Thursday, August 28, 2014

FOOTBALL: The Poopster's Week 1 picks

The Poopster is ready for some area football.
Like his owner -- who had a bout with Lyme Disease back in January -- the Poopster has lost a step or two in 2014. But with the Mercury-area high school football scene ready to rock, the orange guy is champing at the bit to dive into his gridiron picks the way he dives into a can of Fancy Feast. Here's his take on all the Week 1 action:

Ben Franklin at Pottsgrove
The Falcons will christen Rick Pennypacker Field with a pregame ceremony, but the Poopster is worried they will have their hands full with QB Kevin Caldwell and the speedy Electrons. Still, he's going to give the nod to Patrick Finn, Mike Fowler and Co. .... Pottsgrove 27-20.

Spring-Ford at State College
The Poopster was a lot younger cat back in December of 2008, when Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker (then an assistant coach at Wilson) and his owner were both on the Memorial Field sideline for a cold and epic PIAA-AAAA semifinal. He feels Brubaker will have the troops ready and envisions a strong effort from the Rams' deep defensive line in a tight one. ... Spring-Ford 23-21.

Exeter at Boyertown
The Route 562 rivals haven't hooked up since 2001, when the Poopster wasn't far removed from being a kitten. He's afraid that monster lineman Michel Menet and the Eagles will make it a rough debut for first-year coach George Parkinson and the inexperienced Bears. ... Exeter 34-13.

Council Rock North at Perkiomen Valley
The Indians feature junior quarterback Brandon McIlwain, who is getting looks from some big-time schools. The Vikings, meanwhile, graduated a lot of the Poopster's favorite players and face a stern test. ... Council Rock North 35-20.

Conestoga at Owen J. Roberts
The Poopster is eager to see how the Wildcats' new 3-4 defensive scheme is going to fare. He really wanted to pick OJR until he heard they have had some injury problems on offense. ... Conestoga 21-14.

Upper Perkiomen vs. Quakertown (at Souderton)
Though the Indians have struggled mightily over the past two years (winning just one game), the Poopster feels they have a chance to slowly but surely turn the corner under first-year coach Tom Hontz. He's taking the Tribe in an upset special ... Upper Perkiomen 21-20.

Methacton at Bayard Rustin
The Warriors, who won seven of their final nine games last year and hung tough in a 14-6 opening-week loss to Rustin, are seeking their fourth straight winning season. But the Poopster is concerned star running back Terry Loper and the Golden Knights will be too much to handle on both sides of the ball. ... Rustin 41-21.

Daniel Boone at Cocalico
The Poopster liked what he saw over the second half of last season from Jon Passifione, Nick Hughes and the Blazers. He thinks they'll play the Eagles a lot tougher than last year's 49-14 loss, but will still be up against it. ... Cocalico 30-17.

Sun Valley at Pottstown
No more lights at Pottstown's Grigg Memorial Field means a plethora of Saturday afternoon games for the Trojans, and subsequently not a lot of Saturday afternoon meals for the Poopster (while he holds down the fort with his owner out at area games). He senses Gary Wise, Brandon Tinson and the Trojans will be hungry as well -- for a win. ... Pottstown 27-26.

Great Valley at Phoenixville
The Phantoms, led by Zach Gallow and Matt Palubinsky, could be a pleasant surprise under first-year coach Evan Breisblatt in the opinion of the Poopster. But with line stalwart Dave Rosati out with a knee injury, they could find the sledding pretty tough against Penn State-bound Ryan Buchholz and the Patriots. ... Great Valley 28-15.

Pope John Paul II vs. Bishop McDevitt (at Cheltenham)
The Golden Panthers have won just twice in the past two seasons and have a new coach in Rory Graver. That said, the Poopster feels they have a good shot to come away with the W against a Lancers team that returns just five starters from a 2-7 team. ... Pope John Paul II 33-25.

Last year: 88-24 (78.6 percent).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FOOTBALL: The Poopster's Week 14 picks

The Poopster would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

By Darryl Grumling
Twitter: @MercSmokinD

Thursday's Thanksgiving Day games signify the end of the area football season, and like Spring-Ford, Phoenixville, Owen J. Roberts and Pottstown, the Poopster would like to wrap things up in successful fashion. Here's his take on this week's action:


Spring-Ford (7-1, 9-3) at Phoenixville (4-4, 4-8)
The Rams' seniors are attempting to put the finishing touches on the winningest three-year span in program history, and the Poopster likes their chances ... Spring-Ford 47-13.

Owen J. Roberts (2-6, 2-9) at Pottstown (1-7, 1-10)
The Poopster has a feeling that Pottstown's Grigg Memorial Field might resemble more of a mosh pit with all of the rain over the past two days, which should be an advantage for Wyatt Scott and the Wildcats ... Owen J. Roberts 21-13.


District 1-AAAA championship

Neshaminy (12-1) vs. North Penn (10-3)
This is a tough one for the Poopster to wrap his paws around. While he thinks Redskins and star running back D'Andre Pollard may be the better squad, he feels the Knights will somehow find a way to come out on top, perhaps on a late Matt Ammendola field goal ... North Penn 24-21.

PIAA-AAA quarterfinal

Academy Park (10-2) vs. Archbishop Wood (11-2)
Two weeks ago, the Poopster would have bet a case of Fancy Feast that Pottsgrove would be taking on the District 12 champs in this game, but the Falcons were upended 27-26 by the Knights in a 1-AAA semi. As if Academy Park wasn't already facing enough of an uphill battle, QB Brian Ingram went down with a collarbone injury last week ... Archbishop Wood 42-14.

Last week's record: 2-1 (66.7 percent)
Overall record: 85-23 (78.7 percent)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FOOTBALL: The Poopster's Week 13 picks

The Poopster fell on hard times last week, going 2-5.

By Darryl Grumling
Twitter: @MercSmokinD

The postseason can be quite unforgiving, as the Poopster found out firsthand last week. After hitting at a nearly 90 percent strike rate (63-8) over the previous eight weeks, the orange guy came to earth with a thud louder than the one he makes when he jumps off his owner's couch, going 2-5. Nonetheless, he's back and rarin' to go as the District 1 tourney gets down to the nitty gritty. Here's his take on this week's action.


Perkiomen Valley (10-2) at North Penn (9-3)

The Poopster always gets a little conflicted when his owner (yours truly) and his owner's boss (Mercury sports editor Austin Hertzog) land on different sides of the aisle with their picks, which they did for this game. North Penn seems invincible of late, reeling off nine straight wins since an 0-3 start against state powers La Salle, Archbishop Wood and St. Joe's Prep. But Rasaan Stewart, Mark Bonomo, Clay Domine, Dakota Clanagan and Co. made believers out of the Poopster last week when they laid waste to C.B. West in the quarters. If PV can avoid turnovers, get its defense off the field in key situations, and continue to make big plays, they'll have a shot to take down the perennial District 1-AAAA giant Knights. If not, they could be in trouble. But the Poopster is going to throw caution to the win and say upset special, baby ... Perkiomen Valley 22-21.

Abington (10-2) at Neshaminy (11-1)

The Redskins erased a 14-7 deficit to Spring-Ford last week by scoring 29 unanswered points en route to a  56-27 quarterfinal win. They feature the leading rusher in District 1 in D'Andre Pollard (2,355 yards, 32 TDs), and the Poopster feels they will stay on the warpath ... Neshaminy 35-20.


Academy Park (9-2) vs. Glen Mills (9-3)
The No. 2 seed Battlin' Bulls defeated the No. 4 seed Knights 20-13 when they squared off in the regular season, but the Poopster thinks it might be a different story this time for 2,000-yard rusher Jerry Lanier and Academy Park, which took down PAC-10 champ Pottsgrove 27-26 in the semis ... Academy Park 25-19.

Last week's record: 2-5 (29.6 pct.)
Overall record: 83-22 (79.0 pct.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FIELD HOCKEY: All PAC-10 teams


First Team

Liberty Division

Alexa Hoover, senior, Methacton, offense; Emma Christman, senior, Owen J. Roberts, offense; Gabby Major, senior, Spring-Ford, offense; Brittany Dickinson, junior, Methacton, midfield; Ashley Kucera, senior, Owen J. Roberts, midfield; Kelsey Giese, sophomore, Perkiomen Valley, midfield; Molly Carr, senior, Methacton, defense; Lauren Schweppe, senior, Owen J. Roberts, defense; Rachel Hamm, senior, Perkiomen Valley, defense; Samantha Steele, junior, Methacton, goalie; Savanna Malloy, senior, Spring-Ford, swing player.

Frontier Division

Bailey Quinn, junior, Phoenixville, offense; Jordan Kengor, senior, Pope John Paul II, offense, Casey Umstead, senior, Upper Perkiomen, offense; Katie McErlean, sophomore, Phoenixville, midfield; Madelyn Fox, senior, Upper Perkiomen, midfield; Natalie Ciuta, senior Upper Perkiomen, midfield; Allison Trafford, junior, Phoeniville, defense; Morgan Aldinger, senior, Upper Perkiomen, defense; Samantha Dingler, junior, Upper Perkiomen, defense; Tyisha Reddick, junior, Pottstown, goalie; Jessica Wayock, senior, Pope John Paul II, swing player.

Second Team

Haley Wentzel, senior, Boyertown, offense; Maddie Mullen, senior, Owen J. Roberts, offense; Annie Himsworth, junior, Perkiomen Valley, offense; Gabby Binando, junior, Boyertown, midfield; Maddie Alderfer, sophomore, Methacton, midfield; Alex Montes, senior, Owen J. Roberts, midfield; Maggie Morgan, senior, Boyertown, defense; Nettie Montes, sophomore, Owen J. Roberts, defense; Taylor Brennan, junior, Spring-Ford, defense; Lizzy Tamburro, senior, Owen J. Roberts, goalie; Madison Mackewicz, senior, Pottstown, swing player; Julie O’Connor, senior, Pope John Paul II, swing player.

Honorable Mention

Andrea Wysocki, senior, Boyertown, offense; Rose Moore, sophomore, Phoenixville, offense; Alyssa O’Neill, sophomore, Pottsgrove, offense; Hannah Costello, senior, Pottstown, offense; Laura Shelton, sophomore, Perkiomen Valley, midfield; Jen Rees, sophomore, Methacton, defense; Ally Mooney, senior, Owen J. Roberts, goalie; Rachel Everly, senior, Pope John Paul II, goalie; Dante Vagnoni, junior, Spring-Ford, goalie; Hannah Mack, junior, Upper Perkiomen, goalie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

FOOTBALL: The Poopster's Week 12 picks

The Poopster wishes Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley good luck in tonight's District 1 football playoffs.

By Darryl Grumling
Twitter: @MercSmokinD

Everyone knows you have to step it up come playoff time, and the Poopster certainly did that last week with an impressive 16-1 effort. That said, the going gets even tougher this week as the District 1-AAAA quarterfinals and District 1-AAA semis are at hand. Here's his take on the area and district action:


Spring-Ford (9-2) at Neshaminy (10-1)
This one features two of the top running backs in the district (and state) in the Rams' Jarred Jones and the Redskins' D'Andre Pollard (who passed the 2,000-yard mark for the season last week). The Poopster is going to have to grudgingly go with the home team ... Neshaminy 26-21.

Perkiomen Valley (9-2) at Central Bucks West (9-2)
In a battle of somewhat similar squads that run no-huddle offenses and have a lot of playmakers, the Poopster again is going to hang his head and go with the Suburban One League squad ... C.B. West 28-27.

Other quarterfinals
Garnet Valley 34, Abington 23
Pennsbury 22, North Penn 21


Academy Park (8-2) at Pottsgrove (11-0)
The No. 4 seed Knights could present some problems with star running back Jerry Lanier, but the Poopster feels Riley Michaels, Sene Polamalu, Jeff Adams, Tyrone Parker and the rest of the Falcons are on a mission after getting taken down in the semis last year ... Pottsgrove 35-20.

Other semifinal
Henderson 21, Glen Mills 19


Phoenixville (4-7) at Quakertown (6-4)
The Poopster senses a close one here, but is going to give the nod to the Panthers, who have won three straight since a 3-4 start. ... Quakertown 20-14.

Last week's record: 16-1 (94.1 pct.)
Overall record: 81-17 (82.7 pct.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

FOOTBALL: The Poopster's Week 11 picks

The Poopster says to bundle up if you are going to a football game tonight.

By Darryl Grumling
Twitter: @MercSmokinD

The area scholastic football postseason is finally upon us, and though it looks to be a cold one tonight, the Poopster is fired up for the District 1 playoffs. Here's his take on all of the area action, including some bonus district picks.


Phoenixville (4-6) at Pottsgrove (10-0)
The PAC-10 champ Falcons dispatched the Phantoms 52-14 three weeks ago and have significant advantages in size, speed and strength heading into the District 1-AAA quarterfinal rematch ... Pottsgrove 42-7.

Spring-Ford (8-2) at Downingtown West (8-2)
The Poopster sees this District 1-AAAA opener as being a lot more competitive than a 12th seed (the Rams) vs. a 5th seed (the Whippets). He thinks Mason Romano, Robby Varner, Jarred Jones and Co. can draw upon the experience of last year's memorable run to the district final and recreate some of that magic against the Ches-Mont National Division champs, with things perhaps coming down to a David Gulati field goal ... Spring-Ford 24-21.

Perkiomen Valley (8-2) at Bayard Rustin (10-0)
After wrongly picking the No. 15 seed Vikings in their two earlier showdown games vs. Spring-Ford and Pottsgrove, the Poopster is a little leery about doing it again. But he's going to throw caution to the wind and say upset special in this District 1-AAAA opener ... Perkiomen Valley 28-27.

Northampton (0-10) at Boyertown (6-4)
The Bears ran a staggering 88 plays last week against Pottsgrove, and the Poopster shudders to think how many points they might ring up on the Konkrete Kids, whose defense is allowing more than 40 points per game ... Boyertown 60-20.

Owen J. Roberts (2-8) at Upper Moreland (3-7)
This appears to be one of the more competitive matchups of the night (at least on paper), so the Poopster is going to give the nod to 1,000-yard rusher Wyatt Scott, lineman Steve Myers and the Wildcats ... Owen J. Roberts 27-21.

Pottstown (1-9) at Great Valley (6-4)
First-year Trojans coach Don Grinstead used to be an assistant at Great Valley, but the Poopster has a bad feeling the Patriots aren't going to take it easy on him in the reunion of sorts ... Great Valley 35-13.


Norristown (0-10) at Methacton (6-4)
The Warriors have won 5-of-6 since a 1-3 start, and the Poopster likes Conner Derrickson, Mike Cassidy, Nick Torcini, Dillon Alderfer, Kyle Lowery and the crew to stay hot as they go for their first seven-win season since 2000 ... Methacton 43-21.

Hill School (1-6) at Lawrenceville Academy (4-3)
The Poopster can't find any kind of status report on UMass-bound star Big Red QB Randall West, who went down with a knee injury last week. If he can't play, the Rams (coming off a 28-26 win over Mercersburg) have a puncher's chance. If he can, expect a shootout at the O.K. Corral between West and Hill gunslinger Matt Foltz .... Lawrenceville 44-32.


District 1-AAAA first-round

Garnet Valley 30, Council Rock North 21
Abington 28, Upper Dublin 27
Neshaminy 33, Unionville 17
C.B. West 27, Plymouth-Whitemarsh 20
Pennsbury 35, Upper Darby 19
North Penn 33, Coatesville 21

District 1-AAA quarterfinals

Academy Park 28, Interboro 14
Glen Mills 22, Springfield (Delco) 13
Henderson 35, Bishop Shanahan 14

Last week's record: 7-1 (87.5 pct.)
Overall record: 65-16 (80.2 pct)