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 3, 2008

Taking new direction

Originally published in the Aug. 29 edition of The Mercury

It wasn’t easy getting on MapQuest this week. The Web site wasn’t down, mind you, just a bit overloaded with devoted football fans checking in to see how to get to where their teams are playing.

Yep, opening night is here.

And on the area’s 10-game card, five teams — Daniel Boone, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Spring-Ford, and St. Pius X — are hitting the road to kick off their respective seasons.

No one is traveling further west than Daniel Boone, with its 52-mile ride to Donegal in Mt. Joy, and no one is traveling further east than St. Pius X, with a 41-mile ride to Simon Gratz in Philadelphia. In between them, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, and Spring-Ford are taking shorter (and more familiar) trips to Downingtown West, Upper Dublin, and Bayard Rustin in West Chester. And on the flip side of the card, Boyertown, Phoenixville, Pottsgrove, Pottstown, and Upper Perkiomen will be home sweet home.

Enough of the geography lesson.

Tonight, there is a much more important issue … for everyone, regardless of who they line up against where they choose to do it.

“(Tonight’s) when you look to put the pieces together,” said Daniel Boone head coach Dave Bodolus. “(Tonight’s) when you hope everything is up to the norm, when you get that consistency in the transition from your offense, defense, and special teams.

“Everybody has had a couple of weeks of practices, a few scrimmages. You can look good out there practicing and do things well in those controlled scrimmages. But until you can go out and do it for real — in a game — you’re unproven.”

Everyone has a lot to prove, too.

Boyertown, with new head coach Mark Scisly, is out to prove it is back and as good as if not better than the Boyertown team that won the Pioneer Athletic Conference title two years ago. Owen J. Roberts has perhaps as much depth in the backfield as its had in quite some time and out to prove it has the personnel to return to its traditional winning ways. Perkiomen Valley wants to prove that graduation may have taken a lot of its stars of a year ago but not the heart and drive of a team determined to successfully defend its PAC-10 title.

Phoenixville, Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Spring-Ford, and Upper Perkiomen, all with a few familiar names and a whole lot of no-names, are bound and determined to make a big name for themselves tonight in preparations for a run of their own in the PAC-10. And St. Pius, unquestionably as young as anyone, is looking to prove it learned enough through last year’s growing pains to reverse its ways and make an impact this time around.

“You go into these games hoping to win, of course,” Bodolus explained. “But there isn’t really any one aspect of the game you focus on more than another.

“You do have concerns with the guys who are your first-year starters, though. Like I said, you can look good in practices and in scrimmage, but the important thing is looking game in a real game.”

It all gets real tonight.

Methacton — getting ready for its inaugural run in the Pioneer Athletic Conference — kicks off its new season Saturday against visiting Quakertown in a 1:30 matinee. The Warriors make their PAC-10 debut in two weeks when they visit Boyertown.


Scisly is the 10th head coach since Boyertown’s first season back in 1939. He follows Ron Zeiber (2002-07); Fred Endy (1998-2001); Ray Gionta (1995-97); Bob Hillegas (1987-94); Don Grim (1983-86); Lyn Sorber (1971-82); Warren Fry (1953-70); Bob Fleming (1940-52); and Lawrence Grim (1939).

Scisly is also one of 77 new head coaches in Pennsylvania this year, and one of only three in District One — joining C.B. East’s Tim Michael and Springfield-Delco’s Dan Ellis.

District Seven had the most coaching changes (12), while Districts Two and Three each have 11 new coaches. The rest of the districts and their respective new bosses are District Ten (nine); Districts Six and Nine with six apiece; Districts Four and Eleven with five apiece; District Twelve (four); District Five (three); and District Eight (one).


Pius met Simon Gratz once before … way back in 1977, when Jim Mich was the head coach. The Lions breezed to 35-0 shutout.

The Lions were familiar with a lot of Philadelphia teams back then while competing in the Philadelphia Suburban Catholic League throughout the 60s. They played an independent schedule through 1977, then joined the Ches-Mont League the following season.

Pius won or shared three SCL titles. Gratz hasn’t won a Philadelphia Public League title since 1949.

Tonight’s game will also be a reunion of sorts for Pius athletic director Madison Morton and Gratz head coach Eric Zipay, a graduate of Pottstown High School. Morton was an assistant coach at Pottstown when Zipay was a member of the team.


Pottsgrove, Daniel Boone, and Phoenixville are hoping to extend their respective runs of consecutive winning seasons, while Methacton, St. Pius X and Pottstown are determined to end their string of consecutive losing seasons.

Pottsgrove, which won 11 games last season — the fourth time a Falcons team has done that — is riding a school- record five straight winning seasons. Daniel Boone is also on a five-in-a-row run, which is three shy of the school mark of eight (1964-71). And Phoenixville has had four straight winning seasons for the first time since putting together seven in row from 1986 through 1992.

Meanwhile, Methacton hopes to turn its first season in the PAC-10 into a winning season. The Warriors have had seven straight losing seasons, which is within one of the school record of eight (1969-76). Pius has had five straight losing seasons, which has dropped the program’s overall record to just one game over the .500 mark (260-259-14). Pottstown has had four straight losing seasons, the most since a forgettable six-year run from 1989 through 1994.

Upper Perkiomen hasn’t had a losing season since 2000. The Indians were 6-6 in 2001 and 6-6 again last season. In between, they had five straight seasons of seven or more wins.

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