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.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brumfield is more than a record breaker

This column was originally published in the Oct. 19 edition of The Mercury.

High school statistics vary from team statistician to team statistician, from newspaper to newspaper. Because of it, because of no assigned or acknowledged “official” statistician, all the sometimes mind-boggling numbers are different.

The difference of a yard here and there on a run or pass reception, or whatever one cares to chart over the course of a game, isn’t usually that much. Over a season or career, well, the difference can be significant. And when an individual or a team is closing in on a specific record – whether it’s a school, league, area, state or even national record – it becomes a roll of the dice as to who’s right, who may be right, and who’s way off the mark.

However, when all is said and done, that existing record – whatever it may be – wasn’t exactly an issue after all because it got obliterated … or expunged, as in erased from whatever book it was penciled in.

And no one has taken the guesswork out of all that arithmetic more than Ryan Brumfield.

The Owen J. Roberts senior, who didn’t look at all like he was going to break anything other than a bone in his fragile frame the first time he took a handoff as a freshman, already had a handful of game, season and career records before the current season kicked off last month. Seven weeks in, he’s wiped out nearly every game, season and career record, as well as a few other marks not necessarily recorded on the scholastic level, ever documented at Owen J. Roberts, in the Pioneer Athletic Conference or throughout The Mercury area.

Name a record, or ask about one – any of them in the rushing and scoring sections of your favorite record book – and Brumfield owns it. He got rid of the OJR single-game record for yards rushing in a game last Friday night when he ran for a personal-high 329 yards, taking out the previous mark of 311 set by David Frame. His final carry of the evening also sent him to the top of the Southeastern Pennsylvania career rushing chart, right alongside West Catholic (Philadelphia) graduate Curtis Brinkley, each with 7,429 yards. Brumfield will own that record Saturday afternoon after he takes a handoff or two against Pope John Paul II.

It seems the only existing mark that doesn’t have Brumfield’s named attached to it is St. Pius X graduate Zack Pierce’s 1,162 career carries. With 1,044 after last Friday night’s extravaganza and a minimum of five games remaining on this year’s schedule, Brumfield needs to average just over 23 carries a weekend to make the entire rushing section of the Owen J. Roberts, PAC-10 and Mercury area record books all his and his alone.

Considering he’s averaged exactly 23 carries in his 45-game career – and just under 27 as a junior and senior – expect that mark of endurance and proficiency to become his, too.

Brumfield also is already No. 1 in the area in total offense (rushing, passing and receiving) mark with 8,296 … 1,565 yards more than Pierce produced at Pius. And Brumfield soared by Pierce five weeks ago in career rushing touchdowns and the following week in career scoring when he went over the 500-point mark.

But if there is one thing to remember about Brumfield, now and in the future if and when a conversation turns to the area’s great running backs, it’s that he has earned every one of the records.

“Hard work,” head coach Tom Barr has said time and time again of Brumfield’s physical and mental growth. “When he first came up with us as a freshman, he’d get the ball and go. But he’s learned to be a lot more patient, waiting for his blocks, looking for that seam … and then off he goes. He has great vision, too.”

Beyond the Bucktown borders, near as well as far away, some people forget that Brumfield has game in basketball and track, too. He’s been the point guard for two years, although last winter’s season was cut short when he had surgery on a nagging hand injury. He’s also been one of the state’s best high jumpers every spring.

Dave Strock, who has seen his share of talent at Owen J. Roberts, first as an outstanding Wildcat athlete himself and now, for the past 29 years, as the school’s athletic director, made a bold statement about Brumfield two years ago: “By the time he graduates, he’ll be the greatest athlete ever at Owen J. Roberts.”

Monday morning, Strock said: “I certainly do remember saying that. And I was right. Ryan is the best all-around athlete we’ve ever had here at Owen J.”

All that and he still manages to carry just under a 3.0 grade point average in the classroom.

The best part of it all, and the part that simply cannot be measured by yards or grades, is that Ryan Brumfield is one very classy young man.

Never once has he failed to acknowledge his teammates, who have helped him get to where he’s at, to get his name on all those pages in the record books, to see his name in all the headlines. Never once … and he was like that when he took his very first handoff against Downingtown West in the 2007 season-opener; was like that throughout two outstanding sophomore and junior seasons; has been all this season; and will likely always be.

* * *

AROUND THE PAC: Boyertown is now 7-0 for the first time in the history of its football program, which began in 1939. … Methacton nearly doubled its previous-best offensive showing with 411 yards last Thursday night, but the Warriors have turned it over nine times the last two games and the defense is allowing an average of 44 points a game the last three weeks. … Owen J. Roberts has a minimum of five games remaining and needs five wins to reach double figures in the won-loss column for the third consecutive season. The program’s previous-best of back-to-back, 10-wins-or-more seasons were in 1983-84 and 1986-87. … Perkiomen Valley hasn’t won two in a row this season, but can get to .500 with a victory this weekend against Pottstown, which is itching to end a six-game skid of its own. … Pottsgrove is 4-2 in the league with three games remaining. The Falcons haven’t lost three PAC-10 games in a season in four years. … Spring-Ford’s defense has 13 sacks divided among three players – twins Max Ullman (5) and Bjorn Ullman (4.5), and Matt Krueger (3.5) – and an area-high 16 interceptions.

TIED, NOT BROKEN: A look back into the PAC-10 record book revealed that Pottstown’s Kyle Dentler didn’t break the record for the longest field goal but tied it when he converted a 47-yarder against Pope John Paul II two weeks ago. Eight years ago, Owen J. Roberts’ Shawn Albright hit from the same distance during a 24-3 loss to Lansdale Catholic.

ROAD WARRIORS: Perkiomen School was up in Connecticut last Saturday to play St. Luke’s. The Hill School will travel to Brooklyn (N.Y.) this Saturday to play Poly Prep. Neither team thought heading out of town was the way to an easy win, either. St. Luke’s is 5-1 after defeating Perkiomen School, and Poly Prep is 5-1 going into this weekend’s game with Hill.



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