By Don Seeley
Undefeated Pottsgrove knew well before it kicked off Friday night’s game in Phoenixville it already secured the No. 1 seed in the District 1-Class AAA playoffs ... an opportunity to defend the championship it won last season and twice in the past three years.
Phoenixville, on the other hand, was situated at No. 7 in Class AAA and not exactly sure where it would be following the outcome.
By Sunday night, though, the Phantoms — as well as Spring-Ford in Class AAAA — were relieved to know they’re both in as well.
Pottsgrove will open Friday night (7:00) at home against an all-too-familiar opponent, Strath Haven (5-5), which hung onto the No. 8 spot despite getting upset by Harriton, 36-35, in last week’s regular-season finale. It will be the sixth straight district appearance for the Falcons, who’ll obviously be looking to avenge four previous postseason losses to the Panthers.
Phoenixville (6-4), despite the setback to Pottsgrove, actually improved one notch in the playoff points standings and will travel to No. 3 Interboro (8-2), which got spanked last weekend by Academy Park, 49-26, in the two teams’ Del Val League championship showdown.
In Class AAAA, Spring-Ford (9-1), by virtue of its 42-28 win over Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Perkiomen Valley last Friday night, jumped up four spots to No. 7. The Rams will host No. 10 Garnet Valley (8-2), which opened and closed its season with four wins wrapped around back-to-back midseason losses.
The complete District 1-AAA opening round — tentatively set to go with all four games Friday night — has Strath Haven visiting Pottsgrove; No. 5 Springfield-Delco (7-3) visiting No. 4 Henderson (7-3); No. 7 Upper Moreland (6-4) visiting No. 2 Academy Park (9-1); Phoenixville visiting Interboro (8-2); and No. 5 Springfield-Delco (7-3) visiting No. 4 Henderson (7-3).
The semifinals will be held the weekend of Nov. 16-17, with the championship and berth in the state playoffs set for either Nov. 23 or 24.
The complete District 1-AAAA opening-round — tentatively set to go with all eight games Friday night — has No. 16 Wissahickon (7-3) heading to No. 1 Downingtown East (10-0); No. 9 Coatesville (8-2) busing down to No. 8 Unionville (8-2); No. 13 Neshaminy (7-3) visiting No. 4 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (9-1); No. 12 Haverford (8-2) visiting No. 5 Central Bucks South (9-1); No. 15 Downingtown West (7-3) heading down to No. 2 Ridley (10-0); Garnet Valley visiting Spring-Ford; No. 14 Abington (7-3) going over to No. 3 Pennridge (9-1); and No. 11 West Chester Rustin (8-2) visiting No. 6 Pennsbury (8-2).
The AAAA quarterfinals follow No. 16-17, with the semifinals on Nov. 23-24. The championship and District 1’s berth in the state playoffs will be held the weekend of No. 30-Dec. 1.
Pottsgrove has played in 21 postseason games, which leads all current PAC-10 teams and all Mercury-area teams. ... Phoenixville, which won its first postseason games last year before falling to Pottsgrove in the AAA final, is making its fifth postseason appearance. ... Spring-Ford is making its second following last year’s debut, which ended abrupty following a 60-28 loss to Coatesville. ... Perkiomen Valley’s loss to Spring-Ford knocked the Vikings out of a three-way tie for 14th and left them 17th — just one spot below the cut and out of the playoffs. PV was one of seven teams with identical 7-3 records, and one of three (joining No. 18 Kennett and No. 21 Cheltenham) that didn’t advance into the postseason. ... Pottsgrove, along with Downingtown East and Ridley, are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the entire district. ... District 1-AAAA power and defending champion North Penn (6-4) knocked Souderton (6-4) out of the playoff picture in an 11-10 thriller last Friday night, but the Knights could do no better than 19th place in the final points standings.