had the win for the entire game. We barely had it during the first quarter.
“They (Phantoms) got their running game going in the first quarter and made us go into the spread and no huddle. They have a good football team as usual. Bill does a good job. They should do well in the district playoffs.”
Santillo praised Mesaros, who has responded well in difficult, pressurized situation while taking over the quarterbacking chores for the Golden Panthers. He and an array of receivers have enabled PJP to keep generating offense with the help of blockers up front.
“We need a win,” said Santillo. “The team in blue and white needs a win. We are starving for it.”
The Phantoms’ Hesser rushed for 82 yards on 12 carries while Justin McDougal netted 60 yards on 11 tries. Yenchick had 14 rushes for 39 yards and Demey kept the ball nine times for 22 yards. ... Yenchick had four pass receptions for 71 yards while Hesser had two grabs for 49 yards and McDougal two catches for 14 yards. ... John Bildstein made six receptions for 86 yards and two TDs of eight and 14 yards. Chris Veisbergs also had six catches for 66 yards, Jamel Stinson two for 26, Alex Valeri two for 22 and Tim Tadros one for 26. ... Amy Hennessy was crowned Homecoming Queen during halftime ceremonies. ... Also, 23 former Phoenixville athletes, coaches and contributors, five deceased and 18 living, were inducted into the Phoenixville Area School District Sports Hall of Fame during a morning luncheon at the school and were then introduced to the crowd during pre-game ceremonies. ... The PJP defense was led by Justice Smith, Kopchuk, Josh Bildstein, John Bildstein, Armen DiFillippo and Nick Howarth.