A rundown on the regular season
By Don Seeley
We can’t quite call it a season yet, not with three playoff games and four non-league games Friday night, then one more non-league match-up as well as the grand and most revered rivalry of them all — Lawrenceville and Hill School — on Saturday afternoon (and don’t forget those two Thanksgiving morning games, either).
And who really knows if the postseason will take us into December…
But one thing we can call (or recall), at least for one day, are some of area’s highlights (and a lowlight or two), reflect on some impressive facts and figures, and lay out some intriguing (if not troublesome) scenarios for Pioneer Athletic Conference coaches and Mercury sports writers before they all sit down to select their all-league and all-area teams.
Teaming Up I: The PAC-10 was essentially a three-team race this year, and Pottsgrove separated itself from the other two by shutting down Spring-Ford (26-0) in Week Four and beating down Perkiomen Valley (42-28) in Week Eight en route to another 9-0 run. It was a league-record sixth undefeated season for the Falcons – seven if you count the 8-0-1 mark back in 1990. In the 27-year history of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, only 14 teams have finished unbeaten and untied, and Pottsgrove accounts for nearly half of total.
Teaming Up II: More Pottsgrove (sorry)… This is a record fifth straight year the Falcons have had two players each run for more than 1,000 yards. No one in this area can come even remotely close to equaling that. Even more astonishing in that run were the two years when quarterback Terrell Chestnut nearly made it a threesome by running for 956 and 969 yards in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
Teaming Up III: Forget the three already mentioned teams for a moment… Methacton needs a win Saturday at Norristown for a second straight winning season, something the Warriors haven’t done since 1997-98 and something they’ve only achieved five previous times since their first season in 1962; Pottstown, despite dropping its last three games, has an opportunity to end a string of eight straight losing seasons and finish at .500 for the first time since 2003 if they defeat Great Valley (Friday) and Owen J. Roberts (on Thanksgiving).
Offense and Defense: Pottsgrove shattered the PAC-10 single-season record for touchdowns, total points scored and average points per game, and both Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford have gone over the 300-point mark.
Quarterback Dilemma: Who will be the first-team PAC-10 quarterback is as good a question as anyone could ask right now. Pottsgrove’s Tory Hudgins would be as good a choice as any due to the obvious – running for over 1,000 yards and leading his team to the league title and into the District 1-AAA playoffs for a second straight year. But hold onto your ballot for a second… Spring-Ford’s Hank Coyne and Pottstown’s Sage Reinhart are breaking all sorts of single-season and career school records, and Perkiomen Valley’s Rasaan Stewart produced his school’s first football trifecta (running for 1,000 yards, passing for another 1,000, and scoring over 100 points).
Player of the Year: There are more than a handful of players who have made quite an impact on both sides of the ball this year. But add Stewart’s offensive numbers to his defensive contributions in the Vikings’ secondary and… Let’s just say (there are games remaining remember), the PV junior may have a slight edge on everyone else if ballots were required to be cast today. And even though they’ll likely be overlooked, Phoenixville has as good a one-two offensive and defensive punch as anyone around with the Ryan Express – or Ryan Pannella and Ryan Yenchick.
Passing Thoughts: Pope John Paul quarterback James Bleming went down with a season-ending injury in Week Four, but not before he had thrown for 908 yards and eight touchdowns. Makes you wonder how big those numbers would’ve been had he remained healthy. Nonetheless, backup Matt Mesaros more than held his own and threw for 1,133 the rest of the way.
Secondary Thoughts: Boyertown sophomores Dalton Hughes and Justin Siejk weren’t even mentioned as possible starters in the beginning of the season. Last Saturday night, Hughes tied a PAC-10 record with three interceptions, and Siejk leads the Bears in tackles. … Methacton (Cooper Given, Kyle Lowery, Akeem Walcott and Nico Williams) and Pottsgrove (Michael Fowler, Nick Brennan, Jalen Mayes and Qwhadir Miller) each have four players with two or more interceptions.
All Offense or No Defense: Pottstown obliterated the PAC-10’s single-game record for total offense and producing 653 in Week’s Three visit at Boyertown. … Pottsgrove shattered the PAC-10 single-season record for touchdowns, total points scored and average points per game, and both Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford have gone over the 300-point mark (reached previously by just 19 teams since 1986). With the two Thanksgiving games still to be played, there have already been more points scored this season than in any previous PAC-10 season.
Proud Pope: Pope John Paul II ran for a school-record 403 yards in Saturday’s finale – more than half, or 64 percent to be exact – of the total yards (632) the Golden Panthers ran for in their previous nine games.
Ouch: Injuries are part of the game, but it would take a meeting of the minds to recall if any teams in recent years – other than Phoenixville two seasons back – were hurt as much as Daniel Boone, Hill School, Owen J. Roberts and Pope John Paul were this fall. Of that unfortunate foursome, no one probably took as hard a hit as Hill School did. The Rams lost legitimate Player of the Year candidate Adam Regensburg for the season in its opener.
True Grit (or Guts): Two weeks ago, Owen J. Roberts wideout Matt Raymond – who was nearing the PAC-10 record for touchdown catches in a season – went down with an ankle injury during the first half of the Wildcats’ game at Methacton. He asked, actually begged a few times, for the trainer to tape it up because he wanted to get back into the game. After a half-hour of wrapping and unwrapping, of running short sprints and attempting to make cuts, it was decided Raymond couldn’t go. A couple of days later, Raymond underwent surgery and had pins inserted into his ankle.
Bucking Heads in Bucktown: Owen J. Roberts’ assistant coach Hank Coyne won’t have to game plan against his son, Spring-Ford senior quarterback Hank Coyne Jr., anymore. Pottsgrove trainer Jack Thomas won’t have to be on the other side of the field watching his son, OJR senior tight end Jay Thomas anymore either, but he’ll have two more years of having to watch his twin sons, sophomores Nick and Tony Thomas, play for OJR. And Pottsgrove’s defensive coordinator Bill Bradford, like Thomas, won’t have to scheme anymore against his oldest son, OJR senior wideout Will Bradford, but he’ll be scanning the schemes to deal with another son, OJR freshman quarterback Mitch Bradford, for a few more years.
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Don Seeley is the sports editor of The Mercury. His high school football column appears Tuesdays and Fridays through Thanksgiving. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read his past columns on his blog Talking Sports, http://talkingsportswithseeley.blogspot.com/