Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPDATED FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thanks to Sandy - and no, she's not the new fullback at an unnamed area school - this weekend's football schedule has been twisted and turned so many times the last couple of days.

So, as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, here's the updated schedule:

Friday
Perkiomen School at St. Andrew's, Del., 3 p.m.
Exeter at Daniel Boone, 7 p.m.
Pottsgrove at Phoenixville, 7 p.m.
Spring-Ford at Perkiomen Valley, 7 p.m.(additional rain "may" push game to another site)

Saturday
Upper Perkiomen at Pope John Paul II, 2 p.m.
Methacton at Pottstown, 3 p.m.
Boyertown at Owen J. Roberts, 7 p.m.

* Saturday afternoon's Lawrenceville at Hill School football game - celebrating the 125th anniversary of the two schools' rivalry -  has been postponed until next Saturday, Nov. 10th.

ANOTHER GAME CHANGE

This just in: The Boyertown at Owen J. Roberts football game scheduled for Friday night has been pushed back to 7 p.m. Saturday night in Bucktown.







WEEK 10 RANKINGS

Heading into what is the final week of the regular season for most of The Mercury-area teams ... and little, once again, has changed among the Super Six:

1. Pottsgrove (9-0): Many are saying this is Pottsgrove's best team in years (and that includes more than a few in the recent past). With districts (and perhaps states) ahead, the Falcons will have the opportunity to prove just that.

2. Perkiomen Valley (7-2): The Vikings did absolutely nothing to tear off the tag as the area's second-best team right now. If it weren't for a few missed tackles, last Friday's game at Pottsgrove may have gone into a overtime marathon. Only two losses have been to opponents heading into the playoffs, but they need one against No. 3 Spring-Ford to assure themselves of a spot in the postseason, too.

3. Spring-Ford (8-1): Despite playing without their No. 1 running back since Week Three, the Rams pretty much handled everyone but Pottsgrove. Now the big test comes Friday night in the muck at Perkiomen Valley - or on the turf at Ursinus College or back at Spring-Ford (or so we're hearing in the leftover winds of Sandy). Bottom line is the winner advances into the District 1-AAAA playoffs... while the loser will need help to stay among the Top 16.

4. Phoenixville (6-3): In the beginning of the year, most expected Pannella, Yenchick and White to be carriers of success. Now a whole bunch of others are sharing the load and helped the Phantoms get themselves in a position to make the District 1-AAA playoffs for the second straight year. Up next is Pottsgrove, and an upset of the Falcons will not only create a two- or possible three-way for the PAC-10 lead, but guarantee the Phantoms a good postseason seed.

5. Methacton (4-5): The Warriors are playing better now than they have all season. Bossard is coming off his best game of the year, and Lowery looks like one of the area's better players who never leaves the field. Dealing with Pottstown's speed on Saturday - and with former rival Norristown next week - will determine if the Warriors can finish over the .500 mark again.

6. Pottstown (4-5): Why rank anyone who has lost back-to-back games by identical 55-20 scores? For starters, the losses were to No. 1 Pottsgrove and No. 2 Spring-Ford. If you need a second reason, try finding a defense to stop them.

Don Seeley



GAME MOVED TO SATURDAY

The Pioneer Athletic Conference football game featuring Methacton at Pottstown has been moved from Friday night to 3 p.m. Saturday at Grigg Memorial Field.

Don Seeley

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SEELEY: Hudgins separates himself from the pack

Pottsgrove quarterback Tory Hudgins is brought down just short of the goal line on a carry during Friday night’s win over Perkiomen Valley. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com


There have been quite a few conversations this fall about Pioneer Athletic Conference quarterbacks, or who exactly is the best of the bunch. There’s been quite a few names tossed around and, generally speaking, all have been part of the discussions, too.
And it sure seems as though everyone has had a valid argument for getting their favorite onto the coaches’ ballot, which will be filled out and voted on early next month.
Hey, if you think Obama-Romney is a toss-up (or so we’re told), try separating what has become the Elite Eight of the PAC-10 (and that is in no way a political slam on the remaining two).
But if anyone has put together as impressive a football campaign as any other — up to this point of the season, that is — it’s been Pottsgrove’s Tory Hudgins.

Pottsgrove into playoffs; others battling for bids


By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

Pottsgrove sure took the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division out of its postseason calculations.

The exciting 42-28 win over Perkiomen Valley last Friday night clinched the No. 1 seed in the District 1-Class AAA playoffs for the Falcons. That means regardless of the outcome of this Friday’s game at Phoenixville, they’ll begin their drive for a second straight district championship at home in two weeks.

Exactly who the Falcons play, well, that’s entirely new puzzle district officials won’t have finalized until sometime Saturday or Sunday.

Going into this weekend, the unbeaten Falcons (9-0) top the AAA chart that includes, from the second through eighth spots, Academy Park (8-1), Interboro (8-1), Henderson (7-2), Upper Moreland (6-3), Springfield-Delco (6-3), Phoenixville (6-3) and Strath Haven (5-4).

But the particular order of that lineup, if not even some of the names, could easily (and likely will) change.

(For the complete story, click here...)

PAC-10 teams scoring at a record pace

Quarterback Brandon Bossard of Methacton looks for an opening during the Saturday game against Owen J Roberts High School. 10/27/12 Photo by Adrianna Hoff / Times Herald Staff.


By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com
A few Pioneer Athletic Conference schools may find a need to replace some scoreboard lights before the football season ends.
With seven more games remaining to be played — five this weekend and two more Thanksgiving morning — offense, and plenty of it, has accounted for record-shattering numbers … or points scored.
Unbeaten Pottsgrove has already put up 375, breaking the previous mark for points scored in a season (367, by Lansdale Catholic five years ago). Perkiomen Valley (311) and Spring-Ford (259), who meet Friday night, are second and third, respectively, in the league.
Overall, in the 38 league games played this fall, there have been 2,155 points scored — an average of 56.7 a game, or noticeably better than the record of 52.2 set in 2007, when co-champions Lansdale Catholic and Perkiomen Valley along with Phoenixville led the scoring frenzy. Ironically, if Spring-Ford can add 41 more to its total in its final two games, it’ll only be the second time in league history that three teams went over the 300-point mark in one PAC-10 season.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hill School 17, Mercersburg Academy 13

By Dennis Weller
Special to The Mercury

MERCERSBURG — The Hill School and Mercersburg Academy clawed away at each other, sometimes literally, right down to the last play on Saturday afternoon as each desperately sought its first Mid-Atlantic Prep League football win of the season.
The contest finally came down to the final 10 seconds, with Mercersburg just 12 yards away from the winning score. But the Rams stopped three straight pass attempts, time ran out, and Hill claimed its first win of the season, 17-13.

For complete story, click here

Methacton 45, Owen J. Roberts 28

Photo by Adrianna Hoff/JRC Quarterback Jarrad Pinelli of Owen J Roberts quickly fakes a pass and pushes himself right over the line for a touchdown on Saturday against Methacton.

By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — Time was on Methacton’s side Saturday afternoon.
Unlike a week ago, when they nearly blew a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead before holding on to beat Boyertown, the Warriors recovered from a second-quarter lapse against Owen J. Roberts by clocking their guests in the second half en route to an impressive 45-28 win.

For complete story, click here ...





Pottsgrove 42, Perkiomen Valley 28


By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

LOWER POTTSGROVE — Tory Hudgins put together a highlight reel for college recruiters Friday night.
Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker will seal it for future use, while Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed would like to steal it ... in hopes neither Hudgins nor the show he put on ever happened in the two teams’ showdown.
The 6-foot, 175-pound senior quarterback ran 21 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns to guide the host Falcons to a come-from-behind 42-28 win over Perkiomen Valley that clinched at least a tie for the Pioneer Athletic Conference title and, just as important, the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 1-Class AAA playoffs.
While averaging over 10 yards a carry, going over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and finding the end zone three times is indeed impressive, it all paled in comparison to his last score — a 51-yarder in which he appeared to be on his way down not once but twice, only to see him outrace the Vikings’ final two defenders to put the Falcons in front 35-28 with 1:24 remaining.
(For complete story, click here...)
(For a sidebar by Darryl Grumling, click here...) 

Pottsgrove quarterback Tory Hudgins follows his blocking for a third down conversion in the first half against Perkiomen Valley Friday. (Photo/Tom Kelly III)

Pottsgrove 'D' bends but doesn't break

Pottsgrove's Michael Fowler (7) breaks up a pass intended for Perkiomen Valley's Clay Domine in the first half Friday. (Photo/Tom Kelly III)


By Darryl Grumling
dgrumling@pottsmerc.com

LOWER POTTSGROVE — When Perkiomen Valley’s Rasaan Stewart opened the second half Friday night by unloading a picture-perfect, 73-yard touchdown pass to Davon Mitchell, you couldn’t blame the Pottsgrove defense for thinking it might not be its night.
After all, the Vikings — with skill people galore such as Stewart, running back Mark Bonomo and wideout Clay Domine — were pretty much having their way against the Falcons’ heretofore impenetrable ‘D.’
They hung up 21 first-half points on a unit that was allowing an average of just 8.4 a game, then Stewart’s strike to Mitchell put the Vikings up seven points in a highly anticipated clash of Pioneer Athletic Conference unbeatens.
“That’s the best offense we’ve seen all year,” Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker said. “Stewart and Co. had us confused. We didn’t know what we were doing.”
Instead of succumbing, however, the Falcons found a way to survive.

Muhlenberg 52, Daniel Boone 19

By Jeff Stover
jstover@pottsmerc.com

UNION — Muhlenberg rang up 270 yards rushing on 39 carries, with one player topping the 100-yard mark and another within reach of triple digits.
And that was just what Muhlenberg did in the first half of Friday’s game with Daniel Boone. But it was enough for the Muhls to establish a dominating tone, and eventual 52-19 victory, in the Berks Football League Section One matchup.
Muhlenberg’s backfield tandem of Frank German and Ben Ortiz combined to account for 313 of the visitors’ 369 yards, and all but two of its seven touchdowns, as it pursues a berth in the postseason playoffs. The Mules (3-3, 5-4 overall) went on to amass 369 of their 431 on the ground, Ortiz finishing with a game-high 190 and German 123.
“We’re a two-back system,” Muhlenberg head coach Rich Kolka said after seeing his team rebound from last week’s loss to Reading in a big way. “We play at a high tempo, and we’re fortunate to have two good backs who do something.”
 (For complete story, click here...)

Boyertown 28, Pope John Paul 21

By Dennis Weller
Special to The Mercury

BOYERTOWN — There were many times when the Boyertown and Pope John Paul II offenses seemed unstoppable in Friday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference contest at Memorial Stadium. That was until they did a pretty good job of stopping themselves … the Bears with penalties, the Golden Panthers with turnovers.
But eventually the game was decided by the Boyertown defense, which came up with the big stops when necessary in a 28-21 win.
Nick Brough intercepted two passes for the Bears (2-6, 2-7) overall and returned one for a touchdown; Justin Siejk picked off a pass; and Gray Garber was a force on defense throughout the night with two sacks and several other tackles for losses. Chris Veisbergs caught seven passes for 94 yards for PJP (0-8, 0-9), which gained 200 yards through the air.
“Nick Brough … that interception was awesome,” Garber said concerning the pickoff and 41-yard return into the end zone that gave the Bears a 21-14 lead late in the third quarter. “Justin Siejk … his interception was big. All around defensively, we played pretty good.”

(For complete story, click here...)

Phoenixville 49, Upper Perkiomen 20

By Jake Hallman
Special to The Mercury

RED HILL — There was no new offensive scheme to learn, and nothing out of the ordinary to expect from Upper Perkiomen’s defense. But for some reason, Phoenixville quarterback Chris Demey said he felt added pressure heading into Friday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference game at Upper Perk.
Maybe it had something to do with the extra attention the senior has been garnering as the league’s most efficient quarterback, or the two wins he helped guide his team to before last night.
Whatever the case, those additional nerves didn’t seem to bother the 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior. No, Demey looked calm and collective as he guided the Phantoms to a 49-20 victory over the Indians to keep his team in the District 1-AAA playoff hunt.
Mind you, Demey’s numbers weren’t all the gaudy, but his efficient 12 of 18 passing for 105 yards was a big key to Phoenixville’s 23 first downs, and a balanced catalyst to offset a ground game that racked up 360 yards.

Spring-Ford 55, Pottstown 20


By Barry Sankey
bsankey@journalregister.com

ROYERSFORD — The first half of action dictated the tempo for Friday night’s Spring-Ford/Pottstown football game at Coach McNelly Stadium.
The host Rams took control with a 28-7 first-quarter lead and extended that margin to 41-13 by halftime as both sides took turns advancing the ball. The final arithmetic read 55-20 in favor of Spring-Ford in the Pioneer Athletic Conference contest.
Spring-Ford (6-1 PAC-10, 8-1 overall) accumulated 403 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns and capitalized on four turnovers by the Trojans (3-4, 4-5).
Pottstown rolled up 401 yards of total offense itself, but the turnovers prevented the Trojans from mustering more points on the scoreboard.

Photo by Barry Taglieber Spring-Ford’s Tate Carter runs around the edge for a touchdown against Pottstown Friday night in PAC-10 football action.

Friday, October 26, 2012

VIDEO from Pottsgrove / Perkiomen Valley

Darryl Grumling and Don Seeley are on site at the big Perkiomen Valley-Pottsgrove tilt tonight, and will be providing video all night long.

Don Seeley's final take:

video



Interview with Tory Hudgins post-game:

video



VIDEO from Spring-Ford / Pottstown

Frank Otto is in Royersford for Spring-Ford vs. Pottsgrove. He'll have video highlights throughout the night.

Frank Otto's final take:

video



Spring-Ford wins it, 55-20:

video



SCOREBOARD FOR OCT. 26

FRIDAY'S FINALS

PAC-10

Boyertown 28Pope John Paul 21, FINAL
Pottsgrove 42, Perkiomen Valley 28, FINAL
Spring-Ford 55, Pottstown 20, FINAL
Phoenixville 49, Upper Perkiomen 20, FINAL

Berks Conference

Muhlenberg 52, Daniel Boone 19, FINAL

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

PAC-10

Owen J. Roberts at Methacton, 1 p.m.

Mid-Atlantic Prep League

Hill School at Mercersburg Academy, 1 p.m.   

PV-Pottsgrove battle for PAC-10 title

By Don Seeley

LOWER POTTSGROVE – The lights will seem a little brighter, the crowd will assuredly be larger and louder than any other this season, and the margin of error, or errors, will be as negligible as its ever been.
But as Scott Reed has preached all week to his Perkiomen Valley football team, tonight’s showdown at Pottsgrove is just another game.
“It’s obviously a big game, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere, too,” Reed said. “But when we kick off it will still be a 100-yard patch of grass and 11 guys wearing a different color jersey than our 11 guys.”
Nonetheless, it’s a very, very rare clash of colors.
And as big a spattering of colors than Perkiomen Valley has even been part of.
Perkiomen Valley is 7-0 (7-1 overall) and just one win away from clinching no worse than a tie for its third Pioneer Athletic Conference title, just one win away from clinching a berth in the District 1-Class AAAA playoffs. Pottsgrove is 7-0 (8-0), just one win away from no worse than a share of a record eighth PAC-10 title, just one win away from clinching a sixth straight postseason appearance and the No. 1 seed in the district’s Class AAA playoffs.
Yep, this certainly is a big, big game.
But neither Reed nor Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker thinks they hold any advantage based solely on big-game experience, either.
“We don’t think about that at all,” Reed said. “I’m not sure what kid steps on a field on a Friday or Saturday and thinks about what happened a week ago, a month ago or a year ago. Players, and coaches, live in the moment.”
“We don’t feel we have an advantage in that respect,” Pennypacker added. “The kids from both sides will play their best game because they know what’s at stake. No doubt this is a big game, but the winner only gets a leg up in the race (for the title) because we both have big games again next week, too. We treat every game as a big game, and this one is certainly no different.”
Both the Falcons and Vikings have dominated thus far. They’ve produced very similar offensive and defensive numbers against six common opponents thus far, even outscored them by not-so-disparaging margins (258-77 by Perkiomen Valley, 312-67 by Pottsgrove).
And if there is one thing they do share more than anything else it is the respect for one another.
“Where do you start and where do you end with Pottsgrove,” Reed said. “They’re extremely well-coached, they’re big, they’re physical, they’re fast … and they don’t make many mistakes. It’s our job as coaches to find weaknesses, but we just don’t see any.”
Perkiomen Valley reminds me of that (unbeaten) Pottstown team back in 2002,” Pennypacker said. “They have so much talent and speed. We have so much respect for coach Reed and his staff, too. Our kids know the challenge we’re facing. They know if they don’t play their best game against (Perkiomen Valley) is could get very ugly.”
If anything, and perhaps unfairly, the game could be decided on just how well Perkiomen Valley quarterback Rasaan Stewart and Pottsgrove quarterback Tory Hudgins perform against defenses both Reed and Pennypacker have schemed to stop them.
Stewart has emerged as one of the PAC-10’s top players – a legitimate Player of the Year candidate. He runs well (969 yards, 16 TDs), as does Mark Bonomo (707 yards, 6 TDs), and has responded superbly when called upon to throw (1,042 yards, 6 TDs) – especially to Clay Domine, Davon Mitchell, Dakota Clanagan and Bonomo – in guiding an offense averaging 414 yards a game. Hudgins, of course, can also run well (809 yards, 15 TDs). But he hasn’t had to throw that much because of Mark Dukes (920 yards, 18 TDs), Nick Brennan (339 yard, 4 TDs) and others also run so well they’ve accounted for all but 46 of the 379 yards of offense they’re averaging every weekend.
“Stewart’s versatility, his ability to run as well as throw, may present the biggest challenge we’ve faced all year,” Pennypacker said. “That young man has kept me up at night thinking about him. He is one of the best athletes to come along in this league, and his supporting cast makes (Perkiomen Valley) very dangerous. We have to make many adjustments in order to contain all their weapons.”
Making adjustments is something Reed expects to do against Hudgins and the Falcons.
“Hudgins executes the option extremely well, and they mix in enough (different) schemes to keep you off-balance,” Reed said. “That team has so many weapons. We have to play assignment football. Tackling will be of utmost importance, because their backs run so hard, and they’re extremely elusive and explosive.”
Overlooked in the offensives, of course, is the work up front by both teams’ offensive lines.
Perkiomen Valley has gotten room to run and time to throw because of center Seth Jonassen, guards Bobbie Gallus and Robbie Thacker, tackles Jeff Morrow and Austin Ganz, and tight end Jamie Biddle. Pottsgrove has been able to run as well as it has because of center Zach Birch, guards Anthony Pond and Tom Sephakis, tackles Pat Finn and Madison O’Connor, and tight end Jeff Adams.
“We have to be as close to perfect as we can,” Reed said. “Penalties, turnovers, negative plays … they always cost you, and they’ll be very costly against a team as good as Pottsgrove.”
“We have to play good, sound fundamental football,” Pennypacker added. “Perkiomen Valley is one of the best teams I’ve seen in the past 10 years.”
* * *
The combined rushing totals of Dukes and Hudgins average out to 9.4 yards a carry. Stewart and Bonomo average 8.1 yards a pop. … Defensively, Pottsgrove’s Sene Polamalu (5), Birch (3) and Pond (3) and Perkiomen Valley’s Danny Light (4.5), Tony Pachella (4.5) and Mike Reiner (3) are among the area leaders in sacks. The Falcons’ Mike Fowler (4), Brennan (2) and Jalen Mayes (2) and the Vikings’ Kean McKnight (2) and Martise Ray (2) are among the leaders in interceptions. … Perkiomen Valley – which shared PAC-10 championships in 2007 and 1998 – needs a win tonight and next week (against Spring-Ford) for its first outright title. … Pottsgrove needs a win tonight to clinch no worse than a record ninth overall league title and another win next week for its record seventh outright title. … Birch and Adams are both questionable for tonight’s game because of injuries.
*
Don Seeley is the sports editor of The Mercury. His high school football column runs Tuesdays and Fridays through Thanksgiving. He can be reached at dseeley@pottsmerc.com.

WEEK NINE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

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By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

RED HILL – When Steve Moyer took over the Upper Perkiomen program earlier this year, he was well aware of all the young and inexperienced players he’d be greeting the first day camp. What he didn’t expect was kicking off the season with all the young unknowns against two of the best teams in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, or running into three others that just happened to be at the top of their games.
Then last week, it was unbeaten PAC-10 co-leader PerkiomenValley.
This week, or tonight, Moyer and his desperately-seeking-a-win Indians entertain Phoenixville – which happens to be on an impressive two-game roll and desperately seeking another win of its own to remain in the District 1-Class AAA playoff race.
So even though Upper Perkiomen (0-7, 0-8) has yet to put a scratch in the win column, Phoenixville (4-2, 5-3) isn’t taking a thing for granted tonight, and isn’t looking ahead to its showdown with Pottsgrove next week.
“I think we’ve done a good job playing against excellence,” Phantoms head coach Bill Furlong said. “But we want to play better this week, too, and it doesn’t if the team we’re playing is 7-0 or 0-7. We have to play our game.
“Our kids have been doing that all year, so I don’t see our opponent’s record impacting our performance. Say what you want, but Upper Perkiomen is getting better very week, and every one of our guys know that. Coach Moyer is a proven success, and he’ll have his kids ready.”
The Indians will have plenty to be ready for.
The Phantoms, as most acknowledged before the season even began, have a handful of outstanding individual talents – arguably among the best two-way starters in the PAC-10 – in Brian Hyland, Ryan Pannella, Tom White and Ryan Yenchick. And Ian Harrigan is among the best kickers, too.
But a number of unproven if not unknown underclassmen have stepped in and around that veteran group to add to their punch this fall.
“The consistency of the veterans has been good,” Furlong said. “They were all expected to be good and they’re living up to it, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. The expectations we placed on them were high.
“But some of our younger guys are contributing more than expected. And the biggest part is that we have guys who were role players last year really stepping up, guys like Brian Madden at inside linebacker, and Sean Hesser, who was at nose guard last year but is now a running back and cornerback. Cole Luzin has been incredibly dependable at wideout and as a corner, and Paul Hossler, who didn’t play much at all last year, has come on to be one of our best to-way linemen.”
Phoenixville has also gotten more than expected from outside-linebacker Zack Gallow and defensive back Kyle Karkoska.
But if there is one player in particular who Furlong and others around the PAC-10 have taken particular notice of it’s been 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior Chris Demy, a senior in his first year guiding the Phantoms’ offense.
“Chris has been tremendous,” Furlong noted. “He is very coachable. He learns from his mistakes, and he’s been a real student of our offense. He asks good questions and is constantly looking for feedback. 
“We have always felt he could throw the ball well, but what’s been so impressive about him is his decision-making. He is a bit conservative, but he hasn’t made many mistakes. He is like a good tennis player, who lets his opponent make the unforced error. He plays within himself and doesn’t try to force things.”
Demy, who leads the area in passing efficiency, and the rest of the Phantoms will try to force as well as decide the issue tonight as quickly as they can … and then, and only then, will they begin to focus on next week’s challenge.
*
Methacton quarterback Brandon Bossard, who has run for 1,402 career yards, is currently sitting on an even 2,800 career passing yards. … Pottstown quarterback Sage Reinhart needs 137 yards passing to reach the 3,000-yard career mark. … Spring-Ford quarterback Hank Coyne, already first or second in five different PAC-10 career passing categories, needs 254 yards to pass Daniel Boone graduate Jon Monteiro for third on The Mercury’s all-time career passing chart.

DISTRICT NOTES
Showtimes: Of those among the Top 16 in the District 1-AAAA playoff points standings, only five appear to have serious concerns this weekend. No. 4 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (7-1) is at Upper Dublin (5-2); No. 10 Perkiomen Valley (7-1) is at Pottsgrove (8-0); No. 11 Coatesville (6-2) is at No. 13 Downingtown West (6-2); and No. 14 Neshaminy (6-2) is at No. 15 Abington (6-2). … In AAA, No. 1 Pottsgrove has the showdown with Perkiomen Valley; No. 3 Academy Park (7-1) is at No. 9 Glenn Mills (4-4); No. 5 Springfield-Delco (6-2) is at No. 10 Strath Haven (4-4); and No. 8 Sun Valley (5-3) is at AAAA’s No. 8 Rustin (6-2).

STATE NOTES
Rank and file: In Class AAAA, No. 9 Mount Lebanon (7-1), led by former Pottstown head coach Mike Melnyk, is at Upper St. Clair (7-1). … In AAA, unbeaten No. 8 Thomas Jefferson (8-0) hosts unbeaten West Mifflin (8-0). … In AA, top-ranked Aliquippa (8-0) hosts unbeaten Beaver Area (8-0), and unbeaten No. 3 Wyomissing (8-0) takes on Schuylkill Valley (6-2) and head coach Jeff Chillot – a graduate of St. Pius X. … And in Class A, No. 10 Port Allegany (8-0) squares off against visiting Brockway (8-0) in a District 9 showdown. … Also Class A’s No. 1 Clairton goes for its 55th straight win against visiting Imani Christian (6-2).
Shrinking list: There are just six undefeated teams remaining in Pennsylvania’s Class AAA bracket, with District 1’s Ridley and Downingtown West among them. Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford are among 15 teams in the bracket with just one loss. … In Class AAA, Pottsgrove is one of nine remaining unbeatens in the state. Garden Spot (8-0) has beaten only one opponent with a winning record, while Bishop McDevitt (8-0) has taken down seven opponents with winning records. No. 1 ranked Eric Cathedral Prep (8-0) has beaten four out-of-state rivals (two from Ohio and two from New York).
Big 33 Change: The Big 33 Scholarship Foundation Inc., announced earlier this week a five-year agreement with Maryland – to replace Ohio – in the annual all-star game at Hersheypark Stadium beginning with the 57th renewal of the event next June.

WEEK NINE CAPSULES



(Compiled by Don Seeley)

TONIGHT’S GAMES
MUHLENBERG AT DANIEL BOONE
Records: Muhlenberg is 2-3 in Berks Football League Section One (4-4 overall) after a 32-13 loss to Conrad Weiser. Daniel Boone is 2-3 (2-6 overall) following a 31-6 loss to Reading.
Inside the lines: Muhlenberg is led by quarterback Adam Huber (65 of 137, 903 yards, 11 TDs) and the running tandem of Francisco German (696 yards, 9 TDs) and Ben Ortiz (680 yards, 5 TDs). Elias Quinter and Zachary Waltz are the leading receivers with 24 and 21 catches, respectively, for the Muhls, who were 4-1 at one point but have slipped to .500 following three straight losses. … Daniel Boone saw its two-game winning streak and hopes for a postseason berth end last week. Injuries continued to mount, too, seeing both Pat Stone and Jeremy Bartman sidelined in the first half, then losing Adam Myers, Chris Ford and Tanner Pajakinas for the rest of the season. Rhett Glaser continues to anchor both lines. J.D. Okuniewski, with injuries limiting him to just defense recently, came on to quarterback in the game and now has 525 yards throwing the ball.
Notes: Muhlenberg leads the series, 34-10-3. … Daniel Boone has won the last three meetings after losing the previous 19. … Blazers have not scored a point in the first quarter this season, and they’ve been outscored in the first half by a 91-26 margin. … Daniel Boone head coach Bill Parks: “The injuries have affected preparation this week, but not the kids’ drive to finish strong. They have a lot of heart and strive for success. They’ve stepped up to every challenge they’ve faced and do not back down. Muhlenberg is big and physical, and will present challenges for our undersized lines. We have our work cut out for us this week.”

PERKIOMEN VALLEY AT POTTSGROVE
Records: Perkiomen Valley is 7-0 (7-1) after a 47-14 win over Upper Perkiomen. Pottsgrove is 7-0 (8-0) following a 55-20 win over Pottstown.
Inside the lines: See Seeley's Column / PV-Pottsgrove battle for title.
Notes: Pottsgrove leads the PAC-10 and overall series, 20-6. … Falcons have won the last four meetings. … Pottsgrove is 10-3 at home against the Vikings, and 10-3 at Perkiomen Valley. … Veteran Falcons coach Rick Pennypacker is 7-1 against Reed, now in his ninth year at PV.

PHOENIXVILLE AT UPPER PERKIOMEN
Records: Phoenixville is 4-2 (5-3) after a 40-19 win over Pope John Paul II. Upper Perkiomen is 0-7 (0-8) following a 47-14 loss to Perkiomen Valley.
Inside the lines: See Football Notebook.
Notes: Phoenixville leads the PAC-10 and overall series, 15-11. … The Indians have scored as many points in their last three games (54) as they did in their first five (54), and in the last three games have nearly doubled their offensive yardage from the first five.

POPE JOHN PAUL II AT BOYERTOWN
Records: Pope John Paul is 0-7 (0-8) after a 40-19 loss to Phoenixville. Boyertown is 1-6 (1-7) following a 24-20 setback to Methacton.
Inside the lines: Pope John Paul has the area’s best passing game (averaging 22 yards a game) behind quarterback Matt Mesaros (three straight 200 yard-plus games since taking over for injured James Bleming. The lack of a run game and a generous (allowing 387 yards and 42 points a game) has hurt, though. The Golden Panthers have also been slowed by turnovers (minus-10 in takeaways). … Boyertown scored twice in the final four minutes last week and nearly pulled off the upset behind solid play up front led by David Pettine, quarterback Griffin Pasik (season-best game throwing two touchdown passes and running one in for another score), and a defense led by sophomores Dalton Hughes and Justin Siejk (team’s leading tackler). Bears could get a boost with the return of linebacker Anthony Borzillo, who’s been out since Week Two with an injury.
Notes: The PAC-10 and overall series are tied, 1-1. … The Golden Panthers, who may have to go without two-way starter Tim Tadors (game-time decision), won last year’s meeting, 27-14. … PJP head coach Mike Santillo: “We’re going to strap them up and expect (our kids) to play as best they can, and may the best team that manages turnovers, penalties and adversity rise to the top. Boyertown runs that offense very well, so you have to keep them off-balanced with formations to counter their run game. We can’t afford to have their quarterback have a big night, either.” … Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly: “We just have to keep improving. Defensively, we played our second-best game of the year last week (at Methacton). We have three sophomores (Hughes, Mike Murphy and Siejk) who are really starting to play well. We’re not overlooking PJP, because that team has had some bad luck, especiall with injuries, the only reason they’re winless.”

POTTSTOWN AT SPRING-FORD
Records: Pottstown is 3-3 (4-4) after a 55-20 loss to Pottstown. Spring-Ford is 5-1 (7-1) following a 33-6 win over Owen J. Roberts.
Inside the lines: Pottstown still has two of the biggest offensive threats in the PAC-10 with running back Monroe Hampton (799 yards, 17 TDs) and quarterback Sage Reinhart (area-high 1,4844 yards passing), and have been getting big production of late from Denzel Harvey and Antonio Moore. Trojans’ big concern is improving on the defensive side, where they’re allowing an average of 385 yards and 38 points a game despite consistence performances from Chase Waters. … Spring-Ford’s defensive front has played well of late, anchoring a unit that allows just 128 yards a game. Robby Varner is coming a solid game in which he blocked a field goal, and Jarred Shoemaker is becoming an all-league caliber cornerback. Quarterback Hank Coyne (1,254 yards, area-high 17 TDs) is on pace to have seven different receivers with at least 10 receptions each, a group led by Gary Hopkins and Tate Carter.
Notes: Spring-Ford leads the PAC-10 series, 18-8, and the overall series, 31-23-1. … The Trojans, who are still without two-way tackle Josh Everette (injured), are currently 10th in the District 1-AAA playoff standings, where only eight advance into the postseason. … Pottstown head coach Brett Myers: “We’re not concerned about any hangover from last week, from playing Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford, because everybody in the league has had to deal with the same. There’s no time for the weary. We have to improve our blocking and our tackling. Spring-Ford is very good, so we must get into rhythm and not waste plays on offense.” … Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker:  “We played well offensively, pretty consistently on defense and really well on special teams last week. We must continue to play like that, and not overlook Pottstown, to have a chance at the playoffs. We need to prevent (the Trojans) from getting momentum and confidence because Pottstown is very dangerous. I love Reinhart, a gritty, get-it-done type player who puts the ball where is needs to be and is very shifty. We must be disciplined and execute.”

SATURDAY’S GAMES
OWEN J. ROBERTS AT METHACTON
Records: Owen J. Roberts is 3-3 (3-5) after a 33-6 loss to Spring-Ford. Methacton is 3-4 (3-5) following a 24-20 win over Boyertown.
Inside the lines: OJR’s offense is in a tailspin the last two games, averaging only 106.5 yards, or well below 315.3 from the previous six games. Quarterback Jarred Pinelli (997 yards, 14 TDs) is still among the leaders in passing efficiency, Wyatt Scott (755 yards) is still among the leaders in yards rushing, and Matt Raymond (31 catches, 722 yards, 11 TDs) is still among the leaders in receving. Kyle Shronk, back the last two games after being injured, has been a key for the Wildcats’ improved defense. … Methacton’s defense, especially interception-happy Kyle Lowery, Cooper Given, Nico Williams and Akeem Walcott (a combined 10 picks) will be a test for Pinelli and OJR. Mike Cassidy has also been playing well for the Warriors, who have offensive threats in quarterback Brandon Bossard and receivers Dillon Alderfer and Given, all key players in ending a two-game skid last week..
Notes: OJR leads the PAC-10 series, 3-1, and the overall series, 4-1. … Warriors beat the Wildcats for the first time last year, 13-7. … OJR head coach Tom Barr: “We played well for a half last week (against Spring-Ford), but some breaks led to three (SF) scores. Our kids still have a lot of confidence in themselves, continue to work hard, and the injury list is beginning to decline. … Methacton head coach Paul Lepre: “It was good to get a win after the previous two weeks. The mistakes we made in the fourth quarter were more technique than anything, which we hope the kids corrected during practice this week. I think (OJR) and us match up well up front and in the skill positions, so it should be a good game.” 

HILL SCHOOL AT MERCERSBURG ACADEMY
Records: The Hill School is 0-3 in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (0-5 overall) after a 34-6 loss to Blair Academy. Mercersburg is 0-3 (2-4) following a 42-13 setback to Peddie School.
Inside the lines: Hill’s offensive woes were dealt another blow last week when two more offensive linemen (tackles Will Rich and David Oh) went down with injuries. Wideout Jack Barry is also out for Saturday, and two senior defensive starters may miss the game due to ACT testing. Quarterback Grant Smith has his best game of the season (8 of 17, 170 yards, 1 TD), with Seth Regensburg pulling in six of the completions for 159 yards and the touchdown – his fourth of the season. Rams scored in the first half for the first time this season, but two first-half fumbles cost them two more possible touchdowns. … Mercersburg is led by quarterback Matt Hirshman, who has thrown well but also is susceptible to throwing interceptions. His favorite receivers have been Jordi Shapiro, Reggie Fiumano and Ben LoPrimo. The run game is fueled by Ayo Adjibaba and Kam Undieh.
Notes: Hill School leads the series, 39-19. … Rams have won the last four meetings, outscoring the Blue Storm 106-13 in the four games. … Mercersburg started off with two wins, but lost its last four and giving up an average of 39 points in the skid. … Hill School head coach Grey Simpson: “This week represents our best chance to get one in the win column, but I’m sure Mercersburg is approaching the game the same way, so they’ll be ready to play. We have to travel out there with a sense of urgency and pride ready to leave it on the field to get a win. There were definitely some positives coming away from the Blair game that we hope to build on these last two weeks. At this point, it’s become blatantly obvious to everyone involved in our program we’re not going to get any breaks or any lucky bounces. It is just going to be one of those years, so we have to go out and make our own luck and opportunities by our play on the field … every rep in practice and all four quarters in the game.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WEEK NINE PICKS

By Don Seeley

   
TONIGHT'S GAMES
Muhlenberg at Daniel Boone: Daniel Boone added some more starters to the IL, will likely have to rearrange its entire offensive line with literally no healthy tight ends, and have to deal with Muhlernberg's big and physical front lines. A bit too much to overcome ... MUHLENBERG.

Perkiomen Valley at Pottsgrove: Can't pick a tie, even though I'd like to. Pottsgrove is coming off two very impressive, complete-game wins, and Perkiomen Valley - from the start of the season until now - is far and above the most improved team in the area, and a very good team at that. Stewart's a gem, but so are Hudgins and Dukes. Vikings may make just one or two more mistakes than they can afford to. Pottsgrove cannot afford to misfire on extra-points, either, because it be that close of a game ... POTTSGROVE.

Phoenixville at Upper Perkiomen: Phoenixville is in a must-win situation if it's to make it back into the District 1-Class AAA playoffs, especially with Pottsgrove coming to town next week. Upper Perkiomen is improving, but isn't likely to get that elusive first win tonight ... PHOENIXVILLE.

Pope John Paul II at Boyertown: PJP is hungrier than ever for that first win. Unfortunately, Boyertown may have regained some of that much-needed confidence with that incredible fourth-quarter comeback that ran out of time at Methacton last weekend ... BOYERTOWN.

Pottstown at Spring-Ford: If Pottstown ever gets a stop'm and shock'm defense for 48 minutes, watch out. Unfortunately, Spring-Ford has too many weapons for the Trojans to deal with. Great game to watch with two exceptional quarterbacks - Pottstown's elusive Sage Reinhart, and Spring-Ford's record-breaking pocket man Hank Coyne ... SPRING-FORD.

SATURDAY'S GAMES
Owen J. Roberts at Methacton: OJR is healthier than its been in weeks, but Methacton is back playing good, all-around football for the first time in a few weeks ... METHACTON.

Hill School at Mercersburg Academy: A long, long, long bus side won't help the ailing Rams, nor does a revved up Mercersburg crowd celebrating Parents Weekend ... MERCERSBURG.

Last Week: 8-0 (that's perfect)
For the Season: 50-15 (.769 - which is far from perfect)




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL FB PLAYOFF PICTURE

                                             PERK VALLEY HEAD COACH SCOTT REED

By Don Seeley
dseeley@pottsmerc.com

League championships and postseason playoff berths could (and some will) likely be clinched when Week Nine of the high school football season ends around sunset Saturday afternoon.
Call it crunch time … especially for Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove, and for Spring-Ford and Phoenixville as well.
It’s hard to imagine anyone penning such a puzzling script for the next-to-last weekend of the regular season. Reading all you can about who’s who and who has to do this or that, then breaking down what seems to be an endless list of equally puzzling scenarios for next weekend, is absolutely mind-boggling.
Calculators can’t figure it all out at this point.
Without looking ahead (and with no help from Dorothy’s neighbor sitting in his wagon with that crystal ball somewhere out in Kansas), here’s what is a fact at this point: Whoever wins Friday night’s headliner between Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove will clinch a share of the Pioneer Athletic Conference title. And only a share for now, because next week Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove still have to entertain Spring-Ford and Phoenixville, respectively. Win this week and lose next week, well, that could lead to a two-way tie (and there’s even the slim possibility of only the second three-way tie in the history of the PAC-10, too).
Oh, there’s more…
If Perkiomen Valley wins, the Vikings will unofficially clinch a spot in the District 1-Class AAAA playoffs (regardless of next week’s outcome against Spring-Ford). If Pottsgrove wins, the Falcons are unofficially assured the No. 1 seed — and home games for the first two rounds — in the District 1-Class AAA playoffs (regardless of next week’s outcome against Phoenixville).
That sure turns up the heat on both Spring-Ford and Phoenixville.
Spring-Ford is situated at No. 9 (one spot ahead of Perkiomen Valley) in the AAAA points standings. The Rams must beat Pottstown on Friday night just to stay in contention for a second straight PAC-10 championship. If not, it’ll feel like the Trojans pulled the turf out from under their collective cleats because they’ll drop well down in the playoff standings. And a loss to the Trojans coupled with a loss to the Vikings next week would in all likelihood drop the Rams out of the Top 16 and out of the postseason picture entirely.
Phoenixville, playing quite well in recent weeks, is at No. 7 in the AAA playoff standings. The Phantoms — with a comfortable spread over No. 8 Sun Valley — nonetheless have to win at Upper Perkiomen this week before even attempting to digest what may or may not be at stake when they visit Pottsgrove next week.
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Just when you think you may have it all figured out, you realize it isn’t only what your favorite team does but what others above and below them in the playoff points standings do, too.
In Class AAAA, every one of the eight teams ahead of Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley will be heavily favored to win this weekend. The only exception among the group may be — and the emphasis is on may be — No. 4 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (7-1) at Upper Dublin (5-3). That means the Rams and Vikings may not even improve their positions regardless of how they fare themselves.
No one can say that about the six teams immediately behind the Rams and Vikings — all but one with legitimate toss-ups this weekend. No. 11 Coatesville (6-2) is at No. 13 Downingtown West (6-2); Haverford (7-1), tied with Coatesville in the 11th spot, hosts Central League rival Conestoga (5-3); and Neshaminy (6-2), tied with Downingtown West at No. 13, hosts No. 15 Abington (6-2). Garnet Valley (6-2) is on the bubble at No. 16, but shouldn’t have a problem with Penncrest (3-5).
In Class AAA, No. 2 Interboro (7-1) should roll over Chester (1-6), but No. 3 Academy Park (7-1) has a critical match-up at No. 9 Glen Mills (4-4). No. 4 Henderson (6-2) shouldn’t find much of a challenge from Avon Grove (1-6); but Springfield-Delco (6-2) — coming off a disheartening 7-3 loss to AAAA power Ridley — must regroup quickly before traveling to No. 9 Strath Haven (4-4). No. 6 Upper Moreland (5-3) takes a visit to Springfield-Montco (4-4). And directly on the bubble at No. 8, one spot below the Phantoms, is Sun Valley (5-3), which will be a heavy underdog against visiting Rustin (6-2).
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Over the last 10 seasons, or from 2003 through last weekend’s games, Pottsgrove is tied for fifth in the entire state in regular-season wins (84). Ridley tops the list (89), followed by District 4’s Southern Columbia, District 6’s Tyrone and District 11’s Easton with 85 apiece, then Pottsgrove and District 3’s Wilson.