Tuesday, October 23, 2012
HIGH SCHOOL FB PLAYOFF PICTURE
By Don Seeley
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.
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).
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.