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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Player of Year ballot is crowded

Let’s forget, for the time being, about who’s who in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Come to think of it, forget about Daniel Boone’s run in the Berks I-C, as well as Perkiomen School’s and Hill School’s futures in their respective leagues, too.

Instead, take a moment, pretend it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and come up with a Player of the Year based on who you’ve actually seen, heard of or read about in the first month of the season).

If anyone dares to have one, well, they best get out to a few more games.


LOL (text message maniacs’ and chat room regulars’ acronym for “laughing out loud”). Some of us may even opt for ROFLMAO (another acronym that’s better left undefined here).

With apologies to all those unsung grunts up front who help make everyone else behind them look as good or better than they may be at times, the Player of the Year ballot is already getting pretty darn long. Actually longer at this juncture of the season than any before it, or any that even the most diehard football fan can remember.

Seriously, if you had to select just one right now, it would be downright difficult with Daniel Boone’s Zach Keeley and Jon Monteiro, Methacton’s Tim Smith, Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Brumfield, Perkiomen School’s Abdul Smith, Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Zulli, Phoenixville’s Abdul Kelly and Anthony Nattle, Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut, and Pottstown’s Ken Baker all more than deserving the selection.

Just how well Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts continue to play could mean adding their quarterbacks — David Crognale and Dan Miller — to that list, too. And there are, believe it or not, others very worthy of a spot on the ballot, but for now are buried in anonymity because of their respective team’s early season struggles.

Keeley is arguably one of the busiest and best on both sides of the ball so far. There aren’t many as versatile — or blessed with such quality versatility — as the returning all-state defensive back. And Monteiro, well, the junior quarterback is completing 68 percent of his passes, which have already accounted for 885 yards and 12 touchdowns in three games. He could, if he remains healthy, shatter practically every school, Berks County, and area passing record by season’s end.

Smith, the one from Methacton, and Brumfield were a two-man show in the open field last weekend. Both have the moves to find the grooves and score from anywhere on the field. The other Smith, from Perkiomen School, has already accepted a full ride from Rutgers, so don’t even begin to think all those big numbers and headlines are a result of playing against lesser competition.

Zulli, who broke school and PAC-10 passing records a year ago and was a near landslide winner of the Player of the Year honor, is on pace to break those marks again this season. He’s thrown for 895 yards already, but he’s added another dimension to his game — running, and running effectively when tucking it in and heading upfield.

Kelly and Nattle are arguably two of the best two-way players in the area. Kelly is playing a slew of new positions, and playing them well. Nattle, well, remember the old pickup games on that empty neighborhood lot? He’d be your first pick.

Chestnut was all-state a year ago, as a freshman no less. He plays like a senior, showing incredible poise at a new position (quarterback) and not only has that field awareness on defense but one incredible pop to his hits. And Baker, a threat to take every handoff the distance, could possibly be the one player of all previously mentioned that his team couldn’t do without.

But enough of the politicking, catch a glimpse of these fellas.

They are good. Real goooooooood.


Player of the Week honors go to Perkiomen School’s Abdul Smith, who ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and completed 12 of 16 passes for another 183 yards and two scores in the Indians’ 24-14 win over George School. … Monteiro (308 yards and five touchdowns passing) and Brumfield (264 yards rushing and two touchdowns overall) are very worthy of honorable mention.

Coach of the Week honors go to Pottsgrove’s Rick Pennypacker, who guided the Falcons to a very big, come-from-behind 32-29 win over Perkiomen Valley last Friday night.


Three area receivers — Boyertown’s Ty Showers, Pottsgrove’s Maika Polamalu, and Daniel Boone’s Josh Ortiz — aren’t having a whole lot of passes thrown their way this season. But the ones that are usually end up in the end zone.

Showers has caught just four tosses, and they only add up to 44 yards, but all four have resulted in touchdowns for the Bears. Polamalu has pulled in a couple of short flips out of the backfield and turned both into identical 37-yard touchdowns. Ortiz has three receptions and taken two of them into the end zone. Ortiz, incidentally, is averaging 52 yards per catch.


Zulli went over the 4,000-yard career mark last Friday night and moved up to the No. 2 spot on the area’s chart. Zulli, now at 4,198, passed Upper Perkiomen graduate Jeff Moyer (4,161) and trails only Daniel Boone graduate Chris Bokosky (5,297). Zulli also has 48 career touchdown passes.

Owen J. Roberts on Saturday became the fourth team in the Pioneer Athletic Conference to reach 100 wins in league play. Phoenixville needs two more to become the fifth. … Last Friday night, Upper Perkiomen moved over the .500 mark (49-48-1) in PAC-10 games at home with the win over Pottstown.


Owen J. Roberts’ 563 yards of offense last Saturday at Methacton was the fourth-highest total in PAC-10 history. Penalties erased another 39 yards, which would have pushed that figure beyond the league record — 585 yards, set by Upper Perkiomen in 2003 — and enabled the Wildcats to become the first team to go over the 600-yard mark.

The Wildcats did get in the record book, though, breaking the marks for running plays (65) and total plays (76) in a PAC-10 game.


Phoenixville’s 28-0 win at St. Pius X was the 550th in the history of its program, which kicked off in 1894. It also lifted the Phantoms back over the .500 mark (98-97-1) in Pioneer Athletic Conference play.

Norristown (615) and Coatesville (603) are the only District 1 schools with more wins than Phoenixville, whose total is among the Top 50 in Pennsylvania.


It didn’t take long for Pottsgrove to get rolling offensively last Friday night and extend its string of games without being shutout to 51. The Falcons, who haven’t been blanked on the board since a 47-0 loss to Pottstown back in Week Five of the 2002 season, are now within six games of tying their own PAC-10 record (57 games). Spring-Ford currently owns the PAC-10’s second-longest active streak (48 games).


Think Dave Bodolus knows a thing or two about offense? Since he took over the Daniel Boone program in 2003, the Blazers have yet to be shut out in the 62 games he’s been on the sidelines. His teams have been limited to one touchdown in just five of those 62 games.

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