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 7, 2010

No. 1 ranked teams take a hit

TOWAMENCIN TWP. -- So much for being ranked No. 1, or the toast of your enrollment bracket.

North Penn, the top-ranked Class AAAA team in Pennsylvania four state-wide preseason polls, had a 14-6 lead in the third quarter against defending state champion La Salle last Friday night. And an advantage that late in a game at Crawford Stadium usually holds up for the Knights.

But it didn't this time.

La Salle scored three unanswered touchdowns and upset the hosts, 27-14, ending North Penn's 43-game winning streak at home. It was the Suburban One power's first setback at Crawford Stadium in nearly four years to the day when Archbishop Wood won a very similar 25-18 match-up.

Quarterback Matt Magarity hurt North Penn by completing 13 of 22 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, two of them accounting for the go-ahead scores in the decisive third quarter.

"He's a fantastic player," North Penn head coach Dick Beck said of Magarity. "He's got a good feel for the game."

The Knights, hurt by four turnovers, got both of their first-half touchdowns from Dom Taggert.

North Penn was only one of two No. 1 ranked teams to drop their openers. District 2's Dunmore, atop the preseason polls in Class A - down a bracket since last year's second-place finish behind West Catholic in the AA state final - was upset 10-8 by North Pocono.

And speaking of West Catholic, which not only had plenty of returnees but got a lift with additional players on the roster from the recently-closed Northeast Catholic, got dumped on Saturday by Roman Catholic, 23-14.

West Catholic was No. 2 in the AA preseason poll. General McLane, at No. 6, also lost a 14-3 encounter to Erie Strong Vincent.

Back down in Class A, Southern Columbia appears back to its lofty state. Ranked fourth, SC recovered from a slow start to level No. 9 Line Mountain, 49-20, in a District 4 showdown to open the season.


The first Rally at the Wolvarena - a four-game Saturday special featuring Florida and Ohio powers against Pennsylvania's finest from District 7 - certainly created a lot of excitement and drew a full house of 14,000-plus fans all day Saturday at Woodland Hills in Turtle Creek.

In the opener, Steubenville (Ohio) - with more than 700 wins in its program's history - edged McKeesport, 7-0, to improve to 2-0 on the young season. Game Two saw Pittsburgh Central Catholic, ranked No. 5 in the preseason AAAA poll, bury Buchtel (from Akron, Ohio) in a 35-0 mismatch.

Buchtel (1-1), reportedly in a rebuilding year, has no one better to rekindle the old days than head coach Ricky Powers, the star running back when Buchtel won back-to-back state titles in the late-80s.

The two biggies, though, went to Florida's Cocoa and Manatee.

Cocoa (2-0), the defending state champion with three overall since 2005, extended its winning streak to 26 in a row with a 43-7 rout of Thomas Jefferson, the No. 5 ranked AAA team in Pennsylvania. And in the nightcap, nationally ranked Manatee (2-0) scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to whip host Woodland Hills, the AAAA state runner-up a year ago, 39-16.


District 11 pulled off a trifecta with District 1 last weekend. Easton pounded Pennsbury, 34-13; Liberty defeated Glen Mills, 35-14; and Allentown Central Catholic, ranked No. 2 in AAA, edged Downingtown East, ranked No. 6 in AAAA, by a 30-21 spread.


BIG SCORES: Canton ran up a lot of points in a 70-14 whipping of Wellsboro up in District 4; Upper Dauphin blanked Carson Long, 69-0, out in District 3; and Wallenpaupack did a 68-6 number on neighboring Honesdale in District 2; Simon Gratz and Fells had no trouble finding the end zone in Gratz's 66-36 scoring marathon; and St. Edward's (Ohio) punched out Penn Hills of District 7 by a 65-25 spread. … Carson Long was 0-9 and scored just 19 points while giving up 406 last year.

BIG PLAYERS: Farrell got two fumble returns for touchdowns (75 yards from Kevin Brodle and 71 yards from D'onte Peques) in a 24-7 win over Sharon; York Tech bot 287 yards rushing and five touchdowns from Marcus Holley to outlast Penquea Valley and quarterback Ben Myers' 389 yards passing, 48-46; and Brockway used Derek Buganza's 310 yards and five touchdowns passing to stiff Sheffield, 49-21.

DUMPSTER: Communications Tech got six sacks from Eric Dickerson in blanking School of the Future, 12-0, down in District 12 last weekend.


WELL-ARMED: Down in Texas, Tivy's Johnny Manziel completed 41 of 75 passes for 503 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 78 yards and a score in a 39-34 upset of highly ranked Madison. Manziel, who has verbally committed to Oregon, accounted for 581 of his team's 582 yards of offense..

TEXAS TREMBLE: Quarterback David Ash threw six touchdown passes and ran for two more in a 66-63 win over Belton. That was just enough to offset Belton quarterback Jordan Jaquez, who completed 40 of 42 passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the game that saw both teams combine for 1,091 yards of offense.

RUNNING WILD: Venice (Calif.) back Teondray Caldwell ran for 291 yards and seven touchdowns in a 47-16 romp over Harvard-Westlake.

STREAKING: The nation's fourth-longest winning streak ended last weekend in Iowa when Regina topped Solon, 21-15, snapping the Spartans' 42-game run. … Lake Travis (Tex.) won its 48th straight, 34-24, over Hendrickson last weekend. … The longest active winning streak in the country right now belongs to Plymouth, N.H., which won its 56th in a row with a season-opening 35-7 rout of Swanzey. … Colerain (Ohio) won its 54th straight home game last weekend, 44-12, over Elder. Colerain hasn't lost a home game since 1999. … De La Salle (Calif.) won its 200th consecutive game against Northern California opponents last weekend, defeating Serra, 45-7. The Spartans impressive streak dates back to 1991.



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