SOL Featured Game: Souderton vs. NP

Friday night’s William Tennent/Council Rock South game will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on WBCB 1490 AM, and the Neshaminy/Harry S Truman contest will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on the internet at Saturday night’s Pennsbury/Council Rock North game will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on WBCB 1490 AM. Friday night’s North Penn/Souderton contest will be broadcast live at 7:30 p.m. on WNPV 1440 AM as well as on the internet at Check for all the SOL scores.

Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Crawford Stadium
2011 Record: North Penn 4-0 SOL (5-2 overall), Souderton 3-1 SOL (4-3 overall)
2010 Record: North Penn 7-0 SOL Continental Conference champions (13-2 overall), Souderton 6-1 SOL (7-4 overall)
Last week:  North Penn 35, Quakertown 0; Souderton 44, Central Bucks South 42
Last year:  North Penn 40, Souderton 22

Souderton coach Ed Gallagher’s keys to the game:  “Unfortunately, the way it looks right now – the way teams have beaten North Penn so far this year is throwing the ball, and that’s not been our strong point. We’re certainly capable of it, but we’re going to need a little bit better performance across the board in our passing game if we’re going to do that. Our running game has been very solid, but we’re also going to need a lot better defense than what we have had the past couple of weeks.
“North Penn has an excellent offense. Corey Ernst is a very good fit for that offense. He really does a nice job running the ball when he has to, and he does a great job of play action pass, which is where they usually get you. We’re going to try to stop the run as much as we can, and hopefully, we’re able to hold up, recognize and react to play action passes. They’ve certainly beaten a bunch of teams this year, and hopefully, we can hold up against it.”
Key matchups:  “I don’t want to put pressure on Tanner Allem, but teams that have beaten them have thrown the ball effectively. Tanner is a very capable quarterback. He’s had some very good games for us. Whether he’s going to be able to put that type of game together against North Penn is a question. Hopefully, he will be able to, and we can go from there, but he’s one of the big keys. Defensively, our secondary has got to play better. Overall, our secondary has got to make some plays or we’re not going to have a chance.
“Javon White is getting back to full strength. He sprained his ankle in the first quarter of the Abington game, and he missed almost three full games. He got up to speed against Hatboro and played really well against CB South. We’re looking for big things from him. I thought Joe McNamara, our fullback, really stepped up last week, so I’m hoping he will continue to run the way he did and block the way he did. Overall, I think our offensive line continues to improve. Our most consistent offensive lineman has been Michael Dimmig. He’s one of our captains and has given us a good effort all year long from his guard position. We have a sophomore tackle, Rick Young, who has had a very good year so far. I think he’s one of the best linemen in the league.
“Defensively, I think our strength is at linebacker, but we’ve had injury issues. Zakk Hecht injured his knee a couple of weeks ago, and Colby Johnson is fighting off some injuries. They both were returning starters last year. Tyler Scholl, who we moved to linebacker, has a deep thigh bruise and has missed two and a half games. We’ve tried to patchwork our defense together, and it’s hurt us more defensively than offensively. Tanner Allem has been playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand for the last three weeks. You don’t want to complain about injuries, but we’ve had our share. Tanner has toughed it out and played through it. We have other kids who are bumped and nicked, but everyone has things like that. Overall, when our linebackers return to the fold, we’re going to improve defensively, but again, our secondary has to play better.”
Coach Gallagher says:  “This is an opportunity – North Penn has won every game since they’ve been in our league. They’re 25-0 against the Continental Conference, and they really have been the class of the league. If I did some statistics to figure out what the average score is in league games, it’s not close. They’re beating teams by four or five touchdowns every week. It’s a little disheartening for the rest of the league, but when you have a team that has an opportunity to beat them, you have to take advantage of that opportunity. I thought we had the opportunity last year, and we fell apart in the second part of the second quarter. Now we have a team that we were hoping would be able to contend and beat them this year. We remind the kids – it’s one game. You’re playing 11 against 11, and hopefully, we’ll come out and we can execute and take care of business.  Hopefully, it’s a good night for us. We have nothing to lose. We have to go in loose and play the best possible game we can. If it’s enough to beat them, then great. We’ll be very happy at the end of the night.”

North Penn coach Dick Beck’s keys to the game:  “I think with their team the key will be - don’t give up the big play because that’s what they feed off of. They’re such risk takers on defense, and I think we have to get the big play. With them on defense, it’s – ‘let’s take a chance, let’s blitz, let’s put a lot of people close to the ball.’ That can be very confusing for the offensive line. Sometimes it’s tough to prepare for because they can be unsound at times, but it works, and all of a sudden, you’re second and 12. We have to try and get them out of that. We have to hit them with the big play. If we don’t hit them with the big play, it’s tough to move the ball on a 15-play drive when they’re taking that many chances.
“We have to keep them in front of us. We can’t give them a one-play drive and let them score. We have to make them go the distance with many plays. I told our guys – there’s no magical formula to stop Souderton. I think you have to be in position, know who you’re covering and what your zone is, and the D-Line has to beat blocks and get to the ball. You can’t over-pursue with Souderton.”
Key matchups:  “Corey Ernst is having a great year. The guys we have playing receiver and on the O-line are really starting to gel and figure out where they need to be. We struggled with that early in the season. I think we’re at a point where we have most of the same guys playing. We haven’t had any injuries or conditioning issues since week three, and the substitutions have been a little less. When you run an offense like ours, there are specific spots you have to be in, and our guys are starting to do it. Even though (Dan) Gevirtz has caught so many balls, Eddie Posavec is a threat to catch it, and Mike Isabella, Ralphie Reeves and Shayne Watson. I think we have all our receivers in line now. Even though Gevirtz has so many catches – anybody can catch the ball, and Corey throws it to every receiver in almost every game. Last week, (running back) Kyle Mayfield had 124 yards receiving and ran for 90 yards. James Fielder has figured out the fullback position and has really started to block well and is a threat running the ball.”
Coach Beck says:  “Souderton – let’s give them a lot of credit. They were down and out after that Pennridge loss, and then they got down two scores to Hatboro in the fourth quarter, and they came back to tie it up and then win it in OT. Then they get a big win against CB South. They showed resiliency the last couple of weeks. They’re fighting for their playoffs lives, and they want to be in the hunt too.
“I feel like we’ve improved, and we’re a different team than we were three weeks ago, but Souderton is a much different team than they were with all the injuries also. When they’re healthy, they’re definitely scary. Javon White can go the distance anywhere on the field, and if Tyler Scholl is healthy, he’s scary, and obviously, (Joe) McNamara is a bull. They’re a much different team than when they played Pennridge.”