Friday, October 26, 2012


By Don Seeley

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.

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).

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.

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