Scott Huff recaps all of last week’s football action and predicts this week’s winners.
By Scott Huff
Souderton head coach Ed Gallagher reached a personal milestone last week as the Big Red remained unbeaten in the 2020 season with a resounding 31-8 SOL Continental Conference victory over Council Rock North.
Gallagher – who began his head coaching stint at Souderton in 2003 – won his 100th game as chief of the Indians. Over his successful career at Souderton - Gallagher has a record of 100-86.
Last season the Big Red finished tied for second place in the SOL Continental Conference with a 4-2 record. Souderton concluded the season an 8-3 overall mark and was ousted in the first round of the PIAA District One playoffs by Coatesville, 49-18.
Souderton has a storied history of long-tenured coaches.
Legendary Big Red head coach Drew Darrah directed the Indians from 1964 to 1997 and amassed a magnificent record of 223-127-9.
Darrah was succeeded by Todd Van Horn for just five seasons – and Gallagher took over the reins from Van Horn after the Indians went 0-12 in 2002.
That’s it – three coaches at Souderton Area High School for over half a century!
Souderton has high hopes of claiming an outright SOL Continental Conference this season. The biggest challenge will be this week as the Big Red hosts perennial 5A power Upper Dublin (2-0) on Friday.
The Indians – who defeated Quakertown 28-23 in the conference opener – will then close this abbreviated 5-game SOL Continental Conference schedule against currently winless Hatboro-Horsham (0-2) and Bensalem (0-2).
Big Red fans are hopeful that Gallagher can collect career wins 101, 102, and 103 that will give the school a championship banner this memorable 2020 season.
How many championships did Souderton head coach Drew Darrah win during his tenure?
How about those Rams?
Pennridge moved into the discussion of the elite teams in all of District One with its impressive conference victories over Central Bucks West and Neshaminy to open the season..
The Rams were winless in the SOL Continental Conference in 2019, but Green & White have already claimed huge wins over in their new digs in the SOL National Conference.
In the convincing 35-14 win over the Bucks – Pennridge defeated a CBW program that went 10-2 last season and was the outright SOL Continental Conference champion a year ago.
But it was the shocking 30-0 victory over the Redskins last Friday – at Heartbreak Ridge, no less - that has generated huge excitement for Ram fans.
Neshaminy had just rocked SOL power North Penn 35-19 the week before, and the Redskins looked like the proverbial ‘team to beat’ in the SOL National Conference.
However, the path to a SOL National Conference title is still a perilous one for the Rams.
Still on the conference schedule is offensive powerhouse Central Bucks East (1-1) this week, high-scoring Central Bucks South (1-1) the following week, and unbeaten Abington (2-0) in the final conference contest.
Due to an unbalanced SOL National Conference schedule – Pennridge does not play either North Penn or Pennsbury during the ‘regular’ season.
Answer to Souderton Trivia
Drew Darrah won four league championships during his glorious career as Souderton head coach. The Big Red won titles in 1969, 1988, 1992 and 1993.
The two SOL schools that have decided not to play football in the fall of 2020 – Cheltenham & Harry S Truman – are hopeful to take part in a spring football season.
There are plans to play football in the spring of 2021 for those schools that have opted out of playing in the fall of 2020 – and that includes the Panthers and the Tigers.
The Del-Val League teams that would participate in this ‘spring football league’ would include Academy Park, Chester, Chichester, Interboro, and Penn Wood.
Add Norristown and Reading to that mix for a total of nine football programs.
Practices would begin on March 1, 2021 with games to begin on March 12, 2021 and conclude on April 16, 2021 – a six-week season.
And the beat goes on…
SOL National Conference
October 16, 2020
Abington Ghosts (2-0, 2-0) @ Neshaminy Redskins (1-1, 1-1)
Abington remained unbeaten with a come-from-behind 28-20 conference victory over Central Bucks West. Johnny Dzielawa fueled the offense with a 58-yard scoring run and two touchdown passes to Caleb Baker. Dzielawa completed 11 of 13 passes for 85 yards, while Baker caught five passes for 68 yards.
Neshaminy was stunned by Pennridge 30-0 in its conference loss. Aiden Schlupp completed 13 passes for 102 yards, while outstanding running back Chris James was held to 37 yards on 13 carries. Neshaminy trailed 16-0 at the half and could not mount a second half comeback.
Neshaminy 24 – Abington 21
Pennsbury Falcons (0-2, 0-2) @ Central Bucks South Titans (1-1, 1-1)
Pennsbury remained winless in the 2020 season as the Falcons were caged in a 44-20 conference loss to North Penn. Quarterback Patrick Kirk scored on a 20-yard run and also threw two touchdown passes to CJ Kohler. Pennsbury trailed the Knights 35-7 at the close of the first half.
Central Bucks South scored the final 34 points in a 41-21 come-from-behind conference victory over rival Central Bucks East. Carter Hallgren completed 11 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Zak Fischer caught three passes for 108 yards that included a 69-yard TD pass. Jason Christiansen had 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tommy Donnelly had an outstanding night as scored on a 73-yard interception return and on a 14-yard TD pass.
Central Bucks South 38 – Pennsbury 21
Central Bucks West Bucks (0-2, 0-2) @ North Penn Knights (1-1, 1-1)
Central Bucks West led Abington 13-0 after the first quarter and led 13-7 at the close of the first half. However, the Bucks were outscored 21-7 in the second half and remained winless for the season in a 28-20 conference loss to the Ghosts. Eli Boehm rushed for a game-high 134 yards and scored a TD, while Ganz Cooper and Donte Mancini also scored for West.
North Penn rebounded from its opening game 35-19 loss to Neshaminy and routed Pennsbury 44-20 in its conference victory. NP led the Falcons 35-7 at halftime. Khalani Eaton rushed for a game-high 249 yards and scored three touchdowns for the Knights. Levi Carroll scored on a 68-yard punt return, while Ethan Spann scored a rushing touchdown.
North Penn 38 – Central Bucks West 24
October 17, 2020
Pennridge Rams (2-0, 2-0) @ Central Bucks East Patriots (1-1, 1-1)
Pennridge stunned Neshaminy 30-0 to remain unbeaten in the conference. Fabian Padin returned the opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and also scored on a 12-yard pass from Bobby Croyle. Dillon Powles had two rushing touchdowns – one of 10 yards and the other of 26 yards. Brandon Shire booted a 37-yard field goal.
Central Bucks East led rival Central Bucks South 21-7 in the third period, but the Patriots were outscored 34-0 to close the game in a 41-21 conference loss. Anthony Giordano completed 22 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Will Silverman caught 11 passes for 119 yards and a score, while Quinn Moody caught a 50-yard touchdown pass.
Pennridge 28 – Central Bucks East 27
SOL Continental Conference
October 16, 2020
Upper Dublin Cardinals (2-0, 1-0) @ Souderton Indians (2-0, 2-0)
Upper Dublin opened its 2020 conference season with a 42-8 victory over Bensalem. Kyree Butler, John Kohlbrenner, Micah Bootman, Jake Rossman, and Alex Higgenbotham all found paydirt for the unbeaten Flying Cardinals. Butler’s score came on a recovered fumble in the endzone, while Bootman scored on a TD pass from Colin O’Sullivan.
Souderton remained unbeaten for the season with a 31-8 victory over Council Rock North. Brayden Porter fueled the offense, rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Jacob Horton also scored a rushing touchdown for the Big Red. Nick Haynes added to the scoring with a 36-yard field goal.
Souderton 28 – Upper Dublin 27
Hatboro-Horsham Hatters (0-2, 0-1) @ Quakertown Panthers (1-1, 1-1)
Hatboro-Horsham lost a gutwrenching 14-12 non-conference contest to Wissahickon. The Hatters trailed 7-0 but scored a pair of touchdowns to take a fourth quarter 12-7 lead. Markel Jackson scored on a 47-yard scamper, while Omar Ali scored on a 25-yard run. Hatboro-Horsham failed on both extra point attempts and failed to win the game as the Trojans scored late in the game.
Quakertown rebounded from its 28-23 conference loss to Souderton to rout Council Rock South 42-7. Will Steich had two rushing touchdowns and also fired two touchdown passes to spark the Panthers. Zach Fondl and Tyler Merwarth each caught TD passes for the Black Cats. Brady Williams rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries.
Quakertown 38 – Hatboro-Horsham 13
Council Rock South Hawks (1-1, 1-1) @ Bensalem Owls (0-2, 0-2)
Council Rock South lost its first game of the season in a 42-7 conference loss to Quakertown. The good news for the Hawks was a rushing touchdown by quarterback Matt Striffolino and an extra point by Jack Heinbach – the bad news was that Rock South was held to five first downs and 94 yards of total offense.
Bensalem remained winless in a 42-8 conference loss to Upper Dublin. The bad news for the Owls was that they had four turnovers and just 46 yards of total offense. Bensalem has been outscored 82-14 in its first two games this season.
Council Rock South 21 – Bensalem 13
SOL American Conference
October 16, 2020
Wissahickon Trojans (1-1, 0-0) @ New Hope-Solebury Lions (1-1, 1-1)
Wissahickon rallied in the final moments to secure its first win of the season in a 14-12 non-conference victory over Hatboro-Horsham. Maurice Johnson scored on a 61-yard scoring pass from Aiden Defeo to jettison the Trojans to their victory. Kyle Lehman also found paydirt for the Blue & Gold on a 34-yard run.
New Hope-Solebury rallied from a halftime deficit to win its first-ever SOL game in a 45-35 conference victory. Joey Capriotti rushed for a game-high 164 yards and a touchdown and had three receptions for 85 yards. Dylan Hildebrandt carried the ball just 2 times – scored 2 touchdowns – and rushed for 78 yards. He also had a pair of interceptions. Philip Weinseimer was sensational with eight completions for 193 yards and a scoring pass to Ben Garritano. Weinseimer also rushed for 101 yards and a score as the Lions generated 544 yards of total offense.
Wissahickon 24 – New Hope-Solebury 21
Upper Moreland Bears (2-0, 2-0) @ Springfield Spartans (1-1, 1-1)
Upper Moreland rallied from a 9-0 deficit to defeat William Tennent 14-9 in a conference game. Cameryn Jackson scored the game-winning touchdown in the third period. Byron Hopkins completed seven passes for 104 yard and scored a rushing touchdown.
Springfield led 21-14 at the close of the first half, but the Spartans were outscored 31-14 in the second half in a 45-35 conference loss to New Hope-Solebury.
Upper Moreland 28 – Springfield 20
Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-1, 0-0) @ William Tennent (0-2, 0-2)
Plymouth Whitemarsh turned around an opening game 44-0 loss against Wyomissing into a 47-7 non-conference victory over Muhlenberg. Quarterback Chris McLaughlin rushed for over 150 yards and threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Duran. The Colonials had five different players reach paydirt.
William Tennent failed to protect a 9-0 lead in a 14-9 conference loss to Upper Moreland. The Panthers took the lead on a strength of a 28-yard field goal by Mike Liddy and a touchdown run by Zach Stanfield.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 27 – William Tennent 13
SOL Non-Conference Game
October 16, 2020
Conwell-Egan Eagles (0-0) @ Council Rock North Indians (1-1) (Postponed)
Conwell-Egan did not play.
Council Rock North had its hands full as the Indians suffered a 31-8 loss to Souderton. The good news for Rock North was a touchdown run by Anthony Esposito and a 2-point conversion from Esposito to Ryan McCaffrey. The bad news was that CR North was held to just 4 first downs and 102 yards of total offense.
Council Rock North 35 – Conwell-Egan 14