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

Week one wins lead to optimistic times

Call them the jitters, butterflies, nerves or whatever you’d like (perhaps anxiety or stress if you’re a politically-correct football critic), but no one could deny there were plenty of them last Friday night and Saturday afternoon. They created a wave of mistakes, from missed blocks and missed tackles to an assortment of other missed assignments, turnovers and, of course, some earsplitting hooting and hollering from the sidelines.

No, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it sounds, just your typical opening weekend of high school football.

There was plenty to cheer about… especially for Pottstown and Spring-Ford.

The Trojans, who hadn’t won on opening day since a 28-0 shutout of Norristown in 2003, went all the way up to Bangor and ran over Pius X. Spring-Ford, which hadn’t won on opening day since a 30-7 rout of Garden Spot in 2000, went down to West Chester and defeated East. Want to talk about two programs that have been desperately seeking sanguinity to kick off a new season?

Don’t think the Boyertown, Daniel Boone, Phoenixville, Pottsgrove and Upper Perkiomen football neighborhoods weren’t in a festive frame of mind, either.

Boyertown made very few mistakes in dominating Allentown Allen; Daniel Boone was near-flawless in another destruction of Donegal; Phoenixville ended two years of disappointment against Route 29 rival Great Valley with a come-from-behind win; Pottsgrove looked almost as good as everyone expected it would be in a playful mauling of Mastbaum; and Upper Perkiomen came out with its offensive guns blazin’ to defeat Muhlenberg.

Come to think of it, there were enough bright spots for Methacton, Pope John Paul II, Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley to help them see through last weekend’s losses.

Methacton – with its new coach and almost entirely new cast of starters – didn’t exactly go belly up against Plymouth-Whitemarsh, a team that practically owned the Warriors in 43 previous meetings. Pope John Paul II had a very competitive chip on its shoulder in its debut up in Reading against Holy Name, which is among the favorites to defend its Inter-County League Section Two title. Owen J. Roberts let an early lead slip away and came up short against Conestoga, a serious contender for the Central League title this season. And Perkiomen Valley, despite squandering a big first-half lead, regrouped for one final drive only to come up short of the goal line – and a win – by a foot.

Yes, just your typical opening weekend of high school football.

But for the sake or argument, it may have been an atypical weekend of high school football for the folks who follow Pottstown and Spring-Ford (not to mention the Trojans and Rams themselves, too).

Pottstown lost its entire offensive line, all those Goliaths from tackle to tackle, because of graduation. But the unknown and much smaller front sure did its job against Pius X, helping quarterback Jeff Endy run the offense and backs Marc Smith and Malik Brinkley run away with that very rare “double” – two backs with over 200 yards each in a game. Smith had 230, Brinkley had 214. More important, the Trojans had a win against one of District 11’s tradition-rich Class A programs.

Head coach Brett Myers caught a few fanatics off guard when he said he “saw a lot of positives” throughout preseason practices. Guess he wasn’t kidding.

Spring-Ford showed some resiliency against West Chester East in what could definitely be tagged your classic season-opener – a combined 645 yards, 12 turnovers, eight punts and 26 penalties for 183 yards. The Rams, with a new coach (Chad Brubaker) and a new quarterback (sophomore Hank Coyne), put up more points than any team before them since a 46-point spot against Upper Perkiomen a dozen years ago; came up with nine of those turnovers, including two interceptions by James Hoff; and got six points from its special teams when Matt Glowacki returned a punt for a touchdown.

So, yes, a few questions were answered – as they usually are – during opening week. And, yes, a lot more questions remain to be answered – as they usually do – going into Week Two.

But it should be an exciting Week Two, with two games (Methacton at Upper Merion and Souderton at Perkiomen Valley) renewing some old, old rivalries, and another two (Reading at Owen J. Roberts and Pope John Paul II visiting Pottsgrove) featuring first-time meetings … the latter of which kicks off the 25th season of Pioneer Athletic Conference football.


It sure didn’t take Ryan Brumfield long to move up to the top of The Mercury’s career total offense chart. The Owen J. Roberts senior ran for 231 yards and passed for another 36 to push his total to 6,843 yards, moving him past Perkiomen Valley’s Zach Zulli (6,571), Boyertown’s David Crognale (6,626) and St. Pius’ Zack Pierce (6,731) and into the No. 1 spot – with at least 10 more games to go this season. Brumfield’s three touchdowns also pushed his career scoring total to 470 points, tying former Pottsgrove standout Brent Steinmetz for second place, just 28 points behind Pierce’s record 498.


Pottsgrove’s Maika Polamalu became The Mercury area’s 26th player to run past the 3,000-yard career mark last Friday night. He is 25th now with 3,037 yards, joining three Pottsgrove graduates – Jermaine Thaxton (3,253), Brent Carter (4,056) and Steinmetz (4,752) – on the list.


A few new quarterbacks had rather impressive debuts last weekend.

Daniel Boone junior Tommy Bodolus – son of head coach Dave Bodolus – inherited his position from Jon Monteiro, who broke nearly every school record there was. He responded by completing 16 of 25 attempts for 219 yards and five touchdowns. More important, not one interception. Bodolus went to seven different receivers, too.

Coyne showed some guile, to, by throwing for 132 yards and three touchdowns and running for another while eluding an East rush that sacked him on three occasions. And Perkiomen Valley’s Alex Miller provided a lot of positives throwing under pressure, too.

Some veteran quarterbacks – all of whom drew praise from their respective coaches during the preseason – came up with solid games, too. Boyertown’s Dylan Pasik was 4 of 8 for 145 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another; Phoenixville’s Tom Romano found running more to his liking and responded with 148 yards and two touchdowns; Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut executed the Falcons’ option offense like always and scored twice himself; Pottstown’s Jeff Endy squeezed a score in between Smith’s and Brinkley’s two-man show; and Upper Perkiomen’s Casey Perlstein may have come up with the best complete package – 119 yards and two touchdowns passing and 171 yards and one touchdown rushing.


Boyertown’s Aaron Sassaman – who didn’t miss a point-after last season – and Pottsgrove’s Zach Robinson were both 7-for-7 in placements last Friday night. … Phoenixville’s John McInally was 5-for-5 with an 18-yard field goal. … Methacton’s Nick LaPerche helped the Warriors converted two red zone opportunities with field goals from 26 and 39 yards out. … Upper Perkiomen’s Vince Boyle booted five of six point-afters in the Indians’ big win.


Boyertown, Phoenixville and Pottsgrove played turnover-free football last weekend, which the other eight area teams turned it over a combined 21 times. But thanks in part to Spring-Ford getting nine back – which, incidentally, was a single-game school record for the Rams – and Perkiomen Valley (five), Boyertown (four) and Methacton (four) coming up with their share, area teams finished a plus-16 for the weekend.


Daniel Boone’s Dave Bodolus, whose coaching career began in the Pioneer Athletic Conference and is now in Berks County, picked up his 100t career win. … Spring-Ford’s Brubaker, whose coaching career began in Berks County (at Wilson) and is soon to begin in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, picked up his first win. … Friday’s win at East was also the 275th for the Rams’ program, which began in 1955.



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