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, October 23, 2008

A lot of mixed signals for area’s top QB

From the Oct. 21 edition of The Mercury.

Two months from now, give or take a few days here and there, most of the all-league and all-area teams will be announced. And except for those unsung brutes up front on the offensive and defensive lines and a handful or two of the linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties, the premier skill position players have pretty much already made a name for themselves, or established who’s who among running backs and receivers.

But when the Pioneer Athletic Conference coaches sit down to vote on their all-league teams (not to mention The Mercury sports staff when it sits down to vote on the All-Area teams), they may face their most difficult call of the entire season when selecting a quarterback … just one for the first team and one for the second team, that is.

Easy? Well, how about a yuk-yuk-yuk, Curly?

In the PAC-10, with two full weeks of games (potential playoff contests) and the traditional Thanksgiving Day card remaining, Boyertown’s David Crognale, Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Zulli, Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut, and even Spring-Ford’s Trevor Sasek are legitimate candidates on the QB ballot.

Hold on, there’s more.

On the All-Area ballot, Daniel Boone’s Jon Monteiro and Perkiomen School’s Abdul Smith are more than just pacifying write-ins, too.

Their statistics, which would sway a lot of fans, range from pretty darn good to absolutely ridiculous. Whether they step over the line of scrimmage to play defense and contribute to the special teams as well, definitely warrants consideration for four of the six aforementioned individuals. And their leadership, what they bring to the field every practice and every weekend — an intangible few recognize let alone understand — carries considerable weight on the voting scale.

Think all that criteria separates the six? How about another yuk-yuk-yuk, Curly?

Crognale, who last week broke Pete Madeja’s school-record of 27 career touchdown passes — a mark that held up for 33 years — and became the area’s first quarterback to run for more than 2,000 career yards, has been as valuable the last two seasons as he was during the Bears’ run to the PAC-10 title back in 2006.

Zulli, perhaps the purest passer the PAC-10 has had, displays the poise and patience to find his second, third, and fourth receivers on any given play. This season, with what amounts to an entirely new receiver corps and an almost-new offensive line in front of him, he’s on pace to break last year’s record-setting 2,156-yard, 26-touchdown effort. Already at 1,934 yards with 20 touchdown tosses, Zulli has added the run to his game and stepped out 452 yards this season, giving him an area-best 2,386 yards of overall offense. He has also had a hand in an area-high 29 touchdowns.

Chestnut is taking snaps for the first time. Yes, he was an all-state defensive back a year ago, but has he ever made the transition to offense. He’s run for 913 yards — putting him on a pace to join Crognale with 2,000 yards before he’s done — and responded with 530 yards in the Falcons’ limited passing game. He’s arguably one of the area’s best defensive backs, and he’s scored twice on special teams. Just a sophomore, Chestnut may be the PAC-10’s — if not the area’s — most complete player.

Sasek, like Zulli in that he’s working with almost an entirely new cast around him, has still thrown for 1,171 yards for the young Rams.

Smith, often criticized for playing a questionable schedule, has already accepted a full ride from Division I-A Rutgers — which more than confirms the talent the Perkiomen senior displays. In only five games, he has run for 673 yards and nine touchdowns, thrown for 459 yards and six more scores despite averaging considerably less attempts than other area quarterbacks, and he’s scored three other times on defense and special teams. There isn’t anyone anywhere in this neighborhood, either, as valuable to his team as Smith is to the Indians.

And Monteiro, despite losing his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, has come back and broken a slew of records – among them most yards passing in a game (475), completions in a game (29). Monteiro has played what amounted to 6-1/2 games this season, and he’s already over 2,000 yards on the season and, regardless of Daniel Boone’s postseason run, is likely to break school, Berks County, and Mercury area records for completions, yards, and touchdowns in a season. Oh yeah, he has next year to look forward to as well, which means a slew of area career marks will be in jeopardy.

Take your pick if you’d like … and think of the coaches (and us poor souls in the sports department) when it’s our time to do the same.

HONORABLE

Player of the Week honors go evenly to an elite foursome, namely Boyertown’s David Crognale, who ran for 217 yards and a touchdown and threw for two more scores in the Bears’ 34-7 romp over Perkiomen Valley; Daniel Boone’s Jon Monteiro, who threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in the Blazers’ 36-26 win over Pottsville; Perkiomen School’s Abdul Smith, who ran for three touchdowns, passed for two more, and returned a kickoff for yet another touchdown in the Indians’ 47-18 trouncing of Princeton Day School; and Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut, who ran for three touchdowns and returned a punt for another in the Falcons’ 39-0 shutout of Methacton.

Coach of the Week honors go to Owen J. Roberts’ Tom Barr, who guided the Wildcats to a 27-7 win over Phoenixville to remain one game back of unbeaten Pottsgrove in the PAC-10 and retain its No. 8 position in the District 1-Class AAA playoff points standings.

BLAZIN’ A NEW TRAIL

Daniel Boone wideout Zach Keeley has been getting a lot of help this season from first-year assistant LeRyan Dallas, who had an outstanding career as a receiver at St. Pius X and East Stroudsburg. Now Keeley is passing by Dallas on the area’s career receiving charts.

Keeley, who broke former teammate Mark Justice’s school record for career receptions two weeks ago, moved in front of Dallas and into second place on The Mercury’s all-time leaderboard last weekend when he pushed his total to 104. Keeley also moved in front of Dallas and into third place on The Mercury’s career receiving yardage leaderboard by pushing his total to 1,488 yards. Dallas had 102 catches for 1,462 yards before graduating from St. Pius X.

HIGH TIME

Perkiomen School’s 47-18 rout of Princeton Day School last Saturday represented the most points scored by any Indians team since a 52-21 romp over Wyoming Seminary eight years ago. It was also the program’s third-highest point production in the last 30 years.

TURNING IT OVER

Two weeks ago, Phoenixville forced Boyertown into six turnovers and won. Last week, Phoenixville turned it over six times and lost to Owen J. Roberts. The Phantoms had just seven turnovers in their first seven games before the debacle with the Wildcats. … Pottsgrove, which has won an area-best six games in a row, may be the PAC-10’s lone unbeaten because of turning over the football a league-low five times.

NEED A FINISH

Pottstown has played very well through the first three quarters of its last two games against Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford. But the young and ailing Trojans surrendered 35 unanswered fourth-quarter points to erase leads against both rivals and lead to a pair of losses. … Marc Smith has run up 480 yards in his five PAC-10 games. … Three-year starter Ken Baker made a surprise return to the lineup Saturday at Spring-Ford and responded with 74 yards on 10 carries. Baker, who had missed two games after underdoing minor knee surgery, has 2,667 career yards rushing.

NOTES

The long-running Monday Morning Quarterback, featuring host Dave Reidenouer and former longtime St. Pius X head coach Jim Mich, will have a special broadcast next Monday (5:30-7 p.m., PCTV Channel 22).

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1 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Goldsmith Oppenheimer said...

Having followed PAC 10 football as a player, coach, parent, and fan for the past 20 years, I can echo the comments upon which this column is built.

You have a bias toward classic or conventional QB's? Monteiro from DB and Zulli from PV are probably your choice, in that order. Romano from PX is probably going to be your choice in the futre, but not yet. However, if you want to create a profile for the QB of the present and future - i.e. the spread offense signal caller who has something in common with the single wing QB's of fifty years ago - then Crognale and Chestnut are your guys, also in that order.

Monteiro gets the nod in the first category, primarily because he is a pretty pure passer and field general. His weapons are good enough, but Monteiro makes them even better with the skills that he brings to the contest. Zulli is no slouch, of course, but Monteiro's numbers are even more impressive.

Crognale edges Chestnut only because he is something of a passer, in addition to being the theoretical secondary run threat that the spread offense relies upon. By contrast, Chestnut is a primary threat, and only as a runner. He may very well be a capable passer, but his stats don't support that idea, and the vote should not be based on what he might be able to do in that area of the game.

This 'veteran's' view would tend to lean toward Monteiro, but his bial is toward the more classic or conventional quarterback. Making a case for the other three is fairly easy, and those who wish to object once the choice is ultimately made, should probably divert his energies to applauding the efforts of whichever 'all star' is selected.

October 26, 2008 at 1:38 PM 

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