The Spring-Ford High School football team defeated the Phoenixville Phantoms on Wednesday night, 27-21, at Washington Field. The win gave Spring-Ford its first outright PAC-10 Championship since 1995.
The Rams finished up the season 9-0 in the PAC-10 and 10-2 overall, with a regular season loss to Daniel Boone in week two and a District 1-AAAA first-round playoff loss to Coatesville. However, the final game of the season proved to be a back and forth game with lots of excitement, despite the bitter cold weather.
"They don't make it easy, but give credit to Phoenixville for playing a tough game," second-year head coach Chad Brubaker said of the Phantoms, who are still in the state tournament. "When you make it to states, you're always going to be in the game because of your offense. We got one possession in the first quarter. If you make mistakes and let them drive, that's the predicament you put yourself into."
The Rams honored one of their own in Class of 2005's Vincent DePaul, who passed away recently. As a student and a football player, he was honorable - winning awards and making contributions to the team. His family came out as honorary captains and his number 26 jersey hung on the Spring-Ford bench for all to see.
In the game, the Phatoms came out of the gates with a methodical eight minute and 14 second drive that turned into seven points; however the Rams soon came back with a defensive stop in which senior Andrew Scanlan caused a fumble that Ian Hare would take back for a 38-yard score.
By halftime, the Rams led by just a point, as the Phantoms failed to complete the PAT on their second touchdown. At the end of the half, there was a skirmish in the endzone for the ball, as both the receiver and corner came down with it. Brubaker thought his receiver, Nick Ondo, came down with the ball. It was ruled an interception: half over.
"They said Phoenixville’s player came down with it," Brubaker said. "My contention was he didn’t make the call right away and he was waiting. So, if he came down with the ball, he should have made the call right away. But, he probably made the right call."
Both the opportunity to tie the game up with the extra point for the Phantoms, and the opportunity for the Rams to take the lead with the touchdown could have proved costly. However, when Phoenixville scored a third time with just 10:49 left in the game, they were able to get the two-point conversion to knot it up at 21s - making it an even game, once again.
The Rams took the lead with 7:15 left with a Jarred Jones 31-yard rushing touchdown, which was created after a recovered fumble by Travis Daywalt. Ryan O'Hara's extra point was blocked.
Phoenixville had a chance to come back and win it on the next possession, but quarterback Alec McQuiston fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Nick Friel. Senior quarterback J.J. Paige and the Rams offense ran the remaining time off the board with eight plays. On a third down, the Phantoms could have stopped the Rams from doing so, but they had too many men on the field and were penalized five yards, giving the Rams the first down and ending the game.
Overall, Brubaker and the coaching staff were happy for the seniors, who with the rest of the team, celebrated heavily in the locker room.
"The seniors had a good year last year as juniors," he said. "They got a good taste of winning. It’s not about me. It really isn’t. We’re here for the kids. You hear that. That means everything right now to us. As a coaching staff, it’s about the kids."