With apologies to the old refrain, "16 Tons," the weight of the loss on Oct. 4 must have felt even heavier to the 2005 Phoenixville Area Middle School gridiron gang as they dropped a 14-6 opener to Upper Perkiomen Middle School on their home field.

Coach Steve Otis commented on the loss. "We played a tough football game but ultimately beat ourselves. After a big fourth-down goal-line defensive effort, we fumbled on our own 5-yard line.

"There were a couple of plays that were critical. If we had executed them correctly and successfully, the outcome would have been different. Next week is another game and we can't worry about the outcome against Upper Perk."

Game highlights included the lone Phantom touchdown by Zack Kirby and a defensive gem interception by Marquise Bookard. The coaches complimented Mike Matson and Brandon Johnston, who played well on both sides of the ball while Matt Cermanski had a good game on special teams.

In fairness to the young Phantoms, the Upper Perk debut was their first game as the earlier Pottsgrove encounter had been canceled.

FIELD HOCKEY: The Lady Phantoms continued undefeated after two weeks of winning field hockey. Unfortunately, the results were not available but will be published as part of next week's PAMS wrap.

Coach Aamina Thornton and Tracey McMahon watched two home games fall to the recent floods. Boyertown We(s)t was under water on Friday while Pottstown Middle School fell to the field conditions on Monday.

The twin undefeated squads hope for sunshine on Wednesday, Oct. 12, as they greet Boyertown East MS. The only blemish on the varsity's record is a 4-4 tie with Spring-Ford. The junior varsity settled for twin zeroes against Stetson MS of Coatesville.

BOYS SOCCER: Andy Frey's valiant squad treated the home crowd to a thriller last Thursday under the lights. Boyertown East jumped off to a 4-1 lead in the first half by setting a fast pace in a speed ball contest. Tactics changed for the Phantoms at halftime as they dominated play by slowing the ball down to control pace. The change delivered a lot of quality shots that resulted in two goals with the tying goal hitting the crossbar in the final minutes. The 4-3 loss had to be encouraging for the young Phantoms as they played a talented squad tough.

Phoenixville goals were scored by Mike Potts, Steve Tassone and Oliver Alfonsi. Carl Saville' junior varsity soccer squad enjoyed their night game against Boyertown East by earning a 1-0 victory. The coach noted, "The players pulled together for a tough defensive effort." He praised strong showings by goalkeeper Vinnie D'Innocenzo and noted that Michiel Persenaire scored the game's only goal.

GIRLS SOCCER: Close games have been the order of the season for coaches Jason Short and Ben Spinelli's girls soccer squad. "The Lady Phantoms played excellent pressure defense and created many scoring opportunities for themselves," Short stated. "We finally broke though into the scoring column in the second half as Lauren Terstappen hit the twine."

However, a slow start that allowed Boyertown West to take a two-goal lead resulted in a 2-1 loss. Phoenixville's keeper Sam Borgeson played a great game in the net for the Young Phantoms.

BITS & PIECES: Congratulations to coach John Zirtel and his PAC-10 girls' tennis champions. The upper half of the league was the strongest it has been in years. As proven on any given day, upsets might occur. The parity allowed a number of interesting matches with three-set tiebreakers and 4-3 team scores. Parity, thy name is party, for the new champions.

May the PAHS varsity football team also prosper in the second half of the season to match the first, 5-0. Roberts' upset of Boyertown set the pace so no team can coast on any given night.

Paul Jones writes a weekly column focusing on middle school action for The Phoenix.

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