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, December 3, 2009

New chapter in old rivalry with league title on the line

This column was originally published in the Nov. 13 edition of The Mercury.

When it comes to football, The Hill School has always had a lot to shout about. When you’ve been playing the game for 122 years, nearly twice as long as most schools, you should. But other than an occasional hip-hip-hooray in recent years, it’s been relatively quiet.

But expect a resounding roar sometime late Saturday, especially if the Rams defeat Lawrenceville in the two schools’ traditional season-ending scrap down in New Jersey.

Beating the Larries is one thing.

Beating the Larries to finish a perfect run through the Mid-Atlantic Prep League for the outright championship — which no Hill team has done before — is another thing.

And considering the Rams have an opportunity to close out a season they kicked off with a 32-12 rout of Germantown Academy for the program’s milestone 500th win, well, that is something.

To say the Rams and their following on the Hill School campus are rocking would be an understatement.

“A win (Saturday) will complete our major goals for the season,“ head coach Marty Vollmuth said earlier this week.

It’s hard to imagine anything upstaging the rivalry. Hill and Lawrenceville meet this weekend for the 107th time. For the record, that’s one of the longest scholastic football series in all of America. One could be winless, but a victory in this game salvages their entire season. Get the idea how big it is?

But it gets bigger when considering the Rams have never won a league championship since the Mid-Atlantic League was formed in 1998. They’ve come close, finishing second in 2005 and again last year. They’ve already clinched that elusive first title this season because they’re 4-0 and, except for Hun School (already finished at 4-1) — who lost to the Rams in Pottstown last week — everyone else has two losses. Even a loss to the Larries won’t deny them the title because league rules state that in the event of a two-way tie, the team that won the head-to-head meeting is the champion. Just don’t think anyone, the Rams nor Vollmuth and his staff, are going to be the least bit satisfied with a loss, though.

There’s something about finishing a championship season with a loss that just doesn’t seem to sound right.


Listen for that roar.

* * *

Hill football fans have had plenty to cheer about in the past. The program owns nine undefeated seasons and 21 unbeaten (with ties) seasons. … Hill has had three teams that weren’t scored on for an entire season (1900, 1909 and 1922). That’s only been achieved by one other area school, Phoenixville (1905). … A win Saturday will also give the Rams their winningest season since going 9-0 back in 1987.


Methacton visits Perkiomen Valley tonight in a game that marks the end of their respective Pioneer Athletic Conference seasons. It’s been a particularly frustrating season for Bob McNally and the Warriors, who have been riddled with injuries and illness. For Scott Reed and the Vikings, it’s been quite the opposite. Despite having just one returning lettermen on offense and four on defense, they have the chance to finish up with a 7-4 overall mark, well beyond what most projected back in August.


Think Hill and Lawrenceville have been at it a long time? Radnor and Lower Merion go at it for the 113th time on Saturday. Radnor, which is coming off an upset Marple-Newtown – who is at Owen J. Roberts for tonight’s District 1-Class AAA playoff game – can finish above the .500 mark for the first time in seven years and close with just its third winning season since 1985.


ZIPPING ALONG: Simon Gratz, under head coach Erik Zipay – a Pottstown High School graduate – takes on Murrell Robbins on Saturday for the Philadelphia Public League Class AAA championship. The Bulldogs, who opened the season with a 21-20 loss at St. Pius X, have lost two games by a total of just three points, are 6-4 overall. Dobbins is 7-2.

FINAL SHOW: Phoenixville will be at Kennedy-Kenrick on Saturday, helping close out their hosts’ 17th and final season of football. Kennedy-Kenrick kicked off its first season in 1993 with the jointure of Archbishop Kennedy and Bishop Kenrick, and go into the finale with a 63-112-1 overall record.


PASSING THROUGH: Richardson Pearce (Tex.) junior quarterback Mac Morse got his first start last weekend, and did he ever take advantage of the opportunity by completing 42 of 68 passes for a state-record 634 yards. Receiver Blake Jumonville caught 19 of those tosses for a state-record 386 yards. And the 94 snaps Morse took also set a state record for most offensive plays in a game. … Camarillo (Calif.) quarterback Jeff Mathews passed for 588 yards and six touchdowns in a 69-20 rout of Hueneme. The 6-foot-4, 231-pound Matthews, who had 495 of those yards at halftime, completed 33 of 48 attempts – all in three quarters of work. … Golden (Colo.) quarterback Ryan Stokes passed for seven touchdowns during a 64-6 rout of Denver West. … Arundel (Md.) quarterback Billy Cosh passed for 380 yards and six touchdowns in a 69-28 victory over Southern to set the state record for career passing yardage (6,878).

DOUBLE DUTY: Tivy (Tex.) quarterback Johnny Manziel can throw the football, but he ran for all eight of his team’s touchdowns in a 56-35 win over Clemens.

DOUBLE PLAY: Oscar Smith (Va.) senior quarterback Phillip Sims upped his state career touchdown pass record to 113 and teammate Ryan Trotman stretched his state career extra-point record to 179 in last week’s 47-17 rout of Great Bridge.

TRIPLE THREAT: Trinity Catholic (Fla.) senior Kadron Boone scored on kick-off returns of 83 and 78 yards and on a 72-yard punt return in a 66-21 mauling of Mount Dora.

CATCH THIS: Columbia (Fla.) receiver Jamaal Montague caught four touchdown passes covering 40, 78, 38 and 57 yards – on the very first play of four consecutive first-quarter possessions to ignite a 49-14 victory over Wolfson.

LITTLE BIG MAN: Cocoa (Fla.) junior Cody Bell kicked a 54-yard field goal last week in a 52-0 laugher over crosstown rival Cocoa Beach. Bell has converted 3 of 4 field goals and 46 of 47 extra-points this season (17 of 26 three-pointers and 168 or 171 point-afters in his career). Last season, his 52-yarder helped the Tigers to a 20-17 win in the state semifinals. So Bell certainly can ring up the long ones … and to think he’s just 5-foot-8, 125 pounds.



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