Football Fever: Week 8

By Scott Huff 

The greatest achievement is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall – Vince Lombardi
These words to live by could have been spoken by a trio of coaches in the Suburban One League after their respective teams suffered tough setbacks.
Norristown coach E.J. Smith had to motivate his Eagles (5-1, 2-1) after an unexpected 18-15 conference loss to Upper Dublin in an SOL American Conference contest.
Quakertown coach John Donnelly needed to inspire his Panthers (5-1, 1-1) after an unexpected 26-21 conference loss to Hatboro-Horsham in an SOL Continental Conference game.
Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt needed to pump up his Redskins (5-1, 2-1) after a tough 28-24 conference loss three weeks ago to Abington in an SOL National Conference game.
Last week all three teams gathered themselves for a stretch run at conference titles with important conference victories.
“We emphasized to the players that we have to be able to play through adversity,” said Smith as Norristown rebounded with a convincing 27-0 win over rival Plymouth Whitemarsh. “There is no such thing as a good loss, but it did give us a chance to refocus.”
“The loss to Hatboro-Horsham came about due to a lack of execution,” said Donnelly as Quakertown routed Central Bucks South 42-23 last week. “But when you lose, it is easier to get the players to pay attention to detail.”
“The loss gave us a chance to grow as a team,” said Schmidt as Neshaminy pounded William Tennent 35-7 last week. “We were a little sloppy in the win over Truman, but we played much better last week.”
All three teams are still in the title hunt as Norristown (2-1) trails Upper Dublin (2-0), Quakertown trails both North Penn (3-0) and Souderton (3-0), and Neshaminy (2-1) trails Pennsbury (3-0) in the conference standings.
“Every week is a big week in every conference of the Suburban One League, and you have to be ready to play every week,” insisted Smith. “The only off week is a week that has ‘bye’ written on your schedule.”
SOL American Conference
Norristown (5-1, 2-1) could not afford another conference loss, and the Eagles paid the price both offensively and defensively in a 27-0 SOL American Conference win over Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-5, 1-1).
“We worked hard on being disciplined this week,” said Norristown head coach E.J. Smith. “We also wanted to play better defensively and get to the ball.
“Our entire senior class has stepped up and given us leadership,” added Smith. “And I expect that to continue the remainder of the season.”
Norristown scored some long distance touchdowns against the rival Colonials.
Sheldon Mayer – the diminutive senior sensation – scored three touchdowns for the Eagles. The first score came on a 70-yard punt return, while the other two came on scoring runs of 55 and 50 yards. Mayer finished with 145 rushing yards.
The Eagle defense got into the scoring mix as well. Derrick Williams gathered up a Plymouth Whitemarsh fumble and rumbled 70 yards for a touchdown.
“Our goal is to get ready for a good Upper Merion team,” said Smith. “It is another rivalry game for us, and we have to remain disciplined if we want to win.”
Upper Merion (3-3, 2-1) suffered its first SOL American Conference loss with a 7-6 loss to Upper Moreland (3-3 1-2). The Vikings not only lost the game, but the services of standout running back Naim Cheeseboro who was ejected from the game and will not play against Norristown. James Brennan scored the only Upper Merion touchdown on a one-yard run, and an attempt for the two-point conversion failed to seal the deal.
Next: Norristown @ Upper Merion (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Merion 14 – Norristown 7
Prediction: Norristown 20 – Upper Merion 7
Upper Dublin (2-3, 2-0) did not play last week. The Flying Cardinals opened the season with three losses, but followed with conference wins over both Upper Moreland and Norristown.
Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-5, 1-1) won its conference opener two week ago with a victory over Upper Moreland, but the Colonials followed with a 27-0 conference loss lost week to Norristown (5-1, 2-1).
Next: Upper Dublin @ Plymouth Whitemarsh (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Dublin 19 – Plymouth Whitemarsh 0
Prediction: Upper Dublin 17 – Plymouth Whitemarsh 7
Upper Moreland (3-3, 1-2) won its first conference game of the season with a thrilling 7-6 win over Upper Merion (3-3, 2-1). Chris Smallwood returned to action full time and rushed for 88 yards on 20 carries. Smallwood also scored on a 42-yard TD run.
Wissahickon (3-3, 1-2) lost a 28-21 contest to conference rival Cheltenham (2-4, 1-2) last week. Trojan wide receiver Ryan McDonough scored on a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Brandon Gunn of 25 and 30 yards. Gunn also scored on a three-yard run.
Next: Upper Moreland @ Wissahickon (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Upper Moreland 40 – Wissahickon 14
Prediction: Upper Moreland 28 – Wissahickon 21
Cheltenham (2-4, 1-2) came up with its initial conference win of the season with a 28-21 victory over Wissahickon (3-3, 1-2). Damon Finley rambled for 290 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns for the Panthers. The win stopped a four-game CHS losing streak.
Next: Unionville (3-3) @ Cheltenham (Friday 7pm)
Last Year: Did Not Play
Prediction: Unionville 28 – Cheltenham 20
SOL Continental Conference
Quakertown (5-1, 2-1) celebrated the return of quarterback Ryan Tincknell with a blistering 42-23 SOL Continental Conference victory over Central Bucks South (1-5, 1-2).
“Central Bucks South’s record is not indicative of how good a football team they are,” said Quakertown coach John Donnelly. “And it was great to have Ryan back.”
Tincknell – who broke his non-throwing elbow – returned to the lineup a week or two earlier than expected.
“Ryan was ready – no pain at all,” said Donnelly. “He worked real hard and rehabbed himself, and he healed much faster than normal.”
Tincknell completed five passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns to highlight the passing game. The running game was highlighted by Tyler Burke – 140 yards and a score – and Tony Latronica – two TD runs and a 51-yard scoring pass from Tincknell.
“Right after the South game the players really got excited about playing North Penn this week,” said Donnelly. “This could be the biggest home game to ever be played in Quakertown.”
North Penn (6-0, 3-0) routed Central Bucks West (1-5, 0-3) to prepare for the Quakertown game, 49-7. The Knights led 35-0 at the half and featured its passing game in the win. Quarterback Todd Smolinsky completed six of seven passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Dom Taggart had three TD receptions, while Craig Needhammer also scored on a TD pass.
Next: North Penn @ Quakertown (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: North Penn 49 – Quakertown 13.
Prediction: North Penn 42 – Quakertown 14
Souderton (3-3, 3-0) remained unbeaten in conference play with a 32-14 win over Hatboro-Horsham (3-3, 2-1). Derek Brown rushed for four touchdowns in the win, while fellow running back Jon Holloway rushed for a game-high 110 yards. The Big Red defense limited the Hatters to no first downs in the first half.
Central Bucks South (1-5, 1-2) was outgunned by Quakertown (5-1, 2-1) last week, 42-23. Titan quarterback Tom Johns threw a pair of scoring passes – one to Jon Eisemann for 76 yards and one to Chris Eberz for 51 yards. Eisemann also had a rushing touchdown.
Next: Souderton @ Central Bucks South (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Souderton 27 – CB South 22
Prediction: Souderton 28 – CB South 14
Hatboro-Horsham (3-3, 2-1) lost its first conference game of the season when the Hatters were whipped by host Souderton (3-3, 3-0), 32-14. The two scoring plays for Hatboro-Horsham were a 31-yard scoring pass from Matt Hollenbeck to Zach Shaner, and a 63-yard scoring aerial from Hollenbeck to Shaner.
Pennridge (2-4, 0-2) was less than impressive in a 21-14 conference loss to Central Bucks East (1-5, 1-2). Ram quarterback Kyle Peters completed six passes for 110 yards that included a 16-yard TD pass to Chad Moyer. Ian Walbridge led the team in rushing and scored on a 43-yard run.
Next: Pennridge @ Hatboro-Horsham (Friday 7 pm)
Last Year: Pennridge 20 – Hatboro-Horsham 7
Prediction: Hatboro-Horsham 20 – Pennridge 14
Central Bucks East (1-5, 1-2) won its first game of the season with a stunning 21-14 conference win over Pennridge (2-4, 0-2). The Patriots received still another super performance from running back Justyn White who raced for 250 yards and a touchdown. Josh Bernard scored twice on runs on one yard – the game winner with 1:25 left in the game.
Central Bucks West (1-5, 0-3) could do little to stop the powerful North Penn Knights (6-0, 3-0) in a 49-7 loss. The game was played under the mercy rule at the close of the first half. Larry Winton scored the Buck touchdown on a five-yard run.
Next: Central Bucks West @ Central Bucks East (7 pm)
Last Year: Central Bucks East 29 – CB West 6
Prediction: CB East 21 – CB West 7
SOL National Conference
Neshaminy (5-1, 2-1) had little difficulty in stopping host William Tennent (1-5, 0-3) last week, 35-7.
“The team gave itself a grade for the first half of the season,” said Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt. “I won’t tell you what the grade was, but it wasn’t a grade they were happy with. I will tell you that I agreed with it.
“We have four very tough league games left on our schedule,” added Schmidt in reference to Council Rock South, CR North, Bensalem, and Pennsbury. “Those teams are all rivalries, and we have to be ready to play.”
Bryan Dean was spectacular in the win over Tennent. Dean raced for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns to highlight the win. The quarterback tandem of Brian Titus and Charlie Marterella each threw a TD strike – Titus to Rick Brebner ad Marterella to Frank Csaszer.
“Council Rock South is a very good football team,” said Schmidt as the Skins prepare for the Golden Hawks this week. “They have a lot of weapons, and they play smart football.”
Council Rock South (5-1, 2-1) played a spine-tingling contest with Abington (4-1, 2-1) last week and won a 41-38 overtime victory. Braxton Ambrose rushed for 93 yards, Keith Hickey scored a touchdown, QB Billy Fleming rushed for two scores, and RB Greg Welch raced for three scores – including the game winner in the OT.
Next: Neshaminy @ Council Rock South (7 pm)
Last Year: Neshaminy 20 – CR South 13
Prediction: Neshaminy 28 – CR South 21
Abington (4-1, 2-1) suffered its first loss of the season in agonizing fashion with a 41-38 overtime loss to Council Rock (5-1, 2-1). Quarterback Sam Kind threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns for the Ghosts, while Julien Ireland rushed for 102 yards and a score.
Council Rock North (4-2, 2-1) had a terrific game turned in by quarterback Tyler Hamilton in a 25-14 win over Bensalem (2-4, 1-2). Hamilton rushed for 135 yards and a score and also passed for 185 yards and a score. The Indians rolled up 440 yards of total offense.
Next: Council Rock North @ Abington (7 pm)
Last Year: Abington 49 – Rock North 24
Prediction: Abington 38 – Rock North 31
Pennsbury (6-0, 3-0) remained unbeaten with a resounding 41-0 victory over Truman (1-5, 0-3). The Falcons had six different players find the end zone against the Tigers including Dante Devine who rushed for 130 yards. Deshawn Robbins scored a defensive TD for Pennsbury with a 70-yard return of a fumble.
Bensalem (2-4, 1-2) received a fine offensive effort from quarterback Tim Farlow in a 25-14 loss to Council Rock North (4-2, 2-1). Farlow rushed for a team-high 110 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 5 and 14 yards.
Next: Pennsbury @ Bensalem (7 pm)
Last Year: Pennsbury 19 – Bensalem 7
Prediction: Pennsbury 27 – Bensalem 7
Truman (1-5, 0-3) will be in search of its first conference win this week against William Tennent. The Tigers enter the game on the heels of a 41-0 loss to Pennsbury (6-0, 3-0). Truman – despite the shutout – recorded 13 first downs and rushed for 200 yards.
William Tennent (1-5, 0-3) will be in search of its first conference win this week against Truman. The Panthers enter the game on the heels of a 35-7 loss to Neshaminy (5-1, 2-1). Tennent averted the shutout when Tyler Hamlet scored on a five-yard run in the third period.
Next:  William Tennent @ Truman (7 p.m.)
Last Year:  William Tennent 12, Truman 7
Prediction: Truman 14, William Tennent 6 Super Seven
1. North Penn Knights (6-0, 3-0)
2. Pennsbury Falcons (6-0, 3-0)
3. Council Rock South Hawks (5-1, 2-1)
4. Abington Ghosts (4-1, 2-1)
5. Neshaminy Redskins (5-1, 2-1)
6. Quakertown Panthers (5-1, 1-1)
7. Norristown Eagles (5-1, 2-1)