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, Pasik at center of showdown

This column originally ran in the Oct. 29 edition of The Mercury

BUCKTOWN – Whenever Owen J. Roberts lines up for a big game, at least for a good part of the last two and a half seasons, the focus always seems to be on Ryan Brumfield. Whenever Boyertown lines up for a big game, at least this season, the focus always seems to be on Dylan Pasik.

Understandably so.

Brumfield has run just about every conceivable way in carrying the Wildcats to 21 wins in their last 24 Pioneer Athletic Conference games and back-to-back appearances in the District 1 playoffs. Pasik has taken snap after snap, made all the right reads and – along with the help of running backs Jared Von Dohren, Tom Froehlich and Jon Neiman – has guided the Bears to six straight and six very convincing PAC-10 wins.

And after this evening’s showdown, when all’s said and done, either Brumfield or Pasik will likely be basking in the Friday Night Lights.

But it will be a gang of unsung souls – defensive linemen and the fellas who fill in behind them – who both Brumfield and Pasik will be trying to avoid in this long-awaited game that will likely determine who wins, shares or loses a league championship … and measure the pulse of both teams’ postseason lives.

“This is one of those games that’ll be man-on-man, a very physical game,” said Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly, whose team is a spotless 6-0 in the PAC-10, 8-0 overall and situated alongside North Penn in the fifth spot in the District 1-AAAA playoff points standings.

With the exception of two games, the Bears have been able to shut down opponents’ running games. Tackles Chris Muller and Travis Mitchell, along with linebackers Troy Heuer and Zach Heffner on the inside and Jeff Ellwanger and Tyler Shaw on the outside – not to mention quite active safeties Tyler Mauger and Neiman – are surrendering an average of just 138 yards a weekend.

But the Bears haven’t gone toe-to-toe with an offensive line like the Wildcats, who feature center Mike Nowak, guards Zach Glanski and Sean Moloney, tackles Jake Manfredi and Kyle Moore, and tight ends Mike Moran and Robbie Patrick. And the Bears haven’t yet had to deal with anyone who can scoot like Brumfield, who alone is averaging 249 yards a game this season and, even more impressive, a few inches more than 205 yards a game since his sophomore season.

“We know we have to stop Brumfield, who obviously is a very good player,” Scisly said. “But you can’t overlook their linemen. They’re pretty good, too.

“We also can’t overlook (OJR’s) threat to pass, either. Their quarterback (Ryan Megay) has gotten a lot better. We don’t want to give up that big pass, that big play.”

And if that isn’t enough for Boyertown to keep a collective eye on, there’s Sam Funk. A three-year starter, Funk will set up at wing and, at times, fullback. He’s quietly run for 516 yards – just under 10 yards a pop – and scored nine times overall. Moreover, he’s a reliable receiver.

“We rely on the run because we’re a running team,” said OJR head coach Tom Barr, whose team (5-1, 6-2 overall) needs a win to draw even with the Bears in the PAC-10 and to remain in the Top 16 in the District 1-AAAA playoff standings. “We also have a passing scheme, too. We have what we feel are sound passing plays if we want to use them. We haven’t abandoned (the pass), but if everything is going right with our running game there’s no need to throw the football.”

As impressive as the Wildcats’ offense may be, Boyertown can match it … and no one knows that more than Barr.

“You just can’t focus on Pasik alone or any one other player in their offense because they have so many guys who can hurt you,” Barr said.

Thanks to center Tyler Bogert, guards Zack Paskel and Muller, tackles Tyler Boggs and Jake Semple, and tight ends Jake McKee and Shaw – as Sixth Man Extraordinaire Adam Seanor, who has filled in at center, guard and tackles – Boyertown has gotten a lot of mileage out of everyone else behind that anonymous front.

Neiman (489 yards), Von Dohren (485) and Froehlich (453) are averaging six yards a pop and have scored 18 touchdowns between them. Pasik, a threat to step out himself, has thrown for 1,102 yards and 15 touchdowns – and all that without tossing an interception this season.

Pasik has spread his limited passing game around to nine different receivers. Shaw, for instance, has just three catches – but has taken each of them to the end zone for touchdowns.

“(Pasik) makes things happen for them,” Barr said. “He makes big plays happen.”

The OJR defense has made things happen, too. The Wildcats are actually permitting less yards on the ground (114) and overall (198) than the Bears behind a strong front that features Moore and Joe Polignano on the ends, Moloney and Nowak at the tackles, and Funk, Nate Blevins and Moran in the linebacking spots.

“(Owen J. Roberts’) defense is playing well,” Scisly said. “Their tackles are both superior players. Nowak is so physical, and Moloney is so quick.”

Bottom line, it comes down to what Scisly, Barr and every other coach preaches from Day One – blocking and tackling.

Which is what Brumfield or Pasik will likely be talking about when it’s all over.

* * *

Both teams have excellent kicking games, too. The Bears’ Aaron Sassaman and the Wildcats’ John Pennell are tied for the area lead in kick scoring with 37 points apiece. … Boyertown has forced opponents to play catch-up most of the season, outscoring their rivals 186-41 in the first half through eight weeks. … OJR, which has amassed 979 yards rushing the last two games, had 11 turnovers in its first four games but has turned it over just once in its last four games. … Boyertown, which last week recorded the 350th win in the history of its football program, goes for its 50th PAC-10 win tonight.



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