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

Postseason a long and winding road

This column was originally published in the Nov. 17 edition of The Mercury.

There are no maps or global positioning systems – heck, not even the most detailed printout from MapQuest – that can show a football team how to get to or through the playoffs.

Winning games will.

It actually takes a lot of wins, in the heat and humidity of early September, through the mud and muck of October and into the chill of early November, just to find a spot in the playoffs. A loss here and there can (and will) lead a team to a dead end, and those weekly playoff points standings sure remind everyone who’s headed in the right direction and who’s not.

And for those fortunate to reach that desired destination – the postseason – it can be an ever so brief stay.

The road, as they say, gets awfully treacherous at this juncture.

Just ask anyone from Daniel Boone, Owen J. Roberts, Pottsgrove, St. Pius X and Upper Perkiomen, all of whom made the successful trek into the postseason, all of whom found out just how difficult it can be getting some traction in their respective openers last weekend.

Upper Perkiomen couldn’t rev up its offense or defense against unbeaten defending District 1-Class AAA champion Bayard Rustin. Call it a quick trip, and not a happy one for the Red Hill entourage.

The Indians had been averaging close to 300 yards a game, but stalled with just 44 against the Golden Knights. Their defense, which had only been run over twice this season – and in both instances by two other district entries (Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts) – was mangled by the Golden Knights. So, as head coach Keith Leamer said following the 46-0 setback, the Indians will need a tune up for their Thanksgiving finale against Boyertown.

And even though the other four area teams won last weekend to extend their postseason journeys, every one of them will be in the shop – on the practice field, that is – to tune up their own games again.

Pottsgrove sure will. On cruise control through their first nine appearances the season, the Falcons barely got by Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Phoenixville (10-6) two weeks ago and needed a late turnover to stop upset-minded Upper Moreland (21-14) in last Friday night’s district opener. As head coach Rick Pennypacker, his staff and every one of the Falcons know, their entire game – offense, defense and special teams – needs a tweaking if they hope to keep up Rustin this Friday night.

Both the Falcons and Golden Knights have been running alongside one another for two years now. Last year, Rustin finished off Pottsgrove at this very same stop in the postseason – the district semifinals – and went on to win the Class AAA championship the following week. Ever since, depending on what chart you look at, they’ve rarely been separated by more than one spot in the Top 10 of any of the state rankings.

Don’t think Daniel Boone, Owen J. Roberts or St. Pius X are the least bit comfortable with their rides yet, either. Yes, all won last weekend, but there were a few challenging turns to be made to continue their postseason drives.

Daniel Boone, remember, had to travel all the way out to Greencastle-Antrim. The Blazers didn’t cramp up during the nearly three-hour bus trip, which some remembered from back in 2007. And they obviously didn’t lose their swagger along the way, as evidenced by their 35-7 romp. But all that first-round win earned them was another long ride this Friday – to undefeated and state-ranked Manheim Central, the top-seed and favorite in the District 3-Class AAA playoffs (and the team that ended what looked to be a promising postseason drive three years ago, in overtime, no less).

Owen J. Roberts didn’t have to leave Bucktown in its District 1-Class AAA opener last week. And even though the 34-7 win over Marple-Newtown looked easy enough, it actually wasn’t when considering the Wildcats were only a touchdown in front at the break. And, like PAC-10 rival Pottsgrove, every aspect of their game will need to be fiddled with this week to prepare for a visit down to undefeated Interboro – arguably the least talked about unbeaten team in the district, if not the entire state.

And then there is St. Pius X.

The Lions looked like a VW Bug sitting alongside a Ford 4-by-4 when they lined up against Delaware Valley Charter last Saturday afternoon in their first postseason appearance in seven years. But the Lions did the motoring, and did it with their offensive and scoring leader on the sidelines for the entire second half. This week they must refuel and do a little body repair work – just to be the underdog for the umpteenth time this season – in Friday night’s Class A regional final with Calvary Christian.

So hook up the seat belts. The (hopefully) long and winding road through the postseason continues in three days.


Pottsgrove and St. Pius X, win or lose Friday night, intend to play their Thanksgiving Day game as scheduled. If either or both would win, school officials would petition the PIAA to play their next playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 28, according to Pottsgrove athletic director Gary DeRenzo.

One of the reasons behind the move is because the Thanksgiving game would be Pius’ last at Mich Stadium – because of teaming up next year with Kennedy-Kenrick at Pope John Paul II High School – and the St. Pius X Alumni Association has planned a variety of events to celebrate the finale.


Perkiomen Valley, which just missed getting into the district’s Class AAAA playoffs, closed out what was unquestionably the most surprising run of any area team with a 41-0 shutout of Methacton last Friday night.

“I’m proud of the kids, of this team,” said head coach Scott Reed, who had every reason to be after welcoming back just one letterman on offense and four on defense from last year’s team.

If not for a slew of turnovers – an area-high 34, to be exact – the Vikings may have finished just a little better than they did in the PAC-10 (6-3) and overall (7-4) in their bid for a postseason berth. But not a bad season, not a bad one at all.

* * *

Methacton head coach Bob McNally wouldn’t mind a rerun of 2009. The Warriors lost three – that’s right – three quarterbacks and 16 other players to injury this season. Running back Drew Nicholson, who had never taken a snap in his career, was under center for the season finale in Graterford.

“I feel bad for the kids because this is certainly not what any of them expected out of our season,” McNally said after the loss. “I’ll say one thing – they hung together really well. They played hard right to the end.”

The long list of injuries really hurt the Warriors on defense, where they allowed a school-record 399 points – breaking the mark of 381 set four years ago.


Boyertown broke its school record for points scored in a game during last Friday night’s 62-26 non-league victory at Great Valley. The previous mark was 54, set in a 54-7 rout of St. Pius X two years ago – which erased the old, old mark of 51 set against Schwenksville (51-0) in 1946 and tied against Garden Spot (51-13) in 1989.

* * *

Only four area teams – Daniel Boone, Methacton, Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford – have failed to go over the 60-point mark in a game. … The area’s all-time record for points in a game is 77, when Phoenixville humbled Perkiomen School by a 77-0 spread back in 1915.

* * *

Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts have at least two games remaining on their respective schedules and are within 22 and 61 points, respectively, of becoming just the 10th and 11th teams in area football history to score more than 400 in a season.


Owen J. Roberts running back Ryan Brumfield’s third straight 200-plus game (and record sixth overall of the year) pushed his season total to 2,276 and career total to 5,302. He needs just 32 yards Friday night to move up to No. 2 on The Mercury’s all-time single-season chart, but would need two if not three big games to erase St. Pius graduate Zack Pierce’s area record of 2,828 yards. … Brumfield needs just seven points to break the The Mercury’s all-time single-season scoring record of 224 points, set by Spring-Ford’s Ralph O’Neil in 1992.

Daniel Boone senior Jon Monteiro, despite missing his entire sophomore year, a game last year and parts of two games this season, is within 96 yards of becoming just the third area quarterback to pass for more than 5,000 career yards.

And Daniel Boone senior Kelly Saylor needs five catches to become just the fifth area receiver to pull in 100 career receptions. Saylor, already just one of five to accumulate more than 1,000 yards receiving, is No. 4 (1,353 yards) going into Friday night’s game. He trails No. 3 LeRyan Dallas – a St. Pius X graduate and his current receivers coach at Daniel Boone – by 109 yards.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home