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

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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