Scott Huff recaps all of last week’s SOL action and picks the winners for this week in his first weekly notebook.
By Scott Huff
Whatever the term the ‘new normal’ means – it must be happening in the Suburban One League this schedule shortened football season.
This 2020 season was going to already be season of huge change with the SOL football realignment, but with the outbreak of COVID-19 the change was even greater.
There are two SOL schools – Cheltenham and Harry S Truman – that will not play football this fall due to the virus. So - you can take the defending American Conference champion (and 5A PIAA state finalist) Panthers, and the resurgent Tigers out of the SOL scheduling mix in 2020.
The shuffling of the three SOL divisions within the SOL this season is baffling (to me) at best – but here is the final outcome.
The SOL 2020 National Conference will consist of Abington, Neshaminy, Pennsbury, North Penn, Pennridge, Central Bucks East, Central Bucks South, and Central Bucks West.
Only Abington, Neshaminy, and Pennsbury competed in the National Conference last year – while North Penn, Pennridge, CB East, CB South, and CB West all played in the Continental Conference last year.
The SOL 2020 Continental Conference will consist of Souderton, Truman, Council Rock North, Council Rock South, Bensalem, Quakertown, Upper Dublin, and Hatboro-Horsham.
Only Souderton competed in the Continental last year – while Truman, CR North, CR South, and Bensalem all played in the National – and Quakertown, Upper Dublin, and Hatboro-Horsham all competed in the American Conference.
The SOL 2020 American Conference will consist of Cheltenham, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Upper Moreland, Wissahickon, William Tennent, Springfield Township and New Hope-Solebury.
Only Cheltenham, PW, Upper Moreland, and Wissahickon competed in the American last year, while William Tennent played in the Continental. Springfield played an Independent schedule last year, while New Hope-Solebury is spanking brand new to the SOL and competed in the Bicentennial League last year.
And Lower Moreland will enter the American Conference for football in 2021.
Got all that – sure you do!
The Suburban One League has opted to take part in the PIAA District One and state playoffs during this abbreviated 2020 football season.
The only things known for sure is that the playoffs will be determined by – wait – we really have no idea how those playoff teams will be determined.
To date in this crazy 2020 year - the Pioneer Athletic Conference has played 2 games – the Suburban One League has played 1 game – and the Ches-Mont League will begin play this week.
All leagues that wish to participate in the district playoffs must have “regular season” games completed by the end of October. At best, the SOL would have 5 games played and who really knows who’s in – and who’s out. Criteria for selection of those playoff teams has not been established.
Teams that do not make the playoffs – and teams that lose in the district playoffs along the way to Hershey – can still schedule games in the month of November.
District 1 Trivia Question
What is the only school in the entire district that is considered a 3A football program?
Rock North Solid
Council Rock North finished the 2019 season at the bottom of the SOL National Conference with just one conference win.
The Indians matched that win total last week with a convincing 40-6 conference victory over Bensalem.
Coach John Greiner cited the defense for its outstanding performance in the win over the Owls. The Rock North defense intercepted six Bensalem passes to fuel the victory.
Ryan McCaffrey had two interceptions for the Indians, while Gavin Papp, Amerro Mayo, Shawn Perry, and Anthony Esposito each picked off one pass.
The defensive front of Connor Atkinson, Luke Molden, Aden Roe, Justin Nowmos and Charlie Murphy applied the pressure, while linebackers Sean Beverly and Brendon Hardy controlled the middle of the field.
Answer to District 1 trivia question
And the beat goes on…
Pennridge Rams (1-0, 1-0) @ Neshaminy Redskins (1-0, 1-0)
Pennridge opened its 2020 season with an impressive 35-14 conference victory over Central Bucks West. Shane Hartzell – back from an early season ending 2019 injury – rushed for 124 yards on just 10 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. Bobby Croyle completed seven passes to five different receivers, while Joey Kacerik opened the game with an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Neshaminy opened its 2020 season with an impressive 35-19 conference victory over North Penn. Running back Chris James pounded the NP defense with a 143-yard rushing performance on 33 carries and scored a touchdown. Quarterback Aiden Schlupp completed 9 passes for 74 yards and a score, while Thomas Leonhauser booted two field goals of 26 and 31 yards.
Neshaminy 27 – Pennridge 21
Central Bucks East Patriots (1-0, 1-0) @ Central Bucks South Titans (0-1, 0-1)
Central Bucks East opened its 2020 season with an impressive 28-21 conference victory over Pennsbury. The Patriots led 22-0 at the half and held on in the second half to secure the win. Quarterback Anthony Giordano completed 21 passes to seven different receivers for 246 yards and three touchdowns – one each to Quinn Moody, Dylan Rotondo, and Pat Keller – and also the Patriot quarterback also scored a rushing score. Tommy Day led all rushers with 93 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown.
Central Bucks South opened its 2020 season with a 42-28 conference loss to Abington. The Titans trailed 42-7 before scoring the final three touchdowns in the second half. The passing duo of Carter Hallgren (20 completions for 301 yards and two touchdowns) and Patrick Maerz (8 completions for 95 yards a 2 touchdowns) fueled the offense. Ryan Schaub caught eight passes for 140 yards and a score.
Central Bucks East 42 – Central Bucks South 28
Central Bucks West Bucks (0-1, 0-1) @ Abington Ghosts (1-0, 1-0)
Central Bucks West opened its 2020 season with a 35-14 conference loss to Pennridge. The Bucks were limited to 109 yards of total offense by the Rams. The highlights for West were a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Eli Boehm and a five-yard TD run by Trot Lare.
Abington opened its 2020 season with an impressive 42-28 conference victory over Central Bucks South. The Ghosts punished the Titans early and led by a 34-7 score in the first half and created a mercy-rule contest early in the second half. Oreck Frazier recorded some eye-popping numbers by rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Abington 38 – Central Bucks West 17
Pennsbury Falcons (0-1, 0-1) @ North Penn Knights (0-1, 0-1)
Pennsbury opened its 2020 season with a 28-21 conference loss to Central Bucks East. The Falcons trailed 22-0 at halftime but outscored East 21-6 in the second half. Quarterback Patrick Kirk completed 16 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and also scored a rushing score. Pennsbury rushed for a team 105 yards, while CJ Kohler led all receivers with eight catches for 65 yards.
North Penn opened its 2020 season with a 35-19 conference loss to Neshaminy. The Knights trailed by just 21-19 at the half, but two fourth quarter Redskin touchdowns sealed the deal for Neshaminy. Khalani Easton rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Ryan Zeltt completed 13 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
North Penn 35 – Pennsbury 27
Souderton Indians (1-0, 1-0) @ CR North Indians (1-0, 1-0)
Souderton opened its 2020 season with a 28-23 conference victory over Quakertown. The Big Red trailed 17-12 at the half, but a pair of second half scores by Brayden Porter fueled the victory. Quarterback Evan Kutzler completed 10 passes for 117 and a TD aerial to Willie Goods.
Council Rock North opened its 2020 season with a stunning 40-6 conference victory over Bensalem. Rock North opened up a tight game with a 27-point second half. CRN quarterback Mike Sylvester fired a TD pass to Ryan McCaffrey and also scored a rushing score. Gavin Papp led all rusher with 78 yards on nine carries and rushed for two touchdowns.
Souderton 28 – Council Rock North 21
Bensalem Owls (0-1, 0-1) @ Upper Dublin Cardinals (1-0, 0-0)
Bensalem opened its 2020 season with a 40-6 loss to Council Rock North. The Owls were competitive in the first half and trailed Rock North 13-6 at the half. The lone score of the game for the Blue & White came on a 13-yard run by Aiden Clancey.
Upper Dublin opened its 2020 season with a 31-27 non-conference victory over Wissahickon. A trio of Flying Cardinals scored touchdowns for the winners as Micah Bootman, John Kohlbrenner, and Jacob Rossman all found paydirt. Placekicker Owen Carl had a terrific outing with 4-4 on extra points and added a 27-yard field goal.
Upper Dublin 31 – Bensalem 14
Council Rock South (1-0, 1-0) @ Quakertown Panthers (0-1, 0-1)
Council Rock South opened its 2020 season with a 14-6 conference victory over Hatboro-Horsham. Golden Hawk quarterback Matt Striffolino accounted for both CRS scores with a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown. Running back Jack O’Neill rushed for a team-high 70 yards on eight carries.
Quakertown opened its 2020 season with a 28-23 conference loss to Souderton. Panther quarterback Will Steich completed 10 of 16 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Brady Williams rushed for a touchdown, while Tyler Merwarth caught a TD pass for the Black Cats.
Quakertown 24 – Council Rock South 17
New Hope-Solebury Lions (0-1, 0-1) @ Springfield Spartans (1-0, 1-0)
New Hope-Solebury opened its 2020 season with a 21-7 conference loss to Upper Moreland. The Lions competed in their first ever Suburban One League contest. New Hope-Solebury quarterback Philip Weinseimer completed seven passes in the setback and also scored the lone touchdown on a run.
Springfield opened its 2020 season with a 14-6 conference victory over William Tennent. It was the first Suburban One League victory for the Spartans in five years – and the first ever over a 6A school. Springfield quarterback Gabe Franzyk completed 20 passes for 247 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes – one to Will Conlin and the second to Dylan McKenzie. Cam Dennis caught eight passes for the winners.
Springfield 21 – New Hope-Solebury 7
William Tennent Panthers (0-1, 0-1) @ Upper Moreland Bears (1-0, 1-0)
William Tennent opened its 2020 season with a 14-6 conference loss to Springfield. The Panthers led 6-0 at the close of the first half, but the Spartans scored single touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Upper Moreland opened its 2020 season with a 21-7 conference victory over New Hope-Solebury. Quarterback Byron Hopkins sparked the Golden Bear offense for rushing for a touchdown and firing two touchdown passes to Jon Knight.
Upper Moreland 24 – William Tennent 7
Wissahickon Trojans (0-1, 0-0) @ Hatboro-Horsham (0-1, 0-1)
Wissahickon opened its 2020 season with a 31-27 non-conference loss to neighborhood rival Upper Dublin. Kyle Lehman rushed for 116 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns to fuel the offense. EJ Schreiner caught five passes to lead the receivers – and scored a touchdown pass from Aiden DeFeo.
Hatboro-Horsham opened its 2020 season with a 14-6 conference loss to Council Rock South. The lone score from the Hatters came on a 9-yard run by Omar Ali. Zehier Cheeze caught four passes for 81 yards in the setback.
Wissahickon 27 – Hatboro-Horsham 13
Muhlenburg Mules (0-3) @ Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials (0-1)
Muhlenburg suffered its third straight loss in a 51-0 setback against Exeter. The Mules (Berks County) lost their season opener to Notre Dame Green-Pond (59-20) and followed with a 21-7 loss to Daniel Boone.
Plymouth Whitemarsh opened its 2020 season with a 44-0 loss to Wyomissing (Berks County). The Colonials trailed the winners by a 30-0 score at the close of the first half.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 28 – Muhlenburg 14