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

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.



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