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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Now is the time for top teams to step forward

This column originally ran in the Oct. 3 edition of The Mercury

Time isn’t running out on anyone quite yet. Please, it’s only Week Six of the high school season for goodness sakes. But you could easily say this weekend, or the outcome of one game tonight and another Saturday afternoon, will get a few of the football clocks ticking.

This evening, Owen J. Roberts and Pottsgrove — the lone remaining unbeatens (3-0) in the Pioneer Athletic Conference with identical 4-1 overall records – get together. And in a Saturday matinee, Conrad Weiser and Daniel Boone — two of three unbeaten teams (2-0) atop the Inter-County League’s Division One standings with identical 4-1 overall records – get together.

Neither the Wildcats nor the Falcons are going to run off with the PAC-10 title with a win tonight, mind you, although there’s no question as to who has the considerably tougher month of October ahead of them, or who can ill-afford a loss more than the other in this one. Neither the Scouts nor the Blazers are going to run off with the I-C Division One title Saturday afternoon, either, not with unbeaten Muhlenberg (and a few other ruthless rivals) remaining on both of their schedules.

But who survives and who doesn’t, on the scoreboard that is, will definitely impact both of the league’s stretch runs … and it’ll be the perfect time to establish who’s who in all four of the teams’ chase for postseason playoff berths.

Owen J. Roberts is tied for fourth and Pottsgrove is tied for second in the District 1-AAA points standings, where very, very little separates the top seven teams (and only eight qualify, remember).

Conrad Weiser is tied for fourth and Daniel Boone is 10th in the District 3-AAA points standings, where there may not be as much concern about finishing among the top 16 as there is about positioning.

But aside of the records, points standings and anything else the football mind can conjure up, both games are likely to be as good if not better than any other this season.

Owen J. Roberts may have, at least through the first five weeks, the most improved offensive line in the area (not to mention a lot of depth at the unsung fullback position). Together, they’ve made it considerably easier for Ryan Brumfield and Dan Miller.

Brumfield has gotten better, or shall we say a wee bit bigger and a lot more savvy, since stepping into the lineup as a freshmen a year ago. He’s already run for 1,011 yards, putting him on a pace to step past three former Wildcats – Dennis Laws (2,006), current head coach Tom Barr (2,029) and Matt Lucas (2,046) – and set a new school record for yards rushing in a season. Miller is the little fella with the ability to scramble out of trouble, go up top for some big yards, or keep it and go head-to-head with defenders twice his size.

Pottsgrove has a roster full of those unknowns, along with headliners like Terrell Chestnut, Maika Polamalu and Preston Hamlette, who have simply got the job done week after week after week. The Falcons have given up a lot of yards and a lot of points. They also generate their share of yards and points … and they win. Forget that margin of victory – an average of just seven points a game against Phoenixville, Perkiomen Valley and Boyertown – because all that matters in the end is how many notches are in the left column of that won-loss ledger.

Daniel Boone, meanwhile, may be lining up with the best team of any in the area this season, at least up to this juncture. And, for the record, if the Blazers continue their prolific ways Saturday, through the remainder of the month and into the playoffs, they’re likely to erase virtually every offensive mark scribbled in the area’s record book. Quarterback Jon Monteiro has completed on nearly 70 percent of his passes for 1,360 yards and 16 touchdowns – in what amounts to less than four games (he missed one with an injury and played only minutes into the third quarter in another). Monteiro is very good, no doubt about that. And he’s had the opportunity to showcase his talent because of the protection and time he gets from the fellas up front, because of the threat of Nate Greene and others to run the football, and because of band of receivers – led by Zach Keeley, Kelly Saylor, Kyle Yarmush, to name a few – who run their patterns, catch passes and, most important, know what to do with it after they pull them in.

So, yes, there is a sense of urgency in tonight’s game at Pottsgrove and in Saturday’s game at Daniel Boone. But don’t think the pressure, or the stress, will lighten up all that much over the next month, either.

* * *

Perkiomen Valley and Phoenixville – both 2-1 in the PAC-10 – get together Saturday as Washington Field in Phoenixville with a lot on the line. Neither the Vikings nor the Phantoms can afford another loss at this point, not if they expect to remain in the championship chase. And Phoenixville is still well within reach of moving up among the top eight in the District 1-Class AAA playoff points standings.

PV quarterback Zach Zulli, who is threatening to erase most of the PAC-10 passing records (and a few of the area’s all-time records, too), needs 147 yards of offense to go over the 5,000-yard career total offense mark, something only five other area players have done. He’ll be going for the milestone against the area’s top-rated defense, though.


The first official District 1 and 3 playoff points standings were released earlier this week.

In Class AAA, nine teams are currently squeezed into the Top Eight. Henderson is first; Pottsgrove is tied with Upper Merion in that second spot; Owen J. Roberts shares the fourth spot with Upper Moreland; Bayard Rustin is sixth; Great Valley is seventh; and Bishop Shanahan and Strath Haven are tied for eighth. Every one of the teams are 4-1 with the exception of Bishop Shanahan and Strath Haven, who are both 3-2.

The four remaining unbeatens in the AAAA bracket – North Penn, Downingtown West, Ridley, Garnet Valley – are first through fourth, respectively. Council Rock South, Pennsbury, Neshaminy, Quakertown, Glen Mills, Abington, Penncrest, Upper Dublin and Upper Darby – all with identical 4-1 records – occupy the next nine spots. Souderton is 14th, while C.B. South, Norristown and Unionville are tied for 15th.

Eight teams qualify for the AAA playoffs, while 16 move into the postseason in AAAA.

Out in District 3-AAA, unbeatens Mechanicsburg and Greencastle are one-two, respectively; West York (4-1) is third; Conrad Weiser shares that fourth spot with Garden Spot and Lebanon; Northern Lebanon is seventh; Cocalico and Northern share ninth; and then it’s Daniel Boone at No. 10. The top 16 qualify for the playoffs. It is very possible a .500 record will be good enough to get into the District 3-AAA postseason show.


Tonight, among the big games whose outcome will have a significant impact on those aforementioned playoff points standings are Abington at Council Rock South and C.B. South at Quakertown in AAAA. In a couple of key bracket crossover games, Henderson could really pad its lead in AAA with a win at unbeaten AAAA Downingtown West, as could AAA Great Valley with a win against visiting AAAA Unionville.

* * *

Around the state, there are six games featuring 5-0 teams going up against one another. In District 3, Middletown visits Steelton-Highspire, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class A; in District 7, Beaver Area (No. 8) travels across town to take on Beaver Falls, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, and Clairton (No. 5) travels to Chartiers-Houston in Class A; in District 9, Redbank Valley visits Karns City (No. 6 in AA) in a bracket crossover showdown; and in District 10, Sharon heads over to Wilmington (No. 5) in Class AA.


The state rankings, compiled by the Harrisburg Patriot News, looked almost like a reprint from a week ago. With few if any upsets to note, it’s understandable, too.

The AAAA and AA brackets remained unchanged. In AAA, Berwick (4-1) dropped from No. 5 to No. 10 following its 28-3 loss to Selinsgrove (4-1), which moved up to No. 9. And in Class A, the only change was Bellwood-Antis (4-1) moving into the No. 10 spot.

North Penn – situated at No. 2 behind District 7’s Gateway in AAAA – is the only District 1 team ranked in the four brackets.


Down in Tampa last weekend, Plant senior Aaron Murray, who has committed to Georgia, only played the first half in his team’s 63-6 rout of Riverview. But in that first half, Murray threw for 385 yards and eight touchdowns. … Jordan Roberts of Christian High set a new Illinois mark last week when four more touchdown passes pushed his career total to a state-record 98. … Dylan Favre, a 5-foot-10 junior at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, Miss., threw for six touchdowns last Friday in a 56-20 rout of Long Beach. Two days later, his uncle Brett Favre, the Jets’ quarterback, matched the mark with six TDs in a 56-35 over Arizona. … Tyler Jones of Cherokee Washington (Iowa) threw for 351 yards and five touchdowns to push his career passing total to 8,290 yards, a state record.

Out in Kansas, Derby used four turnovers to upset Hutchinson, 30-27, dealing the three-time defending state champion its first loss to an in-state opponent in 38 games. … North Shore (Tex.), which hasn’t played in three weeks because of last month’s hurricane, will line up tonight at Lufkin and go for a state-record 73rd straight regular-season win. … Prosser (Wash.) put 42 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter, before relaxing a bit and settling for a 68-0 blitz of East Valley.



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