ROYERSFORD — Ignominious, inauspicious and inadequate are a few adjectives to describe the Spring-Ford football team's season-opening loss at Whitehall last week.
Thursday night, though, invigorating would best characterize the Rams' 34-0 non-league victory over Southern (Philadelphia) High at Coach McNelly Stadium.
Feature back Jarred Jones returned from a one-game absence to run for 179 yards and three touchdowns, wideout Gary Hopkins scored two touchdowns, Mason Romano and Robby Varner led a dominant defensive charge and freshman quarterback Stone Scarcelle enjoyed a successful debut as Spring-Ford bounced back strongly from the 37-21 Week 1 loss.
"It was really important (to rebound),' said Romano, who had 12 tackles, including three sacks, despite playing with a broken right hand he suffered last week. "We had to set the tone for the rest of the year.'
"We needed to get that hiccup out of the way and pick it up,' echoed Jones. "We made progress tonight.'
That progress was a little slow in the early going until Hopkins made his presence felt in a big way.
After Jones broke a big run on a second-and-10 play from the Southern 48, he fumbled in a swarm of defenders inside the 30. Hopkins swooped in, gathered up the loose ball and raced into the end zone.
Then, with just 1:26 left in the first half, Hopkins hauled in a deep ball from Scarcelle over two defenders at the Southern 20 and turned it into a 47-yard catch-and-run score that helped the Rams take a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
The 5-foot-11, 145-pound Scarcelle wound up 7-for-16 for 112 yards but was also intercepted twice.
"He played with some tenacity,' Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. "He does some things real well. Obviously, experience is an issue and making the right decision is an issue, but he has a big upside.'
Jones, who Brubaker termed "unavailable' for Week 1, then took over the second half, when he rushed for 109 of his yards and displayed some Barry Sanders-like cutback ability.
Three plays into the third quarter, Jones broke off a 31-yard scoring scamper that made it 20-0. Later in the quarter, he scored on a 25-yard run in which he broke down the left sideline before totally reversing the field. Jones then closed out the scoring with a 5-yard run with 1:14 left in the game.
"Our offensive line played with a lot of heart,' Jones said. "Once we got the ball moving, everything else started flowing.'
On the other side of the ball, Romano, Varner and Co. ensured Southern never got into its flow.
Spring-Ford's defense allowed just 66 rushing yards (on 46 carries) and 122 total yards.
"We were all flying around tonight,' Romano said. "We all played together.'
"A great defensive effort,' Brubaker said. "That's what we were looking for. If we would have played with that urgency and intensity last week, it would have been interesting. Defensively, we worked towards finding our identity and playing the way we expected to play.'
Tate Carter had four receptions for 44 yards and Hopkins had two catches for 60 yards as part of a balanced offensive attack that registered 295 total yards.
"I think as the weeks go on, we'll keep progressing and keep getting that chemistry down,' Jones said.
Brubaker was still smarting afterwards a bit about some shoddy special teams play, which also haunted the Rams last week.
"That cost us in the first quarter and was a big reason we were down 14-0,' Brubaker said. "We had some of that tonight again, and we have to straighten it out. You can't run into the kicker on fourth-and-50 and drop punts. But all in all, this game was something to build off of.'
Bryant Hudgins, a 5-10, 183-pound junior, ran for a team-high 46 yards for Southern (0-2), which got a 6-for-9, 56-yard passing effort from senior QB Michael Riley and two interceptions from senior Ryan Stewart. ... Tim Rudderow recovered a fumble for Spring-Ford. ... The Rams play host to Perkiomen Valley in a league-opening showdown next Friday night.
Spring-Ford 34 Southern High 0
Southern 0 0 0 0 - 0
Spring-Ford 7 7 13 7 - 34
SF-Hopkins 21 fumble recovery and run (Gulati kick)
SF-Hopkins 47 pass from Scarcelle (Gulati kick)
SF-Jones 31 run (kick failed)
SF-Jones 25 run (Gulati kick)
SF-Jones 6 run (Gulati kick)
First Downs 10 13
Rushing yards 66 183
Passing yards 56 112
Total yards 122 295
Passes C-A-I 6-9-0 7-16-2
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 10-95 5-50
Punts-Avg. 8-17.5 2-30.5
Southern: Hudgins 23-46, Kay 9-18, Miles 2-7, Dykes 1-6, Jones 1-5, Walker 1-(-1), Riley 9-(-15).
Spring-Ford: Jones 15-179, 3 TDs, Hopkins 0-21, 1 TD, Welsh 1-8, Carter 1-4, Team 1-(-5), Scarcelle 2-(-24).
Southern: Riley 6-9, 56 yards.
Spring-Ford: Scarcelle 7-16, 112 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.
Southern: Coffie 3-30, White 1-16, Dykes 1-8, Hudgins 1-2.
Spring-Ford: Carter 4-44, Hopkins 2-60, 1 TD, Davis 1-8. Interceptions: Southern-Stewart 2. Sacks: Southern-Webb 2; Spring-Ford-Romano 3, Varner 2.