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.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Start Your Engines

The scrimmages and non-league games were well over a month ago, all but forgotten by now. The “see what we have” games are, or should be, a thing of the past, too. The midseason report cards have been handed out, read and reviewed. It’s time to move on.

The stretch run begins today.

It’s time to gear up for a league championship, for a postseason playoff berth, for respect … and for avoiding the temptation of looking beyond the “gimme games” that have, more times than many would care to admit, led to a slew of October upsets.

This afternoon, Hill School travels to Peddie School to begin a stretch the Rams hope will lead to a second straight Mid-Atlantic Prep League title. Tonight, unbeaten Daniel Boone heads up to Reading – a David vs. Goliath match-up no one would’ve envisioned 10 years ago – in a Inter-County League Section One game it should easily win (should, that is) but cannot just blink at with a downright brutal four-game grind ahead.

And then there’s the Pioneer Athletic Conference…

Tonight, Owen J. Roberts travels to Upper Perkiomen – OJR cannot afford another loss if it’s to stay in the chase for a PAC-10 championship and

District 1-AAAA playoff berth, and Upper Perkiomen faces the same challenge, especially in the District 1-AAA race. Saturday afternoon, injury ravaged Phoenixville is still in the District 1-AAA playoff picture when it lines up against Methacton, which must bounce back from last week’s lopsided loss to OJR because some may have forgotten the Warriors are among the PAC-10 and District 1-AAAA leaders. And the Pottstown and Pope John Paul matinee is simple enough to digest – Pottstown is looking for its first PAC-10 win this season and Pope John Paul is looking for the very first win of its new program.

Oh yeah, those other two? Spring-Ford at Pottsgrove and Perkiomen Valley at Boyertown … pretty big games, to say the least.

Spring-Ford is 2-1 (4-1 overall), it’s best start since going 5-0 back in 2000, a streak that ended with a 28-7 loss to none other than Pottsgrove, which went on to beat everyone that season. Pottsgrove (3-1, 4-1) has bounced back from its first league loss in 2œ years, and done it with an ailing Terrell Chestnut, a four-year starter and two-time Mercury Player of the Year who’s played sparingly with his injured shoulder. And, not that he needs to be reminded, head coach Rick Pennypacker hasn’t lost to his alma mater since 1999.

Perkiomen Valley, some say – including Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly – may have the most dangerous 2-3 team around. Scisly reminds anyone who cares to listen, and you can bet the Bears were all ears during this week’s practices. Boyertown, on the other hand, is big and quick up front, faster behind it, undefeated and can match the program’s best start since 1954 (that’s 56 long, long, long years ago).

Did someone say gear it up?

“All in all, our players and coaches know we are playing a very good football team that is playing extremely well (despite its record),” Scisley said. “Perkiomen Valley has a lot of starters back from a team that put it to us last year. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”

The Bears will throw more offense at the Vikings than they’ve seen yet this season. There’s considerable balance with quarterback Dylan Pasik throwing the ball (824 yards and 12 TDs without an interception) and Jared Von Dohren, Jon Neiman and Tom Froehlich running it. But some overlook who’s responsible for most of the production – that offensive line, namely center Tyler Bogert, guards Zach Paskel and Chris Muller, and tackles Tyler Boggs and Jake Semple. The good old gang has permitted just one sack all season.

“Their offensive line is big, athletic, physical, and can run while their three running backs look like three clones because they’re fast, tough, and run extremely hard,” said PV head coach Scott Reed. “You put all that together with a hot quarterback and there are a lot of concerns for any defensive coach or player in this league.

“Their defense is also very good. They create a lot of havoc for opposing offenses. They’re sound up front and in coverage. I think their biggest strength is their ability to rally to the football. They always seem to have a lot of players around the football. That’s a key component in a good defense.

“And if that’s not enough their kicking game (placekicker Aaron Sassaman and punter Zach Heffner) is outstanding. They’ve been giving opponents poor starting field position. That can be frustrating because it makes it harder to be aggressive when you are playing on your end of the field all the time. So the bottom line is that Boyertown’s playing very good football in all areas of the game. That’s a testament to their coaches and players.”

Over at Pottsgrove, Pennypacker has been giving Spring-Ford similar props.

“They’re a good football team, no doubt about it,” he said. “We feel Spring-Ford is as good as anyone in the league right now. We worked extremely hard studying film this week. We have a game plan, but we’re going to have to play our best game to beat them.”

The Falcons have two of the area’s big-play running backs in Maika Polamalu and Kayvon Greene, who’ve have helped make it a little easier for Tory Hudgins, who’s been running the option offense in Chestnut’s absence. But much like OJR, Pottsgrove gets nearly all its offense by running the ball, and Pennypacker is aware of what the Rams did in tripping up record-breaking Ryan Brumfield and the Wildcats a few weeks ago.

“They have a ton of experience on defense, so we knew they’d be good on defense,” said Pennypacker, who was in a tight game with the Rams last year before opening it up in the second half. “We’ll have to mix it up on them, take a few more chances than we’d like. We expect them to load up the box, so we’ll have to be ready to throw more than we have.”

Chad Brubaker, in his first year at Spring-Ford, has heard enough of Pottsgrove to know it’s a team as big if not bigger than OJR with two backs, not just one, to be concerned with.

“I thought our players responded well to the challenge of going against Brumfield and hope they respond the same way (tonight),” Brubaker said. “The key to playing any option team is to stay job-oriented and hope each player is disciplined enough to do his job on each play and not attempt to do too much.

“Being undersized as we are we must always pursue and gang tackle. Our defense is predicated on bouncing plays to the outside and running them down, so we’re facing a dilemma in a team like Pottsgrove that has breakaway ability.”

Should the Rams be able to slow the run game down, they’ve proven to be quite proficient against the pass, too. Ends Bjorn and Max Ullman have applied their share of pressure and gotten more than their share of sacks. The secondary, anchored by Andrew Keys and Matt Glowacki, has picked off 14 passes.

That defense has overshadowed the offense to an extent. Sophomore quarterback Hank Coyne has improved with each passing week, and thrown for 652 yards and eight touchdowns. He has excellent receivers like Andrew Scanlan and Drew Thomas, who have a combined 24 receptions for over 300 yards and four scores. The fleet Chase Stewart (491 yards) provides balance in leading the run game.

“I’m concerned with (nose guard T.J.Demetrio and Chestnut at safety),” Brubaker said. “(Demetrio) creates a lot of havoc up front, and that’s where we had some problems last week against Upper Perkiomen. We need to be up to the challenge because we’re undersized.”

It’s that time of the year when everyone has to play up a notch … and come up big.

* * *

Perkiomen School, originally scheduled to be off this week, returns to the field this afternoon (4:00) to host Emily Fisher Charter School from Trenton, N.J. … Saturday afternoon’s Pottstown-Pope John Paul II game has been moved from the former St. Pius X High School to Pope John Paul in Upper Providence Township. Kick off is 3 p.m.

* * *

Boyertown graduate Jimmy Develin, who had an outstanding career at Brown University, is playing for the Florida Tuskers in the UFL. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Develin has been lining up at fullback for the Tuskers, who are coached by Jay Gruden – brother of former Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

Develin has caught one pass for six yards so far for the Tuskers (1-2), who play their home game in the Citrus Bowl. They’re on the road this week against the Hartford (Ct.) Colonials.

The UFL features two former NFL quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia of the Omaha Nighthawks and Daunte Culpepper of the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

* * *

The Boyertown Football Hall of Fame will gain five new members tonight during halftime festivities at Boyertown. The new inductees are Tom Benfield (1966-68), former head coach Nick Noel (1953-72), Rich Rockwell (1966-68), Henry Schmidenberg (1954-57), and Terry Shaner (1949-52).


Bears aiming to party like it’s 1954

It’s been 19 years since Boyertown opened a football season with five straight wins, which was before any of the current band of Bears were born. It’s been 56 years since Boyertown opened a football season with six straight wins, which in all likelihood was before all of the current band of Bears’ parents were born.

So Saturday afternoon’s 44-19 romp at Phoenixville, which improved Boyertown’s spotless record to 5-0, was definitely something to shout about. And should Boyertown defeat Perkiomen Valley this Friday night, well, some hooting and hollering would certainly be in order.

But back in 1991 (and in 1955 when the team also opened 5-0), and way, way back in 1954 with that 6-0 start, Boyertown played an independent schedule. There were no league titles to be won … not even any playoffs to qualify for.

It’s a little different this time around, of course.

With five Pioneer Athletic Conference games remaining, and either that provisional non-league date with Great Valley or a game, two, three or more in the District 1-AAAA playoffs instead, the Bears have an opportunity to capture the program’s first league championship as well as earn a spot in the postseason for the first time in four seasons. That would be a dandy of a double. And putting up double-digits in the win column, which no Boyertown team has done in 31 years – since going 10-2 in 1979 – would certainly be a terrific trifecta.

It would also give the Bears and their loyal following, much like their football ancestors, their own glory days to remember.

Problem is there are still those five league games to play out in what has already become one very, very unpredictable PAC-10 season.

For the record, Perkiomen Valley is considerably better than its 2-3 record indicates; Pottstown owns five wins in its last eight games against Boyertown, or since the Bears returned to District 1 and joined the PAC-10; Spring-Ford has won two of its last three meetings with the Bears and, in case no one noticed, is currently 4-1; Owen J. Roberts, all even in its league series with the Bears, still has “Run-Ryan-Run Brumfield” in its backfield; Methacton is no longer the pushover the Bears grew accustomed to seeing the previous two seasons; and Upper Perkiomen has beaten the Bears three times and kept the difference in three others to a touchdown or less since they started trying to gobble up one another on Thanksgiving morning the last eight years.

Ironically, this season began with two lopsided wins – 49-6 over still winless Allentown Allen and 42-6 over not-so-good Twin Valley – neither of which generated much attention beyond the Boyertown borough’s borders. But after beating Pottsgrove, the two-time defending PAC-10 champion and last year’s District 1-AAA champion, and after showing no signs of a letdown in back-to-back thumpings of Pope John Paul II and Phoenixville, nearly everyone – in the PAC-10 and around District 1 – has noticed the turnaround in Boyertown and given its Bears more than their share of props.

They’re well-earned props, too.

No matter what side of the ball you may happen to be looking at, the Bears are big … like real big. They’re blocking and blocking well on the offensive front. A very poised Dylan Pasik has an absolutely ridiculous 315.9 passing rating – thanks in part to a large group of reliable receivers – and three (if not more) rambunctious running backs who can take any handoff the distance. Defensively, they’re getting to the ball in a hurry (and that’s bunches of Bears getting to the ball in a hurry bunches), creating turnovers, and giving Pasik and his gang short fields to work with. And their special teams, with Zach Heffner punting and Aaron Sassaman legging the extra-points and field goals, have been as productive as any around.

“No doubt about it, (Boyertown) is a very good football team,” Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker said after the Bears ended the Falcons’ 22-game PAC-10 winning streak three weeks ago.

Good enough to equal, as well as better, that school-record start way, way back in 1954, but…

“I know it sounds cliché, but we’re just taking it one game at a time,” head coach Mark Scisly said last week.

In other words, the Bears started preparing for Perkiomen Valley on Monday afternoon. By week’s end, they hope it all leads to a sixth straight win, which sure would create some fresh new memories.


Six different backs have run for touchdowns and six different receivers have taken receptions into the end zone for the Bears already this season. … Tyler Shaw, who anchors the defense with a team-high 31 tackles, never caught a pass before this season and has only two thus far this season, both of which he’s taken in for touchdowns. … An indication of just how balanced Boyertown is on defense is revealed on the stat sheet. Eleven different Bears have hit double-digit in tackles already, and five others could very join that list by the end of the weekend.


A few underclassmen – junior Tom Bodolus and sophomores John Okuniewski and Andrew Ricci – sure gave Daniel Boone’s overflowing Homecoming crowd of 5,000-plus something to cheer about last Friday night and something to talk about for years.

Okuniewski, not exactly the tallest or most looked-for target in quarterback Bodolus’ gang of receivers, came up with a highlight-reel, 22-yard catch in the middle of three Pottsville receivers to give the Blazers a first down on the Tide’s three-yard line with five seconds left. After an incomplete pass, Ricci — a mighty mite 5-foot-5 who reminds you of the fella who needs to jump on the digital scale to get a weight reading — strolled onto the field and booted the game-winning 20-yard field goal with a half-second showing on the clock.

Head coach Dave Bodolus told Ricci it was just like an extra-point. Ricci patted Bodolus on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry coach.”

Okuniewski, incidentally, is the grandson of Jim Mich Sr., who coached the Blazers’ head coach at St. Pius X.


Pottsgrove’s Rick Pennypacker passed Lansdale Catholic’s Jim Algeo as the PAC-10’s winningest coach after Friday night’s victory over Pottstown. Pennypacker, in his 22nd season, needed 193 games to get his 130th league win. Algeo, the only coach in LC’s 22-year stay in the PAC-10, needed 194 games to get his 129 wins. … Former Spring-Ford coach Marty Moore is third on the career win chart with 79. Owen J. Roberts’ Tom Barr is currently fourth with 72.


Upper Perkiomen senior Casey Perlstein went over the 2,000-yard career mark in passing last weekend. Perlstein joins a long list of Tribe quarterbacks who have surpassed the milestone. He has hit 131 of 274 attempts for 2,011 yards and 19 touchdowns.


Pottsgrove’s Maika Polamalu is now 11th on The Mercury area’s career rushing chart with 3,531 yards. This week he could run past Barr – a former tailback for OJR – who is at No. 10 with 3,633 yards. A big game or two will push him up and by former Spring-Ford standouts Joe Haley (3,736) and Mike Bach (3,759). … Brumfield, meanwhile, continues to add to his area career records in rushing (6,810), total offense (7,677) and scoring (524 points). Brumfield needs 102 yards to become the 10th-leading rusher in Pennsylvania high school football history.

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Unbeaten I-C showdown highlights Week 5

There are four games – and only four in the entire state of Pennsylvania – that feature unbeaten teams going up against one another this weekend.

None are bigger, at least in District 1, than Bishop Shanahan, the No. 2 ranked team in the Class AAA points standings, visiting Henderson, the No. 3 ranked team in the Class AAAA points standings. District 4 has a similar showdown with Lewisburg, No. 2 in Class AA, traveling to Southern Columbia, No 1 in Class A. And up in District 11, there’s No. 1 Easton hosting No. 2 Whitehall in what is expected to be an out-and-out brawl between the AAAA rivals.

Just don’t think you have to leave work early, fill up the tank, and head on out to one of them … not when there’s going to be yet another one brewing up in Birdsboro between Pottsville and Daniel Boone.

Two unbeaten teams – both ranked among the Top Five in their respective district playoff points standings, both legitimate Inter-County Section One contenders … and two teams that don’t necessarily care for one another when they get together on a football field.

“(Pottsville) is our biggest test so far,” said Daniel Boone head coach Dave Bodolus.

Bodolus should know, too.

When Pottsville moved into the I-C back in 2006, the Blazers greeted the Tide with a 48-26 rout. That led to a share of the section title for the Blazers, while the Tide had to settle for runner-up honors. Pottsville would narrow the differentials – on the scoreboard, that is – the next two seasons, but still couldn’t get by Daniel Boone until last year (a 19-13 overtime thriller). That outcome left both teams one win shy of sharing the title with Conrad Weiser.

Who knows what may or may not happen in the next five weeks for the Blazers and Tide. But it seems like this particular game sure goes a long way in dictating who finishes where in the I-C standings as well as the District 11 and 3 playoff points standings.

“(Pottsville) isn’t as big as they usually are,” Bodolus said. “But they are quicker. Defensively

they are very aggressive and they get to the ball quickly. So yes, this is our biggest test so far.”

Daniel Boone has rolled over four opponents, but those four – Donegal, Susquehannock, Columbia and Twin Valley – are all 1-3 at this point. Pottsville had a noticeably stronger schedule with wins over Wyomissing (3-1), Stroudsburg (1-3), Blue Mountain (2-2) and Conrad Weiser (3-1).

Bodolus is aware of that, as he is with the Tide’s personnel.

“They want to run the ball our of their wing-t offense,” he explained. “Both their fullback (Cliff Newton) and halfback (Derek Knight) run well and both have gotten good yardage. They throw a little off play-action, and they’ll try to go deep to their one wide receiver (Anthony Kelly).”

Newton has run for 451 yards and Knight has added 305. Kelly is Pottsville’s leading receiver with 11 catches for 170 yards. But going into tonight, Bodolus has no idea who’ll be handling the handoffs and throwing the football. Third-year quarterback Matt Shields missed last week’s game with an injury and is questionable. But the Tide didn’t seem miss a beat last week with backup Tyler Heffner, who was not only good on 5 of 10 attempts for 71 yards and a touchdown but ran for three scores as well.

“(Tyler) is about the same (as Shields), only with less experience,” Bodolus said.

Pottsville’s defense, hurt by a preseason injury to all-state lineman Brad McKeone, held Daniel Boone to one of its lowest productions of the 2009 season and created three turnovers in the process. But Pottsville has surrendered 94 points this time around, which could reveal a weakness or two the Blazers have always seemed capable of exploiting.

And there are certainly a few Blazers or more capable of exploiting any defense thrown at them. Tom Bodolus has thrown for an area-high 909 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s gone to nine different receivers thus far. And the other fella behind him, Darrell Scott, has provided enough offensive balance – with 645 yards, an average of over 10 yards a carry, and six touchdowns – to keep the pressure off the junior quarterback.

“It should be a good game … it usually is,” Bodolus said.


Owen J. Roberts senior Ryan Brumfield has now officially completed The Mercury Area football hat trick – moving up to and replacing St. Pius X graduate Zack Pierce as the No. 1 player on the career charts for yards rushing, total offense and scoring.

Brumfield, who has a good number of carries to go before erasing Pierce’s career carries mark, has run for 6,599 yards, accumulated 7,261 yards of total offense, and scored 506 points. He also has an area-high 16 games of 200 yards or more rushing.


Pottsgrove’s Rick Pennypacker can become the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s winningest coach with a victory tonight at Pottstown. Pennypacker is currently tied with Lansdale Cathoic’s Jim Algeo with 129 apiece. … Falcons running back Maika Polamalu has moved up to the 14th spot on The Mercury area career rushing chart with 3,338 yards. He needs 162 more to become the 12th back to go over 3,500 and 662 more to become just the seventh to over 4,000 yards in a career. Pottsgrove’s top two on the chart are Brent Steinmetz (4,752) and Brent Carter (4,056). … Upper Perkiomen needs a win Saturday for the 275th in the history of its football program.


Perkiomen School’s scheduled Saturday matinee with the unbeaten Maryland Christian Saints has been canceled. Head coach Tom Calvario said the Panthers (1-2) have added a game to their schedule, though, and will host Emily Fisher Charter School on Friday, Oct. 8 (4 p.m.). EFCS, located in Trenton, N.J., lost its opener to Morrisville (29-12) and also came up short against Conrad Science, Del. (24-22). The team plays at Germantown Academy on Saturday.


Methacton making quick turnaround under Lepre

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 28, 2010 edition of The Mercury.

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE – Except for Brian Miller, who’s only averaging two receptions a game, Methacton doesn’t have a single player among the Top 10 in any of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s offensive categories. And, as a team, the Warriors are tied for seventh in the league in scoring.

But, and that is one very, very big but, Methacton is off to a 2-0 start in the PAC-10, has won three in a row, owns a respectable 3-1 overall record, and would be in the District 1-AAAA playoffs if they began this weekend.

Not bad for a team that just a year ago was shut out four times, got into the end zone more than once in just two games, scored the fewest points of anyone before them in 34 years, gave up more points than anyone before them ever did, lost its last eight games of the season, and closed out the first decade of the 21st century with nine straight losing seasons and a forgettable overall record of 33-90.

So there were plenty of areas of concern for Paul Lepre – a Methacton graduate and former assistant coach on his alma mater’s sideline – when he took over the program earlier this year. … and plenty of things for him as well as the Warriors to work on, too.

But after the formal meet-and-greet, it’s been a rather smooth transition for everyone involved with the program.

“I had to find out what we had because I didn’t have the opportunity to get a feel of what was going on at Methacton for a few years,” said Lepre, an assistant under Jim Algeo at Lansdale Catholic the previous four seasons. “We had to see our personnel, who we had, who was going to challenge for the different positions (on the team). It took me a while, too.”

However, Lepre was greatly encouraged by the turnout for weight training sessions last spring and throughout the summer.

“We were getting 20 or so linemen out,” Lepre explained. “I think they realized that every one of them were on a level playing field. They had a new coach, someone who didn’t know them, so they had to prove themselves.

“The kids pretty much responded to everything we asked of them. You could see they wanted to be successful.”

Except for a 13-6 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the season-opener, the Warriors are getting a sip of success. A rare three straight wins – something that hadn’t happened in two years – followed with victories over Upper Merion, Pottstown and Spring-Ford.

“I took awhile for us to get it going,” Lepre said. “We introduced a new system, changed a number of roles, changed the way we called our blocking assignments and other schemes… The kids were a little leery at first.

“We began getting that positive feedback from the kids during those earlier workouts. They began feeling comfortable with what we were doing. They felt they could do this. I think it took a good month for them to buy into our system.”

There was, of course, a little disappointment following the 13-6 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh. But the Warriors put it behind them the moment they returned to the practice field to prep for Upper Merion. And while some critics were a bit hesitant to applaud the wins over Upper Merion and Pottstown – a combined 1-7 thus far – nary a word was heard from that hard-to-please gang after last Saturday’s come-from-behind, 25-20 win over unbeaten Spring-Ford.

“We actually felt good after our first game,” Lepre said. “We saw how hard they played. If we had executed in the red zone we could’ve won that game.

“(Being 3-1) doesn’t really surprise me, and I don’t think it surprises the kids, either. Maybe it does for a lot of people on the outside looking in, but not to us. We’re just taking it one week at a time.”

And taking it one game or one week at a time is the approach Lepre continues to drill into the Warriors.

He knows, and is sure the Warriors know as well, that they’re only averaging 209 yards of offense and 15.5 points a game. Not exactly overpowering numbers. But Lepre and the crew also realize they’re not giving up much, and creating as well as taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes.

Defensively, they’re surrendering less than 100 yards rushing a game, under 200 yards a game overall. And if not for five turnovers in that opener, a 78-yard bomb in the Upper Merion game, a couple of long runs in the Pottstown game, and a long pass in the Spring-Ford game – as well as an interception return for a touchdown by the Rams – the Warriors’ defensive numbers would be even more impressive.

“We have to continue playing as a team,” Lepre said. “We have to take advantage of turnovers, stay away from giving other teams the short field. We have to play that good team defense.”

The Warriors have thus far, getting the defensive leadership from up front, in the middle and in the secondary. End David Low has been in on three sacks and even has an interception. Linebackers Sung Ho Park, Elliot Reisz and sophomore Jeremy Reid are a formidable threesome, and Miller has been exceptional working on one of the corners and as a strong safety at times.

But beyond the statistics – including the won-loss record – is the makeup of this team, which Lepre got a close look at Saturday.

“We were down 14-0 to Spring-Ford and came back,” he said. “Hopefully the kids will see that as a defining moment and help get us in the right direction even more.

“Coming back to win like that showed the character of these kids. We tell them, ‘Just play one down at a time … get after it one down at a time, keep plugging away.’ They really stepped up (against Spring-Ford). They didn’t quit.”


Upper Perkiomen defeated Pottstown last Friday night, giving head coach Keith Leamer his 50th Pioneer Athletic Conference win. … Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker is now tied with Algeo for career PAC-10 wins (129) and can take over the lead if the Falcons get past Pottstown this Friday night. Pennypacker will have to wait until next week to tie Algeo for the most PAC-10 games coached (194).


Phoenixville, which owned the second-longest (active) consecutive game scoring streak in the PAC-10, saw it end at 53 straight games after being blanked 27-0 at Owen J. Roberts last Friday night. The Phantoms hadn’t been kept off the scoreboard in a PAC-10 game since a 35-0 loss to Upper Perkiomen in Week Two of the 2004 season. … Pottsgrove ran its league-record streak to 70 in a row last weekend. The Falcons haven’t been shut out in a league game since a 47-0 setback to Pottstown in 2002.


You Know The Drill

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 24, 2010 edition of The Mercury.

BIRDSBORO – Daniel Boone is unbeaten through three games. That’s 3-0. Hip, hip hooray … but no big deal.

Except for one of the last six seasons, the Blazers have opened up with three or more wins, all of which kick-started a run to a couple of Inter-County Section One titles and six straight postseason appearances.

Now that is a big deal.

And an even bigger deal is how the Blazers have gotten to 3-0 this month considering graduation took quarterback Jon Monteiro and running back Brian Evans, or more than 3,000 yards, from its offense and all-state nose guard Mitchell Stead from its defense.

They’re unbeaten going into tonight’s Inter-County Section One opener at Twin Valley because of some new personnel and a few position changes here and there that haven’t only gone well but arguably above expectations.

On offense, Tom Bodolus moved from wideout to quarterback and has thrown for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in two of the Blazers’ three games. Bodolus has completed just under 60 percent of his attempts for 669 yards and 12 scores, which alone is enough to energize an offense. And running back Daryl Scott, with his 429 yards and jaw-dropping 9.9 yards per carry, keeps opponents honest. Together, along with a small but proficient gang in front of them, Bodolus and Scott have helped the Blazers punch up over 40 points a game thus far.

On defense, which happens to get overlooked a good bit with all the game-breakers and record-breakers in recent years, Zach Robinson and Alex Downs have come out of relative obscurity and, with help from tackle-happy Ryan Stone and Jesse Orr and a veteran secondary anchored by Jared Stoffers, have provided some much-needed leadership in dictating what opponents are capable – or incapable – of doing against the Blazers.

And, for added measure, the fleet Justin Brown, a transfer from Plymouth-Whitemarsh, has proven to be a legitimate threat anytime he gets his hands on the football. He’s returned a kickoff 91 yards for one touchdown, returned an interception 93 yards for another score, and taken both of his pass receptions for 48 and 32 yards and, yep, two more touchdowns.

“We’re 3-0, but we need to get better,” said head coach Dave Bodolus, who put the Blazers in reverse the moment he took over the program in 2003. “We have a lot of new faces playing. We need to get that (game) experience, to keep working at getting better.”

That may be a tall step to make considering the Blazers have buried three straight opponents.

“We still have some concentration lapses,” Bodolus explained. “Part of that is our inexperience. Maybe the kids are thinking more than they have to. But we kind of expected that to a certain degree. The big thing is learning from the mistakes.”

Tom Bodolus has certainly learned well. He was a starter at both wideout and corner last season, but threw only seven passes as Monteiro’s backup. Still, he hasn’t been that big of a surprise to his coach, who happens to be his father, too.

“I was a little bit concerned about him before the season because he was going to be a first-time starter at quarterback,” coach Bodolus said. “But I got a little more time with him than most guys, and we used that time to give him a few more responsibilities. Playing both ways last year has helped him, too.”

Bodolus’ work, Scott’s running and yeoman work by an undersized line in front of them has thus enabled Daniel Boone to maintain the productive offense it’s been known for through the years.

“We’re not big up front, so we have to be very open-minded at times,” Bodolus said. “If the other team wants to put a few more people in the box to stop our run we’ll throw it. If they want to sit back and put a few more people in the secondary we’ll run it. It’s very important for us to recognize that, to be more balanced, to make a team defend the whole field.”

The Blazers have done a rather good job squeezing the field with their own defense.

Robinson (6-0, 205) and Downs (6-1, 210), both juniors who line up at nose guard and end, have unquestionably been the go-getters in that endeavor, too. Robinson has been in 29 tackles, Downs on 22. Stone and Orr have been in on a combined 51, and unsung Justin Kline has a team-high four sacks.

“I wasn’t really concerned about our linebackers or our secondary because we have a few people back from last year,” Bodolus said. “But our defensive line has been a pleasant surprise.

“We’re getting a lot out of Robinson at nose and Downs at one of our ends. Those two guys were both linebackers on the junior varsity team last year, so they’ve really come up big in new positions for us. They’re great kids, hard workers.”

Daniel Boone will need to work hard this evening against Twin Valley, which ended a season-opening 0-2 skid last weekend with a 14-0 shutout of Kennett. Quarterback Josh Kurtz (6-4, 210), who threw for more than 2,000 yards a season ago, is back. And despite not having near the experience or talent around him, is still capable of taking over a game.

Thus far, Kurtz is only 15 of 40 for 131 yards, and running back Trey Harges has 202 yards and two of the Green Raiders’ four touchdowns. That hasn’t been near enough to offset a generous defense, one that is allowing over 350 yards and 27 points a game.

“We have to get better because the competition is going to be getting better,” Bodolus said, choosing to look ahead rather than back at yet another strong start. “The road is getting tougher now.”

* * *

In Bodolus’ eight seasons at Daniel Boone, his teams are 20-4 through the first three weeks overall. … Daniel Boone leads the series with Twin Valley, 11-3. … Veteran head coach Mike Korom is in his first year guiding the Green Raiders, who had five sacks in last week’s shutout of Kennett.


Boyertown has a chance to prove Pottsgrove upset was no fluke

This column first appeared in the Sept. 21, 2010 print edition of the Mercury.

It took a little while, almost the entire weekend actually, for Mark Scisly to fully comprehend what his Boyertown football team did last Friday night.

Yes, his Bears did beat Pottsgrove, and no matter how you bite into the end result or even attempt to digest it, the 34-28 win was an upset. Push aside whatever temptations there may be not to call it as such because of the usual preseason protocol, or August tradition of listing the contenders and pretenders.

Bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter how big you are, and it doesn’t really matter what those stopwatches may reveal about a team’s quickness or speed, either. When you knock off a two-time defending champion – a team that had beaten back 22 straight Pioneer Athletic Conference challengers – a team that has the bulk of its lineup back from a District 1 title run, and a team that has three (if not more) legitimate Division I-A starters, no matter who you are, it can and should be called an upset.

Scisly was well aware of all that, well aware the Bears — like everyone else this season — were or would be the underdogs when it came time to line up against the Falcons. And he’ll accept, at least for now, the win being an upset.

But what he didn’t realize until reviewing the film was how the Bears did it – by rallying not once, not twice, but three times to get back to even terms with the Falcons before scoring two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter put them ahead for good.

“When I looked back, when I had time to reflect on it, probably the most impressive part (of the win) was how our kids kept fighting back, fighting back and fighting back,” Scisly explained. “They just never quit.”

Pottsgrove led 7-0, 14-7 and 21-14 before Jared Von Dohren raced 54 yards to get Boyertown back on even terms for a third time. Von Dohren, who missed almost the entire season a year ago with an injury, has been making up for lost time this season. Through three games, he’s touched the football just 23 times, but has 357 yards – which averages out to 15.5 yards a play – and taken four of his carries and two of his receptions into opponents’ end zones. Then, after Von Dohren’s dash, it was Tom Froehlich’s turn. Ironically, Froehlich missed the Bears’ first two games recovering from an injury, but looked like the healthy soul after capping off two of Boyertown’s next possessions with short touchdown runs.

The comeback, obviously, wasn’t just a two-man show. Quarterback Dylan Pasik – who in three games has a ridiculous 311.3 passing rating – made all the right calls. And those big guys up front, all of them, made the right moves and right blocks.

“I was so impressed with our offensive line,” Scisly said. “They played well. And our center (Tyler Bogert) did an outstanding job on (Pottsgrove nose guard T.J.) Demetrio, who is so tough. Our (linemen) were just getting in the way of people, hitting people.

“Pasik has made sure huge strides since last year. And the addition of Von Dohren to our offense … I knew he’d be a good player, but I didn’t realize how good of a player he’d be. And getting Froehlich back has been big. Overall, I was really pleased with our execution.”

Scisly should be considering the Bears put up 34 points on the Falcons, who hadn’t given up that many to anyone since their last loss to Lansdale Catholic back in 2007 and have surrendered 34 or more in just eight PAC-10 games the last 10 seasons.

But don’t overlook what the Bears did on the other side of the ball, either.

Yes, Kayvon Greene did step through their defense for 147 yards and four touchdowns, and Terrell Chestnut ran up 102 more before leaving with an injury. But when it came time to step up and stop the craziness — the track meet of sorts that kept the scoreboard lights flickering — the Bears did … or at least long enough for their teammates to set up Froehlich’s two go-ahead scores.

“We had a hard time stopping the dive, but it’s tough stopping all three aspects of (Pottsgrove’s) option offense,” Scisly said. “Pottsgrove attacked our defense where they thought our weaknesses were, and that’s a credit to them and their coaching staff. We were giving up a little bit at a time, but we basically sat in our base defense and moved some people around a little bit.”

Boyertown’s defensive front didn’t give up much. Nose guard Dalton Schaeffer had yet another strong showing and tackle Chris Muller was in on 11 tackles. Linebackers Tyler Shaw (12 tackles), Jeff Ellwanger (eight) and Zach Heffner were all over the field, and strong safety Tyler Mauger (11) came up with stop after stop.

“Our kids played tough defense the whole night,” Scisly said.

Tough enough to inherit what Pottsgrove had for a long, long time – that target on their collective back.

“It was a tough week because our kids were looking forward to the game for a long time and preparing for it for a long time,” Scisly explained. “But that’s the way it’s been for us ever since I came into the league (in 2008). My first year, we got upset by Pottstown. Last year, we got upset by Spring-Ford. There are no easy weeks in this league, so every week you have to be prepared.

“We’re just taking it one week at a time. (Beating Pottsgrove) was big, but we don’t feel there’s any bulls-eye on our back yet. We just won one game so far.”


Boyertown is 3-0 for the first time in 19 years, or since 1991 when the quick start led to a 9-2 season. … One person hard to overlook on the Bears’ offensive line is 6-foot-9, 215-pound tight end Jake McKee, a first-year player. “It’s hard to believe Jake never ever played football before,” Scisly said. … Friday night’s loss denied Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker his 125th league win, which would’ve tied leader Jim Algeo of Lansdale Catholic. … Scisly’s weekend got even better after hearing about one of his former assistants, Mike Holderman, the offensive coordinator on the Bears’ 2008 staff. Holderman is now the head coach at Kennett High School up in New Hampshire, and last Friday night led his team to a 20-9 victory over Plymouth, ending the nation’s longest active winning streak at 57 straight.


Spring-Ford shared last week’s football headline with Boyertown after a win over Owen J. Roberts – the team that had just two losses (both to Pottsgrove) the last two PAC-10 seasons and the team that most figured to be the No. 1 PAC-10 challenger (to Pottsgrove) again this season.

With all due respect to the Rams’ offense, it was defense – and a lot of it – that led to the win. Pressure from the outside cut into the width of the field for OJR’s Ryan Brumfield, and plenty of Rams were around to stuff his cutbacks (which have been well-documented throughout his assault on the school, league and area record books).

Chase Stewart, better known for his ability to carry the football, was Spring-Ford’s defensive spy for the night, shadowing Brumfield wherever he lined up. And until the OJR standout’s last two carries of the evening, it worked. Brumfield didn’t get to the 100-yard mark until those final two carries and saw his streak of seven straight games of 200 yards or more end. If that’s not enough to acknowledge the defensive effort, how about this – Brumfield was limited to just one touchdown for the first time in 12 games, or when OJR snuck by Spring-Ford this time a year ago.


Daniel Boone is 3-0 again and ready to open its Inter-County League Section One schedule this Friday at Twin Valley. The concern about a new quarterback? Forget it, head coach Dave Bodolus’ son, Tommy, is 46 of 79 for 669 yards and 12 touchdowns.


Chestnut – the PAC-10 and Mercury Area Player of the Year the past two seasons – went down with a shoulder injury last Friday night. Pennypacker said was going to be re-evaluated on Monday. Two-way tackle Chris Nester, also injured Friday night and taken to a hospital for precautionary measures, has reportedly been cleared to resume playing. … Owen J. Roberts junior quarterback Blake Bradshaw suffered a fractured wrist late in the fourth quarter Friday night at Spring-Ford and may need surgery. Head coach Tom Barr said Bradshaw is out for the season.


The Hill School opened its 124th season on a winning note with the 35-30 thriller over Germantown Academy. The Rams don’t open defense of their Mid-Atlantic Prep League title for a few weeks. Their MAPL rivals are a combined 3-3 thus far – Blair is 0-1 following a 41-14 loss to Worcester; Hun is 1-0 after a 21-20 squeaker over Episcopal (Hill’s opponent this week); Lawrenceville is 1-0 after a 21-14 win over Haverford School; Mercersburg is 1-1 after splitting two games with Spingarn and Landon down in the nation’s capitol; and Peddie is 0-1 after losing 37-14 to Pennington.

Perkiomen School traveled all the way to Tower Hill down in Delaware to give new head coach Tom Calvario his first win, a come-from-behind 12-7 victory over the Hillers.


Methacton has won two in a row under new coach Paul Lepre. It’s the first time the Warriors have won back-to-back games since running off three straight in 2008. … Phoenixville played its area-high 1,060th game last Friday night, which ended in a shutout of Pope John Paul II. … Weekly honors? Forget it, or make it a multiple choice. Flip a coin for Coach of the Week honors, which Scisly, Spring-Ford’s Chad Brubaker, or Calvario all deserve. Player of the Week honors should go to the entire Boyertown football team, or at least the Spring-Ford defense. … Quote of the Week? He didn’t say anything yet, but ask Pope John Paul II head coach Mike Santillo his thoughts on trying to build a new program after opening with Pottsgrove, getting blanked at Phoenixville, and knowing he now has to prepare for the team that just knocked off Pottsgrove?


PAC-10’s first full Friday could go far in determining contenders

This column appeared in the Sept. 17, 2010 edition of The Mercury.

No Pioneer Athletic Conference title will be decided tonight, not in Boyertown, not in Royersford, and not in Graterford, Phoenixville or Pottstown, either … nowhere. Check the calendar, it’s only Week One for eight of the league’s 10 teams.

There’s no back to the future in high school football.

Pottsgrove seems to be nearly everyone’s favorite to run off with an unprecedented third straight outright title this season. That’s no secret. But there are some who’ve been a bit reluctant to go with the Falcons, hinting instead that Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts and Upper Perkiomen are contenders, too.

They may have a point.

Then again, they may not.

But by Saturday morning, everyone – from those already on the Pottsgrove bandwagon to those who’d like to see it run out of gas and coast into anonymity – will get a darn good idea of who’s who. It’s been a long time since the first full weekend of PAC-10 football had such a competitive card.

In other words, the innocent schedule-makers made tonight pretty darn outrageous.

Boyertown just happens to be hosting Pottsgrove, which of course is the no-doubt-about-it headliner; Owen J. Roberts just happens to be visiting Spring-Ford, a great rivalry that becomes even more unpredictable this time around since the Rams have opened with two wins for the first time in 11 years; and Upper Perkiomen just happens to be at

Perkiomen Valley, a team that’s much better than its 0-2 record indicates and, for those unaware of the Vikings’ past, a team that owns as many if not more PAC-10 upsets than anyone in recent years.

The Pope John Paul II at Phoenixville and Methacton at Pottstown games may not carry the collective football weight as those other three. But how they play out, or who wins and who loses, may dictate how much of a threat they’ll be down the road … or if they’re capable of tackling a contender role themselves.

“I don’t know why anyone would say this game could decide the league title,” said Mark Scisly, kicking off his third season as Boyertown’s head coach. “There are a lot of good teams in this league … and we all have to play one another yet. The first game does not decide a league title.”

For the record, the opening round of a PAC-10 season has on occasion gone a long way in deciding a championship. Three years ago — or the last time Pottsgrove didn’t win the title — Lansdale Catholic pounced all over Perkiomen Valley in Week One and appeared to be on an unbeaten run to the title. That was until a shocking 28-27 overtime loss to Pottstown in Week Five. Perkiomen Valley, meanwhile, bounced back from that opening-night loss, ran the table, and picked up a share of the title with LC.

“People who feel our game with Boyertown could decide the PAC-10 championship are right, but so will every other game on our schedule,” said Rick Pennypacker, who can tie Lansdale Catholic’s Jim Algeo’s record of 129 career PAC-10 wins with a victory tonight. “This is a game with supposedly two of the better teams playing one another. But that’s all it is.

“It’s too early in the season to say this game as a must game. There are too many good teams with good coaches out there, so to say the winner of this game gets a leg up for the title doesn’t know too much about football.”

What some people do know is that the last time Pottsgrove played in Boyertown – two years ago, that is – the Bears came within inches, literally, of beating the Falcons. Quarterback David Crognale was stopped just short of the goal line in the waning moments of an out-and-out, 24-20 brawl.

And since Boyertown joined the PAC-10, the teams have split their eight meetings.

“We feel all the pressure is on Pottsgrove,” Scisly said. “They’re the team with the winning streak in the league. They’re everyone’s preseason pick (to win the title).

“Our guys are excited to have the opportunity to play Pottsgrove. We feel we have nothing to lose.”

That mentality, not to mention the Bears’ size, speed and talent on both sides of the ball, is what concerns Pennypacker. Quarterback Dylan Pasik has guided an offense that has yet to turn the football over. Thus far he is 11 of 17 for 376 yards and five touchdowns throwing the football, and he has a slew of backs to hand off to, among them Jon Neiman and Jared Von Dohren.

The defense, which has surrendered just two touchdowns in two games, is led by Dalton Schaeffer and Chris Muller up front. Behind them, linebackers Jeff Elwanger, Zach Heffner and Troy Heuer have been on the spot, as have Brooke David at a corner and Tyler Mauger at strong safety.

“This will be one of the toughest games we play,” Pennypacker said. “I think this is one of the best Boyertown teams we’ve seen in a few years, too. They’re big, fast and tough.”

Don’t think Scisly isn’t aware of who the Bears have to deal with, though.

Much like their hosts, the Falcons have size, speed and talent. They’re very experienced – and good – on both lines. And they have what you may call the Troublesome Threesome, or Terrell Chestnut, Kayvon Greene and Maika Polamalu. Combined, they have taken 52 carries for 604 yards and 13 touchdowns. That’s an average of 11.6 yards per carry, or a touchdown every four handoffs. That isn’t troublesome, that’s terrifying for most defensive coordinators.

“We’ve prepared for Boyertown just like we do for everyone else,” Pennypacker said. “We have to because we know we are the underdog … everyone wants to see us lose. We know that. It’s no secret.

“We know people have built this game up so high, but it’s our job (as coaches) to keep our players focused on the task at hand. This is a big game, but we still have to play an entire schedule and not just two games in September.”

Over at Owen J. Roberts, head coach Tom Barr pretty much said the same thing.

The Wildcats, whose only two league losses the last two seasons have been to Pottsgrove, cannot afford to look ahead to another October rematch with the Falcons. There’s plenty to do before that, and it begins tonight at Spring-Ford.

“Our goal is to win the PAC-10 title, but that’s the goal of the other nine schools in our league, too,” Barr said. “We have to take one game at a time.”

First up is Spring-Ford, a team off to its first 2-0 start since 1999.

“Spring-Ford has a new coach (Chad Brubaker) who knows how to win and how to motivate his players, and the Spring-Ford players are excited, believe me,” Barr said. “They’re excited over their start, and they want to prove something to everyone else in our league. They’re coming into this game with a lot of emotion.”

The Rams come in with an offense that’s already generated 721 yards and 72 points. They have a sophomore quarterback (Hank Coyne) who’s shown poise in the pocket and thrown the football well, and a pair of backs (Chase Stewart and Drew Thomas) who can accelerate and find the end zone in a hurry.

“My concerns start with playing a team with a lot of emotion, a team that has lost to us the last two years, a team that seems to be finding ways to win now,” Barr said.

But Brubaker and the Rams will have to find a way to stop OJR – namely Ryan Brumfield. A game-breaker and, of course, record-breaker, Brumfield has 459 yards and five touchdowns already. Going back to last season, he’s run for 200 yards or more in six straight games. Sam Funk can’t be overlooked, either, regardless of where he lines up offensively.

But neither Brumfield, Funk or anyone else does it alone. Up front, OJR has as good as one-two-three punch on the line as anyone with center Mike Nowak, guard Sean Moloney and tackle Kyle Moore, and newcomers Jake Manfredi and Mike Shine haven’t exactly been pushovers, either.

“Right now there’s a lot of pressure on our seniors, especially the four (Brumfield, Funk, Moloney and Moore) who’ve been with the high school team for four years,” Barr said. “But the pressure has been on the positive side, meaning influencing the players to work hard. And we’ll have to work hard and continue to play aggressively in this game.”

And to think there’s nine more weeks to go.


Coynes seeking own happiness

There should be some interesting dinner table conversations at the Coyne home in Royersford this week (as if there haven’t been a few already this season, or year for that matter).

Father Hank is the line coach at Owen J. Roberts. Son Hank is the starting quarterback at Spring-Ford. Linda Coyne, the wife of Hank Sr., and mother of Hank Jr., is the peacemaker – the referee, if you will. Mom, with some help from daughter Emily (who hardly gets a word in), tries to keep the football conversations to a minimum and her beloved’s egos as far away from one another like she does the meat and potatoes on the plates in front of them.

Thus far, it’s reportedly been friendly family bantering between father and son. Something along the lines of, “How was practice today, son?” and “Things went pretty good, dad.”

But this week, with Owen J. Roberts visiting Spring-Ford on Friday night to kick off both teams’ Pioneer Athletic Conference seasons, don’t think it won’t be an emotional evening for both.

“First of all, it’s not about Coyne versus Coyne, it’s about the ’Cats versus the Rams,” coach Coyne said. “But everything right now is like top secret in our home.”

Understandably so, too.

Hank Sr. is the veteran offensive and defensive line coach for OJR. He has a very experienced and very good group of ’Cats up front, and along with head coach Tom Barr he’s been mapping out a game plan to not only stop Spring-Ford’s run game but also the passing game … son Hank Jr.’s passing game, that is.

Nothing like scheming a blitz or two to sack your own son.

“Hank asked me how our coaches meeting went on Sunday night and I told him, ‘Fine,’ ” Hank Sr. said. “He asked me how our meeting with the kids went on Monday and I told him, ‘Fine.’ He asked me if we put anything in for the game and I told him, ‘Show up Friday night and you’ll see.’

“I have to look at it as just another game on the schedule. But it’s sure interesting.”

Actually quite interesting … because it seems everyone is ganging up on dad for the 55th renewal of the always energized series between Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford.

“I’d like to think everything has been low-key, but it hasn’t been,” Hank Sr. said. “Everybody in the house, even our dogs, is for Junior. We had a cookout over the weekend and I had to hear how everyone around here is rooting for Junior. I don’t even know what I did to my neighbors.”

Coach seems to forget those neighbors (good-natured neighbors, of course) are Ram fans.

Except for this week, Coach Coyne just may be one, too.

“The other night Junior asked me if I would watch his game film on his computer,” Hank Sr. explained. “Before we sat down, he asked me if I was going to watch as a coach or as his father. I told him, ‘As your father.’ That meant a lot to me. I’m probably Junior’s worst critic, but he wanted my comments as his dad.

“Hey, I’m happy for him. He’s part of the resurgence at Spring-Ford and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished so far. And what his entire family is most proud of is how he’s keeping it all in perspective.”

The Coynes aren’t the first family from the area forced to split their loyalty between rival high school teams.

Not too long ago, Bill Shirk Jr. was the quarterback at Phoenixville while his dad, Bill Shirk Sr. – once the head coach at Phoenixville – was an administrator at Spring-Ford. Before that, brothers Ross and Matt Pennypacker were playing for Spring-Ford and, of course, trying to beat their father, Rick Pennypacker, the head coach at Pottsgrove.

Back in 1988, Jim Tsakonas was the head coach at Pottstown – his alma mater – and guiding the Trojans to a share of the Pioneer Athletic Conference title while his son, Adam, hung out on the sidelines and helped tote the water bottles onto the field during timeouts. A dozen or so years later, Tsakonas was sitting in the bleachers hooting and hollering for Adam, a two-way starter at Boyertown, and the Bears.

There have a few father-and-son teams, too, in the PAC-10.

In other words, friendly – if not fiery – chit chats at the dinner table.

Among the first were Great Valley head coach Hal Honig and his son Jason, a receiver and defensive back for the Patriots. Then there was Lansdale Catholic head coach Jim Algeo and his son John, the Crusaders’ quarterback. A couple of years later there was the late Ron Reed, an assistant at St. Pius X, where his son Scott – now the head coach at Perkiomen Valley – was an outstanding fullback and linebacker. And not so awfully long ago there was Ed McCann, the head coach at St. Pius X, keeping an eye on his son Zach, who doubled at fullback and linebacker for the Lions. And just last year, St. Pius X head coach George Parkinson was helping his second son, Cole, make the right calls at quarterback.

So it wouldn’t surprising at all to hear that a lot of coaches – perhaps even a few of their sons – had an occasional Alka Seltzer after a dinner during their football careers.

And if Linda Coyne can’t keep her “Hanks” under control this season, she may want to send them both up to the Bodolus’ home in Birdsboro a few times a week to eat. It may be a wee bit friendlier (don’t bet on it) atmosphere.

Dave Bodolus, the former head coach at St. Pius X, is in his eighth year as Daniel Boone’s head coach. He hasn’t had a losing season since he took over the program, thanks in part to a few quarterbacks – namely Chris Bokosky, Casey Smith and Jon Monteiro – who threw their way into the Blazer and Berks County record books.

Well, Monteiro just graduated, and guess who inherited that spot? You got it – son Tommy.

“He knows he’s going to have to get it done and he’s ready,” Coach Bodolus said before the season kicked off a few weeks ago.

So far so good for the Bodolus clan (and the Blazers). Tommy has hit on 31 of his 49 passes for 378 yards, not one interception and seven touchdowns … and Daniel Boone is 2-0.

Another happy football family.


The Pioneer Athletic Conference officially opened its 25th season last Friday night when Pope John Paul II visited Pottsgrove. The league kicks off its first full card of the fall this Friday, with five games – the two biggies being Pottsgrove’s visit to Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts’ visit to Spring-Ford. The three others feature Methacton visiting Pottstown, Pope John Paul II traveling to Phoenixville, and Upper Perkiomen coming down Route 29 to take on Perkiomen Valley.

PAC-10 teams, led by spotless 2-0 marks by Boyertown and Spring-Ford, went a combined 11-7 in the preseason, or against non-league opponents.


The Hill School kicks off its 124th season of football Thursday afternoon at home against Germantown Academy.

Germantown Academy, incidentally, was the first football program in all of Pennsylvania, beginning in 1886. The following year, Hill School – along with Episcopal Academy, Haverford School, Penn Charter and Central High (Philadelphia) – followed with teams of their own.

Despite their early beginnings, GA and Hill have met just 29 times. The Rams own an 18-11 lead in the series.


There are 20 teams in the District 1-Class AAA bracket this year and next. But for this season, if anyone’s (and there are a few of us) looking ahead to the all-new playoffs, it’s interesting to note that only four teams – Bishop Shanahan, Interboro, Pottsgrove and Upper Moreland – have managed to get off to 2-0 starts. Shanahan, of course, is a surprise after shocking longtime AAA power Bayard Rustin, which has moved up to the AAAA bracket. Interboro and Pottsgrove, which needed overtime to settle their district championship showdown last year, aren’t surprises. Neither is Upper Moreland, which has reached the postseason the past two seasons.

Exactly half the bracket’s entries – including Phoenixville, Pottstown and Upper Perkiomen – have split their first two games. The remaining six are 0-2 and will need to turn their fortunes around in a hurry to amass enough points and sneak into the expanded eight-team playoff bracket.


That’s what both Pottstown’s Brett Myers and Upper Perkiomen’s Keith Leamer had to be thinking … only not rain showers but those dreaded flags falling out of the skies.

Myers watched his Trojans get hit with 16 penalties – two shy of the area record – and Upper Moreland was whistled for 11 more. That’s a combined 27 for 214 yards. And Leamer watched his Indians get hit with 13 and Upper Dublin with 11, both of which added up to 24 penalties for 181 yards. Wow… two games with 51 penalties for 395 yards.


Owen J. Roberts’ Ryan Brumfield became only the second area running back to go over the 900-carry career mark and the area’s first player to go over the 7,000-yard career total offense mark with his big game against Reading last Friday night. A senior, Brumfield needs three touchdowns to become the first area player to hit the 500-point mark for his career. … Pottsgrove’s Maika Polamalu scored four times last week and is now at an even 300 points in his career. The senior back has 49 touchdowns and three two-point conversions. … Think Ronnie Gillespie is the area’s No. 1 deep threat? Just a junior, Gillespie has caught eight passes for 258 yards and taken four of them into the end zone. Oh yeah, he also has a 99-yard kickoff return. … Though their stats may not reveal much yet, Pope John Paul has an exciting and potentially productive threesome in quarterback Dave Cotellese, tight end Nate Breidenbach and wideout Jacob Gribb – all juniors. … Coach of the Week honors go to Spring-Ford’s Chad Brubaker after the long bus ride to Georgetown, Del., and 27-7 win over Sussex Tech, giving the Rams their first 2-0 start since 1999 – when they opened with wins over Exeter and Abington. … Player of the Week honors get shared this time around between Boyertown quarterback Dylan Pasik (7 of 9 for 231 yards and three touchdowns) and Pottsgrove’s Polamalu (13 carries for 156 yards and four touchdowns).

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