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

No time to dwell on successes, failures in the PAC-10

No matter how well-executed the play or how good the game, or even how great the overall effort in the end, there is always that next snap, that next game. Football coaches, like every coach in every sport, preach that until they’re croaky … and a little cranky, too.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise if a few of the boys around the Pioneer Athletic Conference are a bit hoarse today.

The league’s first full round of games last weekend sure didn’t play out as a lot of the coaches expected. They sure didn’t play out the way most of their players and fans had scripted, either.

Boyertown, the team so many felt could run the table this season and the team that left few thinking otherwise after overwhelming its two preseason opponents, lost. It lost to Pottstown, which has definitely given the Bears more than their share of challenges through the years, but to a team that has had opportunities to win in the past before a critical mistake led to the surrender of a late lead and, of course, a loss. This time, though, Pottstown forced the critical mistake, capitalized on the opportunity to take a late lead and, of course, won.

It may have been just one game, but it may — the emphasis is on may — go a long way in determining what direction both Boyertown and Pottstown are headed. And there’s no time, absolutely none, to dwell on what developed last Friday night.

No time, because this week Boyertown has to entertain Pottsgrove – a team that has either won or contended for a PAC-10 title for more years than most of the anti-Falcon fan following cares to remember, and a team that seemed to have fixed whatever offensive or defensive predicaments they may have had in a 67-7 rout of Upper Perkiomen. No time, because this week Pottstown has to travel to Perkiomen Valley – a team that gained a little identity and a whole lot of confidence with last week’s win over Owen J. Roberts, and a team Pottstown hasn’t beaten the last eight times they’ve met, or since the Trojans’ last championship season back in 2002.
John Strickler/the Mercury Pottsgrove’s Mark Dukes (6), who leads the area in rushing, had four touchdowns in the Falcons’ thrashing of Upper Perkiomen on Friday.

As if that isn’t enough for one Friday night, there’s also Spring-Ford visiting Upper Perkiomen and Owen J. Roberts heading down to Phoenixville – a pair of matchups oh so similar in importance to the two already mentioned.

The Rams, by their own admission, looked good for a half and not-so-good for the other half against Pope John Paul II. One half won’t get it done against Upper Perkiomen, which has had its own share of playing “partials” before the collapse against Pottsgrove. A Spring-Ford win this week only sets up yet another key showdown next week with Pottsgrove. Upper Perkiomen, felt by many in the preseason to be a PAC-10 contender as well but slowed considerably of late by a few injuries, obviously cannot afford another early loss if it hopes to stay in the chase. So that, along with last week’s embarrassing loss, sure has fueled the competitive fires.

Owen J. Roberts, meanwhile, needs to find the game it unveiled in a win up in Reading two weeks ago. Phoenixville, 3-0 for the first time in six years, is no longer under the radar. The Phantoms showed their resiliency last Saturday at Methacton by coming back time and time again. They were at their best on their final possession, which covered 71 yards and ate up all but 20 seconds of the game’s last 3:06, and then on their final defensive stance by holding the Warriors out of the end zone on the game’s last play.

Oh, don’t forget Saturday’s matinee, either. Methacton is back at Pope John Paul. The Warriors could and likely will create a lot of trouble in the league, and they’re playing a PJP team that one coach has already admitted, “scares the living you-know-what out of you every time they snap the football.”

And to think all of this ahead is just Week Two of the PAC-10 season...

Officials’ whistles are being heard and heard often. Penalties are up, way up from previous seasons. Ironically, the teams getting the most flags thrown at them are among the area’s best – Upper Perkiomen (25 penalties), Spring-Ford (23), Boyertown (22), Daniel Boone (21) and Pottstown (20). … OJR may want to throw a curse on No. 396. That’s exactly how many yards the Wildcats gave up to both Conestoga and Perkiomen Valley – both losses. … The Pottsgrove-Upper Perkiomen annual affair is the PAC-10’s highest-scoring series with 1,271 points put up on the board between the two rivals – an average of 49 a game. … Pottstown’s 35 points last week was the most a Trojans team has scored in a league game since a 53-7 romp over St. Pius X during Week One of the 2008 season. … Pottsgrove’s 522 yards rushing tied the league’s second-best mark, while PJP’s 306 yards passing is the league eighth-best mark.

Three St. Pius X graduates are coaching in the Berks Football League and enter their respective conference schedules this week with a combined 63 preseason mark. Daniel Boone’s Dave Bodolus leads the threesome at 3-0, while Schuylkill Valley’s Jeff Chillot is 2-1, and Berks Catholic’s Rick Keeley is 1-2. … Yet another Pius grad, Perkiomen School head coach Tom Clavario, is 1-1 so far. … Four other former PAC-10 coaches are a combined 5-7. They are Marple-Newtown’s Ray Gionta (Boyertown and St. Pius X) at 3-0; Cardinal O’Hara’s Dan Algeo (Phoenixville) at 2-1; Hempfield’s Ron Zieber (Boyertown) at 0-3; and Lansdale Catholic’s tireless Jim Algeo at 0-3.

Daniel Boone is one of three BFL Section One teams that finished the non-league portion of their seasons at 3-0. Conrad Weiser and Exeter are the others, while Pottsville and Governor Mifflin are currently 2-1. Muhlenberg and Reading are both 1-2, and Twin Valley – which travels to Daniel Boone

this Friday evening – went 0-for-3.

Hill School came up short against Germantown Academy in last week’s opener that kicked off the program’s 125t season of football. New head coach Grey Simpson wasn’t completely disappointed in the effort.

“Although the first game did not end on the scoreboard as we all would have liked, I think we came away with some positive things we can build on for Week Two,” Simpson said. “Most important, for the coaching staff and the players, we have some film to look at this week to help in the teaching of what we are trying to accomplish on offense, defense and special teams. From (the coaching staff) standpoint, that has been the biggest issue in not playing a scrimmage and having very little quality live action.”

The Rams lost eight days of practices and a scrimmage due to students being sent home prior to Hurricane Irene’s arrival in the Pottstown area. They return to the field this week at Episcopal Academy, which is 1-2 – each loss by seven points.



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