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 16, 2008

Season of uncertainty

It’s never been too awfully difficult to figure out who’s who in Pioneer Athletic Conference football. Old fashion research – like checking team rosters from the previous year to see who’s coming back and who isn’t, a few off-the-record (of course) chats with coaches and players, and peeking in on summer practices as well as a scrimmage here and there – more often than not separates the good from the, dare we say it, not so good.

This season?

Let’s see, put ’em all in alphabetical order – Boyertown, Methacton, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Phoenixville, Pottsgrove, Pottstown, St. Pius X, Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen. Reverse the order if you’d like. Scribble the names of all those teams on a slip of paper, them into a hat, give it a flip-flop, and empty ’em on the kitchen table.

Go ahead.

Just don’t dare claim to have an answer as to who is going to be on top of the standings when the show ends around noon Thanksgiving Day.

Quite simply, the 23rd season of PAC-10 football kicks off this evening with more uncertainty than any before it.

All that research, at least a few months of it, hasn’t revealed any clues. And as ridiculous as it may sound, coaches – a good number of them at least – have mentioned upwards of seven teams they personally feel are capable of winning the title. Most admitted their respective scrimmages were up-and-down (inconsistent, or good and bad, as some mumbled). And after two weeks of non-league tests, no one is exactly gushing over their preseason report cards.

A few fanatics from around the football neighborhood have already put their collective feet over the chin strap, under the facemask and squarely into their mouths by claiming this could be a bad season for the PAC-10.

But, in all likelihood, because of the uncertainty – or dare we say parity – it may very well unfold as one of the best.

The opening-night card isn’t going to tilt this season’s seemingly level playing field, mind you. Not yet, at least. And it isn’t going to reveal any unconquerable, goliath-like lineup(s), either. One week, or one game, a season doesn’t make.

But it sure is a good one. Five games, five legitimate toss-ups … and most of them have their own interesting storylines.

The headliner, if there is indeed one, is Methacton’s visit to Boyertown. The Warriors are making their Pioneer Athletic Conference football debut and, naturally, would like to make a good first impression. The Bears are thinking otherwise, of course. They’d like nothing more than to end an eight-game losing streak that dates back to last season, give new head coach Mark Scisly his first win, and give the Warriors a loss to dwell on during the long bus ride back to Fairview Village.

Phoenixville and Pottsgrove will both attempt to right their respective ships after splitting their two non-league games. Each team has a potential Player of the Year, the Phantoms with Anthony Nattle and the Falcons with Terrell Chestnut, both of whom strut their stuff on both sides of the ball. And even though it doesn’t play into anything, keep the number 550 in mind – this is the 550th game in the history of Pottsgrove’s program, and Phoenixville is looking for the 550th win in the history of its storied program.

St. Pius X will take a short hike over to Pottstown and, for the first time in five years, look for a win in its PAC-10 opener. George Parkinson, the first head coach with three consecutive seasons on the Lions’ sidelines since Dave Bodolus (1995-2001), and the Lions had last week off. But don’t think they lost any of the enthusiasm or confidence from their impressive opening-night shutout of Simon Gratz down in Philadelphia. The Trojans, meanwhile, are expected to be a little healthier than they were against both Blue Mountain and Upper Dublin. And they also have Kenny Baker, another genuine Player of the Year candidate, who can break a game wide open all by himself with his quickness and speed.

Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley meet in Graterford to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a series that has become as good a rivalry as there is locally. It’s also a series that has gone in reverse since Spring-Ford dominated the early meetings (by taking seven of its first eight PAC-10 wins by shutouts and four more in consecutive seasons – 1990-93). Perkiomen Valley has won eight of the last nine meetings, though. Both struggled the past two weeks, but both have two of the area’s top quarterbacks. The Rams have Trevor Sasek, who is threatening to rewrite the school’s record book, and the Vikings have Zach Zulli, who is threatening to rewrite the school’s and area’s record books.

And the final entry on the PAC-10 card has Upper Perkiomen at Owen J. Roberts, perhaps the two teams with as much to prove as anyone tonight. The Indians were nearly flawless in a rout of Allentown Allen and totally outplayed at Downingtown West. OJR got burnt by big plays against Downingtown West, then came up with their own to singe West Chester East. Indians head coach Keith Leamer hasn’t lost any of his five games against OJR, but will have to deal with two of the league’s best linemen in the Wildcats’ Sam Morgan and Nelson Munoz and two of the league’s most promising underclassmen in Ryan Brumfield and Scott Syrek.


Daniel Boone, the area’s only 2-0 team, is at home tonight for the first time this season and entertains Columbia – a team that gave up 576 yards and 61 points in a loss to York Suburban last weekend. If that trend continues, the stat-fanats may need a calculator to add up Nate Greene’s yardage on the ground and quarterback Jon Monteiro’s yardage through the air.

Perkiomen School finally kicks off its season tonight at Tower Hill down in Wilmington, Del. Head coach Kevin Manferdini can ill afford any injuries this season because of lower numbers in camp. He has two promising senior guards in Eric Pfeiffer and Robert Faraco, who’ll lead a charge up front for Abdul Smith, who has already committed to Rutgers University and is, without doubt, as good a candidate for Player of the Year honors as anyone.


The Hill School will be the area’s last team to step onto the field this season. The Blues’ scheduled matinee for today against visiting Germantown Academy was pushed back to noon Sunday. The change was agreed upon by both schools after GA’s opener with Cardinal Dougherty got washed out Saturday night and, because of scheduling conflicts, was pushed back to Monday afternoon.

See Sunday’s edition of The Mercury for a preview of the Blues’ opener.


Three big games on the District 1 docket tonight feature Pennsbury (2-0) at Glen Mills (2-0) and Strath Haven (1-1) at Conestoga (2-0), while the showcase event is St. Joseph’s Prep (2-0) visiting North Penn (2-0). The teams are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the state’s AAAA division. There are a couple more interesting matchups on Saturday, too, with Quakertown (2-0) visiting Cheltenham (2-0) and Henderson (2-0) traveling to Malvern Prep (1-0).


West Wayne ended the state’s longest active losing streak at 41 games last weekend with a 21-6 win over Susquehanna Community. The Wildcats, who compete in the District 2-Class AAA bracket, hadn’t won a game since Nov. 7, 2003. Going into tonight’s games, Montgomery (District 4-A) and Allegheny-Clarion Valley (District 9-AA) own the state’s longest active losing streak at 24. … On the flip side, defending Class AA state champion Jeannette (District 7), which has swept 18 straight games, boasts the longest active winning streak in Pennsylvania. District 6-AA power Tyrone has won 34 consecutive regular-season games since a narrow 7-6 setback to Phillipsburg-Osceola four years ago.


There were a few famous faces in the stands last week when Oaks Christian put a 35-7 thumping on Bakersfield Christian out in California. Former San Francisco 49er quarterback and Hall of Famer Joe Montana was there to watch his son, Oaks Christian quarterback Nick Montana. Seated nearby was NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Getzky and Hollywood star Will Smith, both keeping an eye on their sons who play for OC as well. On the other side of the field, former No. 1 NFL draft pick and journeyman quarterback David Carr was watching his son, Derek Carr, who was calling the signals for Bakersfield Christian.

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