Phantom gridders win season finale

Photo by Barry Taglieber
Phoenixville tackle Brian Hyland brings down Spring-Ford's Zach Hare (24) during last Wednesday night's PAC-10 Thanksgiving football game at Coach McNelly Stadium.
Photo by Barry Taglieber Phoenixville tackle Brian Hyland brings down Spring-Ford's Zach Hare (24) during last Wednesday night's PAC-10 Thanksgiving football game at Coach McNelly Stadium.

ROYERSFORD - Phoenixville closed out the 2012 football season with a 49-0 shutout over host Spring-Ford last Wednesday night at Coach McNelly Stadium.

The Phantoms ended the year at 6-3 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference and 7-5 overall. Spring-Ford, which rested its starters in preparation for Saturdays District 1-AAAA semifinal contest at Pennridge, fell to 7-2 in the PAC-10 and 11-2 overall.

The annual Thanksgiving Day clash between the two rival schools was switched to Wednesday night to help accommodate the Rams in the district playoffs. It turned out to be a repeat scenario after Phoenixville was involved in the District 1-AAA championship game last fall.

We came out here and played our best game, said Phoenixville senior linebacker/tight end Ryan Pannella, who had two sacks on the evening. That is all that matters.


We were able to go out how we wanted to, especially for the seniors. All the seniors from the starters on down gave everything they could to end the season. They all got in and did great and we got what we deserved. All we wanted was to go 7-5 and end the season with a win. Every senior and every young kid will have this win and share the memory of the last game.

Phoenixville took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and expanded the margin to 28-0 by halftime and then 42-0 after three quarters to start a running clock.

The Phantoms rolled up 384 yards of total offense on 59 plays from scrimmage, including 339 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. The seventh touchdown came by virtue of a 33-yard interception by senior Sean Hesser.

Senior Ryan Yenchick closed out his season and career with three more touchdowns and 94 yards on 13 carries. Yenchick scored on runs of 16, 14 and four yards.

Junior fullback Justin McDougal rushed for an even 100 yards on 13 tries, including a five-yard scoring run for the last touchdown in the fourth period.

Phoenixville recorded 22 first downs on the night, and senior quarterback Chris Demey completed five of 12 passes for 45 yards, all during the first half of action. Demey also rushed for 34 yards and one TD on a seven-yard run. Hesser tallied on a 10-yard run for the first touchdown of the game.

Cole Luzins and Tom White also had interceptions for the visitors against a Spring-Ford team that utilized three young quarterbacks in Brandon Leacraft, Zac DeMedio and Matt Daywalt.

Colin Savery and Brian Hyland also registered sacks for the Phantoms.

Kyle Karkoska, a junior, took over for Demey at quarterback after the Phantoms constructed their large advantage. Karkoska also had a 65-yard TD on a punt return in the second period nullified on an illegal block penalty.

i love my team, said Pannella. We are all friends. We all give 100 percent on every single play.

Phoenixville finished the year with a victory following a 35-14 first-round loss to Interboro in the opening round of the District 1-AAA playoffs. Interboro will be playing West Chester Henderson for this seasons district title.

We just came out the way we do every other game, said Yenchick. We wanted to win our last game. Every underclassman and every single senior will be able to remember the last game.

Yenchick praised his offensive linemen for allowing him the blocking paths to put up big numbers this season as well as the running backs blocking for one another.

They cut you loose to be able to do something special, said Yenchick.

Phoenixville coach Bill Furlong was pleased with how the Phantoms performed in a difficult situation for both sides.

The kids played well, said Furlong. They did all they could control and they played with class. It was a good, positive way to end the season. Our guys played hard the way we asked every week.

Phoenixville amassed 280 total yards by halftime while limiting Spring-Ford to 56.

We have some three-year starters and three-year players who put their heart and soul into Phoenixville football, said Furlong. They wanted to play hard. There was nothing I needed to do to motivate them. Phoenixville-Spring-Ford is a good rivalry for a lot of reasons.


Spring-Fords three quarterbacks had a combined output of 9-for-20 passing for 90 yards with three interceptions. ... Cody Davis made three receptions for 33 yards. ... The Phantoms got 46 yards rushing from Brian Madden, 30 from Karkoska, 23 from freshman Matt Palubinsky and 20 from Hesser. ... Spring-Ford celebrated Senior Night for 15 gridders during pre-game ceremonies.