By Scott Huff
The Suburban One League National Conference will carry its banner high as the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA District One Football Playoffs continue this week.
The trio of conference teams that made the playoffs – Abington, Neshaminy, and Pennsbury – all came away with impressive first round victories. The Ghosts rallied to defeat Glen Mills (48-35), the Redskins defeated Downingtown East (24-6), and the Falcons routed Penncrest (45-14).
“The most important thing is to represent Abington High School,” said Abington coach Tim Sorber. “And then it is important that we represent the league, and the conference.
“I know that playing in the National Conference, playing the intense games in front of big crowds, has prepared us to play in big games,” continued Sorber. “And I’m not surprised that the three of us are still playing.”
“There in no question that there is a lot of league pride when we play in districts,” said Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt. “There is pride in the league, but once the games begin you simply don’t want to lose and go home.
“I’m very happy that three of the eight team left are from our conference,” continued Schmidt. “That proves that we play pretty good football.”
“We play good football in our league,” said Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder. “There are good teams outside our league, but we play some good football all year.”
North Penn – unbeaten champions of the SOL Continental Conference – also advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 35-7 win over Souderton. The Knights will host Abington this Friday.
Upper Moreland – in the Class AAA opening round playoff – bested Phoenixville, 26-20. The Golden Bears will host Owen J Roberts in a second round game.
The PIAA District One playoff season came to a close for a trio of SOL teams. Quakertown lost to Ridley (21-0), Pennridge lost to Garnet Valley (21-7), and Upper Dublin lost to Contestoga (26-15).
And even though both Q-town and Pennridge were jettisoned from the playoffs, the Panthers and the Rams will face each other on Thanksgiving morning.
This was the week that was …
PIAA District One Class AAAA
[#9] Abington (9-2) - 48 @[#8] Glen Mills (8-3)- 35
The Ghosts fell behind Glen Mills 28-7 early in the second period but rallied back to defeat the host Bulls.
Abington once again featured a terrific offensive attack to come up with the win. And the Ghosts featured the talents of a couple of underclassmen – junior quarterback Sam Kind and sophomore running back Julien Ireland.
Kind completed 15 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Dom Massey, Anthony Hensley, and Nate O’Hannon each caught TD passes.
Ireland carried the ball 22 times for 136 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns. He also ran a kickoff back 70 yards for a score.
Abington will travel to meet North Penn in its second round game.
[#1]North Penn (11-0) – 35 vs. [#16] Souderton (5-6)- 7
North Penn had a sensational outing by Ronnie Akins as the Knights outscored the Indians 28-0 in the second half.
Akins, who rushed the ball 13 times for 105 yards and caught three passes for 105 more yards, scored four touchdowns. Akins scored on runs of 12 and 53 yards and scored on pass plays of 54 and 43 yards.
Knight quarterback Justin Davey threw for 177 yards on just six completions – and the two scores to Akins.
Souderton battled North Penn to a 7-7 standoff in the first half. The lone Indian score of the night came when quarterback Denis Passarella threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Cody Muller. Justin Powell led the team in rushing with 60 yards.
North Penn will continue its quest for a PIAA District One title as the Knights host Abington. The season is over for Souderton.
[#3]Neshaminy (10-1)-24 vs. [#14]-Downingtown East (6-5) – 6
The Redskins took control of the game early and had little difficulty in defeating the visiting Cougars.
Neshaminy raced up and down the field at Heartbreak Ridge for 330 yards rushing. Quilan Arnold led with a game-high 155 yards, while Bryan Dean added 120 yards and Jay Colbert totaled 60 yards.
The scoring plays for the Skins included touchdown runs by both Dean and Colbert, and a four-yard TD pass by quarterback Brian Titus. Seth Jeffries added a field goal for the winners.
Neshaminy will host a second round game as the Redskins meet Ridley. Ridley was a 21-0 winner over host Quakertown in its first round game.
[#7] Pennsbury (9-2) – 45 vs. [#10] Penncrest (8-3) – 14
The Falcons had their offense in high gear from the opening kickoff. Pennsbury buried the Lions with a 421-yard total offensive blitz – 278 of those yards coming on the ground.
Falcon running back Richie Applegate was the featured runner during a driving rain. Applegate sailed to 148 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns. Applegate’s scoring runs were of three, 51, and six yards.
Pennsbury also put together a passing attack. Falcon quarterback Brandon Pepper threw a pair of scoring strikes to Dante Devine. The first score came from 11 yards out, while the second tally was a 15-yard scoring pass.
The Falcon defense also came up with a score. Davante Washington scored on a 45-yard pass interception.
Pennsbury will continue its playoff journey as the Falcons will travel to Garnet Valley to meet the unbeaten Jaguars. Garnet Valley defeated Pennridge, 21-7, to advance to the quarterfinal game.
[#12] Conestoga (8-3) 26 @ [# 5] Upper Dublin (8-2) 15
The catalyst of the Upper Dublin offense all season has been running back Josh Mastromatto. And if Conestoga wanted advance in the playoffs, the Pioneers would have to find a way to stop the Cardinal touchdown maker.
Conestoga did – in a way.
Mastromatto was held to just 30 yards on 7 carries, but it wasn’t the terrific play of the Pioneer defense that limited his effectiveness. Mastromatto left the game with an injury and did not return.
The Upper Dublin offense now featured the passing of Derek Gianetti (14 of 30 for 131 yards) and the running of Mark Visco. Visco scored both Cardinal touchdowns on runs of one and two yards.
Upper Dublin – which was 0-11 just four seasons ago – closed out its season. Conestoga will advance to a quarterfinal game against Downingtown West – a winner over Coatesville in a first round game.
[#11] Ridley (9-2) 21 @ [#6] Quakertown (8-3) 0
Ridley entered the game as the defending PIAA District One champion, and the Green Raiders will advance to a second round game with a shutout of the Panthers.
Ridley – which scored single touchdowns in the first, third, and fourth quarters – showcased the talents of quarterback Andrew Pidgeon. The senior QB threw for a pair of scores.
Quakertown was led in rushing by Tony Latronica with 79 yards on 18 carries. Quarterback Ryan Tincknell completed six passes for 88 yards.
Although the Panthers could move the football between the 20s, Q-town could never punch the ball into the end zone.
Ridley will advance to a quarterfinal game with Neshaminy this week, while Quakertown will meet Pennridge on Thanksgiving morning.
[#2] Garnet Valley (11-0) 21 vs. [#15] Pennridge (6-5) 7.
Pennridge was more than competitive in its game with highly ranked Garnet Valley.
The Jaguars – seeded #2 behind North Penn – led the Rams by just 14-7 after the third period. Garnet Valley reached the PIAA Class AAA state finals last season.
Pennridge was hurt by a pair of second half turnovers in its attempt to register the upset. The lone score for the Rams was a touchdown run by quarterback Brad Herrmann. Herrmann led the team in rushing with 88 yards on 26 carries.
Garnet Valley will advance to a quarterfinal game and will host Pennsbury, while Pennridge will travel to Quakertown on Turkey Day to meet the Panthers.
PIAA District One Class AAA
[#1] Upper Moreland (9-1) 26 vs. [#8] Phoenixville (7-4) 20
Upper Moreland needed a touchdown run by Chris Smallwood with 2:27 left in the game to secure the win over the Phantoms.
Smallwood ran the ball a staggering 34 times and recorded 186 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears also scored on a 70-yard TD pass from Mike Rosenbaum to Tom Knox.
The Golden Bears rolled up 410 yards of total offense but still needed late game heroics by Smallwood to register the win.
Upper Moreland will now advance to the quarterfinals against Owen J Roberts. OJR defeated Great Valley in double overtime to advance to the Upper Moreland meeting.
And in other action …
Norristown (5-5) needed overtime to defeat host Bensalem (4-7), 34-31.
Norristown quarterback James Ramsey scored the winning touchdown and also threw a scoring pass. Sheldon Mayer ran for 150 yards and a pair of scores for the Eagles.
Bensalem QB Ron Vogelei passed for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The scoring passes went to Khalil McMillan and Jerry Davis.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh (0-11) ended its season with a 39-20 loss to West Chester Henderson (7-4).
The Colonials led 7-0 early but could not sustain the lead. The scoring plays for PW were a 15-yard run by Damien Delaney – a 19-yard TD run by Kyle Crowder – and a 78-yard scoring pass from David O’Neill to Briant Lee.
Cheltenham (5-6) lost a 19-11 contest to Chester (7-3).
The Panthers led 3-0 going into the fourth period but allowed 19 unanswered points. The only touchdown of the game was scored by Mikhail Reed who scored on an 18-yard run.
Cheltenham would play Abington if the Ghosts were to be knocked out of the district playoffs by North Penn.
Football Fever Forecast (* Home Team)
*North Penn 42 Abington 28
Pennsbury 28 *Garnet Valley 21
*Neshaminy 27 Ridley 7
*Upper Moreland 35 Owen J Roberts 14
SuburbanOneSports.Com’s Top Ten
1. North Penn Knights (11-0)
2. Neshaminy Redskins (10-1)
3. Pennsbury Falcons (9-2)
4. Abington Ghosts (9-2)
5. Upper Moreland Bears (9-1)
6. Quakertown Panthers (8-3)
7. Upper Dublin Cardinals (8-2)
8. Pennridge Rams (6-5)
9. Souderton Indians (5-6)
10. Council Rock Hawks (6-4)