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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The coaching carousel is closed

For the first time since 1996, the ol’ gang is all here … the Pioneer Athletic Conference football coaches, that is.

All 10 of the league’s head coaches from a year ago will be on the sidelines when the high school season officially kicks off tonight, and because of firings and hirings, resignations and reservations – whatever politically correct rationale one chooses – that hasn’t happened in 13 years.

So when Dave Albright, secretary of the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association, and the fellas sat down last month to make sure everything was in order for the league’s 24th season, no formal introductions were required.

The Pioneer Athletic Conference has had one new coach in each of the last three seasons – Mark Scisly at Boyertown a year ago; Brett Myers at Pottstown two years ago; and George Parkinson at St. Pius X three years ago. And few will forget the merry-go-round show at Pius in 2004 and 2005. That’s when Ed McCann, Madison Morton, Bob Wagner and Jim Mich took turns calling the signals as a result of, well … let’s just say the principal (correct spelling in this instance) reason is long gone.

Ironically, the year before all the chaos began to unfold at Pius, or 2004 to be exact, half of the PAC-10 coaching lineup changed. That was when Bill Furlong strolled into Phoenixville, Rick Daniels took over at Pottstown, Gary Rhodenbaugh stepped in at Spring-Ford, McCann started at St. Pius, and Keith Leamer became the new man at Upper Perkiomen.

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One very familiar face on the sidelines this season will be Steve Moyer, the former head coach at Upper Perkiomen who has returned to serve as the offensive coordinator under Leamer. Moyer, a 1968 graduate of Upper Perkiomen, guided the program into the PAC-10 in 1986 and through 1997 – the year the Indians shared the league title with Lansdale Catholic – and compiled a 49-54-1 league record.

* * *

Unofficially, there have been just four reported coaching changes in District 1 this season. The newcomers are Brian Hensel at Central Bucks West; Matt Ortega at Coatesville – who brings his Red Raiders to Perkiomen Valley next Friday night; John Iannucci at Harry S Truman; and Dennis Decker at Ridley.

POWER PUNCH

Who has had the most success in the Pioneer Athletic Conference is an often asked question. Who has collected the most championships would be the easy answer, as would adding up the overall won-loss records in the first 23 seasons.

Well, Spring-Ford was the dominant program in the first two seasons; Owen J. Roberts and Pottsgrove took control for a few years after that; Spring-Ford was back on top throughout the early 90s; Lansdale Catholic got on a roll in the late 90s; and Pottsgrove has been pretty much setting the pace since 2000.

But Lansdale Catholic, which left the PAC-10 last year for the Philadelphia Catholic League, still owns the best winning percentage (.658), and it’s considerably higher than Boyertown (.619) and Pottsgrove (.614). The only other programs with better than .500 marks in league play are Owen J. Roberts (.561), Spring-Ford (.558), and Phoenixville (.517).

STREAKING

Pottsgrove will be shooting for its seventh straight winning season in the PAC-10. The record for consecutive winning seasons in league play is eight, held by Owen J. Roberts (1997-2004). Spring-Ford shares the second-longest mark of seven (1990-96) with Lansdale Catholic (2001-07). Boyertown, Phoenixville and Upper Perkiomen each have strung together five straight winning seasons.

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Among PAC-10 teams, Owen J. Roberts

has finished with the most 10-win (overall) seasons. The Wildcats’ program has produced double-digit wins eight times, including back-to-back on two occasions (1983 and 1984 and again in 1986 and 1987).

Spring-Ford is next with seven seasons of 10 wins or more. The Rams, like OJR, have also done it twice (1986 and 1987 and again in 1994 and 1995). Pottsgrove is third on the chart with six seasons of double digits in the win column. The Falcons went back-to-back in 2000 and 2001, and have matched that the past two seasons. They could become the first area team to make it three in a row this year.

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The record for the most overall wins in a season by a PAC-10 team is 12, a mark shared by OJR (1984 and 1986) and Phoenixville (1978).

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Marty Moore, who was the head coach at Phoenixville while competing in the Ches-Mont League and later the head coach at Spring-Ford for 15 years (1988-2002), is still the only area coach to own unbeaten and untied seasons at two different schools. Moore guided the Phantoms to a 12-0 record in 1978, and then the Rams to 11-0 records in both 1992 and 1994 and a perfect 10-0 record in 1995.

SCOREBOOK

Seven of the league’s 12 past and current teams have scored more than 300 points in a season. Lansdale Catholic did it four times and set the league record (367) in its final run two years ago. Spring-Ford is next with three, while both Perkiomen Valley and Pottsgrove have reached the mark two times each. Phoenixville, Pottstown and Upper Perkiomen are the others to amass 300 or more points in a PAC-10 season.

And after 23 seasons of play, Lansdale Catholic still remains No. 1 in scoring differential. Head coach Jim Algeo’s teams outscored their opponents by an average of 9.1 points per game. Pottsgrove is second (8.0), followed by Boyertown (5.8), Spring-Ford (2.8), and Owen J. Roberts (1.8). The only other programs on the plus-side of that ledger are Phoenixville (1.0) and Methacton (0.9).

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

There are a number of milestone games on this season’s schedule, topped by the Thanksgiving Day feature between Pottsgrove and St. Pius X. It will mark the 50th time the neighboring rivals have met, and it will be the final game played at Mich Stadium.

Two series – Boyertown and Phoenixville, and Perkiomen Valley and Phoenixville – will each be meeting one another for the 25th time; Pottstown and St. Pius X meet for the 35th time; Phoenixville and Pottsgrove, as well as Spring-Ford and Pottsgrove, will be going up against one another for the 45th time; and the Thanksgiving renewal between Spring-Ford and Phoenixville will mark the 50th time the Rams and Phantoms have met.

The oldest active rivalry among area schools is between Phoenixville and Pottstown. The teams will line up against one another this season for the 97th time, with the Phantoms holding a 51-37-8 lead in the series.

FORE!

Actually it’s four, but don’t be surprised to hear a “Fore” or two to alert everyone that Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Brumfield, Pottsgrove teammates Terrell Chestnut and Maika Polamalu, and Pottstown’s David Tyler are heading their way.

Brumfield and Chestnut shared the PAC-10 scoring title last season with 108 points apiece, Polamalu was third (96) and Tyler – who transferred from Spring-Ford earlier this year – was fourth (84). And if all that isn’t enough to keep an eye on these fellas, they occupied four of the top five spots in rushing last season. Brumfield (1,762 yards) literally ran away with the title, while Polamalu was second (1,240), Chestnut was fourth (897) and Tyler was fifth (861). The only separation there was Boyertown quarterback David Crognale (917), who graduated in June.

Ironically, the top four kick-scorers are back, too. Perkiomen Valley’s Justin Morgan (39 points) led the way a year ago, followed by Owen J. Roberts’ Zach Lepore (33) and Phoenixville’s John McInally (33). Boyertown’s Aaron Sassaman, who was fourth with 30 points, converted a league-high three field goals.

IN A RUSH

There have been 14 individuals who have run for more than 300 yards in a PAC-10 game, with only the late Kyheim Tripp of Upper Perkiomen and David Frame of Owen J. Roberts accomplishing the feat twice. Perkiomen Valley’s Grant Wiley holds the league’s single-game record (398 yards). … Running backs, and a few quarterbacks as well, have run for more than 200 yards in a PAC-10 game 151 times. St. Pius X graduate Zack Pierce has done it the most (eight games). Former Pottsgrove teammates Brent Carter and Brent Steinmetz, and Lansdale Catholic’s R.C. Lagomarsino all did it in six games each; with Frame, Spring-Ford’s Joe Haley and Mike Bach, and Upper Perkiomen’s Craig Austin hitting the mark five times apiece. … Pottsgrove has had the most players with 200-plus games with 27, followed by Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen with 21 each, and Owen J. Roberts with 20. ... The very first year of the Pioneer Athletic Conference – 1986 – is the only time no back ran for more than 1,000 yards in the regular season. The following year, the last before expansion pushed the league’s membership from eight to 10 teams and the schedule from seven to nine games, Spring-Ford’s Scott Davidheiser ran for 1,041 in the Rams’ seven outings. In the first year of expansion (1988), four backs went over 1,000 yards, which has only been matched in two seasons since – 1998 and 2000.

PASSING BY

The PAC-10 has had at least one quarterback throw for more than 1,000 yards seven straight seasons and 15 of the last 16 overall that dates back to 1993. The first two who threw for a grand or more in league games prior to 1993 were Pottstown’s Brent Voynar (1,051) and Phoenixville’s Dave Rocco (1,017), both in 1988. … The record for the most quarterbacks with 1,000 or more yards passing in a season is four, set in 1994 and matched two years later and again in 2007 by Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Zulli, Lansdale Catholic’s Shane Pinzka, Spring-Ford’s Trevor Sasek, and Boyertown’s David Crognale – all underclassmen that season with the exception of Pinzka.

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