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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rain, rain and a lot of fumbles

Mother Nature was whimpering a bit last weekend. Rain, rain, rain … along with an occasional puff of wind, a little mud, even a puddle here and there.

Five schools decided to play Friday night (hip-hip-hooray), another three opted to postpone until Saturday (boo-hiss), when the conditions (sadly, football has weather conditions now, too) weren’t all that much better.

Thank goodness there weren’t any coaches – of even players, for that matter – whimpering or whining about the wet fields, though.

They could have.

Really, they could have. In the area’s 12 games last weekend, the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and kick-returners fumbled 51 times – and lost 27 – and who’s to say the writers and statisticians overlooked another one or two along the way on their scoring sheets.

“There’s no excuse, either,” said one area coach, who pleaded to remain anonymous for fear of being critical of other teams’ players. “Don’t blame the weather. It’s carelessness … not being focused.”

Whatever it was, you can bank on tucking in the ol’ ball will be part of this week’s practices and preparations for almost everyone. Especially for those fellas at Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley, not to mention Boyertown and Pottstown.

The Wildcats fumbled a school-record 12 times and lost half of them. Fortunately, the usually dependable Ryan Brumfield – who had four himself – more than made up for it with 259 yards and all four of his team’s touchdowns in the rout of West Chester East.

“It was a little frustrating,” Brumfield said. “But after fumbling, you have to have a quick memory – forget about it and go on to the next play.”

Fortunately, Brumfield and the Wildcats did.

Perkiomen Valley, Boyertown and Pottstown weren’t as fortunate. Turnovers either turned their respective games around or over – none in a favorable way, either. The Vikings bobbled the football six times and lost all six in an otherwise strong showing at Coatesville, which had head coach Scott Reed uttering what you may have heard or read from a few others – “No excuse for that.” Up in Boyertown, the Bears’ seven fumbles – four of which were lost – cost them excellent field position and continually sacked any continuity, let alone momentum, and overshadowed a very commendable defensive effort in a 9-7 setback to Governor Mifflin.

And say what you will, but Pottstown’s five fumbles – four of which were handed over to Upper Moreland – didn’t help head coach Brett Myers in his dogged drive to turn the Trojans’ fortunes around.

If you happened to be counting up those otherwise forgettable figures, you got four teams – Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Boyertown and Pottstown – fumbling 30 times and losing 20 of them. The other eight area teams combined only bobbled the ball 21 times and lost seven.

And, believe it or not, there were only three teams – Daniel Boone, Methacton and Upper Perkiomen – that didn’t fumble the ball over to the opposition at all. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Daniel Boone and Upper Perkiomen had no problems winning and remaining unbeaten (Methacton, on the other hand, is in an offensive funk without a touchdown in two games).

And don’t think everyone was beaming after weekend wins if their turnover column was on the light side, either.

“I was happy with the way we played,” said Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker, whose Falcons overcame a pair of fumbles of their own by getting six Wissahickon turnovers – five fumbles and an interception – in a 45-0 romp. “I can still find some things we did wrong … things we need to work on.”

Pennypacker won’t be alone on that work detail this week.


Area fans may have been spoiled the last three years by Boyertown’s David Crognale, Perkiomen Valley’s Zack Zulli and Spring-Ford’s Trevor Sasek. After all, the three did graduate last spring with over 10,000 combined passing yards.

But two weeks into this season, with the exception of Daniel Boone’s Jon Monteiro, passing the football is, well, almost being passed over for nearly everyone else.

Monteiro is 27 of 49 (55 percent) for 383 yards and four touchdowns. Other quarterbacks for the 11 area teams who have played at least once so far, are a combined 73 of 190 (38 percent) for 911 yards – with twice as many interceptions (16) as touchdowns (eight). Monteiro’s quarterback rating is 139.5. The rest of the gang is a combined 63.2.


One thing that isn’t being overlooked in the early going is the kicking game. Punting averages are up considerably, and Daniel Boone’s Bernie Roell, Phoenixville’s John McInally, Methacton’s Nick LaPerche and Owen J. Roberts’ Zach Lepore, to name a few,

Roell, the area’s leading kick scorer last year, is 11 of 13 on point-afters and has a field goal. McInally is 3-for-3 on point-afters with three field goals, and LePerche has boomed two field goals. McInally and LePerche accounted for their team’s only points last weekend. And Lepore is 4-for-6 on placements with one field goal.

Perkiomen Valley’s Justin Morgan, who could set PAC-10 career marks in kicking by season’s end, is 4-for-4 following Viking touchdowns.

Boyertown’s Aaron Sassaman (who missed last Saturday night’s game with a reported injury), Pottsgrove’s Zach Robinson, Pottstown’s Kyle Dentler, St. Pius’ John Cherneskie and Upper Perkiomen’s Matt Kirkpatrick are also off to good starts this season.


After just two weeks, Brumfield and Daniel Boone’s Brian Evans lead the area in scoring with six touchdowns and 36 points each. Upper Perkiomen’s Shawn Wenhold is next with four scores and 24 points. … Roell (14 points) and McInally (12) lead in kick scoring. … Brumfield (340), Pottsgrove quarterback Terrell Chestnut (229) and Pottstown’s David Tyler (208) are the only backs with over 200 yards. … Daniel Boone teammates Kelly Saylor (10 catches) and Tommy Bodolus (nine) top the receiving chart.


St. Pius X is off to a 2-0 start for the first time in six years. The Lions, who have edged Simon Gratz and jolted Jenkintown so far, matched their program’s best start since 2003.

That’s when quarterback Chad DiFebbo, fullback Zach McCann and running back Josh Lauer helped the Lions hold off East Stroudsburg North in a 16-14 thriller and sack Spring-Ford by a 25-12 spread in head coach Ed McCann’s first season.


The new Twin Borough Sports Heritage Association last Friday opened its exhibit in the Spring-Ford Historical Society building on Main Street in Royersford.

The exhibit features uniforms, trophies, photographs and other memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s of sports teams from the former Royersford and Spring City high schools as well as from Spring-Ford High School.

Claire Hunter, the mover and shaker behind the project, added the highlight of the exhibit is the Twin Borough Wall of Fame, which honors outstanding student-athletes who graduated from the three schools.

The TBSHA’s exhibit is open from11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and also at the same times on the first and third Sundays of each month.

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