Scott Huff previews this week’s games, highlighting the district games, and predicts the winners.
By Scott Huff
Playoffs? We’re still talking playoffs?
If the FanDuel Sportsbook permitted wagering on high school football you could have received mega-odds on a Pennridge/Souderton PIAA District One championship final.
Both the unbeaten Rams and the unbeaten Big Red cashed in and will play in a district title game after exhilarating victories in their respective PIAA District One semifinal contests.
Pennridge was forced to come-from-behind in the final moments to secure a heart-pumping 36-33 win over Coatesville, while Souderton held off a late frantic Spring-Ford rally to defeat the Spring-Ford Rams, 27-24.
But Pennridge & Souderton? Really? In a District One 6-A championship football game?
No North Penn, no Coatesville, no Downingtown West, no Neshaminy, no Pennsbury? Not even a Ridley or CB West (back in day)? How about an Upper Dublin or maybe a Plymouth Whitemarsh (again, way back in a day)?
Pennridge & Souderton? Really? In a District One 6-A championship football game?
There have been 28 previous District One ‘large-school’ champions crowned since its inception in 1992 and only nine schools have captured that coveted championship trophy.
That prestigious District One championship list includes North Penn with seven titles, Central Bucks West with five championships, Coatesville with four titles, Neshaminy with three championships, Downingtown West with three titles, Pennsbury with two championships, Ridley with two titles, and Upper Dublin and Plymouth Whitemarsh each with one district championship.
Downingtown West is the defending 2019 District One 6-A champion as the Whippets outscored Coatesville, 48-36, in the title game a year ago.
Remember – District One is an expansive area that includes schools from four counties - Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties.
This being 2020 there were some drastic differences, of course, to this pandemic season.
There are 32 Class 6-A schools in District One – and 23 of those schools chose to participate in the race for a district and state championship.
The Central League (Delaware County) chose not to take part and played a league schedule only - while 6-A schools like Harry S Truman, Penn Wood, Conestoga, and Norristown chose to not play at all.
The abbreviated ‘regular’ season had to be completed by October 31, 2020. A school had to play at least four games to qualify for the postseason.
No.1 ranked Pennridge (162.00) and No. 3 ranked Souderton (152.00) entered the playoffs with identical 5-0 records, while No. 4 Coatesville (150.00) was 4-0 and No. 2 ranked Spring-Ford (160.00) was 6-0.
And finally, we hope, all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed and a district championship game is about to be played.
But Pennridge and Souderton? Really? In a District One championship football game?
The Green & White against the Red & White. Ram head coach Cody Muller, a Souderton alum, going against his former head coach Ed Gallagher for the Big Red. The good-natured (we hope) community trash talk between two school districts separated by County Line Road.
There is no doubt that it will be a tremendous game between two fierce neighborhood rivals under the Friday night lights at Helman Field in Perkasie.
But Pennridge & Souderton? Really? In a District One 6-A championship football game?
You can bet on it.
PIAA District One Playoff Trivia?
Which of the nine schools that have won ‘large school’ district championships have won the most consecutive district titles?
Upper Dublin advanced to the PIAA Class 5-A District One title game with a 2-0 win over Kennett in the semifinal game.
The Upper Dublin game with Kennett was cancelled due to a COVID-19 issue with Kennett, and the Flying Cardinals were awarded with the semifinal forfeit victory.
Not exactly the on-field momentum that UD head coach Bret Stover was hoping to generate as the Cardinals prepare for an excellent West Chester Rustin on Friday in the District 5-A title game.
No. 1 Upper Dublin and No. 2 West Chester Rustin have a common opponent in No. 3 Wissahickon.
The Flying Cardinals opened the SOL season with a 31-27 victory over Wissahickon that saw the Trojans stage a late rally, while the Golden Knights defeated those same Trojans last week in a not-so-competitive district playoff game, 48-13.
Upper Dublin is hopeful that the score comparison doesn’t really mean anything – after all, it is 2020 and anything can and will happen.
So, Fly Cardinals Fly.
Upper Dublin District One Trivia:
The Flying Cardinals have won 2 District One championships. The first one was as a ‘large school’ title (then considered 4-A) and also a 5-A championship. In what years did Upper Dublin claim those titles?
Upper Moreland advanced to the PIAA state quarterfinals with a crushing 35-0 victory over Archbishop Ryan.
Ryan represented District 12 after unbeaten Monsignor Bonner (3-0) saw its game with the Golden Bears cancelled due to a Covid-19 issue.
The absurdity of the state playoffs (?) was on display with the Upper Moreland/Archbishop Ryan game. Ryan entered the playoff game (?) winless and with a margin of defeat being 34.5 points per game.
The Golden Bears will meet District 10 champion Oil City. The unbeaten Oilers (9-0) slipped by (get it) District 6 champion Juniata, 34-33 last week.
Oil City was never challenged in its run through the ‘regular’ Region 7 season. The Oiler offense has scored over 70 points twice, over 60 points twice, and over 50 points twice - the defense had four shutouts.
All you know is that you don’t know in the 4-A playoffs.
Answer to District One Playoff Trivia.
Central Bucks West won four consecutive District One championships. The Bucks captured titles in 1997,1998, 1999, and 2000
How about those Panthers?
Quakertown (5-1) won’t win a Suburban One League Continental Conference championship in 2020 – and the Panthers did not make the contracted PIAA Class 6-A 2020 District One playoffs.
But don’t discount what an extremely successful season the Panthers have had to date in this pandemic 2020 season.
A season opening 28-23 loss to Souderton has been a blemish Q-town has not been able to overcome in terms of competing for both a conference championship and a coveted playoff berth.
But the Panthers have been terrific ever since with punishing victories over Council Rock South (42-7), Hatboro-Horsham (48-0), Bensalem (52-7), previously unbeaten Upper Moreland (37-6), and William Tennent (39-14).
The surging Quakertown offense has been balanced and deftly directed by junior quarterback Will Steich. Steich has completed 45 of 78 passes for 775 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Black Cat receiving corps features senior Tyler Merwarth with 14 catches for 237 yards and three touchdowns, while junior Zach Fondl has snared 16 passes for 235 yards and five touchdowns.
The Quakertown rushing attack features senior Brady Williams who has carried 62 times for 438 yards and four touchdowns, while junior Tyler Woodman has carried 43 times for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
Woodman has been an extremely ‘special’ kick return specialist. Woodman has returned an incredible four kicks for touchdowns – two kickoff returns and two punt returns.
Defensively, the stingy Panther defense features outstanding senior linebacker Micah Kunkle, along with senior Bryan Sherry and juniors Kaiden Roesener and Fred Retter.
No, Quakertown won’t win a conference championship, and the Panthers did not make the district playoffs. But 2020 has been a huge success for Panther nation.
Answer to Upper Dublin Trivia:
The Flying Cardinals soared to a district 4-A title (large school) in 2015 and also collected a 5-A district championship in 2018.
And the beat goes on…
PIAA District One 6-A Championship Game
Friday – November 13, 2020
Souderton Indians (6-0) @ Pennridge Rams (6-0)
Souderton opened the PIAA District One semifinals with a 27-24 victory over Spring-Ford. The Big Red led 20-0 at the half but was outscored 21-3 in the fourth period and was forced to hold on for the win. Brayden Porter has a terrific outing as he carried 18 times for 130 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 38 and 27 yards. Willie Goods sparked a strong defensive effort and scored on a 54-yard interception return.
Pennridge opened the PIAA District One semifinals with a 36-33 victory over Coatesville. Quarterback Bobby Croyle had a sensational game, completing nine passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Croyle fired long-distance TD passes to Dillon Powles (55 yards) and Adam Mossbrook (65 yards). The rushing attack featured a pair of long-distance scores by Shane Hartzell (97 yards) and Jack Ferguson (40 yards). Placekicker Brandon Shire booted a pair of field goals (29 & 20 yards) that proved to be the margin of victory.
Souderton was the unbeaten champion of the Suburban One League Continental Conference.
The Big Red has defeated Quakertown (28-23), Council Rock North (31-8), Upper Dublin (28-7), Hatboro-Horsham (36-13), Bensalem (55-12), and Spring-Ford (27-24).
Pennridge was the unbeaten champion of the Suburban One League National Conference.
The Rams have defeated Central Bucks West (35-14), Neshaminy (30-0), Central Bucks East (42-0), Central Bucks South (33-0), Abington (21-15), and Coatesville (36-33).
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game:
Souderton has scored an average of 34.2 points per game and has allowed an average of 14.5 points per game.
Pennridge has scored an average of 32.9 points per game and has allowed an average of 10.3 points per game.
The winner of the Souderton/Pennridge game will meet the top ranked team in the state – St. Joseph’s Prep. Prep is the District 12 champion.
PENNRIDGE RAMS 31 – SOUDERTON INDIANS 28
PIAA District One 5-A Championship Game
Friday – November 13, 2018
West Chester Rustin Knights (4-1) @ Upper Dublin Cardinals (5-1)
West Chester Rustin opened the PIAA Class 5-A District One playoffs with a punishing 48-13 victory over Wissahickon. The Golden Knights unleashed a brutal rushing attack as it ground and pounded for 450 yards of rushing. Dayshawn Jacobs was an offensive force rushing for 258 yards and five touchdowns.
Upper Dublin did not play. The Flying Cardinals were scheduled to play Kennett in the first round of the PIAA Class 5-A District One playoffs, but the game was cancelled due to a Covid-19 issue with the Kennett team.
West Chester Rustin was the second-place finisher in the Ches-Mont American Conference behind Unionville.
The Golden Knights have defeated West Chester East (27-13), Great Valley (42-0), Downingtown East (32-13), and Wissahickon (48-13). WCR lost to Unionville (35-27).
Upper Dublin was the tied for second place in the Suburban One League Continental Conference behind Souderton.
The Flying Cardinals have defeated Wissahickon (31-27), Bensalem (42-8), Council Rock North (21-6), Hatboro-Horsham (32-0), and Kennett (2-0). UD has lost to Souderton (28-7).
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game
West Chester Rustin has scored an average of 35.2 points per game and has allowed an average of 14.8 points per game.
Upper Dublin (excluding the 2-0 win over Kennett) has scored an average of 26.6 points per game and has allowed an average of 13.8 points per game.
The winner of the West Chester Rustin/Upper Dublin game will play the winner of the game between Cathedral Prep/Wyoming Valley West.
WEST CHESTER RUSTIN 35 – UPPER DUBLIN 21
PIAA State 4-A Quarterfinal Game
Saturday – November 14, 2020
Upper Moreland Golden Bears (5-1) vs Oil City Oilers (9-0)
@ Hollidaysburg High School
Upper Moreland opened the PIAA 4-A first round of the playoffs with a convincing 35-0 victory over winless Archbishop Ryan. The Golden Bears had been scheduled to play unbeaten Monsignor Bonner (3-0), but Covid-19 took the Friars out of the playoffs. Byron Hopkins fired a pair of touchdown passes to Jahaire Johnson, while Cameryn Jackson rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns to fuel the offense. Hassan Johnson intercepted a pass for a score to highlight the defense.
Oil City opened the PIAA 4-A first round of the playoffs with a thrilling 34-33 victory over Juniata. The District 10 champion Oilers led 26-7 at the close of the first half and led 26-14 going in the fourth period. District 6 champion Juniata outscored Oil City 19-8 in the final quarter but failed on a two-point conversion late in the game in an effort to secure the win.
Upper Moreland was the champion of the Suburban One League American Conference.
The Golden Bears have defeated New Hope-Solebury (21-7), William Tennent (14-9), Springfield-Montco (47-28), Plymouth Whitemarsh (63-35), and Archbishop Carroll (35-0). Upper Moreland lost to Quakertown (37-6).
Oil City was the champion of Region 7 of District 10.
The Oilers have defeated Franklin (68-6), Meadville (38-14), Conneaut (28-13), Warren (61-0), Titusville (72-0), Franklin (75-0), Conneaut (56-0), Harbor Creek (51-14), and Juniata (34-33).
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game:
Upper Moreland has scored an average of 37.2 points per game and has allowed an average of 23.2 points per game.
Oil City has scored an average of 53.6 points per game and has allowed an average of 8.9 points per game.
The winner of the Upper Moreland/Oil City game will play the winner of the Aliquippa/Thomas Jefferson game in the PIAA 4-A semifinal game.
UPPER MORELAND GOLDEN BEARS 35 – OIL CITY OILERS 31
SOL Postseason Menu
Friday – November 13, 2020
Perkiomen Valley Vikings (5-2) @ Quakertown Panthers (5-1)
Perkiomen Valley ventured out of the Pioneer Athletic Conference to defeat Daniel Boone, 31-7. Quarterback Ethan Kohler completed 10 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Kohler also rushed for a score. Raheem Grayson carried nine times for a game-high 80 yards.
Quakertown crossed over to play SOL American Conference William Tennent and defeated WT by a 39-14 score. Micah Kunkle scored on a TD pass reception and also returned an interception for a touchdown. Tyler Woodman returned a punt for a touchdown and also rushed for a touchdown. Quarterback Will Steich completed 10 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown – and also rushed for a score.
QUAKERTOWN PANTHERS 28 – PERKIOMEN VALLEY VIKINGS 24
Neshaminy Redskins (4-1) @ Central Bucks South Titans (2-4)
Neshaminy did not play. Two weeks ago, the Redskins defeated rival Pennsbury 34-0. Chris James carried 25 times for 268 yards and scored four touchdowns on runs of 6, 28, 6, & 2 yards. David Miller carried 13 times for 116 yards and scored a touchdown.
Central Bucks South lost for the third straight week as the Titans fell to rival Central Bucks West, 31-24. Quarterback Carter Hallgren completed 16 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Hallgren fired a pair of TD passes to Tyler Robinson, while Ryan Schaub caught seven passes for 108 yards.
NESHAMINY REDSKINS 42 – CB SOUTH TITANS 21
Council Rock North Indians (2-2) @ William Tennent Panthers (2-4) (Cancelled)
Conwell-Egan Eagles (2-2) @ William Tennent Panthers (2-4)
Conwell-Egan defeated Central Bucks East 38-20. Khian’Dre Harris rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
William Tennent played SOL Continental Conference opponent Quakertown in a battle of the Panthers. Q-town emerged with a 39-14 victory over Tennent.
WILLIAM TENNENT PANTHERS 21 - CONWELL-EGAN EAGLES 20
Springfield Spartans (3-2) @ Wissahickon Trojans (3-3)
Springfield received a spectacular outing from quarterback Gabe Franczyk in its 40-18 victory over Bensalem. Franczyk fired touchdown passes to Will Conlin and Dylan McKenzie and also rushed for three touchdowns.
Wissahickon was jettisoned from the first round of the PIAA District One Class 5-A playoffs in a 48-13 loss to West Chester Rustin. Quarterback Aiden Defeo kept the Trojans in the game early and finished with 15 completions for 180 yards.
WISSAHICKON TROJANS 27 – SPRINGFIELD SPARTANS 24
Council Rock South Hawks (2-4) @ New Hope-Solebury Lions (2-4)
Council Rock South lost for the third straight week as the Golden Hawks were shut out by Methacton, 13-0.
New Hope-Solebury lost in the PIAA state quarterfinal round to Archbishop Carroll, 34-28. The Lion quarterback Philip Weinseimer had a sensational game, completing 14 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. Weinseimer carried 14 times for a team-high 86 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.
NEW HOPE-SOLEBURY LIONS 28 – COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH HAWKS 20