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

Perk Valley no longer flying under the radar

This column was originally published in the Oct. 4 edition of The Mercury.

Scott Reed likes being under the radar, actually enjoys not getting any attention. Getting overlooked, not getting detected as any sort of a real threat, is just fine.

But after five weeks of football, Reed and his young Perkiomen Valley troops are popping up as more than just a blip on the Pioneer Athletic Conference screen.

Three straight come-from-behind wins – including two over opponents very few outside the Graterford compound thought they could overrun – has ended the obscurity … has exposed the team’s might.

So much so, that neither Reed nor his staff can camouflage the Vikings any longer.

And no one is aware of that more than Reed.

After surviving a season-opening, triple-overtime brawl against Lansdale Catholic (a team that is still winless), and coming up with just a brief battle cry in a loss to Souderton, the Vikings have – in a word – rallied.

Despite running into one enemy with considerably more size and another with more considerably more speed, they have survived. They trailed Owen J. Roberts by six early and won, 31-12. They trailed Pottstown by 21 early and won, 2521. They trailed Boyertown by 14 in the second quarter and won, 22-21.

Now they’re 3-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, sitting atop the standings alongside Spring-Ford going into Thursday night’s game at Phoenixville.

“In all my years of coaching football I’ve never seen a team more resilient than this one,” Reed said. “We’ve been down the last three weeks and have come back (to win). That’s a testament to the kids. They just don’t quit.”

And to think just a month and a half ago, Reed welcomed a group of relative strangers. Their ability, or capability, was unknown … a work in process from Day One. “I really didn’t know anything about most of them when we opened camp,” Reed explained. “I didn’t know what I had. I honestly didn’t know what I had and knew I wouldn’t know until we got these kids to play a varsity game.”

Reed got a little insight into what he had and where he was going following scrimmages against Daniel Boone and Exeter – two teams that happen to have spotless 5-0 records right now – and the non-league confrontations with Lansdale Catholic and Souderton. But he went into the PAC-10 portion of the schedule with an offense that featured just four seniors, and only one (center Sean Leary) started every game a year ago. His defense had eight seniors, but only two lettermen among that group.

“We certainly had a bunch of fresh faces at camp,” Reed said. “But we looked at it as a fresh start, as a renewal of faith in our program. The kids had it tough early. We tested them early. Still, we didn’t have a lot of good answers at first.

“We’ve just made a lot of personnel changes on the fly. We’ve done a lot of shuffling, mixing and matching to get the right combinations. Right now we feel we have people in the right positions, our best 11 on the field to play offense, defense and special teams.”

As Reed pointed out, all the numbers – those often fortune-telling statistics – don’t necessarily add up for the Vikings. They’ve actually given up 201 yards more than they’ve generated, and because of the two one-point wins have outscored their opponents by a mere eight points overall.

But they’ve played opportunistic football. They haven’t hurt themselves with penalties (just 19 in five games). They’ve come up with 11 turnovers (plusthree in takeaways).

The special teams have been nothing shy of superb. Two blocked punts were pivotal in the wins over Owen J. Roberts and Boyertown. In between, Kyle Chudoba hit three field goals in the slop against Pottstown, not to mention boomed a 60-yard punt to pin the Trojans inside their own 10-yard line in the waning moments of the game. The return teams have excelled as well, with Ryan Boyd’s return of a kickoff for a touchdown igniting the comeback against Pottstown.

“I can’t say enough about our special teams, and our defense has come up with some key stops, too,” Reed said.

Perkiomen Valley has had its share of headliners. Sophomore quarterback Rasaan “Rock” Stewart has been a big difference on offense, “maturing faster than expected” as Reed put it. Dante Golson-Goodman is among the area’s leading ballcarriers, and Boyd is among the area’s leading receivers. Both Goodman and Boyd are excellent corners, too, getting a lot of help up front from the likes of Nick Delaney, Dave Forrest and Ezra Ranco, to name a few.

“We just wish we could get off to a good start once,” said Reed, who’s obviously had enough of the comeback route. “You don’t want to count on coming back like we have every week. Maybe we’re just a bunch of rodents … put our backs up against the wall so we’ll scratch and fight. I don’t have all the answers.

“But I do know our league is so crazy this year. It’s a mystery. It seems each week is a puzzle to solve. We keep telling our kids, like we have all season, to keep that intensity. We tell them to be intense, be competitive.”

Spring-Ford’s 49 points last Friday night were good enough to end an 11-game losing streak to Pottsgrove. They were also the most points any Spring-Ford team has put up against Pottsgrove in league play (and the most since a 42-0 shutout in 1987). … The 49 also tied the mark for the most ever allowed by a Pottsgrove team in league play, equaling the total in last year’s loss to Owen J. Roberts and a 2007 setback to Lansdale Catholic. … Going into the game, the Falcons had allowed just six first-quarter points the entire season, but surrendered 14 to the Rams. They hadn’t allowed a single second-half point the previous two weeks, but the Rams rung up 21 overall in the third and fourth quarters. … Last Friday night at Owen J. Roberts, Pope John Paul II went into the locker room at halftime with a lead for the first time this season. The Golden Panthers held onto it, too, and picked up their second PAC-10 win since arriving in the league a year ago.

For the first time this season, Daniel Boone didn’t put any points up on the scoreboard in the first quarter and had a seasonlow seven at the halfway mark of Friday’s game up at Pottsville. The Blazers, whose defense has yet to allow a first-quarter point, loosened up in the second half and won rather easily, 28-12, to improve to 5-0.

Perkiomen School, which is off this week, is 3-1 thus far and, with four games remaining, has a chance to match the 7-1 mark of two years ago. That’s a big deal considering Perkiomen hasn’t had an eight-win season in 33 years – or back in 1978 when the then Indians went 8-1. The only season that ended better than that was 65 years ago – or when the then Indians went 7-0-1 in 1946. … The Hill School dropped its third straight game Saturday night, but was back on the practice field Monday in preparation for its Mid-Atlantic Prep League opener against visiting Peddie School on Thursday afternoon. Peddie is led by former Hill head coach Frank deLaurentis.



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