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

Catch Them If You Can

This column originally ran in the Nov. 5 edition of The Mercury.

Terrell Chestnut and Maika Polamalu bid farewell to the Pioneer Athletic Conference tonight. So will a number of their Pottsgrove teammates, as well as a small group of seniors from Pope John Paul II on Saturday afternoon. The senior send-off continues next weekend when Methacton and Perkiomen Valley close out their PAC-10 schedules, and it’ll end when Boyertown and Upper Perkiomen, Phoenixville and Spring-Ford, and Pottstown and Owen J. Roberts all take part in the final day of the PAC-10’s 25th football season on Thanksgiving morning.

It may seem a little unfair to pick out two from that long, long list of seniors.

But no two have stood out as long as Chestnut and Polamalu … no two teammates, that is, for four straight seasons.

Their athleticism, their untapped football skills, were evident from the very beginning, which is why Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker and his staff decided to “bring ’m up” to the high school varsity as freshmen. But what separated Chestnut and Polamalu from so many other valued freshmen was their work ethic, their drive to be all instead of part of it all.

Some freshmen give their teams a spark here and there, that glimmer of hope – wins and championships – along the way as they play out their sophomore, junior and senior years.

Chestnut and Polamalu gave the Pottsgrove program an immeasurable rush. They threw a charge into the offense with their ability to run, throw and catch the football, with their knack of finding an opponent’s end zone from anywhere on the field. They threw a charge into the defense with their gift of reading plays, with their flair for making the plays.

Teammates, as well as opponents from around the Pioneer Athletic Conference and throughout District 1, noticed. They were a presence at every practice. And for those who strolled from the opposing sidelines and onto the football field with them, well, they got to see – up close and in person – the impact they had on the games they played.

In the beginning, Chestnut and Polamalu were indeed promising freshmen … and they continued to deliver as promised ever since.

It was never easy, either. Chestnut made a name for himself when he was selected to the all-state first team defense following his first season. Polamalu already had a name – thanks to cousin Troy Polamalu, an All-Pro defensive back with the Pittsburgh Steelers – and because of it had to play up to everyone else’s often lofty and unfair expectations.

But their drive to become better players, their drive to become integral part of a better team, never wavered.

Nor did their stance as leaders … as role models.

They may have been stars born four years ago, in the spotlight all four of these years now. But they’ve always opted to share that glare with everyone around them – their teammates.

In their four years together – Chestnut, Polamalu and the rest of the Falcons went undefeated to win back-to-back PAC-10 championship seasons, and going into tonight’s regular season finale against visiting Phoenixville, own a 31-4 record in league play; they qualified for the District 1-Class AAA playoffs three straight years – winning that coveted title a year ago – and will make it an unprecedented four years in a row next weekend when they kick off this year’s postseason; and they’ve compiled an overall record of 43-8 … hoping to add to the left side of that ledger before all is said and done this – or next – month.

Of course, Chestnut and Polamalu contributed their share and more to those achievements. And they were always recognized. Both have been all-conference this and all-area that, and on practically every all-state team that’s selected nowadays.

Pennypacker and his staff, as well as everyone else with the slightest interest in the Pottsgrove football program, will unquestionably miss Chestnut and Polamalu as much if not more than any two players before them. Fans here and there will unquestionably miss what they brought, and added, to the game.

And the PAC-10 will long miss Chestnut and Polamalu, two the league’s best ambassadors … two players who for four years epitomized everything that was right with high school football, on and off the field.


Statistically, Chestnut and Polamalu – despite limited roles on offense as freshmen – have put up jaw-dropping numbers despite sharing ball-carrying responsibilities with a lot of others during their four years. The two have a combined 895 carries for 6,799 yards, 107 touchdowns and 654 points overall. Throw in senior Kayvon Greene, who didn’t get called on to carry the ball that much until midway through last year’s grind, and those numbers jump to 1,158 carries for 8,788 yards, 137 touchdowns and 840 points.

* * *

AROUND THE PAC: Boyertown, with a minimum of three games remaining, needs two wins to get into double figures and match the school record of 10, set in 1977 and matched in 1979. … Methacton (4-5), with two games left, has an opportunity to finish with its first winning season since going 8-3 back in 2000. … Owen J. Roberts has scored 364 points and, with a minimum of two games remaining, will likely break the single-season school record of 385 set last year. … Perkiomen Valley needs one win in its final two games to reach 150 in the history of its program. … Injury depleted Phoenixville is 109-109-1 overall in PAC-10 play and needs to win both or split its final two games to avoid going under that .500 mark for the first time since the league kicked off in 1986. … Pottsgrove needs 57 points to go over the 400-point mark for an area-record fourth straight season. … Pottstown needs one more win for the 475th in the history of its program, a number that trails only Phoenixville and The Hill School on the area’s all-time wins chart. … Spring-Ford needs 35 points to post the most any Rams team has scored since 1999. … Upper Perkiomen (4-5), with only one losing season since 2000, needs two to reach 275 in the history of its program.

PRIVATE ISSUES: The Hill School (3-0), Hun (3-1) and Lawrenceville (3-1) are the only teams that can determine this year’s Mid-Atlantic Prep League champion … and they’ll do all that this weekend and next. Hill visits Hun this afternoon, then hosts Lawrenceville – in the two teams’ 108th meeting of the spirited series – next Saturday. … Tom Calvario closes out his first season as Perkiomen School’s head coach today with a game at St. Andrew’s, Del. The Panthers were certainly the area’s most traveled team, playing in Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware (twice).



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