ROYERSFORD - Ryan Yenchick made the most out of his final scholastic football game, and Phoenixville teammate Brian Madden made it a fond memory as well.
The two Phantom gridders played instrumental roles Sunday afternoon as Team Liberty defeated Team Freedom, 28-12, in the second annual Pioneer Athletic Conference Senior Bowl all-star football game at Spring-Ford High School’s Coach McNelly Stadium.
Yenchick snagged seven receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns as Liberty broke out to a 28-0 halftime lead in posting the victory, its second straight in the all-star classic. Yenchick caught a 17-yard scoring pass from Methacton quarterback Brandon Bossard and then a 26-yarder from Pottsgrove signal caller Tory Hudgins.
Madden, who played linebacker on defense for Liberty, returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown, the first one of the game, that set the tone for Liberty’s victory. It came with 6:36 remaining in the opening period, and Perkiomen Valley’s Brett Davis tacked on the first of four placements.
“I dropped three balls, but then the other guys helped pick me up,” said Yenchick, who will continue his football career at Salisbury University. “I got back in a zone and was able to catch some passes.”
Hudgins completed 5 of 13 aerials for 104 yards and one TD, and Bossard finished 7-for-15 for 87 yards and one score.
Liberty outgained Freedom in total yardage, 290-229, on the day, and Liberty also was active on defense with three interceptions. Besides Madden’s pick, Spring-Ford’s Ben Schein and Perkiomen Valley’s Martise Ray also pilfered passes.
Liberty also unleashed abundant pressure up front, pressuring Freedom quarterbacks Sage Reinhart of Pottstown and Hank Coyne of Spring-Ford all afternoon. Paced by Spring-Ford defensive end Zameer McDowell’s three sacks, Liberty totaled six sacks in all. Pope John Paul II’s Josh Bildstein made 1.5 sacks from his defensive tackle spot, while linebackers Zach Birch of Pottsgrove had one and Mike Reiner of Perkiomen Valley a half sack.
“Our whole defense was outstanding,” said Liberty head coach Scott Reed of Perkiomen Valley. “Our whole defense played well.”
McDowell, who registered all three of his sacks in the opening quarter, also deflected a pass and blocked an extra point. Liberty also got pursuit from the other end by Spring-Ford teammate RJ Sheldon, who batted down a pass.
“We did great on defense and our d-line really helped,” said Yenchick. “They were getting the edge and breaking up the play of the quarterbacks.”
Reinhart finished 12-for-18 for 133 yards swith one INT and one TD, a 30-yarder to PJP’s Jamel Stinson that put Freedom on the board in the third period. Coyne closed at 5-for-15 for 78 yards with two INTs and one TD, a 17-yarder to PJP’s Chris Veisbergs.
Veisbergs made six receptions for 88 yards, and Stinson had six catches for 87 yards.
“Ryan Yenchick made several huge plays for us offensively,” said Reed. “It was really fun for the kids. They had a couple weeks to play together. Our quarterbacks did a good job of throwing it out there.”
Reed praised all the senior players on both sides for concentrating on the game with all that seniors have going on at this time of year with graduation approaching as well as other events.
Madden talked about his interception.
“It was my first ever interception in a game,” said Madden. “I am kind of glad it was in my last game and I even got a touchdown. It was kind of nice for three of the four touchdowns coming from our team. He (Yenchick) really comes up big.”
The rules for the game put the accent on passing. But Spring-Ford’s Yousef Lundi of the Liberty scored on a 5-yard run and gained 68 yards on 19 tries, including one 23-yard burst up the middle.
Spring-Ford’s Kyle Hoffner of Freedom picked up 25 yards rushing on four tries.
Liberty’s Josh Bildstein of PJP and Freedom offensive lineman Brian Hyland of Phoenixville were each awarded $500 scholarships from the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association. ... Jon Klinger, a junior from Pottsgrove, won the halftime kicker challenge. ... A PAC-10 Underclass Challenge was also held Saturday at Phoenixville with competition among juniors, sophomores and freshmen in running and other skills.