Scott Huff looks at the teams on the bubble with the regular season winding down.
By Scott Huff
Life on the bubble.
Abington, Central Bucks West, and Upper Dublin are all on the PIAA Quad-A District One playoff bubble and all three teams have critical games this week. A loss in Week 9 could burst the bubble for the Ghosts, Bucks, and Flying Cardinals. However, a win against quality opponents could jettison the trio into contention for an invitation to the 16-team postseason dance.
Abington (6-2, 4-1) has a huge SOL National Conference date with Neshaminy (6-2, 4-1) and the winner of this game should be able to make the trek to the postseason. A third loss at this point of the season puts the loser in a precarious post-season position at best.
“The seniors on this team have won 10 games each of the last two seasons and have experienced a lot of success,” said Abington head coach Tim Sorber who has led the Ghosts to the playoffs for the last four seasons. “We lost a lot of good players to graduation coming into this season, and there wasn’t a lot of expectations about us being too good this year.
“But I don’t think the players on this team didn’t have high expectations,” added Sorber. “I really try not to look at all that playoff stuff until the last week of the season. All I know is that you can’t afford to lose games and expect to get in.”
Abington will enter the game with Neshaminy with a team that will return some key players.
“This is the healthiest our team has been at any time of the season,” said Sorber. “We get (linebacker) Tyrone Dean (5-10, 200) back this week, and we also get (lineman) Angel Carbo (6-2, 270) back. They both got hurt in our first scrimmage, and we had some players step up and play well in their place.
“Neshaminy is going to be a challenge,” continued Sorber. “They are very athletic in the skill positions, and they can run the football very well. It is a big game for both of us.”
Central Bucks West (5-3, 3-2) has a huge SOL Continental Conference date with North Penn (4-4, 3-2) and a victory by the Bucks over the Knights would put them in the playoff conversation. A loss would close the curtain on the playoff season for CB West.
“In order for us to come back and get quality points for the playoffs is to be playing and beating good teams the next two weeks,” said Central Bucks West head coach Brian Hensel. “And we get that opportunity to do that against North Penn and Central Bucks South (7-1, 4-1). If we want to be in the pool of sixteen in the playoffs, we have to go out and prove that we can beat the good teams.
“We dug ourselves a hole with the three straight losses,” added Hensel in reference to setbacks to Wissahickon (38-35), Souderton (28-17), and Pennridge (28-21). “All of those teams were very good teams, but you have to be able to come up with some wins there.”
CB West has received excellent leadership from quarterback Cody Riemenschneider and running back Sherrod Higginbotham this season.
“Cody has run our no huddle offense extremely well,” said Hensel. “We put him in a position to where he has to make some decisions based on what defense the other team is in. He has a lot of choices to make, and he makes good choices.
“And Sherrod gets overlooked some because of the other good running backs in our conference,” added Hensel in reference to Michael Class (Pennridge), Josh Adams (Central Bucks South), Kyle Mayfield (North Penn), and Anthony Williams (Souderton). “But he belongs right up there in that group.
“Now we get North Penn coming off a loss,” continued Hensel in reference to the Knights 28-21 loss to Pennridge that eliminated North Penn from the postseason. “Even with four losses it is still North Penn. And that means quality football.”
Upper Dublin (5-3, 3-2) has a huge SOL American Conference date with Plymouth Whitemarsh (7-1, 5-0) and a victory over the first place Colonials is the only way that the Flying Cardinals could entertain any hope of a post-season.
“I haven’t done the math, but I know that we can gain a lot of quality points if we could beat a Quad-A team like Plymouth Whitemarsh that has a lot of wins,” said Upper Dublin head coach Bret Stover. “The Quad-A teams in the American Conference play a couple of triple A schools (Upper Moreland and Upper Merion) and a double A school (Springfield).
“It puts you in a position where you have to go 9-1 or 8-2 to have a decent shot at making the playoffs,” added Stover. “Plymouth Whitemarsh has run the table so far this year in the conference, and if you want to play in the playoffs, you have do what they have done.
“The only way we can get into the playoff conversation is to beat Plymouth Whitemarsh and hope some teams ahead of us now lose some games,” continued Stover. “And all we can do right now is get ready to play PW.
“(Plymouth Whitemarsh running back) Corey Kelly is a special football player, he is a real battering ram,” added Stover. “And Terry Brown has stepped us this season to give them two excellent running backs. They have a terrific football team.”
Upper Dublin junior quarterback John Derr fired five touchdown passes in the Cardinals 50-21 win over Springfield last week.
“Springfield loaded the box to stop our run game,” said Stover. “John continues to improve as the season has gone on.”
In order for Upper Dublin to play with the best in the postseason, the Flying Cardinals will have to beat the best in the SOL American Conference this week.
That Was The Week That Was In The Suburban One League
SOL National Conference
Abington (6-2, 4-1) prepped for its second place conference showdown as the Ghosts captured a 30-13 victory over Council Rock South (1-7, 1-4). Senior quarterback Dylan Collins rushed for a pair of touchdowns and also threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Gage Gormley. Craig Reynolds rushed for a game-high 114 yards and scored on a four yard run. Sean Tracey booted a 25-yard field goal for the Ghosts.
Neshaminy (6-2, 4-1) prepped for its second place conference showdown as the Redskins captured a 42-33 victory over Bensalem (2-6, 1-4). Running back Nate Hall had a superlative outing scoring on touchdown runs of 11, 56, and 45 yards. Cole Creighton reached the end zone twice for the Skins – once on a 61-yard TD pass from Justin Andrews – and the other on a 65-yard punt return.
Next: Abington Ghosts @ Neshaminy Redskins
Last Year: Abington 35 – Neshaminy 21.
Pennsbury (6-2, 4-0) remained unbeaten in the conference as the Falcons soared to a 35-20 victory over Council Rock North (3-5, 2-3). Shawn Pepper was the offensive player of the game rushing for a game-high 195 yards and touchdown runs of two and 65 yards. Quarterback Breon Clark also had an outstanding game with six completions for 100 yards that included a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tim Hose. Clark also rushed for touchdowns of one and 27 yards.
Bensalem (2-6, 1-4) displayed offensive firepower but the Owls were gunned down by Neshaminy (6-2, 4-1) – 42-33. Bensalem rushed for three touchdowns as Ian Pisarchuk (two yards), Alex Arcangeli (one yard), and Ohlye Elijah (five yards) all reach pay dirt. Quarterback Kevin Hopkins threw a pair of TD passes – one to Donnie Reed (52 yards) – and the other to John McCarthy (two yards).
Next: Bensalem Owls @ Pennsbury Falcons
Last Year: Pennsbury 21 – Bensalem 7.
William Tennent (4-4, 3-2) moved to over .500 in the conference as the Panthers collected a 28-6 victory over Truman (2-6, 0-5). Jeff Ledford had a terrific evening rushing for a team-high 135 yards and three touchdowns. Ledford scored on runs of 14, 4, and 34 yards. Cameron Jenkins also scored for Tennent on a 6-yard run, while Alex Perks rushed for a 135 yards on only four carries.
Council Rock South (1-7, 1-4) competed early in the gamebut the Golden Hawks could not compete for the entire game in a 30-13 loss to Abington (6-2, 4-1). Cameron Crosley scored both CR South touchdowns – one on a 16-yard run – and the other on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Greg Paprocki. The Golden Hawks registered 230 yards of total offense.
Next: Council Rock South @ William Tennent
Last Year: Council Rock South 35 – William Tennent 14.
Council Rock North (3-5, 2-3) showed offensive productionbut the Indians could not match the offensive firepower of Pennsbury (6-2, 5-0) in a 35-20 loss. Brandon Mcllwain scored on a five yard touchdown run and also threw a seven yard touchdown pass to Brandon Knotts. Place kicker Max Pedinoff was outstanding kicking field goals of 27 and 42 yards for the Indians.
Truman (2-6, 0-5) remained winless in the conference as the Tigers were caged by William Tennent (4-4, 3-2) – 28-6. Marvin Todd rushed for a game-high 187 yards on 23 carries for Truman. The lone touchdown for the Tigers came on a 5-yard touchdown run by Manny Fisher.
Next: Truman Tigers @ Council Rock North Indians
Last Year: Council Rock North 20 – Truman 9.
SOL Continental Conference
Central Bucks West (5-3, 3-2) kept its playoff hopes alive as the Bucks captured a 31-14 victory over Hatboro-Horsham (1-7, 1-4). CB West ground out 410 rushing yards in the win. Running back Sherrod Higginbotham rushed for a game-high 271 yards on 26 carries and scored on runs of one and 13 yards. Quarterback Cody Riemenschneider rushed for an additional 122 yards and scored on runs of 25 and 22 yards.
North Penn (4-4, 3-2) saw its playoff hopes dim to a flicker as the Knights were defeated by first place Pennridge (7-1, 4-0) – 28-21. Kyle Mayfield had an outstanding contest with 140 yards on 20 carries that included touchdown runs of 51 and four yards. The Knights out gained the Rams 331 yards to 238 yards but turned the ball over three times on interceptions.
Next: Central Bucks West Bucks @ North Penn Knights
Last Year: North Penn 40 – Central Bucks West 14.
Pennridge (7-1, 4-0) remained unbeaten in conference play as the Rams rallied twice to defeat North Penn (4-4, 3-2) – 28-21. Kyle Bigam made a miraculous catch from quarterback Alex Krivda to score the game-winning touchdown with 25 seconds in the game. Bigam also scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. Michael Class rushed for a team-high 85 yards and scored on a 10-yard touchdown run, while MacKenzie Crawford scored on a one-yard run.
Central Bucks East (3-5, 1-4) outscored CB South in the second half but the Patriots dug too deep a hole in the first half and lost to the Titans (7-1, 4-1) – 34-13. Vince Thompson rushed 21 times for a team-high 88 yards and scored on a 2-yard run. Zach Nelsen fired an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Ilkiw. Central Bucks East rushed for 202 yards.
Next: Pennridge Rams @ Central Bucks East Patriots
Last Year: Pennridge 28 – Central Bucks East 14.
Central Bucks South (7-1, 4-1) rallied back from its first loss of the season as the Titans raced to a 34-13 victory over Central Bucks East (3-5, 1-4). Quarterback John Pileggi passed for 308 yards and threw four touchdown passes in the win. Cale Mosher caught a pair of scores (45 & 12 yards), while Bobby Mallon (26 yards) and Josh Adams also caught TD passes. Adams rushed for a game-high 120 yards and a TD.
Quakertown (1-7, 0-4) remained winless in the conference as the Panthers were caged by Souderton (5-3, 3-2) – 33-7. The lone scoring play of the game came on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Alec Vera to running back Mike Sawyer. Quakertown has now lost its last seven games.
Next: Central Bucks South Titans @ Quakertown Panthers
Last Year: Central Bucks South 37 – Quakertown 13.
Souderton (5-3, 3-2) kept its playoff hopes alive as the Indians routed Quakertown (1-7, 0-4) – 33-7. Anthony Williams scored on runs of three and 48 yards and also caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from AJ Curotto. Kyle Wenger caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Curotto and also scored on a 44-yard return of an interception.
Hatboro-Horsham (1-7, 1-4) led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter but the Hatters were outscored 31-7 in the final three periods in a 31-14 loss to Central Bucks West (5-3, 3-2). Quarterback Steve Palo got Hatboro-Horsham on the board in the first period with a 64-yard TD run. Palo also fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to John O’Malley.
Next: Souderton Indians @ Hatboro-Horsham Hatters
Last Year: Souderton 28 – Hatboro-Horsham 27.
SOL American Conference
Plymouth Whitemarsh (7-1, 5-0) clinched a share of the conference title as the Colonials marched to a 28-0 victory over Norristown (1-7, 1-4). Senior running back Corey Kelly went over the 1000-yard mark for the season and scored on a 3-yard run. Senior Terry Brown scored on a 52-yard run. Quarterback Pete Giorgio scored on runs of 31 and 6 yards for the Colonials.
Upper Dublin (5-3, 3-2) prepped for its showdown with PW as the Flying Cardinals soared to a 50-21 victory over Springfield (4-4, 1-4). Quarterback John Derr completed just 9 passes – but 5 went for touchdowns. Reed Rapine caught three touchdown passes – one for 22 yards – another for 58 yards – and a third for 18 yards. David Webster (18 yards) and Ryan Siwinski (21 yards) also caught TD passes. Mike Lee scored on a 2-yard run, while Matt Thompson scored on a 50-yard run.
Next: Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials @ Upper Dublin Flying Cardinals
Last Year: Plymouth Whitemarsh 23 – Upper Dublin 7.
Cheltenham (5-3, 3-2) lost a critical conference game as the Panthers were caged by Upper Moreland (5-3, 3-2) – 28-21. Mark Heimann completed 10 passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Heimanm fired touchdown passes to Marshall Salem (15 yards), Ahjavon Patrick (63 yards), and Hyneef Dockery (12 yards).
Upper Merion (1-7, 1-4) outscored Wissahickon 22-7 in the second half but the Vikings were outscored 42-0 in the first half in a 49-22 loss to the Trojans (5-3, 3-2). After stopping a 25-game losing streak with a 42-12 win over Springfield, the Vikings have now lost two in a row.
Next: Upper Merion Vikings @ Cheltenham Panthers
Last Year: Cheltenham 34 – Upper Merion 20.
Wissahickon (5-3, 3-2) kept its playoff hopes alive as the Trojans marched to a 49-22 victory over Upper Merion (1-7. 1-4). Wissahickon scored a defensive touchdown on a 103-yard interception return for a score by Gordon Bentley. The Trojans scored a special teams touchdown on a 60-yard punt return by Greg McDonough. Wissahickon scored on offense as Dan Murphy scored on runs of 23 and 10 yards.
Norristown (1-7, 1-4) continued its struggles as the Eagles were clipped by first place Plymouth Whitemarsh (7-1, 5-0) – 28-0. Norristown – which collected its only win of the season in a 27-20 victory over Upper Merion – has now lost four straight games. The Eagles have managed to score just two touchdowns in their last three games.
Next: Norristown Eagles @ Wissahickon Trojans
Last Year: Wissahickon 28 – Norristown 16.
Upper Moreland (5-3, 3-2) captured a huge conference victory as the Golden Bears collected a 28-21 victory over Cheltenham (5-3, 3-2). Robert Knox scored a rushing touchdown (2-yard run), a pass receiving touchdown (15 pass from Charlie Hooker), and a special teams touchdown (72-yard punt return) to highlight the win. Chris Kitchens scored on a 2-yard run for the Bears.
Springfield (4-4, 1-4) scored three touchdowns but those scores were not enough as the Spartans dropped a 50-14 verdict to Upper Dublin (5-3, 3-2). Chris Stone threw a pair of touchdown passes for Springfield – one to Matt Krewson for 32 yards – and another to Jhaloni Johnson for 27 yards. Stone completed 10 passes for 180 yards.
Next: Upper Moreland Golden Bears @ Springfield Spartans
Last Year: Did Not Play.
Suburban One Sports.com
1. Pennsbury Falcons (6-2, 5-0)
2. Pennridge Rams (7-1, 4-0)
3. Central Bucks South Titans (7-1, 4-1)
4. Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials (7-1, 5-0)
5. North Penn Knights (4-4, 3-2)
6. Abington Ghosts (6-2, 4-1)
7. Neshaminy Redskins (6-2, 4-1)
8. Souderton Indians (5-3, 3-2)
9. Cheltenham Panthers (5-3, 3-2)
10. Wissahickon Trojans (5-3, 3-2)