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.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stretching the weekend, changing the chances

One week, or one game, a season does not make. But after Mother Nature stretched the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s opening night into an opening weekend, there was a wee bit of separation.

In other words, and beyond the obvious deduction that there were five winners and five losers, a few teams stepped to the forefront, earned some respect and established themselves as contenders for a PAC-10 title … while others, though in no way out of anything after just one week, slipped significantly.

Yes, Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove – two of the teams a lot of fans early on felt were heads (or helmets) above everyone else – rebounded from their own puzzling preseasons with big wins.

The Vikings put together another one of those offensive surges that helped them to a share of the title a year ago. This time, their 27-point burst not only ended a 14-14 struggle but burst Spring-Ford’s bubble. And Pottsgrove, like it has so often in the past, showcased a stingy defense that has kept the Falcons in game after game after game, or just long enough until a big play or two provides the differential.

And a couple of very long, second half runs into the end zone – and 77 and 63 yards certainly qualify as long – were about the only disparities between them and Phoenixville.

Two other teams, two who weren’t popping up on the championship run radar screens that is, produced a few blips last weekend, though.

Boyertown, which had lost eight straight games dating back to last season – including a pair of easily forgotten meetings with longtime Berks County rivals Muhlenberg and Governor Mifflin to kick off this season – used a turnover happy defense to set up short field after short field opportunities for the offense. The Bears converted, and turned their 31-0 blitz wasn’t exactly what Methacton had in mind, let alone expected, for its long-awaited PAC-10 debut. And Owen J. Roberts showed, to many of their own fans’ surprise, a productive defense, too. The Wildcats came up with five turnovers, one of which returned a dividend of six points by itself, to disarm what is expected to be a destructive Upper Perkiomen offense and underline a 28-14 victory.

And while a few fanatics would prefer to call Pottstown’s blowout of St. Pius X a mismatch to begin with, well, not necessarily. The Trojans were ailing in the preseason, but few realized just how well they did play against an Upper Dublin team (33-12 loss) that has humbled everyone thus far. But they were healthy for the first time last weekend, especially up front, and that may have had as much if not more to do with what they did than what Pius didn’t do.

But Week One’s five winners and five losers, as good, bad or indifferent as they may have been in victory and defeat, are back at it again this weekend … and all have the opportunity to reassure – or restore – their championship hopes.

It only gets more and more interesting.


Player of the Week honors go to Perkiomen Valley quarterback Zach Zulli, who hit on 17 of 19 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 92 yards and two more scores in the Vikings’ 47-21 victory over Spring-Ford.

Coach of the Week honors go to Boyertown’s Mark Scisly, who came up with a daily double – his first Pioneer Athletic Conference win and his first win as the Bears’ head coach – in the 31-0 shutout of Methacton.


If there was a Hero of the Week honor it would surely go to Kevin Manferdini and his entire Perkiomen School football team. Manferdini had just 15 players on the field for last Friday night’s season opener at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Del. Despite the limited personnel, the Indians were within a touchdown of their hosts going into the fourth quarter before falling, 28-14.

The Hill School had to wait until Sunday to open its 122th season, and did impressively with a 32-8 romp over Germantown Academy. The Rams could very well contend for a Mid-Atlantic Prep League title and, with eight games still remaining on their card, have a legitimate shot at the five more wins they need to reach the program’s milestone 500th win.


To say Daniel Boone head coach Dave Bodolus was one unhappy camper after Saturday night’s overtime loss to Columbia would be, well, leave it at that.

The Blazers were averaging close to 450 yards and 40 points and allowing only 160 yards and seven points after two season-opening blowouts. So when winless Columbia, which had little if anything to shout about – especially after surrendering nearly 600 yards and 61 points the previous week – appeared on the schedule, Bodolus and his Blazers had to be drooling.

Well, as Bodolus pointed out after the shocking setback, the Blazers forgot to tackle. Even though quarterback Jon Monteiro sat on the sidelines with an injury, the Blazers produced 440 yards of offense. Zach Keeley and Nate Greene both ran over the 100-yard mark. Bodolus’ own son stepped in and was quite commendable in completing 10 of 18 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

They scored 47 points for goodness sakes.

“(But) we tackled like a bunch of little leaguers,” Bodolus said.

Which may explain why Columbia’s Dakota Lightfoot needed just 23 carries to pile up 330 yards and five touchdowns. The first four scores covered 95, 67, 21 and 72 yards. The last one was a simple 10-yarder right smack up the middle, but it came on the first snap of overtime and, with the extra-point, was enough to stun Bodolus, the Blazers and their faithful following.


Boyertown quarterback David Crognale is now within 309 yards of hitting the 5,000-yard mark in career total offense. Crognale has run for 1,631 yards and passed for 3,060, giving him 4,691 overall. … PV’s Zach Zulli is closing in on the 4,000-yard mark in career passing. Zulli has 3,974 – and 45 touchdown passes – going into this Friday’s game at Pottsgrove.


Owen J. Roberts visits Methacton on Saturday looking for its 100th Pioneer Athletic Conference win since joining the league in 1988. … Phoenixville’s loss to Pottsgrove last week evened the Phantoms’ overall PAC-10 record at 97-97-1. … Boyertown’s shutout of Methacton last Saturday night was the 200th shutout in the PAC-10. … Pottsgrove has now gone 50 straight league games without being shut out, matching the league’s third-longest streak. The Falcons are getting closer to its own PAC-10 record of 57 in a row (1988-1994). … Some PAC-10 win milestones from last week – Pottsgrove’s Rick Pennypacker got his 110th, Owen J. Roberts’ Tom Barr got his 55th, and Perkiomen Valley’s Scott Reed got his 20th. … Like last week’s tie-breaker between Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley, Pottstown and Upper Perkiomen are 11-11 in their PAC-10 series going into Friday night’s meeting in Red Hill. The game will also be the 600th in the history of Upper Perkiomen’s football program, which began in 1952.

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