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 7, 2011

Boyertown knows PAC-10 opener at Pottstown won’t be easy

This column was originally published in the Sept. 16 edition of The Mercury.

POTTSTOWN – No question Boyertown is nearly everyone’s favorite to win the Pioneer Athletic Conference title this season. That’s all most of the league’s coaches, players and fans have been talking about (or reading about) since practice began back in mid-August.

Now it’s time for Boyertown to prove it’s worthy of all the honorable chat (or ink).

The Bears, coming off a pair of comedies up at Allen and over at Twin Valley, kick off their PAC-10 season this evening at Pottstown — a team that has dealt Boyertown its share of upset losses through the years, and a team that is much better than the two Boyertown beat up on by a combined score of 94-14.

“This is no easy game,” head coach Mark Scisly said. “Pottstown is one of the better teams in our league. I really believe that.”

Not surprising, what concerns Scisly the most about tonight’s affair is speed.

It’s a legitimate concern, too, because the Trojans have plenty of it with Corey Baker, who in two weeks has looked like a Player of the Year candidate; Malik Brinkley, an allleague selection a season ago; and Misohn Coppock, who can run right alongside his two better-known teammates. There are others, too, like Cory Hueber and Rashaad Brinkley, key contributors on both sides of the ball.

“It’s like they have three track stars out there,” Scisly said of Baker, Brinkley and Coppock.

But don’t think the Bears will be reduced to playing catch-up, either.

For starters, they’re more experienced up and down the lineup – with a lot of the manpower back from last year’s co-championship season run – and own a noticeable size advantage. And they also happen to have some speed of their own on offense as well as on defense.

Behind the sizable Nick McMenamin at center, Chris Muller at guard, and Tyler Boggs at tackle, the Bears have run and run well. Overall, they piled up a school-record 500plus yards in Week One, another 253 in Week Two. Jared Von Dohren, who will be a “game-time decision” because of an injury according to Scisly, along with Max Marcus and Jon Neiman, have pretty much run where they’ve wanted to. And sophomore quarterback Griffin Pasik made one giant leap from the first to second week in directing the offense and throwing the football.

All that has failed to overshadow a defense that limited Allen to minus28 yards rushing, shut out Twin Valley’s passing game, and has come up with a combined seven sacks and five turnovers. Troy Heuer and Gray Garber (two sacks) have been the most active with 15 and 14 tackles, respectively. But they’re getting a lot of help from the likes of D.J. Stemple, Peter Slabonik, Ronnie Mauger and Travis Mitchell.

“But we’re still going to have to tackle well, wrap up and not let (Baker, Brinkley and Coppock) get out in the open field,” Scisly said. “I just know we have to play better this week. We have to raise our level of play, and raise our level of play a couple of notches.”

They need to raise it all right … and not look ahead to next week’s showdown with Pottsgrove.

Baker has scored seven times already, and can get to the end zone on any given play – offensively or defensively. Brinkley averages eight yards a carry. And quarterback Sage Reinhart, who has impressed Scisly, doesn’t throw much but certainly makes the most of it (13 of 20, three touchdowns and no interceptions) when he does.

Where the Trojans’ big challenge may be is up front – where linemen Andrew Gazzilo, Jalonie Hutchinson, Dante Auman and Huber will have to deal with the Bears’ talented bulk.

“All I know is that this is by far the best Pottstown team I have seen in the four years I’ve been at Boyertown,” Scisly remarked. “Like I said, we’re going to have to play at higher level this week than we did the past two weeks.”

If you don’t think Hill School football has been around for a while, think again.

The then “Hillers” kicked off their first season in 1887. That year, Grover Cleveland was president; the U.S. signed a document to lease a naval base (Pearl Harbor) on a littleknown, faraway island called Hawaii; the very first Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney; and the largest snowflakes every recorded – 15 inches wide by 8 inches thick – were reported during a storm in Ft. Keogh, Mont. And putting food on the table was a bit cheaper, too, considering a pound of cheese would set you back less than a dime; a pound of butter was about 20 cents; and a gallon – that’s right, a gallon – of molasses was just over a quarter.

And football? Well, the playing field was 110 yards long with no end zones; offenses – which didn’t include the forward pass yet – had three attempts to advance the ball five yards for first downs; and touchdowns were worth four points. Things sure have changed. Change continued at Hill this year, too, with a new head coach who had to endure a preseason unlike many (if any) over the past few weeks in gearing up for the school’s milestone season that begins Saturday afternoon at Germantown Academy.

The new fella, Grey Simpson, was just getting to know who was who when Hurricane Irene blew threw and forced school officials to send all students home for eight days. Simpson not only lost six days of practice, but a scrimmage as well.

“You want those scrimmage reps so you can see, as a coaching staff, what works and what doesn’t, and to evaluate personnel,” Simpson said earlier this week. “We’re going to have to evaluate things on the fly in our first game and make the proper adjustments in the game plan and with our personnel. We want to give our guys the best opportunity to be successful.”

According to Mercury records, Hill opens on Saturday with an overall record of 514-338-51.

Speaking of going back, back, back…

Running back John Garrett is the eighth member of his family to play football at Perkiomen School. His great-grandfather played back in the 1920s; his grandfather played in the 1950s; and his father lined up for the then Indians under former head coach and current athletic director Ken Baker in the early 1980s. Four of his uncles also played at Perkiomen. If that isn’t enough, his aunt – Mary (Garrett) Giovino – also graduated from Perkiomen School.

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