Football Fever: Week 11

By Scott Huff

Playoffs – you’re talking about playoffs!” – Jim Mora.
Yep – PIAA District One Football Playoffs.
As the Suburban One League football regular season races to a close this week, there are teams that are ‘in’, teams that are ‘out’, and teams that are ‘on the bubble.’
One of those teams that are on the proverbial bubble is the Souderton Indians. The Big Red (5-4, 4-4) began the season with a 0-3 record, but the Indians have been one of the best teams in the SOL Continental Conference since.
“If it (making the playoffs) doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” said Souderton head coach Ed Gallagher. “We are still going to do all that we can to beat Quakertown (7-2 overall) this week and finish with the second best record in the conference.”
The most likely way for Souderton to get into the playoffs, the following would have to happen. The Big Red must beat Quakertown at home this Friday – and the following three teams must lose.
Glen Mills (6-3) would have to be beaten by Interboro (9-0). 
Perkiomen Valley (6-3) would have to be beaten by Owen J Roberts (8-1).
Council Rock North (6-3) would have to be beaten by Council Rock South (7-2).
A tall order to be sure, but not at all out of the realm of possibility.
“I think that maybe the system we have in now is a little unfair,” said Gallagher. “You are only rewarded for teams that you beat and for the wins that those teams have gotten over the course of the season.
“We played a nonleague schedule that included Neshaminy (8-1), Downingtown East (7-2), and Roman Catholic (4-5),” added Gallagher. “Those are three pretty darn good teams. Strength of schedule should somehow figure into that point formula.”
“I agree that the system is not perfect,” said Abington head coach Tim Sorber – whose Ghosts (6-2) finish the regular season against Truman (2-7) this week and are guaranteed a spot in the District One Playoffs. “But we have to remember, this is high school football and not the BCS.
“In 2006 we were the # 16 seed and we beat the # 1 seed (Council Rock North),” added Sorber. “In 2007 we were 7-5 and we didn’t make the playoffs.
“Sometimes teams maybe deserve to be in the playoffs, but they won’t because they play in very good leagues,” continued Sorber. “But you still have your chance to win those games during the regular season.”
The points will be tabulated after next weekend. The results are final.
Suburban One National Conference
Neshaminy (8-1, 5-1) will square off with host Pennsbury (8-1, 5-1) for the Sol National Conference championship on Falcon Field.
“Historically, Neshaminy gets better and better as the season goes on,” said Abington head coach Tim Sorber who’s Ghosts handed Neshaminy its only loss of the season – 28-24. “Mark Schmidt does a great job of making adjustments as the season goes on, and his players are always better at the end of the season.
“Pennsbury has a great group of talented and athletic players,” added Sorber who’s Ghosts handed Pennsbury its only loss of the season – 27-13 a week ago. “Everyone knows about how well they play on offense, but they also have an excellent defense.”
The Tim Sorber Football Forecast is 24-21 in favor of ?????????????????????
“I’m not saying who will win,” said Sorber. “I might have to play one of those teams in the playoffs.”
Neshaminy goes into the Pennsbury showdown on the heels of a 34-7 rout of Bensalem (2-7, 1-5). Each of the rotating Skin quarterbacks – Brian Titus and Charlie Marterella –threw for a touchdown. Rick Brebner caught five passes for 80 yards and a TD, while Bryan Dean raced for 135 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Pennsbury goes into the Neshaminy showdown on the heels of a stunning 27-13 loss to Abington (6-2, 4-2). Eric Williams scored on an 82-yard pass interception, while Dante Devine scored on a 43-yard run that gave the Falcons an early 13-0 lead. Devine finished the game with a game-high 117 yards.
Next: Neshaminy @ Pennsbury (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Neshaminy 16 – Pennsbury 13
Prediction: Neshaminy 23 – Pennsbury 20
Council Rock North (6-3, 4-2) prepped for its showdown with Council Rock South with a resounding 40-0 SOL National Conference victory over Truman (2-7, 1-5). Quarterback Tyler Hamilton completed eight passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns – two to Ty Bostain. Brandon Cottom rushed for a game-high 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Council Rock South (7-2, 4-2) prepped for its showdown with rival Council Rock North with a resounding 33-6 SOL National Conference victory over William Tennent (1-8, 0-6). The Golden Hawks
flew to 470 yards of total offense in the win. QB Billy Fleming scored three touchdowns, while running back Greg Welch raced for 100 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. Braxton Ambrose rushed for a game-high 130 yards.
Next: Council Rock South @ Council Rock North (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Council Rock North 20 – Council Rock South 18.
Prediction: Council Rock North 24 – Council Rock South 21
Abington (6-2, 4-2) rocked the SOL National Conference with a 27-13 victory over previously unbeaten Pennsbury (8-1, 5-1). The TD-connection of Sam Kind to Anthony Hensley hooked up for three scores, while running back Julien Ireland rushed for a score. Kind fired for a game-high 196 yards, while Ireland rushed for a team-high 105 yards on 24 carries.
Harry S Truman (2-7, 1-5) fell victim to the ‘mercy-rule’ in its 40-0 Suburban One League National Conference loss to Council Rock North (6-3, 4-2). The Tigers were tamed on offense as they managed a meager 70 yards of total offense and just three first downs.
Next: Abington @ Harry S Truman (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Abington 40 – Truman 16
Prediction: Abington 49 – Truman 13
Bensalem (2-7, 1-5) led powerful Neshaminy (8-1, 5-1) in the first period 7-6 on a 2-yard scoring pass from Tim Farlow to Joe Dowling. That was the good news. The bad news was that the Redskins scored 28 unanswered points and shot down the Owls, 34-7.
William Tennent (1-8, 0-6) scored its lone touchdown in the second half in a 33-6 SOL National Conference loss to Council Rock South (7-2, 4-2). Matt Pirolli – who rushed for a team-high 94 yards – hit pay dirt on a 30-yard touchdown run.
Next: William Tennent @ Bensalem (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Bensalem 42 – William Tennent 13
Prediction: Bensalem 28 – William Tennent 14
SOL Continental Conference
Souderton (5-4, 5-1) has its sights set on second place in the SOL Continental Conference and a possible PIAA District One playoff berth. And the Indians took care of business last week with a 35-7 conference win over Central Bucks East (2-7, 2-4).
“The players are confident that we can play with anyone in the district,” said Souderton head coach Ed Gallagher as his Big Red prepare for a huge game this week with rival Quakertown (7-2, 4-2). “We got off to that bad start, but we have been playing good football since then.
“Things are going to have to fall our way for us to get into the district playoffs,” added Gallagher. “If we don’t get in, we will get ready to play Upper Dublin the last week of the season.”
The must win this week against Quakertown follows a must victory over Central Bucks East. And the Big Red took all the suspense out of the outcome with the ‘mercy-rule’ win.
Derek Brown – who missed the first four games of the season – was once again the scoring machine for Souderton. Brown – who rushed for a team-high 95 yards – scored on runs of two and one yards. Chris Kelly scored on a 35-yard dash, while Andrew Coyle scored on a 5-yard run.
The Souderton passing game was very efficient as Connor Brokenshire completed 5 of 6 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Brokenshire fired a 30-yard TD pass to Brown.
“We need help to get into the playoffs,” said Gallagher. “But none of that will matter if we don’t beat Quakertown.”
Quakertown (7-2, 3-2) will make the trip to Souderton (Franconia) after defeating Central Bucks West (1-8, 0-6) in a SOL Continental Conference game, 28-18. The Panthers scored four rushing touchdowns – two by Tony Latronica (2 and 37 yards), and one each by Tyler Burke (53 yards) and Joe Able (27 yards). Q-town led just 14-10 going into the final period.
Next: Quakertown @ Souderton (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Quakertown 27 – Souderton 25
Prediction: Souderton 31 – Quakertown 28
North Penn (9-0, 6-0) continued its unbeaten season with a punishing 35-0 SOL Continental Conference victory over Hatboro-Horsham (3-6, 2-4). The Knights generated 360 yards of total offense in the win. Craig Needhammer scored two rushing touchdowns and caught a TD pass from Todd Smolinsky. Smolinsky also threw a scoring strike to tight end Ralphie Reeves.
Pennridge (4-5, 2-3) continued its roller coaster season with a 42-32 SOL Continental Conference loss to Central Bucks South (3-6, 3-3). Ram quarterback Kyle Peters threw three touchdown passes – two to Drew Smith and one to Ryan Metzler. Jesse Knepp also scored on a 5-yard run.
Next: North Penn @ Pennridge (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: North Penn 42 – Pennridge 21
Prediction: North Penn 49 – Pennridge 20
Central Bucks South (3-6, 3-3) evened its SOL Continental Conference slate with a 42-32 victory over Pennridge. The Titans led 35-6 in the first half of this game to coast to the win. South had four rushing touchdowns – Bobby DiPasquale, Theo Davis, Dan Brown, and Jon Eisemann. The Titans also scored on a 29-yard TD pass from Matt Johns to Josh Williams and on an interception return for a score by Eisemann.
Central Bucks East (2-7, 2-4) had a tough time generating offense in its 35-7 SOL Continental Conference loss to Souderton (5-4, 5-1). The Patriots were limited to just 150 yards of total offense and eight first downs. Justyn White scored the lone East TD on a 2-yard run and rushed for a team-high 53 yards.
Next: Central Bucks South @ Central Bucks East (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: CB South 14 – CB East 6
Prediction: CB South 35 – CB East 14
Hatboro-Horsham (3-6, 2-4) has fallen on hard times recently with four successive SOL Continental Conference losses to Souderton, Pennridge, CB South, and now North Penn. The Hatters were ‘mercy-ruled’ by the powerful Knights (9-0, 6-0), 35-0. Darryl Neville led the team in rushing and pass receiving and garnered 100 of his team’s 180 yards of total offense.
Central Bucks West (1-8, 0-6) is still in search of its first conference win, and the Bucks played well in a 28-18 loss to Quakertown (7-2, 3-2). West trailed the favored Panthers by just 14-10 going into the fourth period. The TD makers for the Bucks were Liam Houck on a 1-yard run and Jarrett Shugars on a 5-yard pass from Ward Udinski. Connor Edward kicked a 16-yard field goal for the Bucks.
Next: Central Bucks West @ Hatboro-Horsham
Last Year: CB West 33 – Hatboro-Horsham 31
Prediction: Hatboro-Horsham 21 – CB West 20
SOL American Conference
Wissahickon (4-5, 1-4) captured its first SOL American Conference game with a 15-9 victory over Plymouth Whitemarsh (2-7, 2-3).
“We haven’t been able to finish games for most of the season,” said Wissahickon head coach John DeSimone. “There were games against Upper Moreland, Cheltenham, and Norristown that we could have won if we were able to play well in the fourth quarter.
“There is a lot of parity in this league,” added DeSimone. “There isn’t much of a difference between the teams at the top of the standings and the teams at the bottom.”
Wissahickon will have its hands in determining the conference title when the Trojans host first place Upper Dublin (4-4, 4-1) this week. The Flying Cardinals are tied with Norristown (8-1, 4-1) at the top of the conference standings.
“This game always means something because of the rivalry,” said DeSimone. “But the last few years it has also had playoff or championship implications. There always seems to be something on the line.”
Wissahickon will enter the game coming off a win over PW. And once again, the Trojan offense was led by senior quarterback Brandon Gunn who scored a TD and a 2-point conversion. Jaron Parham saved the game for Wissy with a late interception.
“Brandon is quite a talent,” said DeSimone. “Throwing the ball – running the ball – showing leadership. He does a lot for us.
“The season has been hard on him,” added DeSimone. “He is excited to end his career with a win over Upper Dublin.”
Upper Dublin (4-4, 4-1) rallied in the fourth period to hold off a determined Upper Merion (3-6, 2-4), 23-20, in a key SOL American Conference game. Flying Cardinals quarterback Andrew Derr threw a 29-yard TD pass to Jeff Buchanan, while Anthony Williams scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the final period.
Next: Upper Dublin @ Wissahickon (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Dublin 41 – Wissahickon 28
Prediction: Wissahickon 28 – Upper Dublin 21
Norristown (8-1, 4-1) had to rely on its defensive effort to register a 7-2 win over Chester (3-6) in a nonleague game played last week. The lone Eagle score came on a 60-yard pass interception by Anthony Robey in the second half. Norristown trailed 2-0 at intermission.
Upper Moreland (5-3, 3-2) has its outstanding running back Chris Smallwood running at full strength as the Golden Bears roared past Cheltenham, 28-22. Smallwood raced for 280 yards on 32 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 2, 60, and 3 yards. UM scored its final touchdown on a 99-yard drive in the final period.
Next: Norristown @ Upper Moreland
Last Year: Upper Moreland 34 – Norristown 0
Prediction: Norristown 28 – Upper Moreland 24
Cheltenham (3-6, 2-3) scored 22 points in the second period to take a lead over Upper Moreland (5-3, 3-2) in a SOL American Conference game. However, the Panthers were shut out in the second half and suffered a 28-22 setback to the Bears. Damin Finley rushed for 114 yards on 30 carries and also threw a TD pass. Panther QB Kenneth Cropper threw for a pair of scores for CHS.
Plymouth Whitemarsh (2-7, 2-3) had its long shot hopes for a share of the conference title disappear with a 15-9 loss to Wissahickon (4-5, 1-4). David O’Neill threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to John Michael Staudenmayer, while Terrell Steele rushed for a game-high 100 yards. The Colonials led twice in the game – 6-0 and 9-7 – but Wissahickon led at the final gun.
Next: Cheltenham @ Plymouth Whitemarsh (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Cheltenham 35 – PW 14
Prediction: Cheltenham 28 – PW 17
Upper Merion (3-6, 2-4) lost a tough 23-20 verdict to Upper Dublin (4-4, 4-1) in a SOL American Conference game last week. Naim Cheeseboro rushed for a staggering 200 yards on 25 carries and scored on a 43-yard run. The Vikings led 20-16 going into the fourth period.
Next: Upper Merion @ Kennedy Kenrick (1-7) on (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Did Not Play
Prediction: Upper Merion 35 – Kennedy Kenrick 6 Super Seven
1. North Penn Knights (9-0, 6-0)
2. Neshaminy Redskins (8-1, 5-1)
2. + Pennsbury Falcons (8-1, 5-1)
4. Abington Ghosts (6-2, 4-2)
4. + Council Rock South Golden Hawks (7-2, 4-2)
4. + Council Rock North Indians (6-3, 4-2)
7. Norristown Eagles (8-1, 4-1)