Football Fever: Week 10

By Scott Huff

 Often overlooked, special teams frequently determine winners and losers on the football field.
 
“You can’t cut corners with special teams,” said Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt. “In fact, last week we took an extra day preparing our special teams.
 
“We had been sloppy with some of our protections,” added Schmidt. “We felt we really needed to clean things up.”
 
Neshaminy (6-1, 4-1) notched a huge 14-13 SOL National Conference win over Council Rock North (5-3, 3-2) when the Indians failed to kick an extra point that would have sent the game into overtime.
 
“Execution on special teams can be the determining factor in a close game,” said Schmidt. “You need to be able to execute and take nothing for granted.”
 
Special teams played a pivotal role in Central Bucks South’s 36-22 SOL Continental Conference win over Hatboro-Horsham.
 
The Hatters had driven the length of the field in the first period to take a 7-0 lead, but in the blink of an eye the Titans knotted the score on a terrific 91-yard kick off return for a touchdown by Bobby DiPasquale.
 
“That play was a huge factor in the game,” said Central Bucks South head coach Bart Szarko. “It turned the momentum around in our favor very quickly.
 
“We dedicate time every practice to special teams,” added Szarko. “We reward the kids in practice for their play on special teams. We run plays live and remind the players how special teams could be the difference between a win and a loss.”
 
Plymouth Whitemarsh and Upper Merion each scored three touchdowns in their SOL American Conference game. However, the Colonials earned the victory by a 20-18 margin.
 
“We knew that Upper Merion had been struggling with extra points,” said Plymouth Whitemarsh head coach John Staudenmayer as the Vikings failed on all three point-after attempts. “And we were able to convert on a couple of our touchdowns.
 
“We practice extremely hard on our special teams,” added Staudenmayer. “We know that if you neglect that part of the game, you are asking for trouble.”
 
SOL National Conference
 
Neshaminy (7-1, 4-1) held on for a nail biting 14-13 SOL National Conference victory over Council Rock North (5-3, 3-2). Rock North scored late but failed to convert the PAT that would have sent to game into overtime.
 
“We made it a little more exciting than it had to be,” said Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt. “We have not done a good job of finishing drives this season, and that almost cost us the game.”
 
Redskin running back Bryan Dean again put up some impressive numbers running behind an improving Skin offensive line. Dean rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 32 carries and scored on a four-yard run.
 
Stephen Stemme scored on a 21-yard run – his only run from scrimmage. Placekicker Rick Domico was perfect on both extra points that provided the margin of victory.
 
Pennsbury (8-0, 5-0) looms in the season finale for the Redskins, but Bensalem (2-6, 1-4) is next on the schedule.
 
“Bensalem always plays us like their hair is on fire,” said Schmidt. “They always have good athletes, and they always seem to give us fits.”
 
Bensalem (2-6, 1-4) was more than competitive in the first half of its 33-7 SOL National Conference loss to Abington. The Owls – thanks to a 67-yard touchdown run by Tim Farlow – trailed the Ghosts by just 13-7 at intermission. Farlow finished the night with 120 yards rushing on 17 carries.
 
Next: Neshaminy @ Bensalem (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Neshaminy 35 – Bensalem 21
Prediction: Neshaminy 42 – Bensalem 13
 
Pennsbury (8-0, 5-0) blasted William Tennent (1-7, 0-5) last week, 43-12, in a SOL National Conference game. Dante Devine scored three touchdowns and rushed for 235 yards on 21 carries. Brandon Pepper scored on a 6-yard run and threw a 21-yard TD pass to Eric Williams.
 
Abington (5-2, 3-2) outscored Bensalem (2-6, 1-4) by a 20-0 margin in the second half to coast to a 33-7 SOL National Conference win. Senior quarterback Sam Kind fired three scoring passes – two to outstanding wideout Anthony Hensley. Guiliano Presta also caught a TD pass for the Ghosts.
 
Next: Pennsbury @ Abington (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Pennsbury 24- Abington 14
Prediction: Pennsbury 28 – Abington 17
 
Council Rock North (5-3, 3-2) lost a heartstopping 14-13 contest last week to Neshaminy (7-1, 4-1) in an SOL National Conference contest. Jack Worthington caught a pair of eight-yard touchdowns passes – one from Tyler Hamilton and the other from Kevin Hacker.
 
Harry S Truman (2-6, 1-4) was tied at the end of the first period (7-7) with favored Council Rock South (6-2, 3-2), but could not remain competitive in a 34-14 SOL National Conference loss. Lionel Chapman scored on a 7-yard run that fashioned the first period deadlock.
 
Next: Harry S Truman @ Council Rock North (Friday 7 pm)
 
Last Year: Council Rock North 49 – Truman 33
Prediction: Council Rock North 31 – Truman 13
 
Council Rock South (6-2, 3-2) dominated the last three periods in its 34-14 SOL National Conference win over Truman (2-6, 1-4). Greg Welch scored a pair of touchdowns for the Golden Hawks and led the team in rushing with 75 yards. Rock South rushed for a staggering 370 yards – and passed for zero.
 
William Tennent (1-7, 0-5) lost to SOL National Conference power Pennsbury (8-0, 5-0), 43-12. The Panthers were tied 6-6 early in the game on the strength of a 2-yard TD run by Tyler Hamlet. Hamlet scored the other Panther touchdown on a 60-yard fumble return.
 
Next: Council Rock South @ William Tennent (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: CR South 46 – William Tennent 6
Prediction: CR South 42 – William Tennent 14
 
SOL Continental Conference
 
Central Bucks South (2-6, 2-3) finally played the complete game that Coach Bart Szarko was looking for when the Titans handled the Hatters of Hatboro-Horsham (3-5, 2-3), 36-22, in an SOL Continental Conference game.
 
“It was our Homecoming and I felt good for the seniors,” said Szarko. “We finally finished off a game in the fourth quarter and came up with a win.
 
“We played some very good teams like North Penn and Souderton great in the first three quarters,” added Szarko. “But we couldn’t make the plays at the end of the game to come out with a win.”
 
South had four different players cross the goal line in the win over HH.
 
Dan Brown led the scoring parade with touchdown runs of 1 and 53 yards, while Bobby DiPasquale (91-yard kickoff return), Jon Eisemann (70-yard run), and Josh Williams (37-yard pass from Matt Johns) also found pay dirt.
 
“We have a huge game this week against Pennridge,” said Szarko. “It’s our Senior Night, and we want them to go out with a win.”
 
Pennridge (4-4, 2-2) scored all of its points in the first half in a 23-14 SOL Continental Conference victory over Central Bucks West (1-7, 0-5). Ram running back Ian Walbridge rushed for a game-high 145 yards and scored on a 27-yard run. PHS scored a passing touchdown as Kyle Peters threw a 3-yard TD pass to Brandon Cope.
 
Next: Pennridge @ Central Bucks South (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Pennridge 35 – CB South 28
Prediction: Central Bucks South 24 – Pennridge 21
 
Quakertown (6-2, 2-2) continued its run for a possible PIAA District One playoff berth with a 34-14 SOL Continental Conference win over Central Bucks East (2-6, 2-3). Panther quarterback Ryan Tincknell was 12-15 for 190 yards and fired three TD passes – two to Rob Basile. Tony Latronica – who rushed for a team-high 140 yards – scored on a TD pass and ran for a 34-yard score.
 
Central Bucks West (1-7, 0-5) played in the quagmire that was Poppy Yoder Field in Perkasie and dropped a 23-14 contest to the host Pennridge Rams (4-4, 2-2). The Bucks scored two first half touchdowns on a 5-yard run by Liam Houck and a 30-yard touchdown scamper by Ward Udinski.
 
Next: Quakertown @ Central Bucks West (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Quakertown 28 – CB West 20
Prediction: Quakertown 38 – CB West 14
 
North Penn (8-0, 5-0) survived a stiff first period test from visiting Souderton (4-4, 4-1) and defeated the Big Red 27-6 in a battle for first place in the SOL Continental Conference standings. Craig Needhammer was the workhorse for the Knights with 120 yards rushing including a 46-yard TD bolt. Todd Smolinsky and Dominic Taggart also scored for NP, while placekicker Dylan Harris booted a pair of field goals for the winners.
 
Hatboro-Horsham (3-5, 2-3) had its hands full with visiting Central Bucks South (2-6, 2-3) in a 36-22 SOL Continental Conference loss. Matt Hollenbeck completed 9 passes for the Hatters that included scoring strikes to Nick Dovidio and Connor Posten. Hollenbeck passed for a game-high 190 yards.
 
Next: Hatboro-Horsham @ North Penn (Friday 7:30 pm)
Last Year: North Penn 41 – Hatboro-Horsham 13
Prediction: North Penn 42 – Hatboro-Horsham 14
 
Souderton (4-4, 4-1) still has postseason playoffs hopes, and the Big Red played better than the score indicated in a 27-6 SOL Continental Conference loss to North Penn (8-0, 5-0). Derek Brown rushed for a game-high 127 yards on 30 carries and scored the lone Indian touchdown on a 9-yard pass reception from Connor Brokenshire.
 
Central Bucks East (2-6, 2-3) had a difficult time in stopping the Quakertown passing offense in a 34-14 SOL Continental Conference setback to the Panthers (6-2, 2-2). Justyn White once again proved he was one of the premier backs in the conference as he rushed for 175 yards and scored a touchdown. Rob Schwartz also scored for the Patriots.
 
Next: Central Bucks East @ Souderton (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Souderton 35 – CB East 34
Prediction: Souderton 28 – CB East 14
 
SOL American Conference
 
Plymouth Whitemarsh (2-6, 2-2) remained in the scramble for a SOL American Conference title with a 20-18 victory over visiting Upper Merion (3-5, 2-3).
 
“I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that the winner of this conference has two losses,” said Plymouth Whitemarsh head coach John Staudenmayer. “There could be as many as three teams with two losses, and right now if we win out we could be one of those teams.
 
“Of course, that would mean that Upper Moreland (4-3, 2-2) would have to beat Norristown (7-1, 3-1) on the last week of the regular season,” added Staudenmayer. “But with (Chris) Smallwood back, that could happen.”
 
PW came up with its second conference win over Upper Merion behind a two touchdown performance from running back Terrell Steele on runs of two and six yards. Quarterback David O’Neill threw a 2-yard TD pass to Wakeen Blythe.
 
The Colonials will attempt to win its second consecutive conference game this week against Wissahickon (3-5, 0-5).
 
“(Wissahickon quarterack) Brandon Gunn is their biggest offensive weapon,” said Staudenmayer. “We will focus on stopping him, and hopefully we can keep winning games.”
 
Wissahickon (3-5, 0-5) held a 15-13 lead over Norristown (7-1, 3-1) in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans failed to hold that advantage in a 20-15 SOL American Conference loss to the Eagles. Brandon Gunn threw a pair of TD pass for Wissy – one of 67-yards to Anthony Legail and the other a 6-yard strike to Ryan McDonough.
 
Next: Plymouth Whitemarsh @ Wissahickon (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Wissahickon 10 – Plymouth Whitemarsh 6
Prediction: Wissahickon 21 – Plymouth Whitemarsh 14
 
Cheltenham (3-5, 2-2) put the SOL American Conference standings into confusion with a 32-28 victory over Upper Dublin (3-4, 3-1). The Panthers had another stunning performance turned in by Damin Finley who rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Finley scored on runs of 22, 43, 25, & 5 yards.
 
Upper Moreland (4-3, 2-2) did not play last week. The Golden Bears should have standout running back Chris Smallwood close to 100 percent as they make their stretch run in conference play.
 
Next: Upper Moreland @ Cheltenham (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Moreland 21 – Cheltenham 14
Prediction: Cheltenham 28 – Upper Moreland 27
 
Upper Merion (3-5, 2-3) lost a heart breaker to Plymouth Whitemarsh (2-6, 2-2) as the Vikings were clipped by the Colonials in an SOL American Conference game, 20-18. Upper Merion running back Naim Cheeseboro rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns, while James Brennan added 115 yards.
 
Upper Dublin (3-4, 3-1) lost its first SOL American Conference game of the season as the Flying Cardinals were defeated by visiting Cheltenham (3-5, 2-2), 32-28. Evan Saltzman returned a punt 53 yards for a score, while Andrew Derr threw an 11-yard TD pass to Anthony Williams. Williams rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
 
Next: Upper Dublin @ Upper Merion (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Dublin 42 – Upper Merion 35
Prediction: Upper Merion 34 – Upper Dublin 28
 
Norristown (7-1, 4-1) needed a fourth period rally to defeat visiting Wissahickon (3-5, 0-4), 20-15, in a key SOL American Conference game for the Eagles. Sheldon Mayer scored on a 32-yard touchdown run and on a 33-yard pass from brother Shannon Mayer. The game winning score came on a 16-yard run by Anthony Robey.
 
Next: Norristown @ Chester (3-5) – Friday 7 pm
Last Year: Did Not Play
Prediction: Norristown 35 – Chester 20
 
SOS.Com Super Seven
 
1. North Penn Knights (8-0, 5-0)
2. Pennsbury Falcons (8-0, 5-0)
3. Neshaminy Redskins (7-1, 4-1)
4. Council Rock South Golden Hawks (6-2, 3-2)
5. Council Rock North Indians (5-3, 3-2)
6. Norristown Eagles (7-1, 4-1)
7. Abington Galloping Ghosts (5-2, 3-2)