By Scott Huff
Souderton, Upper Dublin, and Plymouth-Whitemarsh were bloodied by a punishing non-league schedule, but this trio of teams has risen off the proverbial canvas and is currently unbeaten in their respective SOL conference standings.
“We were blown out three times, and it was tough for me to convince people that we were really a good football team,” said Souderton head coach Ed Gallagher as the Big Red were outscored 121-20 in those losses to Neshaminy (35-6), Downingtown East (29-7), and Roman Catholic (27-7). “But I knew that once we got some people back, and once we got into out conference schedule, we had some winnable games.”
And he was right as Souderton (2-3, 2-0) defeated both Central Bucks West and Pennridge in SOL Continental Conference play. The Big Red is tied for first place with both Hatboro-Horsham and North Penn in the conference standings.
“We talked about what we had to do after the loss to Truman,” said Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover as his Flying Cardinals were grounded in successive non-league losses to Perkiomen Valley (21-14), Upper Perkiomen (34-0), and Truman (12-6). “We told the players that we were going to be competitive in our conference.”
And he was right as Upper Dublin (2-3, 2-0) opened the SOL American Conference with victories over both Upper Moreland and Norristown. The Cardinals are tied with Upper Merion for first place in the conference standings at 2-0.
“Nobody can tell me that we don’t play the best non-league schedule around,” said Plymouth Whitemarsh head coach John Staudenmayer as his Colonials were battered by La Salle (56-0), Abington (38-0), Pennridge (42-6) and Quakertown (27-14). “But that schedule will get us ready for our league play.”
And he was right as Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-4, 1-0) opened its SOL American Conference schedule with a 19-7 victory over Upper Moreland. The Colonials are ½ game behind both Upper Dublin and Upper Merion in the conference standings.
SOL Continental Conference
Souderton (2-3, 2-0) dominated host Pennridge from the opening whistle as the Big Red spanked the rival Rams (2-3, 0-1), 27-7.
The Indians welcomed back a pair of dominating players in seniors Derek Brown and Andrew Coyle. Both Brown and Coyle missed most of last season due to injury, and both have missed time this season for various reasons.
“Both Derek and Andrew bring a sense of confidence to this team,” said Souderton head coach Ed Gallagher. “Sure they help us on offense (both are running backs), but where we missed them the most was on defense.
“Derek makes a ton of plays as a strong safety, and Andrew is a wonderful cornerback,” added Gallagher. “These are the kids that were on the field last season making plays when we beat Neshaminy and Downingtown East. It’s great to have them back.”
Souderton scored all 27 of its points in the first half against Pennridge. Coyle scored three touchdowns – one on a 1-yard run – one on an 8-yard run – and one on a fumble return of 35 yards. Brown – who rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries – scored on a 1-yard run.
“Connor Brokenshire is a very good quarterback, especially when we have an early lead,” said Gallagher of his QB that completed 7 of 10 passes for 130 yards. “We were down in those non-league games, and we were forced to do some things to get back into the game.
“We play Hatboro-Horsham this week and they have a very fast team that flies to the ball,” added Gallagher of the Hatters that enter the game with an identical 2-0 SOL Continental Conference record. “They have some excellent players on defense.”
Hatboro-Horsham (3-2, 2-0) coupled its excellent defense with an offense that generated 26 points in a huge conference win over host Quakertown (4-1, 0-1) last week. Darryl Neville rushed for 175 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 2 and 10 yards. Quarterback Matt Hollenbeck threw a 66-yard TD pass to Ryan Mullen and also scored on a 2-yard run. Casey Saverio intercepted a Panther pass with 8 seconds left in the game to seal the win.
Next: Hatboro-Horsham @ Souderton (Saturday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Hatboro-Horsham 32 – Souderton 0
Prediction: Souderton 17 – Hatboro-Horsham 14
North Penn (5-0, 2-0) had little difficulty in defeating visiting Central Bucks East (0-5, 0-2) by a 41-0 score at Crawford Stadium. The Knights had a pair of 100-yard performances to spark the win. Quarterback Todd Smolinsky was 4-for-5 for an even 100 yards passing that included a 19-yard TD pass to TJ Gill. Craig Needhammer rushed for an even 100 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 15-yard run. The Knights returned running back Ryan Hessenius who rushed for an additional 65 yards and scored a touchdown.
Central Bucks West (1-4, 0-2) was held to just 30 yards rushing in a 17-7 loss to crosstown rival Central Bucks South (1-4, 1-1). The West passing game, though, clicked as quarterback Ward Udinski completed 13 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown to Rick Reynolds. Udinski – a junior – completed nine passes to sophomore Jake Poeski for 95 yards.
Next: Central Bucks West @ North Penn (Friday – 7:30 pm)
Last Year: North Penn 49 – Central Bucks West 0
Prediction: North Penn 42 – CB West 6
Pennridge (2-3, 0-1) continued to ride its roller coaster season – this time on the downward swing as the Rams suffered a 27-7 loss to neighborhood rival Souderton. The PHS defense surrendered 27 first-half points to the Big Red, but recorded a second half shutout. The offense, though, could only muster 8 first downs. The lone scoring play was a 56-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Peters to Ian Walbridge. Peters completed seven passes for 115 yards.
Central Bucks East (0-5, 0-2) is still in search of its first win of the season. The Patriots were whitewashed last week by powerful North Penn, 41-0. Justyn White was once again the statistical leader for Central Bucks East with 70 rushing yards on 12 carries. He left the game late with cramps but should be ready to go this week.
Next: Pennridge @ Central Bucks East (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Central Bucks East 45 – Pennridge 35
Prediction: Pennridge 21 – Central Bucks East 13
Central Bucks South (1-4, 1-1) won its first game of the season as the Titans defeated host Central Bucks West, 17-7. South placekicker Josh Williams gave the Titans a 3-0 halftime lead with a 37-yard field goal. CBS scored second half touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Jon Eisemann and a 37-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Matt Johns to sophomore Dan Brown.
Quakertown (4-1, 0-1) lost its first game of the season as the Panthers were defeated by visiting Hatboro-Horsham, 26-21. Kurtis Roberts – playing in place of injured QB Ryan Tincknell – scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards. Tyler Burke also scored on a 2-yard run, while Tony Latronica led the team in rushing with 70 yards on 15 carries.
Next: Quakertown @ Central Bucks South (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Quakertown 29 – Central Bucks South 27
Prediction: Central Bucks South 24 – Quakertown 21
SOL American Conference
Upper Dublin (2-3, 2-0) lost one SOL American Conference game last season – to Norristown. The Flying Cardinals avenged that loss this season with a thrilling 18-15 victory over the previously unbeaten Eagles.
“We remembered that game – so I guess you could call in a payback game,” said Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover. “We made plays when we had to on both offense and defense. It was a great win for us.
“(Defensive Coordinator) Dan Pring had a nice defensive package to try and shut down Sheldon Mayer,” added Stover in reference to the electrifying Norristown running back. “And he really didn’t hurt us too much.”
Mayer was held to 55 yards and a single touchdown.
“Frank Yurick (D-tackle), Bill Kim (linebacker), Anthony Williams (D-end), and Kaleel Nash (corner) all had great games on defense,” said Stover. “Nash had three interceptions that kept them from scoring.
“And Casey Boyd made that clutch kick at the end of the game,” added Stover of the 42-yard field goal that came with just 28 seconds left in the game. “Casey is a full-time football player this year as our kicker, linebacker and receiver. I had confidence that he could make that kick.”
Upper Dublin has the week off with a bye.
“I would much rather have a game this week,” said Stover as the Cardinals will prep for Plymouth Whitemarsh in two weeks. “But we have some kids banged up, and they should be back in time for our stretch run.”
Upper Merion (3-2, 2-0) won its second straight SOL American Conference game with a 20-14 win over Cheltenham. Running back James Brennan scored on a pair of five-yard runs, while Naim Cheeseboro scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth period on an 18-yard dash to the end zone.
Upper Moreland (2-3, 0-2) lost its second straight SOL American Conference game with a 19-7 loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh. Chris Smallwood played in the second half and rushed for 45 yards. Matt Sawick passed for 194 yards and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to James Norton.
Next: Upper Merion @ Upper Moreland (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Moreland 35 – Upper Merion 14
Prediction: Upper Moreland 20 – Upper Merion 14
Norristown (4-1, 1-1) will attempt to bounce back from its first loss of the season as the Eagles lost to Upper Dublin, 18-15. The tough-luck Eagles had a pair of touchdowns called back and missed a field goal with seconds remaining that would have sent the game into overtime. Sheldon Mayer scored on a 7-yard run for N-town, while younger brother Shannon scored on a 1-yard run.
Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-4, 1-0) broke into the victory column with a nice 19-7 win over Upper Moreland in its SOL American Conference opener. The Colonials held Golden Bear running back Chris Smallwood in check with 45 yards. Smallwood played exclusively in the second half. Terrell Steele was the offensive standout for PW in the UM win with 144 yards on 18 carries and a pair of long distance touchdowns from 43 and 34 yards out. Phil Bucci also scored on an 8-yard run.
Next: Plymouth Whitemarsh @ Norristown (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Norristown 41 – Plymouth Whitemarsh 13
Prediction: Norristown 28 – Plymouth Whitmarsh 14
Wissahickon (3-2, 0-1) had an offensive explosion in its 42-14 non-league win over Episcopal Academy last week. The Trojans exploded for 450 yards of total offense in the win. Brandon Gunn rushed for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also threw a TD pass. Myron Ross scored three rushing touchdowns on runs of 23, 52, and 10 yards.
Cheltenham (1-4, 0-2) lost its game in the final period as the Panthers dropped a 20-14 decision to Upper Merion. The Panthers scored on a pair of TD passes – one a 35-yard aerial from Kenneth Cropper to Dan Rouse – and another – an 8-yard pass from Basil Williams to Damond Finley.
Next: Wissahickon @ Cheltenham (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Cheltenham 24 – Wissahickon 21
Prediction: Wissahickon 28 – Cheltenham 13
SOL National Conference
Pennsbury (5-0, 2-0) had to contend with both the weather and the Council Rock North Indians in a key 26-6 Suburban One National Conference victory. The game was held up for nearly an hour due to a lightening storm.
“We just tried to keep the kids relaxed and focused,” said Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder. “Relaxed in the locker room, but then we pumped them up again once we went back on the field. It was an important game for us.”
The offensive force for the Falcons was Dante Devine. Devine scored all four touchdowns for the Birds including rushing scores of one, one, and nine yards. Devine also scored the first touchdown on an 82-yard kickoff return.
“Dante set the tone of the game with that kickoff run,” said Snyder. “He has played extremely well all season.”
Pennsbury, along with Abington and Neshaiminy, has been considered the class of the conference the last few seasons. The Falcons may face a test when they travel to Truman to meet the new-and-improved Tigers.
“Truman is a neighboring district and we always have no trouble getting ready to play them,” said Snyder who coached at Truman for four seasons before coming to Pennsbury for the last eight seasons. “Truman has some tough kids.”
Truman (1-4, 0-2) played hard in a 28-8 loss to Neshaminy last week. The Tigers were led on the offensive side of the football by Lionel Chapman. Chapman – who led HST in rushing with 80 yards on 17 carries – scored the only Tiger touchdown on a 17-yard run with 47 seconds left in the game.
Next: Pennsbury @ Harry S Truman (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Pennsbury 40 – Truman 0
Prediction: Pennsbury 35 – Truman 6
Abington (4-0, 2-0) came off its bye week with a 35-0 SOL National Conference win over William Tennent. Junior running back Julien Ireland rushed for 180 yards on 24 carries and scored on TD runs of 5, 12, and 6 yards. Jim Shelinsky also scored a rushing TD for the Ghosts. Sam Kind completed 12 passes for 145 yards that included a TD pass to Brandon Peoples.
Council Rock South (4-1, 1-1) rebounded from its loss to Pennsbury with a convincing 35-10 SOL National victory over Bensalem. Greg Welsh scored a pair of rushing touchdowns of 17 and 7 yards and also scored on a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bill Fleming. Fleming also scored on a one yard run.
Next: Council Rock South @ Abington (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Abington 42 – Council Rock South 21
Prediction: Abington 31 – Council Rock South 21
Neshaminy (4-1, 1-1) rebounded from its loss to Abington with a comfortable 28-8 victory over Truman. Bryan Dean rushed for 160 yards on 19 carries and scored on runs of 33 and 74 yards. The quarterback tandem of Brian Titus and Charlie Marterella each threw a TD pass – Titus to Shane Quinn for 10 yards and Marterella to Dean for 28 yards.
William Tennent (1-4, 0-2) struggled offensively in its 35-0 loss to Abington last week. The Panthers managed just seven first downs in the setback. Tyler Hamlet rushed for 53 yards, while Matt Pirolli added 35 yards on six carries. Starting quarterback Pat Traczykiewicz will be lost of the year with a shoulder injury.
Next: Neshaminy @ William Tennent (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Neshaminy 41 – William Tennent 0
Prediction: Neshaminy 45 – William Tennent 6
Council Rock North (3-2, 1-1) had a difficult time competing with powerful Pennsbury last week and lost 26-6. The talented Indian offense was not firing on all cylinders as Rock North had four turnovers and scored just a single touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Tyler Hamilton to Ty Bostain. Hamilton finished with 100 yards passing on 13 completions.
Bensalem (2-3, 1-1) had a difficult time competing with Council Rock South last week and lost 35-10. Quarterback Tim Farlow completed 10 of 19 passes for 80 yards and also threw a touchdown pass. The Owls were coming off a 16-12 win over Truman the week before.
Next: Bensalem @ Council Rock North (Friday – 7 pm)
Last Year: Bensalem 30 – Council Rock North 15
Prediction: Council Rock North 20 – Bensalem 14
Suburban One Sports.Com Super Seven
1. North Penn Knights (5-0, 2-0)
2. Pennsbury Falcons (5-0, 2-0)
3. Abington Ghosts (4-0, 2-0)
4. Neshaminy Redskins (4-1, 1-1)
5. Council Rock South Hawks (4-1, 1-1)
6. Quakertown Panthers (4-1, 0-1)
7. Norristown Eagles (4-1, 1-1)