Scott Huff recaps last week’s SOL playoff action and previews this week’s game. He also predicts the winners.
By Scott Huff
Four for Four – Get out the broom
The Suburban One League completed its sweep of the 6-A, 5-A, 4-A, and 3-A District One football championships.
Souderton and Upper Dublin captured the District One 6-A and 5-A titles respectively after the Big Red defeated Pennridge 31-17 and Upper Dublin defeated West Chester Rustin, 29-8.
Souderton and the Flying Cardinals will move on to the PIAA state semifinals this week.
Upper Moreland and New Hope-Solebury had already captured the District One 4-A and District One 3-A titles going into the state playoffs last week.
The Golden Bears saw its 4-A championship season end with a 28-27 loss to Oil City from District 10 in the state playoffs last week, while the Lions lost two weeks ago in the 3-A state playoffs to Archbishop Carroll from District 12, 34-28.
All I’m askin’ for is a little respect…
Souderton entered the PIAA District One championship game against Pennridge as an underdog.
How can an unbeaten team that was the SOL Continental Conference champion be considered an underdog?
Most prognosticators used the old ‘who did they play?’ theory in forming that opinion.
Pennridge was unbeaten in the big bad SOL National Conference that included powerhouse North Penn (who the Rams did not play), powerhouse Neshaminy (who PHS beat by 30-0), explosive Abington (21-15 Ram win), Pennsbury (who Pennridge did not play), and the three Central Bucks schools (who the Rams swept by a combined score of 110-14).
Souderton was unbeaten in the SOL Continental Conference. But from top to bottom, the Indians had a seemingly softer conference schedule. The Big Red – with crucial wins over both Quakertown (28-23) in the season opener and Upper Dublin (28-7) in what proved to be the conference championship game – won all the important conference games that they had to win to capture the title.
Souderton, however, proved from the opening kickoff to the final whistle that they were a better team than Pennridge last Friday in the district title clash. On offense, on defense, on special teams – the Big Red was clearly the superior team.
And now the ‘who did they play?’ theory shows the following:
Souderton has beaten SOL National Conference champion Pennridge (31-17), Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Spring-Ford (27-24), and PIAA District One 5-A champion Upper Dublin (28-7).
Pennridge (6-1), Spring-Ford (6-1), and Upper Dublin (6-1) have suffered only one loss each the entire 2020 season - to the newly crowned unbeaten District One 6-A champion, Souderton (7-0).
Souderton will take that underdog status – a massive underdog status - into the PIAA state semifinal contest against nationally ranked St. Joseph’s Prep.
It would take a huge bite by this snarly Big Red underdog to come out with a monumental victory against SJP and a earn a trip to the state 6-A championship finals.
Upper Dublin made its move from the SOL American Conference to the SOL Continental Conference a successful one this season with a second place finish.
The 5-A District One champion Cardinals competed in a ‘hybrid’ SOL Continental Conference that featured six 6-A teams and two 5-A teams.
The only loss of the season for UD came against 6-A District One champion Souderton (28-7). The Cardinals soared by 6-A opponents Bensalem and Council Rock North, while UD did not play in the contracted 2020 season 6-A Council Rock South, 6-A Quakertown, or 6-A Harry S Truman.
Upper Dublin also defeated the only other 5-A school in the SOL Continental Conference – Hatboro-Horsham.
How would this move ‘up’ to the SOL Continental Conference against schools with greater enrollment affect the success of head coach Bret Stover’s program.
Not much – thank you very much.
With the convincing 29-8 victory over who some prognosticators felt might be a superior West Chester Rustin – the Cardinals secured their second district title in the last three years – and their third in the last six seasons.
But like Souderton, Upper Dublin will move on to the PIAA state semifinal round as a clear underdog when the Cardinals face Erie Cathedral Prep. The Ramblers have won three of the last four 5-A state titles and have won eight of the last ten District-10 championships.
Life isn’t fair – neither is the PIAA
Souderton and Upper Dublin have now progressed to the point where the PIAA simply doesn’t play by the rules, or actually, the rules it plays by are just flat out ridiculous.
Souderton and Upper Dublin are public schools that must strictly adhere to the geographical boundaries of the school district. No ‘outsiders’ allowed – period.
Both the District One 6-A champion Indians and the District One champion 5-A Cardinals have players that have no choice as to what public school they want to play for – they must play for the school within school district boundaries.
Souderton will meet private school power St. Joseph’s Prep – a nationally ranked program that has won the last two state championships. The Hawks are currently ranked # 1 in Pennsylvania and # 3 nationally.
There are no restrictions on how the Prep fills its roster. There are no geographical boundaries – and players from out of state are prominent on the SJP roster.
Upper Dublin will meet private school power Cathedral Prep – another private school out of Erie. And like St. Joe Prep, there are no restrictions on who fills out the Ramblers roster.
There was Pennsylvania House Bill 1600 proposed that would create a ‘public’ school PIAA champion and a ‘private’ school PIAA champion for each classification. Those two champions would then play for a PIAA state championship.
That bill, according to my research, has not been voted on – and we are left with the current system.
Don’t get me wrong – St. Joe Prep and Cathedral Prep are not breaking any rules. But it’s the rules that stink – and the smell is pretty awful.
A closer look at the ‘Killer Hawks’
There are five St. Joe Prep Hawks in the top 50 college recruits listed in the 2021 Top Football Recruits in Pennsylvania, according to 247 Sports – including three of the top five players in the entire state.
Scouting reports are given in the 247 report for each of the top SJP players in the state of Pennsylvania and here are bits and pieces of those reports given by prestigious scouts.
# 2 recruit - Quarterback Kyle McCord – 5-star Ohio State commit – 6-3 ½ 204 lbs.
Report given by Brian Dohn
Projects to be an early round NFL pick…strong accurate arm…poised under pressure…great leadership qualities…plays with high football IQ…quick release…multi-year starter for one of the top 15 high school programs in the country.
# 3 recruit – Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. – 4-star Clemson commit – 6-0, 210 lbs.
Report given by Barton Simmons
We see him as an early (second) round NFL pick…will be an impact player at Clemson right away…son of four-time Pro Bowl player Jeremiah Trotter, Sr….plays fast…good closing speed as tackler…good blitzer and edge rusher…one of the most instinctive linebackers in the country.
#5 recruit – Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. – 4-star Ohio State commit – 6-3, 190 lbs.
Report given by Brian Dohn
Should develop into a second or third round NFL pick…son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, Sr…great frame…big, strong hands…great route tactician…has separation skills…red zone threat…high level player.
In addition to these three NFL prospects, the other two top 50 Hawk players were #31 wide receiver Sahmir Hagans (3-star commit , Duke) and #36 wide receiver Malik Cooper (3-star commit, Temple).
Sorry, I didn’t see any Souderton players on that list.
And the beat goes on…
Souderton Indians (7-0) vs. St Joe Prep Hawks (4-0)
PIAA Class 6-A Semifinals
@ Cardinal O’Hara High School
November 21, 2020 – 12 pm
Souderton won the PIAA District One championship with a 31-17 victory over previously unbeaten Pennridge. Jalen White was the featured back in a punishing rushing attack that generated 314 yards. White carried 24 times for 137 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 60 and six yards. Brayden Porter carried 15 times for an additional 105 yards. Shaun Purvy scored on a 12-yard run, while Nick Haynes booted a 30-yard field goal.
St. Joe Prep has not played in two weeks since becoming the PIAA District 12 champion. The Hawks last game came against Roman Catholic and SJP came away with a 42-0 victory.
Souderton was the champion of the Suburban One League Continental Conference and also captured the District One title. The Big Red has defeated Pennridge (31-17), Spring-Ford (27-24), Bensalem (55-12), Hatboro-Horsham (36-13), Upper Dublin (28-7), Council Rock North (31-8), and Quakertown (28-23).
St Joe Prep was the champion of the Philadelphia Catholic League and also won the District 12 title. The Hawks soared to wins over Life Christian Academy (41-24), La Salle (38-14), Archbishop Wood (52-6), and Roman Catholic (42-0).
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game:
Souderton has scored an average of 33.7 points per game and has allowed 14.9 points per game.
St. Joe Prep has scored an average of 43.3 points per game and has allowed an average of 11.0 points per game.
Current Max Prep Ranking:
Souderton is currently ranked 11th in the state of all schools and is ranked 5th of all the 6-A schools.
St. Joe Prep is currently ranked 1st in the state of all schools and is ranked 1st of all the 6-A schools.
The winner of the Souderton/St. Joe Prep game will play the winner of the game between McDowell/Central York for the state championship.
St. Joe Prep Hawks 45/Souderton Indians 14
Upper Dublin Flying Cardinals (6-1) vs. Cathedral Prep (5-2)
PIAA Class 5-A State Semifinals
@ Holidaysburg High School
November 21, 2020 – 7 pm
Upper Dublin captured the District One championship with a 29-8 victory over West Chester Rustin. The Flying Cardinal defense was dominant hold a powerful Golden Knight offense with a single score. UD held WCR running back Dayshawn Jacobs – one of the premier running backs. In the area – to just 48 yards. The defense also intercepted three passes – one returned for a score by John Kohlbrenner. Sophomore quarterback Colin O’Sullivan completed 20 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. Micah Bootman and Jacob Rossman scored rushing touchdown for the Cardinals.
Cathedral Prep did not play due to a Covid-19 issue with Wyoming Valley West and was awarded a forfeit. In the first-round playoff game, the Ramblers blasted Holidaysburg, 33-7. Tamar Sample completed 13 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Jaheim Wiillams scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Michael Parks has been the leading rusher this season for CP rushing for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.
Upper Dublin finished the regular season tied for second place in the Suburban One League Continental Conference. The Flying Cardinals have captured wins over Wissahickon (31-27), Bensalem (42-8), Council Rock North (21-6), Hatboro-Horsham (32-0), Kennett (forfeit), and West Chester Rustin (29-8). The lone loss of the season came against SOL Continental Conference – and District One 6-A - champion Souderton (28-7).
Cathedral Prep finished the regular season as the second-place finisher in the District 10/Region 8 conference. The Ramblers have captured wins over Butler (55-21), Erie (48-26), Butler (55-6), Hollidaysburg (33-7), and Wyoming Valley West (forfeit). The lone losses during the season came against 6-A power McDowell by scores of 24-10 & 24-6.
Offensive/Defensive Points Per Game:
Upper Dublin (excluding forfeit win) has scored an average of 27.0 points per game and has allowed an average of 12.8 points per game.
Cathedral Prep (excluding forfeit win) has scored an average of 35.4 points per game and has allowed an average of 18.6 points per game.
Current Max-Prep Ranking:
Upper Dublin is currently ranked 49th in the state of all schools and is ranked 11th of all 5-A schools.
Erie Cathedral Prep is currently ranked 13th in the state of all schools and is ranked 5th of all 5-A schools.
The winner of the Upper Dublin and Cathedral Prep game will play the winner of the game between Pine-Richland and Governor Mifflin for the state championship.
Cathedral Prep Ramblers 31/Upper Dublin Flying Cardinals 17