Perkiomen Valley blanked again by nemesis Pennridge in district quarterfinals

By DAVE KURTZ

GRATERFORD – Another landmark football season at Perkiomen Valley ran out of road Friday night.

The two-time Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Vikings (10-2) were derailed by a familiar nemesis – No. 7 seed Pennridge – 25-0 in the District 1-6A quarterfinals at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.

It was déjà vu all over again for PV, which dropped a 29-0 decision to these same Rams in Week 2 of the regular season – upended by a stern defensive unit keyed by linebacker and Penn State commit Nick Tarburton, defensive linemen Ryan Rapp and Oliver Jervis and ball-hawking free safety Cooper Chakin.

“They’re an outstanding football team.” said Perkiomen Valley head coach Rob Heist. “And that No. 40 (Tarburton) is a special football player. He was all over the field tonight.

"We played two football games against them and scored zero points. Obviously, they do a real good job on the defensive side of the ball. They have great size, great speed and they execute offensively.”

The pristine execution was at its zenith in the early stages – Pennridge ripping off scoring drives of 82 yards (9 plays) and 75 yards (13 plays) on its first two possessions for a 13-0 lead. Quarterback Zak Kantor capped both marches with touchdown passes – 47 yards to Joe Devine and 7 yards to Talburton.

“We really love when teams go up on us,” said PV’s two-way senior lineman Jahir Holmes, citing last week’s come-from-behind 38-30 win over Penn Wood. “It gives us a sense of urgency. Sometimes we need that to get going.”

Perk Valley responded to the early deficit with a penalty-aided march into the Red Zone, but Cole Peterlin was picked off in the end zone by Cooper – who returned the interception 58 yards to the PV 45 to blunt the Vikings’ deepest thrust and best chance.

“Cooper’s interception was a game-changer,” said Pennridge head coach Jeff Hollenbach. “And our defense played great. It was our second straight shutout in the playoffs, and that’s really saying something. We shut down a really good offensive team with tons of skill, so I’m really impressed with how the defense is playing.”

The Vikings were held to 232 yards of total offense and committed three turnovers, falling into a cavernous hole when Pennridge scored twice in a 13-second span in the third quarter to go up 25-0.

Kyle Schetter found the end zone from 8 yards out at the end of a methodical 11-play, 45-yard drive before the Rams recovered a short kickoff at the PV 44, Kantor hitting Schetter on the ensuing play to swell the lead to 25-0 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.

The end was drawing near.

“I would say we overachieved this year,” said PV senior offensive guard Nicco Carfagno. “I think we surprised a lot of people. With all the talent we lost last year, people didn’t give us much of a chance to do what we did. But we made up for all that with a lot of effort and hard work.”

That gritty, consistent effort wasn’t lost on PV head coach Rob Heist, whose club ran roughshod over the PAC Liberty Division (3 shutouts in 5 games) before handling Pottsgrove 43-26 to rack up a second straight PAC championship.

 “I attribute our success to the 24 seniors we have on this team — each one a leader,” Heist added. “I couldn't be more proud of these kids. They’ve set the bar high. They work hard, they’re willing to go the extra step, the extra mile that you need sometimes to be successful.

“In 2017 there was a commitment to leadership. Every time these kids stepped on the field, they competed hard. Our season is a testament to the tenacity of these kids.”

The bar continues to sit at an elevated level at PV.

“Every year, our goal is to win our league and we’ve accomplished that the past two years,” said Heist. “Now we want to win the district – something that’s never been done at Perkiomen Valley. But every year I feel like we’re taking steps in that direction – learning from our failures. It’s going to happen.”

Holmes helped make a lot of good things happen in 2017. An anchor on both sides of the ball in the trenches, Holmes took one last, wistful look across the frozen turf at Keenan Stadium.

“Beyond the game, the biggest loss is that of my brothers," Holmes said. "We take pride in all that we did and all we accomplished as a family.”

District 1-6A Quarterfinal
(7) Pennridge 25, (2) Perkiomen Valley 0
Pennridge      7  6 12  0 – 25
Perk Valley    0  0   0  0 -  0
First quarter
PR-Devine 47 pass from Kantor (Lelii kick) 5:31
Second quarter
PR-N. Tarburton 7 pass from Kantor (kick failed) 11:01
Third quarter
PR-Schetter 8 run (run failed) 5:39
PR-Schetter 44 pass from Kantor (pass failed) 5:26
TEAM STATISTICS
Pennridge Perk Valley
19First downs15
52-233Rushes-yards38-147
128Passing yards65
361Total Yards232
5-17-0Passes C-A-I9-27-2
4-2Fumbles-lost2-1
6-53Penalties-yards4-35
4-36Punts-average5-31
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing
Pennridge: Garner 19-108; Exner 6-49; Schetter 9-31, TD; N. Tarburton 5-28; Pinkney 5-10, Utsey 3-6; Metzler 2-5, Kantor 2-0; Mossbrook 1-(-4)
Perk Valley: Peterlin 17-80, Smith III 12-46, R. Cerula 2-15, Schimpf 4-14, Domine 1-3, Fehr 1-0
Passing
Pennridge: Kantor 5-16-0, 128, 3 TDs; Jervis 0-1-0
Perk Valley: Peterlin 9-27-2, 65
Receiving
Pennridge: Schetter 2-61, TD; Devine 2-60, TD; N. Tarburton 1-7, TD
Perk Valley: Smith 2-30, Domine 2-26, Schimpf 3-13, Sell 1-(-2), Fehr 1-(-2)
Interceptions: Pennridge-Chaikan, Jervis. Sack: Pennridge-Bishop