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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PAC-10 football opens in earnest

Pottsgrove is right smack where it’s been for the last umpteen years – in first place after the first week of a Pioneer Athletic Conference football season.

That’s one week, one win … but that’s it.

And no one needs to remind the Falcons or head coach Rick Pennypacker.

No one, because they’re all aware the rest of the PAC-10 brethren get into it this weekend with the first of eight full rounds. Then, when the temperatures have dropped to half of what they are right now and most people are thinking turkey, stuffing and gravy, the league will wrap up its 26th season on Thanksgiving morning – in all likelihood for the last time, too, ending a tradition that in some neighborhoods dates way, way back into the early 1900s.

What happens between this weekend and Thanksgiving is anyone’s guess, too.

Because so many of the league’s standouts of the last three or four seasons graduated, there were absolutely no gimmes nor guarantees as had been the norm in those previous seasons. There were plenty of questions being asked long before summer camps opened back in mid-August. Today, with two scrimmages and two non-league rounds (as well as Pottsgrove’s league win over Pope John Paul II) in the books, there are still a lot of questions being asked.

So, yes, there is a bit more drama than usual. Actually, the PAC-10 actually hasn’t had this much drama, or such a great full opening-week card to tease the inquiring minds, than it has this time around.

Boyertown is at Pottstown; Perkiomen Valley visits Owen J. Roberts; Pope John Paul II heads down Township Line Road to Spring-Ford; and, to cap Friday night’s card, Upper Perkiomen is at Pottsgrove. On Saturday afternoon, Methacton entertains Phoenixville.

There’s no doubt everyone has a favorite in each of those games, just don’t be too quick to pick.

For starters, Boyertown – the favorite to win the PAC-10 title this season, at least among the coaches – have beaten up on a pair of teams (Allentown Allen and Twin Valley) that have won very, very few football games the past five years. They also have some injuries that need mending. Also, in case anyone has forgotten, the Bears were picked by nearly everyone to beat Pottstown in all but one of their nine meetings since joining the Pioneer Athletic Conference, but managed to survive in just four of them.

On top of all that, the Trojans have to be (or should be) a confident group after nearly upsetting Pius X – a District 11 playoff qualifier a year ago with one of the state’s most highly touted quarterbacks calling the plays again – and pummeling Del Val League defending champion Penn Wood. And, as if Boyertown head coach Mark Scisly needs a reminder, the Trojans can counter the Bears’ quickness and speed with some quickness and speed of their own.

“We’re not overlooking anyone,” Scisly said last week. “I think our first two games really helped our confidence, especially with so many sophomores and first-year starters getting playing time for us.

“We scrimmaged LaSalle and Daniel Boone, two of the top Class AAAA teams in the state. So (regardless of the easy wins over Allen and Twin Valley), our guys know what the PAC-10 season will be like because they can compare it to those two (scrimmages).”

Perkiomen Valley showed it can win (as it did in an overtime thriller against Lansdale Catholic) and go toe-to-toe with a biggie (as it did against Suburban One contender Souderton). The Vikings have also won two of their last five meetings with OJR, and two of the three they lost were by a combined three points. But Owen J. Roberts made as big a statement as anyone last week, bouncing back from a loss to Conestoga with a convincing win up in Reading.

Pope John Paul II owns what many admit is the league’s best passing game. David Cotellese has an area-high 559 yards and six touchdowns throwing the ball and, with a group of reliable receivers, he’ll test anyone’s secondary – including Spring-Ford’s. The Rams, among those right behind Boyertown in the favorite-to-win-it-all poll – especially after the admirable but still disheartening overtime setback to powerful Daniel Boone last Saturday – have their own potent passing phenom in Hank Coyne and 10 new personnel playing defense well above early expectations.

Upper Perkiomen – another team right behind Boyertown in the favorite-to-win-it-all poll – has a little added motivation knowing it has lost to Pottsgrove the last four years. The Indians also know they can move the ball and play good defense. If they cut down on the momentum-killing turnovers and play defense for four quarters – not just in the second half as they’ve done the first two times out – it could get interesting at Pottsgrove. Pennypacker thought that the moment he saw the schedule, but had to be feeling much better after seeing his offense get untracked with 419 yards and just one turnover last week.

Methacton will find out real quick what direction it’s heading after Saturday’s visit from Phoenixville. The Warriors did an about-face last week, showing they have a legitimate running threat (Davonte Fung) to take some of the heat off veteran quarterback Brandon Bossard as well as a defense that can create turnovers and short-field opportunities for its offense. They’ll need that consistent effort to quiet Phoenixville, yet another team right behind Boyertown in the favorite-to-win-it-all poll. The Phantoms, as healthy as they’ve been in three years, have experience and talent in virtually every spot of the lineup – a slew of individuals who will distinguish themselves even more as the season progresses.

Should be a great weekend … and an even greater season.

Daniel Boone quarterback Tom Bodolus, who ran 32 times last Saturday at Spring-Ford, upped his career passing yardage to 2,219 yards to lead all active quarterbacks. Coyne, a junior, is at 2,113 and Cotellese is at 2,074 … Upper Perkiomen’s Dylan Wesley could also end up with big numbers. The junior southpaw is very accurate on short tosses as well as going long, most of the time to Temple-bound speedster Ron Gillespie, who himself is closing in on The Mercury’s Top Five for career receptions and yards. … Pottstown’s Sage Reinhart, completing 65 percent of his attempts with three touchdowns and no interceptions through two games, could be a big factor in Friday’s game with Boyertown.

Perkiomen School opened its 108th season of football last Saturday with a shutout of Emily Fisher Charter. … The Hill School, the area’s very first football team, kicks off its 125th season of football this Saturday at Germantown Academy. The Rams will be under the direction of Grey Simpson, the area’s only new head coach this season.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home