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, November 26, 2008

'07 champs still standing tall

This column originally ran in the Nov. 21 edition of The Mercury.

Two of last year’s state champions’ seasons are over and done with, their equipment cleaned and packed away until next August. The other two are still playing, and both will be lining up tonight for what they hope is the first of four more wins and another PIAA title.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Jeannette (and that fella by the name of Terrelle Pryor) finished on top in the AAAA and AA brackets last season, but will have to wait until next year for another attempt at a return trip to Hersheypark Stadium. But 2007’s Class AAA and A elite, Thomas Jefferson and Steelton-Highspire, which are ranked No. 1 in their respective brackets, are playing like they’re No. 1 … and will again be entertaining their home folk this weekend.

Week Three of Pennsylvania’s postseason kicks off tonight and continues Saturday with a slew of district and sub-regional finals, even a handful or two of district semifinals.

And, for the most part, what a card of high school football it is.

Two of the biggest schools in the entire state square off against two of their smallest rivals in this evening’s District 1-AAAA semifinals. Giant North Penn — second only to Reading High School on the PIAA’s enrollment chart — is unbeaten through 12 games, still ranked No. 2 in Pennsylvania as it’s been much of the season, and considered by many to be the untouchable this side of the empty steel mills in Harrisburg. The Knights, who have lost just once in five years at home, entertain Downingtown West (11-1), which has more than earned a spot in the semifinal show by beating seven opponents with winning records. And on the other side of the bracket, Neshaminy (11-1), the district’s only team other than North Penn to win a state title this decade, travels to unbeaten Garnet Valley (12-0), the AAA state runner-up a year ago that has showed no signs of wear and tear, or surrender, in many of its David-versus-Goliath match-ups this fall.

In Class AAA, Rustin (11-1) and Upper Moreland (10-1) — who took out Pioneer Athletic Conference rivals Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts last Friday night — square off in the district final at Plymouth-Whitemarsh.

Out in the District 3-A final, No. 1 ranked Steelton-Highspire (12-0) hopes to keep its second straight title run intact against Camp Hill (9-3). The Lions lost two of their last three regular-season games, including a 28-20 decision to Steel-High.

The Steamrollers, who have literally steamrolled everyone but Camp Hill this season, feature senior running back Jeremiah Young, who is just 65 yards away from the state career rushing record of 8,432 yards, set by East Stroudsburg’s James Mungro (1992-1995).

But if you prefer real drama between teams who simply do not like each other, take the long drive out to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for the Saturday Spectacular — all four of District 7’s finals.

These games are about a lot more than just district championships and advancing into the state playoffs … much, much more.

In Class A, it’s No. 6 ranked Monaca (11-1) and No. 3 Clairton (12-0). Monaca has been to the final four times and dropped all four, including its last three in a row (1998-2000), but none of the losses have been by more than a touchdown. Still, the Indians have to deal with arguably the most dominant team in all of Pennsylvania. Clairton is No. 5 on the scoring chart (44.5 points a game), and No.1 in scoring defense (allowing just 2.5 a game). The Bears have shut out seven opponents, and not one of the other five managed to put up more than seven points against them.

In Class AA, it’s No. 5 ranked Aliquippa (10-2) and No. 1 Beaver Falls (12-0), where bad blood and ill-feelings toward one another begin in youth football. Aliquippa is determined to avenge a 27-12 loss to the Tigers back in Week Three. Beaver Falls’ program boasts 575 wins, but not one appearance in the state playoffs because of losses to eventual state champions Washington (2001) and Jeannette (last year) in its previous two district final games.

In Class AAA, it’s No. 4 ranked Blackhawk (11-1) and No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (11-1). Neither team has really been challenged at all this season, at least TJ hasn’t since a season-opening loss to Ohio’s nationally ranked Glenville. Some feel Blackhawk isn’t capable of offering much of a challenge on Saturday, either. You can bet those comments made their way onto the Cougars’ bulletin board.

And in Class AAAA, it’s No. 3 Bethel Park (12-0) against No. 1 Gateway (12-0). The Blackhawks have knocked off two of the big boys on the District 7 football block — Penn Hills and McKeesport by identical 20-13 scores, have two outstanding running backs and a very, very good quarterback. But Gateway, which has been among the top five teams in virtually every national ranking this season, has a defensive end by the name of B.J. Stevens, who has 21 sacks, and an offense that has produced 499 points.


MOUNT ’EM UP: Mount Carmel quarterback Marcus Wasilewski threw for four touchdowns last week to push his career total to a school-record 61. Matt Moroz caught his 100th pass of the season in that game, and teammate Colin Menapace booted his way into the school’s record book with his 25th straight point-after and 55th of the season. The Tornadoes (12-0) will need all that and more tonight against Montoursville (10-2) in the District 4-AA final.

ZACH ATTACK: Schuylkill Haven’s Zach Barket has run for 3,551 yards, 57 touchdowns, and 344 points, and he could add even bigger numbers to those totals in tonight’s sub-regional final against Commnications Tech. Barket, whose touchdowns and points scored are already single-season state records, needs 302 yards to break former Parkland standout Austin Scott’s mark (3,853). He is currently fourth on the state’s career rushing chart (7,680) behind Honesdale’s Terrin Ash (7,748), Young, and Mungro.


WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Down in Mississippi, Leland used a last-second touchdown to upset Walnut, 24-21, last Friday night in the Class AA playoffs … or so it thought. The state’s executive committee on Tuesday overturned the officials’ call on the final play and awarded the win to Walnut. Leland scored on a 20-yard pass as time expired for the win, but a penalty was called for an illegal forward pass — which is distance and loss of down. But officials granted Leland another play and, ironically, scored again for the win. The MSHAA (like the PIAA) cited the National Football High School Rule Book, which states, “A period shall not be extended by an un-timed down if during the last timed down of the period one of the following occurs … (penalties) that specify a loss of down.”

Walnut coach Timmy Moore: “We felt like the activities association and executive committee would do the right thing and correct a wrong.”

Leland coach Eugene Sanders, who said he’s contemplating resigning: “They’re not doing the right thing for the kids. It should be decided by officials and not people sitting behind a desk. It has torn the kids up, and it has torn the community up.“

The officials crew from the game has been suspended for the rest of the season and put on probation for 2009.

KNOWING ANOTHER RULE: Down in Florida, Crestview took advantage of the rarely used rule that allows a free kick following a punt to pull out a dramatic 31-28 win over Washington. J.T. Arnold put a tee down and booted a 60-yard field goal with 2.4 seconds remaining to give Crestview the victory.

A LOT OF POINTS: Out in Nevada, Pahranagat Valley set two national (eight-man) football records with 17 touchdowns in its 128-74 win over Coleville in the state’s Class A semifinals. The Panthers recovered five of six onside-kicks in a blowout 44-8 third quarter. Wonder how Coleville quarterback Jason Peters felt after throwing for 490 yards and 10 touchdowns … in a loss?

BIG NUMBERS: Ponderosa (Calif.) junior Lyndell Scarr ran 26 times for 392 yards and eight touchdowns in a 61-35 rout of Oak Ridge. … Down in Arkansas, quarterback Spencer Keith threw for 515 yards and six touchdowns and ran for two more of his own in a 63-39 rout of Alma.

ROLLING ALONG: Long Beach Poly (Calif.) has now won 79 straight league games. … Nationally ranked St. Xavier (Ky.) has outscored its last five opponents by a 291-14 margin, or average spread of 56 points a game. … Centennial (Ariz.) and Timpview (Utah) are playing for their third straight state titles this weekend, while Maryville (Tenn.) goes for its fifth straight state championship.

Don Seeley is the sports editor of The Mercury.

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Out of the Blue

This column ran in the Nov. 18 edition of the Mercury.

Five area teams lined up for games last Friday night … three playoff games and a pair of non-league games.

All lost.


But while Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts, Pottsgrove, and Spring-Ford returned to the practice field Monday to work out the kinks, prepare for their respective Thanksgiving Day football feasts, and focus on the opportunity to close out their long seasons on a winning note, that wasn’t quite the case up at Daniel Boone.

The Blazers were returning the equipment Monday.

A disappointing 31-7 setback to unbeaten and top-seeded Mechanicsburg in the District 3-Class AAA quarterfinals closed the door on their postseason and put a lock on the program’s 50th season, which could only summed up as yet another very successful one for head coach Dave Bodolus and the Blazers.

Then again, wins, appearances in the postseason, and winning seasons — and a lot of each if you care to count — have become the norm, not the exception, since Bodolus strolled up to Birdsboro and began mapping out the Blazers’ game plan six years ago.

Talk about reversing one’s ways.

Daniel Boone, often regarded as the Inter-County League’s doormat, which 11 consecutive losing seasons will reduce any program to, has strung together six straight winning seasons under Bodolus. There have been a couple of I-C division titles, six uninterrupted trips into the postseason, and so many eye-popping performances that have led to an almost complete rewrite of school’s individual and team record book.

Quarterback Jon Monteiro and wideout Zach Keeley put their names on countless pages in that book, as well as the Berks County and area record books, this season. And the Blazers erased the single-season mark for points scored in a season, too.

But it will be a while before Bodolus and the Blazers will be able to comfortably absorb their recent accomplishments.

“We had a good year,” Bodolus said Monday. “I think we’re all a little disappointed how it ended, though. We didn’t play very well at all last Friday (at Mechanicsburg).”

Daniel Boone’s run game, in overdrive at certain junctures this season, wasn’t in gear at all. The passing game, unquestionably the county’s and entire district’s most prolific with Monteiro and his unshakable gang of receivers, was out of sync. Four turnovers, missed blocks, and tackles here and there, mental errors … all of which led to the Blazers’ undoing, to the end of their season.

But what a ride it was for a team that kicked it off back in August with so many new bodies squatting down on the offensive and defensive lines, not to mention a few unproven receivers and a junior quarterback who had missed all of last year because of a leg injury.

“I thought we could be competitive, I really did,” Bodolus said. “What helps is that our league is very challenging week in and week out. (The league) helps you get better.

“I was more concerned about our defense than I was our offense. We had a good group of receivers for (Monteiro), and we knew that Nate Greene ran the ball very well. But we didn’t have a lot of experience on defense, especially with the loss of some very good linebackers last year. We just tried to get better every week.”

They did, despite the hard-to-believe and harder-to-explain 48-47 overtime loss to Columbia in Week Three. They would lose two more times — to eventual District 3-AAAA playoff qualifiers Governor Mifflin and Muhlenberg — before last Friday’s season-ender out at Mechanicsburg.

“We had a lot of kids step up this year,” Bodolus said. “Monteiro wasn’t necessarily a surprise because he’s such an intelligent kid and such a good athlete. And Keeley, he was the glue to this team, our leader on both sides of the ball, and he led both verbally and by example with his work ethic and his play on the football field.”

And next year?

“Right now, well, it’s too early to tell,” Bodolus said.

The Blazers return, among others, guards Mike Guarino and Mohammed Eid to anchor the offensive line and provide protection for Monteiro. Kelly Saylor, who caught 52 passes for 594 yards, and Josh Ortiz, who averaged just under 30 yards per reception and found the end zone on every 2.5 catches, will likely be Monteiro’s favorite targets next season. … Daniel Boone is 49-21, with eight or more wins in each of the last five years, under Bodolus.


Player of the Week honors go to Keeley, who caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown — capping his career and shattering virtually every school and area receiving record, as well as a couple Berks County records — in the Blazers’ 31-7 loss to Mechanicsburg.


Boyertown quarterback David Crognale came up with high school football’s rare single-game “triple” when he ran for a touchdown, passed for another, and caught a pass for six points during last Friday night’s loss to Hatboro-Horsham.

Despite missing a game this year because of a concussion, Crognale is the area’s third-leading rusher with 1,164 yards. He has also thrown for 951 yards that, along with his 41-yard touchdown reception last week, adds up to 2,156 yards of total offense.

Going into Thanksgiving morning, Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut and Crognale are one-two among quarterbacks in yards rushing in the PAC-10 with 859 and 856, yards, respectively. Both are within reach of the 1,000-yard plateau — a mark no quarterback has reached since the league’s inaugural season back in 1986.

Crognale is also high on The Mercury’s overall career leaders chart. With one game remaining, he is sixth in passing (3,720), and third in total offense (6,379 yards) behind Perkiomen Valley senior Zach Zulli (6,577) and St. Pius X graduate Zack Pierce (6,731).


Owen J. Roberts sophomore Ryan Brumfield, despite being held to a season-low 32 yards and kept held out of the end zone for the first time this fall, ran by Dennis Laws (2,006) and current head coach Tom Barr (2,029) into second place on the Wildcats’ chart for most yards rushing in a single season. Brumfield, with 2,035 yards, will take aim at Matt Lucas’ school record of 2,046 on Thanksgiving morning against visiting Pottstown.


Monteiro finished the year with Mercury-area, single-game records for completions (29) and yards (475); single-season records for completions (190), attempts (319), yards (2,999), touchdowns (34), and average yards per game (272.6). He also set season records for the most games passing for more than 200 yards (8) and for more 300 yards (4), and for the most games passing for five touchdowns (3).

Keeley finished the year with Mercury-area, single-season records for receptions (87), yards (1,249) and touchdown catches (17). He also graduates with the Mercury-area career record for yards (1,945) and finishes second in career receptions (136) behind St. Pius X graduate Mike Todd (169), who was coached by Bodolus when he guided the Lions’ program.


Pottsgrove’s 6-5 mark in the postseason is the only winning record among active Pioneer Athletic Conference members. Former member Lansdale Catholic ranks first overall with its 15-8 mark. Methacton is 1-1 (defeating Great Valley for the 1995 district title and losing to North Schuylkill in the first round of states). … St. Pius X is the only PAC-10 team other than Pottsgrove and Lansdale Catholic with more than one win in the postseason. The Lions are 3-4 overall, with three of their losses by a combined four points — a 29-28 overtime setback to Lakeland in 1999; a very controversial 13-12 loss to Pen Argyl in the state semifinals in 2001; and a 21-19 loss to Hanover Area in 2002.


Pottsgrove likes to run

Bayard Rustin likes to run, run, and run some more behind its sizable and quick offensive line. Pottsgrove likes to run, run, and run some more behind its sizable and quick offensive line.

Don’t think the keyboard got stuck … or is stuttering.

It’s just that tonight’s District 1-Class AAA semifinal showdown could very well turn into a track meet of sorts with the fleet afoot finding lanes of their own and running for goal lines instead of finish lines.

Rustin, on a nine-game run and 10-1 overall, features brothers Rondell and Rameer White, who together average eight yards every time they take a handoff, and have taken a couple hundred of them for 1,928 yards this season. Pottsgrove, also on a nine-game run and 10-1 overall, features Terrell Chestnut and Maika Polamalu, who together average a half-step under eight yards every time they carry the football, and have taken a few hundred of them for 2,238 yards this season.

Think the films and scouting reports look the same?

“We’re definitely similar in what we do,” said Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker. “Rustin is a run-the-football team. They’ll throw at times, but most of the time, it’s only because they’re trying to score in a hurry-up offense.”

For the record, quarterback Nick Michaels has gone up top just 62 times and

completed 30 of them for 462 yards and four scores. Chestnut has gone up top just 61 times and completed 35 of them for 840 yards and eight scores.

“Rustin is easy to prepare for, just like a lot of people may say about us,” Pennypacker said. “But that doesn’t make it any easier to defend them.

“What (the Golden Knights) do, they do very, very well. They’re like a lot of those old Strath Haven teams … at times coming at you with two tight ends and other times coming at you in the Wing-T. They like to get the ball to the White brothers. They’ll go to their fullback, too. They just pound the football.”

The Falcons can pound as well. And can they ever scoot, as Chestnut and Polamalu — as well as fullback Preston Hamlette — have done so often this season.

But whether they’ve been short or long runs, or the occasional short toss or long bomb, Pottsgrove’s offensive production begins up front with center Dan Foust, guards Andrew Filopanti and Eric Moran, tackles Antonio Filopanti and Brandon Mason, and tight end Scott Madl. Their unsung work has helped the Falcons average 265 yards on the ground and 341 yards overall.

“They usually show a ‘50’ on defense,” Pennypacker said. “They have two very good linebackers, too. I just don’t know if they’ve seen the kind of speed they’re going to see (tonight). But they’re very good.“

The Falcons aren’t too bad on the defensive side of the ball, either. Take away what Pottstown did two weeks ago and the Falcons have allowed their other last four opponents an average of only 53 yards rushing. The front five — ends Justin Oliveri and Andrew Tremble, tackles Eric Figorski and Kayvon Greene, and nose guard T.J. Demetrio — have come up with big stop after big stop. They’re backed up by linebackers Paul Owens, Madl, and Hamlette and a very aggressive as well as efficient secondary featuring Isiah Quick and Sheppard on the corners and Chestnut at safety.

“Our defense has been playing well,” Pennypacker said. “The kids are always looking for a challenge, and they’re definitely looking forward to this challenge. They know they’re going up against a very good football team.”

Owen J. Roberts at Upper Moreland

Owen J. Roberts (9-2) travels to top-seeded Upper Moreland (9-1) tonight in the other District 1-Class AAA semifinal.

OJR head coach Tom Barr likely had a long chat with Phoenixville’s Bill Furlong, who saw a turnover with less than four minutes remaining lead to the winning score in last week’s opening-round setback at Upper Moreland.

The Golden Bears have a well-balanced offense with the swift Chris Smallwood and quarterback Mike Rosenbaum. Smallwood has run for over 1,543 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Rosenbaum is closing in on 1,000 yards passing with 10 touchdown tosses. Defense is anchored by linebacker Dmitri Miller and safety Ronye Dennis.

The Wildcats counter with Ryan Brumfield (2,003 yards, 19 TDs), Sam Funk, and Cory Bissland in a run game that averages just under 300 yards a game. Quarterback Dan Miller, who has an outstanding season on both sides of the ball, can throw and has three excellent receivers in Brumfield, tight end Brad Davis, and wideout Kohl Batdorf. Defense is led up front by Sam Morgan and Sean Moloney and by linebackers Rich Zazo and Scott Syrek.

Daniel Boone at Mechanicsburg

Daniel Boone (8-3) is off on yet another long bus ride to visit top-seeded Mechanicsburg (11-0) in the District 3-AAA quarterfinals … and hope to do what last year’s team did — take out an unbeaten top-seed in the second round (as the Blazers did to Northern York).

The host Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 3-7 seasons. Tarik Leftenant (1,100 yards), fullback Devon Hensel (372), and quarterback Jake Zeigler (408) are averaging a combined seven-plus yards per carry. Zeigler keeps defenses honest, too, hitting well over 50 percent of his passes for 1,050 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tyler Bullock (6-4, 265), who dominates at guard and at defensive tackle, has already committed to Connecticut.

Daniel Boone, meanwhile, shows Mechanicsburg a passing game it hasn’t seen the likes of all season. Thanks in part to an offensive line that has allowed him time to throw, quarterback Jon Monteiro has amassed 2,853 yards and 33 touchdowns through the air. He has two excellent receivers in Zach Keeley and Kelly Saylor, who have caught a combined 128 passes for 1,729 yards and 19 touchdowns. Nate Greene’s (880 yards) ability to break a long run keeps defenses honest. And speaking of defense, the Blazers’ feature returning all-state Keeley in the secondary, where he has picked off seven passes this season.

Playoff Notes

Mechanicsburg’s last undefeated regular season was 25 years ago. The program’s only unbeaten overall season was a 10-0-1 run in 1954. Veteran Wildcats’ head coach Rich Lichtel died just before last season kicked off after losing his battle with cancer. … Rustin is No. 2 on the District 1-Class AAA enrollment chart with 537 male students (9th through 12th grade). OJR (510) is at No. 5, Upper Moreland (450) is at No. 15, and Pottsgrove (410) is at No. 18 on the 22-school bracket. … Pottsgrove (6-4), Owen J. Roberts (1-0), and Methacton (1-0) — along with former member Lansdale Catholic — are the PAC-10’s only teams with winning records in the postseason. Daniel Boone is 4-3 in postseason play in District 3-AAA (4-5 overall including two Eastern Conference playoff appearances)

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Locals get big warm-up in N.C. tourney

This column was originally published in the Nov. 13 Mercury.

Wrestling practice doesn’t begin, officially that is, until Monday. And the season, when everyone actually gets out on the mat to strut their stuff against the opposition, doesn’t get under way until next month.

But 19 wrestlers from District 1 headed south last week for the grueling Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C. … and some more than warmed up for next week’s first day in the room.

Four entries, led by Oxford standout Nick Ruggear and Octorara’s Josh Smith third and fourth at 189 pounds, made their way to the awards podium by the end of the tournament, which drew some of the nation’s premier individual talents. Council Rock South’s Josh Dziewa was fourth at 135, while Council Rock South’s Jimmy Vollrath was seventh at 152, and Upper Moreland’s James Nicholson was the district’s third medalist at 189 after taking eighth.

Ruggear went 1-2 at states last spring, then went on to capture his weight class in the National High School Coaches Association’s Sophomore Nationals. In the Super 32, he overwhelmed Alabama state-medalist Michael Kennedy (18-1) and Virginia state-medalist Colin Lenhardt (19-6) in the first two rounds, then edged Northampton’s Joey Piro – who was seventh at the PIAA Championships – by a 9-6 margin. He dropped a 3-1 semifinal decision to Ohio’s Nicholas Mills, but came back with a 3-2 win over Florida’s Caylor Williams to set up the bout with Smith – a fourth-place finish in the state’s Class AA bracket last spring – which he won in a 2-1 thriller for the bronze medal.

Four other District 1 wrestlers – Truman’s James Bak (103), Garnet Valley’s Joe Marino (140), Octorara’s Dan Miller (145) and Sun Valley’s Josh Marquard (171) – all came within one win of getting into the medal rounds.

Pennsylvania had four individual champions at the Super 32 Challenge – Central Mountain’s Andrew Alton (140), Central Dauphin’s Marshall Peppelman (152), Warwick’s Anthony Giorgio (215), and Canon-McMillan’s Sam Brownlee (third straight title at 285).

C.D. Mock, a former PIAA and NCAA champion from Council Rock who is now the head coach at the University of North Carolina, watched his son, Corey, finish fourth at 130 pounds.

LOCK HAVEN FALL CLASSIC: Boyertown senior Ryan Kemmerer was one of four wrestlers from District 1 who pinned down gold medals at Lock Haven University’s Annual Fall Classic. Kemmerer, a two-time state medalist at Upper Perkiomen before competing for Spring-Ford last year, dominated at 145 pounds. Other champions were Springfield-Delco’s Dan Dortone (112), Council Rock South’s Ed Shupe (180) and Springfield-Delco’s Andre Petroski (190).

COMMITMENTS: Two national publications have noted that three district wrestlers have committed to Division I-A programs. Great Valley seniors Carl Buchholz and Justin Schellenger have reportedly give verbal commitments to Rutgers and Cal State-Fullerton, respectively, while Radnor’s John Meyers will be attending Duke.

HALL OF FAME: After being blanked on last year’s ballot, District 1 will be represented by John McHugh in this season’s class to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. McHugh, who had an outstanding career at Cheltenham (1953 state champion) and then the University of Maryland (two-time AAC champion), also coached the Terrapins for 32 years and compiled a 256-143-8 career mark.


RANK AND FILE: Three area graduates – Bloomsburg’s Matt Moley (Spring-Ford) and Delaware Valley teammates Chris Sheetz (Upper Perkiomen) and Brandon Clemmer (Upper Perkiomen) – are among six former District 1 standouts who were listed on InterMat’s preseason national rankings.

Moley, an NCAA All-American last year, is eighth at 157 pounds in Division I, while Sheetz and Clemmer are fourth and seventh, respectively, at 125 and 133 in Division III.

Others earning national attention are Liberty’s Tim Harner (Norristown), 17th at 141, and Maryland’s Mike Letts (Octorara) – who is reportedly red-shirting this season – 11th at 174, both in Division I; and Kutztown’s David Zeek (Council Rock North), who is eighth at 157 in Division II.

TOURNEY TIME: Moley was third at last weekend’s Michigan State Open in East Lansing. The former two-time state runner-up, Moley’s only loss was a 3-2 double-overtime setback to eventual champion Kurt Kinser of Indiana. … Bucknell’s Jay Hahn (Great Valley) was fourth at 197 in the Freshman/Sophomore Division of the tournament.

* * *

Letts wrestled unattached and dominated the 174-pound bracket at the North Carolina State Open. Letts, a two-time state champion in high school, had two pins, a technical fall and major decision among his five wins. North Carolina’s Mike Rappo (Council Rock South) won his first three bouts before dropping two straight and getting eliminated at 141.

* * *

Lock Haven’s Nick Hyatt (Boyertown) bounced back from an early loss and placed sixth at 125 pounds during the Buffalo Open in N.Y. … Across the state, in the Oklahoma Gold Classic at SUNY-Brockport, Oklahoma’s Pat Flynn (Quakertown) went 4-1 with four pins to place third at 184 pounds.

* * *

Messiah sophomore David Jones (Boyertown) and Elizabethtown freshman Will Bentley (Owen J. Roberts) were first and third, respectively, at 174 and 125 pounds in last weekend’s annual Messiah Invitational. Jones doubled up Waynesburg’s Todd Martinek, 8-4, in their final for Messiah, which pinned down the team title with a slim 84-80 margin over Elizabethtown. Ursinus freshman Connor McCormick (Owen J. Roberts) came within one win of a medal at 149 pounds.

* * *

Ithaca got a first from freshman Seth Ecker (Pottstown) and a fourth from freshman Jeremy Stierly (Owen J. Roberts) to run away with the team title in the 26th renewal of its own Ithaca Invitational. Ecker, who was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, posted three pins and two technical falls en route to the title at 125 pounds. He was the first Bomber to win the OW award since current assistant coach Marc Israel (2004).

DUAL TIME: Liberty got back-to-back technical falls from Harner and Brad Clark (Methacton) at 149 and 157, respectively, to bury NCAA East Regional rival Gardner-Webb, 43-6, in Tuesday night’s season-opener. … Lehigh opened its 100th season of wrestling last week with a 21-15 win over No. 17 ranked Maryland.

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The PAC-10 is doing just fine

This column was originally published in the Nov. 11 edition of The Mercury.

One doesn’t have to stroll too far outside the Pioneer Athletic Conference football neighborhood to hear the bashing, which over the years has been as loud and clear as Chuck’s whack-and-wallop of Gifford nearly two generations ago.

From the time five schools withdrew from the Ches-Mont League, another two did the same over in the former Bux-Mont League, and Lansdale Catholic teamed up with the gang of seven to kick off the new league back in 1986, the Pioneer Athletic Conference has been tagged, among a few unprintable names, the Whimp-Mont League. Oh, it was an alignment with similar enrollments and favorable geographics, mind you, just as administrators from the eight schools had sought. But it was also an alignment, others snarled, that was just as undermanned and undersized — “feeble,” as one critic called it — when it came to their collective football program.

At one time, you had to be hard of hearing in one ear and deaf in the other not to hear the knocks. Nowadays, unless you don’t have access to a computer, it isn’t at all difficult to read the invectives on this and that Web site.

More than a few people are a bit irked by the rap the Pioneer Athletic Conference gets, and the waves of insults were at high tide a number of times this season, too.

One, Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker, is tired of hearing them. And while some may claim he’s obviously biased in his assessment of the PAC-10, they may have forgotten that long before Pennypacker took over the Falcons’ program in 1989 — a year after the league expanded to its current membership of 10 schools — he was a three-time, first-team All Ches-Mont standout at Spring-Ford, so he has vivid memories of what, at the time, was one of the best leagues in the entire state. Others may have forgotten that he invested a number of years as a coach in Virginia and West Virginia before returning to the area, and that he’s been on coaching staffs for countless Montgomery County All-Star and Big 33 games.

In other words, he’s been around, seen a bit more football than most (including the whispering wonder-minds and nameless wanna-be-writers).

And Pennypacker, like Pioneer Athletic Conference coaches past and present, doesn’t feel what he hears or reads is — for the lack of a better or printable word — fair.

“When you go to the district (playoffs) meeting and see three coaches from our league, when you realize three out of our five AAA schools are in the playoffs, to me that says a lot about our league,” Pennypacker said. “Three teams from our little area? We’ve done this before in the past, too, and yet we never seem to get much respect.

“Just look at last weekend. Phoenixville played Upper Moreland, the top-seed, and was beating them almost the entire game and should’ve beaten them; Owen J. Roberts beat Great Valley, which had another great year in the Ches-Mont; and we beat Interboro, one of those tough, tough Delaware County teams that was also one of the district’s best quad-A teams the previous two years. I for one am very proud of this league.”

Critics were getting a little hoarse this season, though, pointing out the PAC-10 didn’t really fare well at all in the preseason. Actually, it didn’t, going an overall 6-13 against opponents around and outside District 1.

But of those 19 opponents, 11 were lined up last week for playoffs in three different districts. Oh yeah, those 19 opponents had a combined 97-78 record going into last weekend, too.

And as far as the postseason, the PAC-10 is 28-29 overall in district and state playoff games … not quite “pathetic” — a few critics’ favorite word when it comes to berating the league.

In other words, PAC-10 schools aren’t exactly picking up or picking on patsies.

“We don’t have a lot of quad (A) schools like Suburban One Conference and the Ches-Mont does, so when we do go out of our league for a lot of those preseason games, we don’t necessarily do too well when it comes to wins and losses,” Pennypacker said. “That’s when we hear, ‘You guys aren’t that good.’

“But year in and year out, we have good teams in our league. A lot of people outside our league, outside our area, don’t realize that, though. We don’t get much attention from the media beyond our area, so most people don’t know much about us, about our kids, about our teams. We’re far enough from (Philadelphia) that we don’t get much press from the big-city papers … and I think that’s one reason why we don’t get the respect we deserve.”

What may get overlooked the most, Pennypacker said, is the league’s individual talent.

“I’ve coached in a lot of all-star games, especially the (Montgomery County game),” he explained. “Kids from our league excel in that game every year. They’re as dedicated and as hard-working as any, believe me, and they play exceptionally well.”

Pennypacker felt there was another unsung group — which also draws the wrath of its own fans at times — that doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves, either.

“Our coaches,” he said. “Our league has great coaches, coaches who make you work hard every week, make you prepare every week, because if you don’t, you’re going to get beat. We have great coaches and great staffs, and I can’t say enough about all of them.”

All of which Pennypacker says easily adds up to a very competitive league.

“When you put things in perspective, we’re going out and playing good teams from around and outside our district and doing pretty well,” Pennypacker said. “That’s why all of us in (the PAC-10) want to see our teams play well, be competitive, win … we all want that badly. The league is the most important thing, and I for one think we’re doing just fine.”

Daniel Boone gave the area an added boost of respectability with another win in the District 3-AAA playoffs last Friday night. The Blazers (8-3) put an asterisk next to this, their 50th season of football, with the 42-24 win over Northern York.

Head coach Dave Bodolus, who has taken six straight teams into the postseason and is now 4-3 in districts (and 0-2 in the Eastern Conference playoffs), earned a spot in this weekend’s quarterfinals at top-seeded and unbeaten Mechanicsburg (11-0). Last year, the Blazers stunned top-seeded and unbeaten Northern York, 17-14, before falling in the semifinals the following week.

Quarterback Jon Monteiro, meanwhile, continued his record-shattering season throwing the football. The junior quarterback, five completions behind Perkiomen Valley standout Zach Zulli’s single-season mark (181), already owns the area single-season records for most games passing for 200-or-more yards (8), most games passing for 300-or-more yards (4), total yards passing (2,853), and touchdown passes (33) going into the showdown with Mechanicsburg.

Zach Keeley also continued his record-breaking season, too. With at least one game remaining, the senior wideout already owns the area single-season records for receptions (79) and yards (1,175) as well as the area career records for receptions (128) and yards (1,871).


Player of the Week honors go to Perkiomen School’s Abdul Smith, who ran for 204 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 128 yards and another score in the Indians’ season-ending 33-16 romp of Pennington Prep, N.J.

Coach of the Week honors go to Owen J. Roberts’ Tom Barr, who guided the Wildcats to the 30-29 double-overtime win over Great Valley in the program’s first postseason appearance.


One of the most prolific passing careers came to a close last Saturday when Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Zulli led the Vikings past Methacton in both teams’ final game.

Zulli, the PAC-10 and The Mercury’s Player of the Year last season, almost rewrote the entire league and area record book, owning or sharing nine passing marks. This fall, he set PAC-10 single-season records for completions (146), yards (2,096), and total offense (3,215), and tied former Pottstown standout Terrence Shawell’s record for touchdown passes (24). He also owns the league’s career marks for completions (288), yards (4,470), and touchdowns (54).

Zulli, who became a starter midway through his sophomore season, also established area career records for completions (374), yards (5,884), and touchdowns (67). He finished up with 6,577 yards of total offense, second only to St. Pius X graduate Zack Pierce’s 6,722.


Ryan Brumfield last week became just the fourth back in Owen J. Roberts’ history to reach the 2,000-yard, single-season mark. Just a sophomore, Brumfield now has 2,003 yards. With at least two games remaining on his schedule, Brumfield is within a carry, two or three of scooting by Dennis Laws (2006 in 1970), current OJR head coach Tom Barr (2,029 in 1978), and Matt Lucas (2,046 in 1998).


The Hill School didn’t just beat Lawrenceville, it put a 26-0 thumping on the Big Red to close out its first winning season in three years. Head coach Marty Vollmuth led the Rams to a pair of big back-to-back victories to finish up at 5-4. Hill will kick off next season needing just one win to join Phoenixville as the only area programs with 500 or more wins.

And up at Perkiomen School, head coach Kevin Manferdini and athletic director Ken Baker — who have taught and coached two generations of student-athletes — bid farewell to arguably the best football player in the history of the Indians’ program on Saturday. Abdul Smith, who has accepted a full scholarship from Division I-A Rutgers, finished his career with 332 carries for 2,510 yards and 33 touchdowns; 17 receptions for 181 yards and five touchdowns; and threw for 1,378 yards and 12 touchdowns. Smith also scored seven other times on defense and special teams. He was, without question, one very, very big reason why Perkiomen has strung together three straight winning seasons.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Finding their way to the playoffs

Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts kind of took the direct route to get into the District 1- AAA playoffs — they kept winning. Ditto for Daniel Boone in its run to the District 3-AAA playoffs.

Phoenixville? Well, neither head coach Bill Furlong nor the Phantoms themselves needed a GPS, mind you, but talk about traversing the ol’ Long and Winding Road (with apologies to Paul and those three other cereal bowl-haircut boys’ own rendition a generation ago).

With a lot of underclassmen and even more new names on the sidelines, the Phantoms were virtually invisible on the football radar screens most of the season, especially in the beginning when they dropped two of their first three games. Four straight wins may have created a blip or two, but when they turned over everything but their uniforms in a 27-7 setback to Owen J. Roberts three weeks ago, a late drive for a Pioneer Athletic Conference title stalled … for good.

The loss also dropped the Phantoms well outside the Top Eight in the district’s playoff points standings. So it seemed there was little hope recharging the batteries and revving up the offensive and defensive motors would get them anywhere near the postseason starting line.

Or so it seemed.

Phoenixville bounced back with wins the last two weeks, while a few teams ahead of them in the playoff race lost. So don’t say Furlong’s crew didn’t know how to maneuver around some bumps in the road … and find the way to the playoffs.

“That loss to Owen J. was certainly pivotal,” Furlong explained. “We were hoping if we won (out), we’d still have a chance to get into the playoffs. We knew we needed some help from other people, too.

“But the important part was that I didn’t see any letdown (after the loss to OJR). I think maybe I put too much emphasis on that game. Not to take anything away from Owen J., but we just didn’t play our best game. But afterward, we put the loss to rest and probably played one of our best games (against Upper Perkiomen). The kids have been executing well, offensively, defensively, and on special teams, since.”

Well enough to improve to 7-3 and earn a first-round game at No. 1 seeded Upper Moreland (8-1) on Friday night.

“Before the season started, I wasn’t really thinking about the playoffs,” Furlong said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to get in, mainly because we graduated 10 seniors who all played so much for us last season.”

Furlong did have Anthony Nattle, who had started one place or another since he was a freshman, and the durable Abdul Kelly, a two-way lineman who would move back to carry the ball this season. But two players, as good as Nattle and Kelly are, a team doesn’t make.

But a lot of fresh faces have brought smiles to Furlong and his staff’s faces. Call it a maturation process, or simply unproven talent stepping up to another level of play. Either would suffice as far as Furlong is concerned.

Offensively, the line honors belong to center Steve Carter, guards Ken Cenci and Matt Viscuso, tackles Kevin Bohl and Mike Cress (the lone senior among the group), and tight end Vince Ciaverelli. They’ve made it a lot easier for sophomore quarterback Tom Romano, who has shown considerably more poise and confidence handing off the ball to Kelly, Nattle, and Rich Yenchick and throwing it to Will Kileen, Sam McQuiston, and others the past month.

Defensively, well, the Phantoms have molded themselves into one of the area’s toughest groups to score against (allowing just 14.3 points a game — or a mere half-point more than PAC-10 leader Pottsgrove).

“Our defense has put us in every single game this season,” Furlong said. “We lost our opener by one point (to Great Valley), missed three tackles against Pottsgrove that turned into three long touchdown runs, and played well against Owen J. despite not establishing into any rhythm offensively.

“But we have some kids on defense who have been absolutely incredible this season. The defense has been steady.”

Kelly, at nose guard, and Nattle, at one of the corners, certainly aren’t surprises after solid seasons a year ago. But ends Dave Eggeling and Greg Porter and Kress — perhaps one of the best inside linemen in the PAC-10 — have more than held their own. The entire new set of linebackers, namely Ciaverelli, McQuiston, Derek Ryan, and Yenchick, with backup support from A.J. Ryan and Viscuso, have played beyond expectations. And Killeen’s knack for picking off passes alongside Nattle, Kahlil Ervin, and recent transfer Zack Gorczynski has created a very respectable secondary.

Now, though, a new challenge awaits them.

“I’m certainly glad to be where we are,” Furlong said. “And I say that for two reasons. First, the three teams that beat us this year are ahead of us (in the playoff seedings). Second, we now have a shot at redemption … we’re in a position to avenge those three (losses).”


Player of the Week honors go to Daniel Boone’s Nate Greene, who came back from a leg injury and carried 17 times for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the Blazers’ 48-33 win over Exeter.

Coach of the Week honors go to Hill School’s Marty Vollmuth, who took the Rams across the state line into New Jersey and defeated favored Hun School, 19-16, to get his team back to .500 (4-4) and in line for its first winning season in three years.


Say what you want about this or that game during the season, but Saturday afternoon’s feature between Lawrenceville and The Hill School in Pottstown is The Game. One of the longest-running series in the entire nation, the Larries (3-5) and Rams (4-4) meet this weekend for the 112th time. Hill will be looking to cut into their guests’ 59-42-10 advantage in the series, not to mention finish up on the winning side of the won-loss ledger for the first time in three seasons.


Perkiomen School (4-3) also needs a victory Saturday in its finale with visiting Pennington for another winning season. The game also marks the end of quarterback-defensive back Abdul Smith’s career, one of the area’s most outstanding individual talents for four seasons.

Despite a limited number of games and often playing out of position, the Rutgers-bound Smith has put up some eye-opening numbers going into his last game this weekend. He wasn’t full-time offensively as a freshman or sophomore, and he’s taken snaps as the quarterback the last two years. Nonetheless, he has carried 311 times for 2,306 yards and 29 touchdowns; caught 17 passes for 181 yards and five touchdowns; and completed 100 of 178 attempts for 1,250 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also found the end zone seven times on the back end of interceptions and kick returns, all of which adds up to having a hand in 52 of the Indians’ scores.

More important, Smith is one very big reason Perkiomen lines up Saturday with a shot at its third straight winning season.


Perkiomen Valley head coach Scott Reed may invest in some invisible glue this week. The Vikings turned the ball over a PAC-10 record nine times last week during their overtime loss to Upper Perkiomen. The Vikings have turned it over just 10 times in eight games this season. But in two losses to Phoenixville and Upper Perkiomen, they’ve given it away 15 times, leaving them minus-13 in takeaways.

Boyertown was a plus-six in takeaways in its 3-1 start in the PAC-10. In the last four games, though, the Bears are 1-3 and minus-11 in takeaways. … Owen J. Roberts turned it over 12 times and was minus-1 in its first four games, but in its last six outings have given the ball up just five times and is plus-13. … Phoenixville has had just eight turnovers in nine games. The other, against OJR, featured those six turnovers.


Daniel Boone wideout Zach Keeley, already the school’s career leader in receptions and yards, became the first area player to go over the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Keeley’s 76 catches this season have stretched out to 1,133 yards — breaking the area record of 991 set by St. Pius X graduate Mike Todd back in 1998.


Three players, including two quarterbacks, went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week to join overall leader Ryan Brumfield of Owen J. Roberts on the grand list. Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut (1,038) and Boyertown’s David Crognale (1,007) hit the mark, as did Pottstown running back Kenny Baker (1,000) for the second straight season.


Both Daniel Boone junior Jon Monteiro and Perkiomen Valley senior Zach Zulli have at least one more game on their respective cards, or one more game to add to the slew of records they’re penciling in for themselves.

Monteiro and Zulli are one-two, one way or the other, in every category this fall and have set area season records for completions, yards, touchdown passes, completion percentage and yards-per-game. Monteiro is 162 of 263 (61.6 percent) for 2,564 yards and 28 TDs, while Zulli is 169 of 282 (59.9 percent) for 2,386 yards and 26 TDs.


Pottsgrove tied its PAC-10 record for most consecutive league games without being shut out. The Falcons, whose original mark (57 straight) was set between 1988 and 1994, can break the record on Thanksgiving against St. Pius X. After Saturday’s win at St. Pius X, Spring-Ford hasn’t been shut out in 54 games, which broke their previous-best mark.


A football fright night

This column was originally published in the Oct. 28 edition of The Mercury.

For those without one of those magnetized calendars sticking on their refrigerator or flip-up types sitting right smack in front of them on their desk at home or work, Friday is Halloween.

Fright Night, if you will (minus the full moon).

Don’t expect to see any football coaches or their teams dressed up in anything but their traditional fall weekend attire — helmets, pads, and so on. And don’t expect to see or hear about any different routines leading up to the weekend either, even if a few of the ol’ fellas are a bit superstitious or get a little creeped out at this time of the year.

Trick-or-treat isn’t exactly part of the game plan … but you sure could say those words apply to just about every game this weekend, three of them in particular. Pottstown, Boyertown and Exeter would like nothing more than to trick Pottsgrove, Owen J. Roberts and Daniel Boone, who are looking for nothing more than a treat — a win, that is.

Pottstown, which has become the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Team of October — thanks to a few notable surprises in the past, last year’s upset of then-unbeaten Lansdale Catholic, and last week’s win over heavily-favored Boyertown — visits Pottsgrove. The Trojans got embarrassed 41-0 a year ago, lost their lead and a 21-13 thriller two years ago, and got thumped by that same 41-0 score three years ago. So, yes, beyond the wanting-to-beat-the-neighbors, the Trojans should be a little motivated, to say the least. On the other hand, so should the Falcons. After splitting their first two non-league games, they’ve run the table with seven consecutive wins and now need just one more to clinch no worse than a tie for another title.

Boyertown entertains Owen J. Roberts. Bears’ head coach Mark Scisly, the baby on the PAC-10 coaches’ birthday card list, and the rest of the younger set may not realize this has been one of the most entertaining (and unpredictable) series for more than 40 years. The Bears need a win to have a shot at a .500 or better season, which would be quite a turnaround from last year’s 1-11 nightmare. The Wildcats, buddy-buddy with the Trojans this week for the obvious reason, need a win to stay within reach of Pottsgrove (or alongside the Falcons if their Pals from Pottstown pull off the upset) and, just as important, a win to officially clinch their first appearance in the postseason.

And up in Berks County, Daniel Boone hosts Exeter — two teams who don’t exactly share any love for one another. The Blazers have to regroup after last week’s setback cost them a share of the I-C Division One title, and need a win to keep their slim hopes of staying home for the first round of playoffs game next week. Exeter? The Eagles are winless, just as they were a year ago when they nearly pulled off the Upset of the Year against the playoff-bound Blazers. So you can bet your newly-purchased Spencer’s spooky outfit the Eagles sure have ending another 0-for-10 season on their collective minds.

Good thing Mischief Night is Thursday, eh?


Player of the Week honors go to Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Brumfield and Methacton’s Tim Smith. Brumfield carried 33 times for a career-high 303 yards and two touchdowns and added a few big plays from the defensive secondary in the Wildcats’ 27-26 thriller over Perkiomen Valley. Smith carried 13 times for a career-high 234 yard and three touchdowns and was his usual intimidating self on defense in a 41-18 victory over St. Pius X.

Coach of the Week honors go to Pottstown’s Bret Myers, who guided the Trojans to another October Special — the surprising 28-20 win over Boyertown.


The Hill School dropped its first Mid-Atlantic Prep League game last week at Blair Academy. The Rams (2-1, 3-4) need to finish with two wins against Hun (this Friday) and Lawrenceville (the following Saturday) to stay a game back of Blair. The Bucs have just one MAPL outing left, in two weeks against winless Peddie School.

Perkiomen School (4-2) needs a win this week at St. Andrew’s School to assure itself of a winning season. The Indians survived the mud and four turnovers by limiting Elkton Christian to just one first down and 35 yards of offense while creating five turnovers in last Saturday night’s 14-0 shutout.


Perkiomen Valley senior quarterback Zach Zulli broke the area’s career record for passing yards and is closing in on two more marks after last weekend’s efforts in the Vikings’ loss to Owen J. Roberts. Zulli also broke four PAC-10 records, and could add his name to four more before he’s done in his final two games.

Zulli, who picked up invaluable experience as a sophomore when starter Mitch Johnson was injured midway through the season, eclipsed Daniel Boone graduate Chris Bokosky’s career passing yards mark last weekend and now has 5,419 yards. Zulli needs just four more completions and four more touchdown passes to break Bokosky’s marks, too.

In the PAC-10 record book, Zulli already owns the marks for career completions (258), yards (4,4045), and touchdowns (47), and moved up to No. 1 for total offense (2,182) in a season. He needs five completions and 57 yards to break the league’s season records in those two categories. He is also completing 60.1 percent of his attempts this season, and if he maintains that pace will erase Lansdale Catholic’s Mike deMarteleire’s season record of 59.4 percent set back in 1997.

Pottsgrove sophomore Terrell Chestnut (958) and Boyertown senior David Crognale (846) are closing in on becoming the area’s first quarterbacks to run for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Crognale is also the only area quarterback to run for more than 2,000 career yards. He has exactly 2,300 yards going into Friday night’s game with OJR.

Daniel Boone’s hot-hot combo — quarterback Jon Monteiro and wideout Zach Keeley — have chiseled down the erasers, too. Monteiro is now the Berks County record-holder for completions in a game and season, yards in a game and season, and is tied for touchdown passes in a season. The sophomore also owns area records for completions (29) and yards (475) in a game, and yards (2,331) and touchdowns (25) in a season … and he has at least two more games remaining this fall. Keeley, the school’s all-time leader in career receptions who last week passed Mark Justice as the Blazers’ all-time leader in receiving yards, needs 30 yards to break St. Pius X graduate Mike Todd’s area season record for receiving yards (991 in 1998) and 38 to become the first to go over 1,000 yards in a season.

OJR’s Ryan Brumfield last Saturday became just the second Wildcat to run for more than 300 yards in a PAC-10 game. Brumfield’s 303 yards came up shy of OJR graduate David Frame’s two outings of 308 and 311 yards, though.

With two league games remaining, Brumfield is exactly 200 yards shy of Frame’s school record for yards in a PAC-10 season (1,548) and 328 yards shy of Matt Lucas’ school record for yards in a season (1,718). With 2,490 yards and two seasons remaining, the sophomore is well on pace to erase Owen J. Roberts’ career rushing mark — 3,633 yards, held by current head coach Tom Barr.


Pottsgrove needs to get on the scoreboard Friday night to tie its PAC-10 record for most consecutive league games without being shut out. The Falcons’ mark (57 straight) was set between 1988 and 1994. Spring-Ford, which used Jared Houck’s field goal to avoid getting blanked by the Falcons last Friday night, hasn’t been shut out in 53 games, which ties their previous-best mark set between 1991 and 1997 — also the second-longest streak behind Pottsgrove’s.


Upper Perkiomen (4-5) visits Perkiomen Valley on Friday night needing a win to get back to .500 with one, or possibly two games remaining. The Indians have not had a losing season since head coach Keith Leamer took over the program in 2003, or since going 3-9 in 2000. … Barring any major upsets, the local card for Friday, Nov. 7 will be changed completely with one or both teams in the five scheduled games already in line for the postseason playoffs. Boyertown, Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen have the option of finding other opponents and, according to sources, will attempt to do so. Phoenixville, which has gotten outstandings seasons from Abdul Kelly and Anthony Nattle – arguably the “ quietest best“ two-way players in the area, has a bye next week.