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, November 8, 2011

Playoff races heating up a little early

This column originally ran in the Oct. 25 edition of The Mercury

The Pioneer Athletic Conference race is close. The Berks Football League Section One chase is as close if not closer.

And for now, there is little to separate the contenders from the pretenders in the playoff points standings and power ratings.

There isn’t a whole lot of football left to be played, either.

Just two weeks for most teams, or two games that will determine who wins a conference or league title – or puts them in a position to win it (don’t forget Thanksgiving morning’s card) … and just two weeks for five area teams to either seal the postseason deal, or close it out with the annual rally cry of “wait’ll next year.”

For four of the five area teams — Spring-Ford, Pottsgrove and Phoenixville from the PAC-10 and Daniel Boone from the BFL — there is little if any margin for error in their respective drives to a league championship. Some even need help from some others to reach that objective. And all four of those teams, along with Pope John Paul II, can ill-afford a loss this week or next if they’re thinking of retaining a high-and-mighty seed for the postseason (or hoping to get a pass into the postseason to begin with).

Daniel Boone, despite losing its first game of the season last Friday night to visiting Governor Mifflin, has already clinched a spot in the District 3-AAAA playoffs. The Blazers, at No. 1 in the district’s power ratings for two weeks, slipped one spot to No. 2, behind once-beaten Cumberland Valley, following the setback. They need one win to guarantee themselves a Top 8 seeding and first-round game on the home turf.

But they need two wins, neither of which will be easy considering they’re both on the road against Conrad Weiser and bitter rival Exeter – who own identical 7-1 records and share second place with Daniel Boone in the BFL’s Section One standings, all one game behind Governor Mifflin. The Blazers also need additional help – ironically from both Exeter and Conrad Weiser, who line up against Mifflin the next two Friday nights – if they’re to get their hands on no worse than a share of another Section One title.

Nothing like a playoff atmosphere before the playoffs even begin, eh?

The next two weeks will also determine if Spring-Ford can clinch no worse than a tie for its first PAC-10 championship since 1998 and its first playoff appearance ever.

Despite their shutout of Owen J. Roberts last Saturday, the Rams dropped from No. 7 to No. 8 in the District 1-AAAA points standings. There is a bit of a gap between them and No. 9 Henderson, but the Rams could win again this week (at Class AAA Pottstown) and lose more ground depending on how Henderson and others around them fare this weekend against AAAA opposition.

The arithmetic doesn’t get any easier for Phoenixville, Pottsgrove and Pope John Paul II in the Class AAA bracket. Seven of the Top 10 teams in the AAA bracket – including No. 1 Springfield-Delco and No. 2 Marple-Newtown – all lost last weekend. SF-Delco remained at No. 1, but Phoenixville and Pottsgrove are now No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and Pope John Paul slipped one spot to No. 8.

So Friday night, Phoenixville needs to get by visiting Upper Perkiomen – one of the highest-scoring series in the PAC-10, by the way. And the same goes for Pottsgrove, which must get by host Perkiomen Valley. If both do, there will be a whole heck of a lot on the line when Phoenixville visits Pottsgrove the following week. Phoenixville needs a win and some help to stay in the PAC-10 race through Thanksgiving’s game with the Rams. The Phantoms also need a win to clinch a berth in the AAA playoffs. Pottsgrove, just one game back of Spring-Ford, needs a win (and some of that same help from either Pottstown or Perkiomen Valley) to have any hopes of winning or sharing another PAC-10 title. And, like Phoenixville, the Falcons need a win to clinch yet another berth in the AAA playoffs.

Forget the “ifs” for Pope John Paul, though. There are none. Plain and simple, the Golden Panthers must win both of their last two games – both at home against Boyertown and Upper Perkiomen – to extend their season. Anything less, pending a collapse by everyone above and below them in the points standings, will likely deny them a spot in the eight-team AAA bracket.

* * *

Methacton has plenty to play for over the next three weeks. The Warriors are all even at 4-4 with a chance to finish over .500 for the first time since going 8-3 back in 2000. The Warriors, under second-year head coach Paul Lepre, close with Owen J. Roberts, Pottstown and neighboring Perkiomen Valley. … Pottstown needs to win out for its first winning season since 2002. … Upper Perkiomen also needs to win out to avoid its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1999-2000. … Owen J. Roberts, devastated by graduation when the season kicked off and hurt even more as its inexperienced lineup got hit with injury after injury, needs a win to avoid its worst season since a 1-10 run back in 1995.

* * *

The Hill School resumes its Mid-Atlantic Prep League schedule Saturday afternoon against visiting Blair Academy. The Rams (2-0, 3-3 overall) finish with Hun and Lawrenceville, both at home as well.

Blair is 3-0 (5-1 overall) and playing very well; Hun was playing well until getting upset by Peddie last weekend; and Lawrenceville, well, it doesn’t really seem to matter how the Big Red are playing, at least not until they get together with the Rams in one of the nation’s longest-running and (most unpredictable) football rivalries.



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