By Don Seeley
GRATERFORD — Perkiomen Valley may have improved as much, if not more, than anyone since the season kicked off with the start of practices back in mid-August.
Unfortunately, back-to-back losses to unbeaten champion Pottsgrove and then Spring-Ford in the final two weeks of their Pioneer Athletic Conference season may have tainted that progress for some … just don’t include head coach Scott Reed or his staff among them.
“Pottsgrove is a really, really good football team, and so is Spring-Ford,” Reed said last weekend. “Our kids never quit in either game. They played their hearts out.”
They did throughout the season, which began with a narrow 20-16 setback to Plymouth-Whitemarsh (9-1) — which is seeded fourth in this week’s opening round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs.
The PAC-10 grind may have ended last Friday night (with a trip to non-league opponent Saucon Valley this week finishing off the season), but the Vikings’ gang of unknown and unsung contributors left quite a mark … or a few no one may have been aware of.
In league play only, the Vikings won their first seven games for the very first time — and fell one game shy of their school-record eight-game winning streak in 2007. They put up the second-most number of points of any Perkiomen Valley team before them — falling 23 points short of the 2007 team’s mark.
But they still managed to set a new single-season PAC-10 record for total yards (3,810).
They were able to do it with a blue-collar effort up front and with a lot of raw — or young talent — alongside and behind that offensive line.
Wideout Clay Domine, for one, broke team single-season league records for receptions and yards.
And then there was Rasaan Stewart, who became the fourth Viking quarterback to throw for more than 1,000 yards in a PAC-10 season and only the fifth player to run for more than 1,000 yards in a PAC-10 season.
Not surprisingly, Stewart became the first player in PAC-10 history to do both — go over 1,000 yards carrying as well as throwing the football.
Great news for the Vikings … but bad news for their opponents: Both Domine and Stewart return next year, along with five starting or back-up linemen and other skill-position players like Mark Bonomo and Dakota Clanagan.
Last Saturday’s win over Pottstown marked the first game this season Methacton didn’t intercept at least one pass. … Jarrad Pinelli last Saturday night became just the third Owen J. Roberts quarterback to throw for more than 1,000 yards in a PAC-10 season. … Pottsgrove’s Mark Dukes (122) and Tory Hudgins (114) and PV’s Stewart (108) became the 34th, 35th and 36th players to score more than 100 points in a PAC-10 season.
Former St. Pius X standouts — Berks Catholic head coach Rick Keeley and Schuylkill Valley head coach Jeff Chillot — will guide their respective teams into the District 3-AA playoffs this weekend.
Keeley was unbeaten until last week’s 14-0 loss to unbeaten and state-ranked Wyomissing, the top seed in the district power ratings. Chillot and his Panthers dropped three of their last five games — by one point to Berks Catholic, by six to once-beaten AAA power Donegal, and by four to Wyomissing.
So guess who’s playing who Friday night? Yep, Chillot and his No. 5 seeded Panthers (7-3) will visit Keeley and his No. 4 seeded Saints (9-1) at the former Holy Name High School. And guess who the winner gets in the semifinals the following week? In all likelihood it’ll be Wyomissing (which will likely destroy visiting Littlestown on Saturday afternoon).
Down in Philadelphia, former Pottstown standout Eric Zipay guided Simon Gratz to a 36-12 win over Mastery Charter North in the city’s Public League semifinals. Zipay and his unbeaten Bulldogs (10-0) meet Bok (8-2) in this weekend’s final.
Out in western part of the state, former Pottstown head coach Mike Melnyk — in his first year guiding Mount Lebanon — opened the District 7-AAAA playoffs with a 48-28 blitz of Burrell. Melnyk and the Blue Devils (8-2) visit Seneca Valley (9-1) in this weekend’s quarterfinals.
Rank and file: The state’s Top 10 in all four classifications are kind of a mute point now that the playoffs are under way. Nonetheless, there was no bigger upset last week than out in District 3, where defending AAAA state champion and No. 5 ranked Central Dauphin (8-2) got shocked 21-19 by Central Dauphin East (3-7). … In Class AAA, No. 8 ranked Abington Heights (8-2) was crushed 35-0 by unbeaten Scranton (10-0). … And in Class A, No. 6 West Middlesex (8-2) was stunned 21-20 by Seneca Valley (3-7).
No defense: Eastern York (4-6) outlasted crosstown rival York County Tech (2-8) in an 81-56 scoring marathon last weekend. The winners’ Alex Cooley ran 22 times for 492 yards (21 yards plus per carry) and eight touchdowns, caught a pass for another score, and returned a fumble for a touchdown — that’s 10 total. The teams combined for 1,127 yards rushing and 1,362 overall in the game.
Down and out: Former Pioneer Athletic Conference member Lansdale Catholic saw its season end last week following a 28-0 loss to Bonner in the Philadelphia Catholic League’s Class AAA semifinals.
Heady numbers: Allentown Central Catholic’s Colin McDermott ran for 422 yards five TDs in a 42-7 win over Bethlehem Catholic. … Washington’s Shai McKenzie ran for 260 yards and six TDs in a District 7-AA playoff win (47-12) over Shady Side Academy. … Downingtown West’s Tino Bunhu ran for 255 yards and six TDs in a 49-13 romp over Bishop Shanahan. … Great Valley’s Max Burgess warmed up for this week’s game at Pottstown by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns (85 and 75 yards) in a 55-26 win over Sun Valley. … Greenville’s Tyler Fattman returned two punts for touchdowns (70 and 55 yards) in a District 10-AA win, 41-21, over Harbor Creek. … West Perry’s Zach Smith threw for 361 yards and six TDs in a District 3-AA win, 42-35, over Northern.
Long, long run: Sharyland (Tex.) senior Sean Landez caught a missed field goal just under the crossbar — and in between two officials — with his feet less than an inch from the end line. He decided to take it out of the end zone … and 109 yards and 35 inches later, he was in rival Edinberg’s end zone. Landez also returned a kick 90 yards for another touchdown to highlight the 48-7 rout.