Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

’Cats getting buddy-buddy on the O-line

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 9 edition of The Mercury.

Any time a family or two moves next door or up the street, it usually takes some time for the kids to blend in. You know, make a few new friends and, hopefully, get along with everyone.

Well, Tom Barr must have thought there was a mad rush to get out of the Owen J. Roberts neighborhood last month when he opened camp and Nelson Munoz and Sam Morgan were the only familiar faces on the block, or the offensive line. There were plenty of strangers ready to line up either aside of or around Munoz and Morgan, mind you. And even though Barr wasn’t expecting a family feud, if you will, he was nonetheless concerned if they could play together.

“One of our biggest concerns coming in (to the season) was that the majority of those kids on that line was inexperienced, and that they had never played together as a unit,” the veteran Wildcats coach explained.

Two games into the season, all seems well on the offensive front.

In the opener against very, very good Downingtown West, the Wildcats were able to run for 259 of their 343 yards. Last week against West Chester East, they were able to take it a step further, running for 329 of their 362 yards.

Munoz and Morgan may not have welcomed the new fellas with open arms, but Sam Odle, Sean Moloney, Mike Klinger, and Brad Davis sure seem to be playing like they’ve known one another for quite some time.

“We were a little surprised in our first scrimmage,” Barr said. “We were able to move the ball up and down the field. The line blocked so well we didn’t even have to punt once. We looked so much ahead of where we were at the same time last year.

“Then, in our second scrimmage, it was the same thing. They played well, and they were cutting down on their mistakes. They were progressing well.”

Munoz (6-0, 230) was no surprise at center. Neither was Morgan (6-3, 242), who moved in from tackle to go at left guard. But Moloney (5-10, 195) at right guard, Odle (6-6, 210), and Klinger (6-0, 245) at left and right tackles, respectively, and Davis (5-11, 195) at tight end, did raise a few eyebrows to a great extent.

And does that bode well with Barr and his staff, which has experience and talent behind the front six with old friends like Dan Miller at quarterback and his legion of running backs — Cory Bissland, Ryan Brumfield, Sam Funk, Scott Syrek, and Rich Zazo.

“We felt comfortable about the people in the skill positions coming into the season,” Barr said. “And we can utilize Bissland, Funk and Syrek in a lot of ways, too, at fullback or tailback.”

The very swift Brumfield, who ran for 772 yards as a freshman a year ago, is OJR’s feature back, at least for now. He just missed the 100-yard mark against Downingtown West, then piled up 273 yards and four touchdowns against W.C. East. Funk, who’ll usually be found out on a wing, has deceiving speed. Bissland, Syrek, and Zazo are more of the big, bowl-you-over type backs.

“We’re still making mistakes, but we’re cutting down on them and seeing improvement overall,” Barr said.

And on the other side of the ball, with Morgan at nose tackle, Zazo at middle linebacker, and Miller at a corner, it’s pretty much the same story.

Which means the Wildcats aren’t just a friendly bunch now, but a confident one approaching Friday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference opener against Upper Perkiomen.

“We’ve just seen a lot of improvement attitude-wise,” Barr said. “That’s big, too, because in the past when something bad happened we broke down. Now it seems when something goes wrong or the kids face adversity, they bounce back. They don’t seem phased by (mistakes). They don’t let anything bother them.”

Barr hopes that continues this week … and into the fall.


Player of the Week honors go to Brumfield, who carried a career-high 28 times for 273 yards and four touchdowns in the 26-21 win over West Chester East.

Not surprising, Coach of the Week honors go to Barr, who guided the Wildcats to the come-from-behind victory over the Vikings.


The Pioneer Athletic Conference coaches get together this week one last time before the league season kicks off Friday. Don’t be surprised if one conversation focuses on how their teams did collectively in the two-week, preseason grind.

After going just 3-7 on opening night, the PAC-10 was 3-6 last weekend.

“Those (numbers) can be a little deceiving,” Barr said. “Most of our teams go out looking for quality teams to play, teams that are going to give you the good competition to prepare us for our league schedule. We all play to win, but it’s just as important for every one of us to get to know where we’re at, where we stand going into the (league schedule).”

Perkiomen Valley, which shared the PAC-10 title a year ago and is among the frontrunners this season, may have had the toughest two-game test with Upper Dublin and Coatesville, both 2-0 and among the favorites in the Suburban One and Ches-Mont League this season. Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts, Pottstown, and Spring-Ford — whose opponents’ combined records are each 3-1 right now — all had stacked preseason schedules, too.

For the record, the PAC-10 was 3-10 against Class AAAA rivals, 2-3 against AAA opponents, and 1-0 against an AA school (St. Pius’ win over Simon Gratz).


The 2008 Blazer Tour through District 3 continued last week when Daniel Boone squashed Susquehannock, 35-14. Junior quarterback Jon Monteiro is 27-for-41 for 577 yards and seven touchdowns in just two weeks, and wideout Zach Keeley is proving to be as good catching the ball (10 receptions, 229 yards, 4 TDs) as he is denying opponents an opportunity to catch it, which earned him all-state honors a year ago.

Monteiro’s 342 yards passing last week is the area’s third-highest individual game mark. The record is 396 yards, set by Phoenixville’s Steve Rife back in 1982.

The Blazers play at home for the first time this season when they host Columbia on Friday night. Head coach Dave Bodolus, not to mention Monteiro and running back Nate Greene, must be chomping at the bit to get out there, too, because Columbia gave up 576 yards in a 61-26 loss to York Suburban last weekend.


The Hill School’s scheduled opener with Germantown Academy this Friday has been pushed back to noon Sunday. The Patriots were supposed to debut at Cardinal Dougherty last Saturday, but inclement weather forced officials to postpone the game until Monday afternoon.

Perkiomen School, meanwhile, will kick off its season Friday (3:45 p.m.) at Tower Hill in Wilmington, Del.


The PAC-10 opens its 23rd season Friday night with a five-game card. Methacton debuts at Boyertown, where Warriors head coach Bob McNally is looking for his first PAC-10 win and Bears head coach Mark Scisly is looking for his first win on the Boyertown sideline; Phoenixville travels to Pottsgrove in a milestone game (more on that Friday); Spring-Ford visits Perkiomen Valley with a score to settle in the 25th renewal of their series; St. Pius X returns from a bye week and buses across town to take on Pottstown; and Upper Perkiomen and OJR get together at Bucktown. … Pottstown opens as one of two teams with a 48-48-1 record in league games played on its home field.

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