Friday, August 31, 2012

Final Scores & Post-game Pottsgrove Video

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Postgame interview by Darryl Grumling with Madison O'Connor after Pottsgrove's 35-0 win over Norristown. (more video below)

Friday Night's Final Scores

Central Bucks East 48, Boyertown 26
Conestoga 49, Owen J. Roberts 21
Spring-Ford 31, Whitehall 20
Great Valley 26, Phoenixville 13
Pottsgrove 35, Norristown 0
Cocalico 40, Daniel Boone 7
Souderton 35, Methacton 0
Schuylkill Valley 35, Pottstown 7
Plymouth-Whitemarsh 20, Perkiomen Valley 16
Quakertown 51, Upper Perkiomen 20

Pottstown vs. Schuylkill Valley Photos

A few shots from tonight's Pottstown-Schuylkill Valley game, by Mercury Staff Photographer John Strickler. 


Pottsgrove vs. Norristown Photos

A few shots from tonight's Pottsgrove-Norristown game, by Mercury Staff Photographer Kevin Hoffman.




Halftime Scoreboard

Tonight's Halftime Scores

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Plymouth Whitemarsh, 6, Perkiomen Valley 0
Great Valley 13, Phoenixville 6
Schuylkill Valley 14, Pottstown 0
Pottsgrove 28, Norristown 0
Whitehall 14, Spring-Ford 13
C.B. East 14, Boyertown 12
Souderton 28, Methacton 0
Cocalico 19, Daniel Boone 0
Quakertown 30, Upper Perkiomen 7
Conestoga 28, Owen J. Roberts 14

Pregame Video from Pottsgrove

Darryl Grumling is on the sidelines at Pottsgrove for the Falcons' game against Norristown.

UPDATE: The Falcons take the field:

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Here's his quick video preview of tonight's game:

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Follow him on Twitter @MercSmokinD, and check back for a halftime and post-game update.

Tonight's Lineup

Pottsgrove players warm up before Friday's game against Norristown. (Photo by Darryl Grumling)
Our staff is on the road and headed out to all corners of the area.


Follow our main sports Twitter account @PottsMercSports, and take a look at which of our writers are at your game! Don't forget to say hi if you see them out there. We also have writers at all the other games, as well.

Whitehall at Spring-Ford, DON SEELEY (@DonSeeley1)
Upper Perkiomen at Quakertown, JEFF STOVER (@MercuryXStover)
Norristown at Pottsgrove, DARRYL GRUMLING (@MercSmokinD)

Other Games

Great Valley at Phoenixville
Central Bucks East at Boyertown
Methacton at Souderton
Norristown at Pottsgrove
Owen J. Roberts at Conestoga
Plymouth Whitemarsh at Perkiomen Valley
Schuylkill Valley at Pottstown

See you on the sidelines.

LOCAL FOOTBALL FORECAST

By Don Seeley

You don't make any new friends picking high school football games (unless you're right with upsets). But, for fun (only fun) - and from what I saw or heard about area teams and their opponents during the preseason, here's my thoughts for Week One...

C.B. East at Boyertown - two very young and inexperienced teams, but Boyertown has played well at home in season-openers ... Going with the BEARS.

Daniel Boone at Cocalico - long bus ride, a lot to think about for another young and very inexperienced team like the Blazers. Cocalico is pretty darn good, and sitting at home waiting. ... Going with the EAGLES.

Great Valley at Phoenixville - A toss-up here. Great Valley has a good QB, but Phoenixville has some game-changers in Pannella and Yenchick. ... Going with the PHANTOMS in a close encounter of the football kind.

Methacton at Souderton - Methacton has the potential to contend in the PAC-10. More important, it's a gang of talent that learned how to win last year. ... Going with the WARRIORS.

Norristown at Pottsgrove - Norristown is low in numbers and experience, Pottsgrove is high in numbers, experience AND talent. ... Easy one here, going with FALCONS.

Owen J. Roberts and Conestoga - The word here is Conestoga is back as a Central League contender. OJR has almost an entirely new front on offense and defense. ... Going with the PIONEERS.

Plymouth-Whitemarsh at Perkiomen Valley - PW lost most of last year's District 1 playoff personnel. PVhad a great camp and, reportedly, great scrimmages. ... Going with the VIKINGS.

Schuylkill Valley at Pottstown - Schuylkill Valley is a Berks Football League Section Two contender. Pottstown is improving, and could be darn good defensively. ... Going with the PANTHERS in what may be a lot closer game than some think.

Upper Perkiomen at Quakertown - Upper Perkiomen is as inexperienced as any area team. Quakertown is, too, over in the Suburban One Conference. ... A real toss-up here, but going to go with the sideline oldies (Moyer and Weiss) and their INDIANS.

Whitehall at Spring-Ford - Two contenders for their respective league titles. Whitehall is getting mentioned in a few statewide polls, and is ranked right behind No. 1 Easton up in District 11. Spring-Ford has Coyne and Jones on offense and some great personnel on defense, but also a few question marks in its receiving corps and secondary. ... Going with the ZEPHYRS in what has to be the area's Game of the Week.

Berks Catholic at Pope John Paul II (Saturday) - Berks Catholic remembers losing last year's program debut to PJP, in front of its home crowd no less. Defense is good, and PJP's offense has to get a reliable running game together in two years. ... Going with the SAINTS.

Your thoughts?

And don't forget, you can respond right here or to @pottsmercsports on Twitter with the hashtag #MercPerk


 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

PRESEASON IMPACT PLAYERS

By Don Seeley

Who do YOU think will be your team's PIP this season ... that's not the player who scores the most touchdowns, runs for the most yards or catches the most passes, or even the defensive standout who comes up with the most sacks, tackles or interceptions.

It's the player or players you feel can (or will) make the most impact on their team's season.

We all have our opinions and, of course, most are going to be the quarterback. I agree (I have seven listed below), as well as some of those unsung, under-the-radar players who could make a big difference in parenthesis.

Boyertown: Nick McMenamin (Cody Richmond)
Daniel Boone: J.D. Okuniewski (Rhett Glaser)
Methacton: Brandon Bossard (Cooper Given)
Owen J. Roberts: Jarrad Pinelli (Brad Trego)
Perkiomen Valley: Rasaan Stewart (Kean McKnight)
Phoenixville: Ryan Pannella (Ryan Yenchick)
Pope John Paul II: Justice Smith (Nick DiPrinzio)
Pottsgrove: Tory Hudgins (Madison O'Connor)
Pottstown: Sage Reinhart (Derrick Wilson)
Spring-Ford: Hank Coyne (Mason Romano)
Upper Perkiomen: Dylan Wesley (Dan Henrichs)

PICK 'M AND WIN

Here we go, Question of the Week: How many of the Pioneer Athletic Conference teams will win their opening games this weekend? All we need is the total.

If two or more of you come up with the same answer, our tie-breaking question is how many total points will be scored in the Norristown-Pottsgrove game?

Kind of simple - how many PAC-10 teams win this weekend and how many total points will be scored in the Norristown-Pottsgrove game.

All responses must be made to @pottsmercsports on Twitter with the hashtag #MercPerk

We'll have a different question every week (which you'll find on this site no later than Tuesday), and every week the winner will receive a free PottsMercSports t-shirt (and props from the so-called expert himself, Don Seeley).


The Calm Before the Storm

For sports writers and editors at the New York Post or USA Today, the highlight of their year might be the Super Bowl or the Olympics.
At The Mercury, Friday, August 31 has been circled on our calendars for months.
The first "Football Friday" is like jumping headfirst into a very cold swimming pool.
The summer has been relatively quiet, with the six of us taking our trips to the shore, long weekends at home, or -- for at least one lucky member of the staff -- cruises through the Mediterranean Sea.
Now it's on, for real.

WELCOME TO MERCURY SPORTS LIVE!


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You’re sitting in the bleachers watching your high school play Friday night.
They score! They take the lead!
But while you wait for the ensuing kickoff you can’t help but think, “I know the score here, but I wonder how all the other teams in the area are faring?”
Lucky for you the Mercury is here to help.
Just pull out your smartphone. You’re only a few clicks away from getting the scoop on every team in the area.
New for the 2012 season, the Mercury sports department has launched Mercury Sports Live, a website dedicated to up-to-the-minute coverage from games featuring every area team and beyond. Mercury Sports Live will feature video previews and updates from select games as they happen, as well as photos, updates and the twitter feed of our reporters as they report from the sidelines of each game.
Throughout the coming weeks Mercury Sports Live will feature sports editor Don Seeley’s comprehensive coverage, “No Huddle” player profile videos, game preview videos and more to meet your high school football needs.
Follow @PottsMercSports and the members of the Mercury’s sports staff on Twitter for live updates straight from the source as it happens.
Even before the games @PottsMercSports will be getting you fired up for the action with questions and giveaways to reward fans for getting in the game with the Mercury. We will be tweeting out questions like “How many totals points will teams from the PAC-10 score this weekend?” Tweet back at us with your guess and use the hashtag #MercPerk and you could be a winner of our T-shirt giveaway!
C’mon, who doesn’t like a free T-shirt?
Our Twitter feed is your window into the Mercury sports department. Ask us questions, give us your updates, and let us know what you want to see on the site.
You can’t get this kind of high school football coverage anywhere else — and you won’t need to even look elsewhere once you catch a glimpse of Mercury Sports Live.
Of course, you can still pick up the Mercury every Saturday for the most comprehensive football coverage, including complete game stories, boxscores, and the exceptional photography you have come to expect from The Mercury.
The only difference is on Friday night, where you can not only watch your favorite team play, but you can get in on the rest of the action.
So keep it locked on mercurysportslive.blogspot.com, follow us on Twitter @PottsMercSports, and get in the game all season.

SNEAK PEEK: Mercury Football Preview cover story

Thanks for visiting Mercury Sports Live! As a way to show our appreciation here's an early look at the cover story from The Mercury's high school football preview section, which will be featured in Friday's edition in time for Opening Night. Enjoy!

Quarterbacks are asked to do more than ever

By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

Hank Coyne doesn’t mind passing the football.
Tory Hudgins doesn’t mind running with it.
And Brandon Bossard doesn’t mind doing a little of both with it.
There was a time, and not too awfully long ago, when Coyne, Hudgins and Bossard — any high school quarterback, for that matter — would’ve gotten the next play from the sideline and knew exactly what they’d be doing before they situated themselves under the center to take the snap, too.
Simple enough … but a thing of the past.
The game has changed.
And no position on the field has changed anywhere near as much as it has at quarterback.
Most area coaches, especially those who played themselves back in the 60s or 70s, even some in the 80s, have seen — up close — how the quarterback position as well as the game has evolved, too.
Among them are Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker, who helped pave the way as an offensive lineman for Spring-Ford’s very first football championship in 1969; Owen J. Roberts head coach Tom Barr, one of the Wildcat workhorses out of the backfield for Hall of Fame head coach Henry Bernat from 1977-79; and Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker, who worked on getting receivers and a handful of great quarterbacks on the same page at Wilson for a dozen years before taking over the Rams’ program.
“The plays came in from the sideline and we ran them,” Pennypacker recalled. “I don’t ever remember any audibles. The play called was the play we ran.”
“The plays came in from the sideline, we ran them and that was it,” Barr added, nearly echoing Pennypacker’s exact comment. “I don’t ever remember hearing an audible.”
Now it’s rare when a quarterback doesn’t call an audible at the line of scrimmage.
Looking back at last season, three area coaches said their quarterback probably checked off upwards of 50 percent of the original plays called. Three others said that figure was around 40 percent. A couple more estimated the number was closer to 30-35 percent.
Quarterbacks — as well as their teammates — still memorize the playbook, which may be heavily edited from week to week to address the next opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. But the quarterback, perhaps as much as anyone (including the head coach and offensive coordinator), must know where everyone else should be lined up for every single play.
And if that isn’t enough, the quarterback must identify the defensive sets lined up to stop him right smack across the line of scrimmage — and then check off, or call an audible, before he even gets under center to take the snap.
“We ask a lot of our quarterback today,” said Methacton head coach Paul Lepre.
“There are greater expectations now,” added Brubaker. “(At Spring-Ford), every one of our kids has to know what everyone else is supposed to do, not just the quarterback. That’s an across-the-board responsibility. But the buck stops with the quarterback.”
In other words, the success (or failure) of an offense begins and ends with the quarterback.
It isn’t about just getting that play, taking a snap, and handing off or throwing the football anymore.
“It used to be everyone pounded the ball down your throat,” Pennypacker explained. “But the game has changed in that regard.”
“Offenses have become much more complicated, and the defenses show you a lot more sets,” added Brubaker. “Then you have teams show you some things they’re not accustomed to doing, things you haven’t seen before (or prepared for).
“So you need an answer for that, a quick answer. You must be more flexible and overcome that. That’s why your quarterback is like a part-time assistant (coach) on the field. He can help tell (the coaches) what he sees out there.”
How well, or how quickly, a quarterback recognizes what he sees across the line more often than not will determine if the ensuing snap evolves into a busted play or a big play, a turnover or a touchdown.
So a quarterback today must commit to hours of preparation, well beyond the after-school practice grind, too.
“Quarterbacks today have to be more knowledgeable because they have to recognize those fronts and coverage packages, and that takes time,” Barr said. “The quarterbacks may be more advanced, though, because they’re learning so much in junior high, doing a lot of what we’re doing (at the high school level).
“And technology has had a big impact on them, too. With all the films, they can sit down anytime, look at plays or a game, and break down everything.”
But even with all the technological advances, most coaches will continue to outline (or scheme) their offenses around the quarterback’s strengths.
“We take into consideration what our quarterback’s skill set is,” Brubaker explained. “We ask ourselves if the starting quarterback is able to do everything in our offense.”
Just a few years ago, Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed had one of the most proficient passing quarterbacks in the history of the PAC-10 with Zach Zulli. For a couple of years, PV — long known to be a run-oriented program — became quite pass-happy.
“A quarterback’s skill set can often determine your philosophy,” Reed explained. “Zach Zulli was an amazing quarterback who could see the whole field, so we took advantage of his ability to throw the ball.”
For the last two years, Pope John Paul II head coach Mike Santillo had record-breaking southpaw David Cotellese and a slew of high-quality receivers … but virtually no running game.
“Our personnel dictated our offense,” Santillo said after watching the elusive Cotellese elude blitz after blitz and pick apart opposing secondaries, often finding a second, third or even fourth receiver on any given play.
Brubaker has had the luxury of having Coyne under center (not to mention Jarred Jones behind him to take handoffs). Coyne’s maturity from his sophomore to junior season was significant, as both his own numbers as well as the Rams’ drive to an unbeaten PAC-10 championship run indicate.
But instead of spelling Coyne in run-related or short-yardage situations as he’s done in the past, Brubaker may just go with his three-year veteran to answer those dilemmas this season.
“(Coyne) is up to 180 pounds or so now,” he said. “He’s bigger, stronger, and he’s improved his speed. So we’ll utilize him a little bit more as a running quarterback instead of what we’ve done in the past by bringing in someone else to run the football.”
Pennypacker, of course, has rarely strayed from running, running and running some more. He has had a long line of unsung quarterbacks who had the ability to check off when needed and execute. Just a few years ago, Terrell Chestnut proved it by guiding the Falcons to a District 1-Class AAA title. Last year, Hudgins duplicated that feat, and will in the lineup this fall looking to improve on his area-highs of 1,530 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns as well as guide the Falcons into the postseason again.
“Up to around 2001 we would call a play and just run it,” Pennypacker said. “But it’s evolved now to the point that our quarterbacks have the opportunity to call an audible on every play.”
“A lot of our kids, including Terry and Tory, have been very smart quarterbacks. They often audibled, often made the right calls.”
Lepre has been blessed to have Bossard, an Eastern Michigan University recruit who has the ability to effectively run as well as throw the football. A senior, Bossard is within reach of finishing his career at Methacton with well over 3,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing.
Most important, Bossard — like Coyne and Hudgins — made giant strides from his sophomore to junior season a year ago. He made the right reads, the right calls and became an integral part of the Warriors’ success last fall, helping produce their first winning season in the PAC-10 and first overall winning season since 2000.
That transition, or maturity, is what Reed hopes to get from Rasaan Stewart, a junior, this season.
“As a quarterback gets older the speed of the game gets a little slower,” Reed explained. “The learning curve isn’t as great.
“Rasaan is getting into deeper concepts now. He did a lot last year on instinct, and he had some success because of his athleticism. But he’s matured a lot, and now he’s developing into more of a quarterback. How he has a better feel for (the defenses) he sees, a better feel for the coverages he sees.”
Other coaches around the PAC-10 hope to see that maturity, that development, from their own quarterbacks, too … like Boyertown’s Griffin Pasik; OJR’s Jarrad Pinelli; Phoenixville’s Chris Demey; PJP’s James Blemming; Pottstown’s Sage Reinhart; and Upper Perkiomen’s Dylan Wesley.
“There are good quarterbacks all around our league,” Brubaker said.
“And the big thing is that a quarterback, with all the challenges and responsibilities he has now, can’t worry if he’s doing something wrong as much as he has to be concerned about what he can do to help his team,” Reed added.
“The quarterback is the focal point of every team,” Lepre said. “(The quarterback position) is where everything starts.”
And it takes, as one coach said, “a certain breed” to be a quarterback.
It has nothing to do with his weight, height, strength or speed, either.
“We all know that a quarterback has to know the plays, has the ability to recognize defenses, make sure everyone is lined up in the right place, and know his progressions,” Lepre said.
“But just as important, if not more important, he has to lead by example, and that’s with his efforts on and off the field. He has to be a leader, the player who demands respect from everyone on his team.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NO HUDDLE: Daniel Boone's J.D. Okuniewski


Mercury sports reporter Darryl Grumling interviews Daniel Boone senior quarterback/linebacker J.D. Okuniewski.

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