SOL Notebook/Preview (11-25-15)

Scott Huff previews the district playoff and Thanksgiving Day games scheduled for this week.

By Scott Huff

The Suburban One League showcased its collective talents and has dominated play in the PIAA District One playoffs.  The SOL  teams are playing in championship games on three levels – the Quad-A, Class AAA, and Class AA.

Springfield has already competed in the Class AA title game – and despite a 14-7 loss to New Hope-Solebury – the Spartans came very close to defending its District One title.  Springfield led 7-0 early in the game, but a late score by the unbeaten Lions ended the season for the Spartans.

Upper Moreland will take its shot at a Class AAA championship this weekend as the Golden Bears (10-2) will play the unbeaten Academy Park Knights (12-0) in the title game.  The championship game will be played this Friday at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School at 7 pm.

Upper Dublin, North Penn, Neshaminy, and Pennsbury all advanced to the PIAA Quad-A semifinals – and one of those SOL teams will be crowned district champion.  Pennsbury (9-3) is the defending District One champion and will play at unbeaten Upper Dublin (12-0) on Friday, while North Penn (10-2) will host Neshaminy (9-3) on Friday.

The SOL will also feature some fantastic traditional Thanksgiving Day football as Pennridge (8-3) hosts Quakertown (9-3); Cheltenham (4-7) hosts Abington (1-9); Upper Merion (4-7) hosts Norristown (4-7); and Truman (5-6) plays Conwell-Egan (5-5).

And the beat goes on…

PIAA Quad-A District One Playoffs

# 15 Pennsbury Falcons (9-3) @ # 3 Upper Dublin Cardinals (12-0)
Friday – November 27, 2015, 7 pm

Winner gets the winner of # 9 North Penn Knights (10-2) vs. # 13 Neshaminy Redskins (9-3)
Playoff Resume:
     Upper Dublin advanced to the semifinals with a convincing 45-14 victory over # 6 Upper Darby.  Ryan Stover threw three touchdown passes for the Cardinals, while Stacey Gardner rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the winners.  Upper Dublin opened the playoffs with a 35-3 win over Garnet Valley as Stover rushed for four touchdowns and passed for a fifth score.
     Pennsbury dominated the second half as the Falcons soared to a 41-28 victory over # 10 Perkiomen Valley.  The game was tied at 21-21 at the half, but a terrific second half defensive showing sealed the win.  Senior quarterback Mike Alley rushed for three touchdowns and passed for a fourth score to fuel the offense.  Pennsbury opened the playoffs with a 35-28 win over # 2 Downingtown West.
Season Resume:

  • Upper Dublin finished the season as the champion of the Suburban One League American Conference.
  • Pennsbury finished the season tied for second place in the Suburban One League National Conference.

Signature Wins:

Upper Dublin

  • Defeated Plymouth Whitemarsh 42-0
  • Defeated Upper Moreland 35-7
  • Defeated Hatboro-Horsham 31-10


  • Defeated Pennridge 38-32
  • Defeated Council Rock South 13-6
  • Defeated Council Rock North 41-19


Upper Dublin



  • Lost to La Salle 14-0
  • Lost to North Penn 27-20
  • Lost to Neshaminy 16-14   

Stat Track:

    Upper Dublin – 45.0 points per game * 8.0 points allowed per game * + 37.0 margin of victory.
    Pennsbury – 30.8 points per game * 17.7 points allowed per game * + 13.1 margin of victory
 Players To Watch:
     Upper Dublin – Ryan Stover, Kaleif Lee & Jack Rapine.
     Pennsbury – Mike Alley, Luke Snyder & Rob Daly.
Upper Dublin Head Coach Bret Stover says:   “Pennsbury is a huge hurdle for us to get over.  They beat us last year in the district semifinals, but we’ll let them get on the bus to come to us this year.  Whatever he (Pennsbury head coach Galen Snyder) said at halftime (tied 21-21) of the Perkiomen Valley game must have worked.  They dominated in the second half.  (Mike) Alley is a senior quarterback that plays in that run-first offense, but he can make all the throws.  I would love to see him in that Perkiomen Valley offensive scheme.  Right now the players really are playing for themselves and their teammates.  At this point – they don’t get too involved with all the talk about anything else.”
Pennsbury Head Coach Galen Snyder says:  “Upper Dublin is a very good team on both sides of the football.  They score a lot of points, but they also don’t give up a lot of points.  We struggled somewhat in the first half against Perkiomen Valley, but we cranked it up in the second half.  Mike (Alley) has done a great job all year – and he also did a great job last year (when the Falcons won the district championship).  He is really, really good with the play-action pass – and he just does a great job of running our offense and making good decisions.”

# 13 Neshaminy Redskins (9-3) @ # 9 North Penn Knights (10-2)
Friday – November 27, 2015, 7 pm

Winner gets the winner of # 3 Upper Dublin (12-0) vs. # 15 Pennsbury (9-3)
Playoff Resume: 
     North Penn was impressive in knocking out # 1 seed Downingtown East last week with a 27-14 PIAA Quad-A District One quarterfinal playoff game.  Nyfease West carried 33 times for a game-high 243 yards and a touchdown.  Quarterback Reece Udinski completed 11 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.  Ricky Johns caught seven passes for 167 yards for the Knights.  North Penn opened the playoffs with a 48-7 rout of # 8 Unionville.
     Neshaminy was impressive in knocking out # 12 Quakertown last week with a 31-17 PIAA Quad-A District One quarterfinal playoff game.  Will Dogba rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.  Mason Jones completed 10 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.  Denzel Hughes – who returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown – caught seven passes for 122 yards that included a 60-yard TD pass.  Neshaminy opened the playoffs with a 31-16 victory over # 4 – and previously unbeaten – Spring-Ford.
Season Resume:

  • North Penn finished the season as the champion of the Suburban One League National Conference.
  • Neshaminy finished the season tied for second place in the Suburban One League National Conference.

Signature Wins
North Penn

  • Defeated Neshaminy 22-17
  • Defeated Pennsbury 27-20
  • Defeated Pennridge 31-7    


  • Defeated Montclair State 37-31
  • Defeated Council Rock South 27-25
  • Pennsbury 16-14


 North Penn

  • Lost to La Salle 24-12
  • Lost to Downingtown East 28-24   


  • Lost to Downingtown West 20-13
  • Lost to Pennridge 17-7
  • Lost to North Penn 22-17

Stat Track:
    North Penn – 37.0 points per game * 18.3 points allowed per game * + 18.7 margin of victory
    Neshaminy – 25.7 points per game * 16.8 points allowed per game - + 8.9 margin of victory
Players To Watch:
     North Penn –
Nyfease West, Reece Udinski & Nick Isabella.
     Neshaminy – Will Dogba, Denzel Hughes & Mason Jones.
North Penn Head Coach Dick Beck says:  “If you can’t get up to play a district semifinal football game, you are playing the wrong sport.  It seems like we play Neshaminy every year in the playoffs, but at this point – it really doesn’t matter who we play.  We certainly are glad, though, that we get to play the game at home after two away playoff games.  I thought our defense played its best game of the year – both Dante Stewart and Dante Watson played great against Downingtown East.  We made some mistakes on offense and we have some work to do.”
Neshaminy Head Coach Steve Wilmot says:   “We played them in week eight of the season (22-17 loss) – and we know how good a football team we’re playing.  They have a quarterback (Reece Udinski) who can run the offense well and can get the ball to any one of their good receivers.  Nyfease West is an excellent runner and he is playing well. In order for us to win, we are going to have to execute better than we did in the first game – we dropped some balls in that game.  We are going to have to play a complete game and bring our ‘A’ game.”

PIAA District One Class AAA Championship Game
 # 2 Upper Moreland Golden Bears (10-2) vs. # 1 Academy Park Knights (12-0)
@ Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Friday – November 27, 2015, 7 pm

Winner gets the PIAA Class AAA District One trophy
Last Game:
Upper Moreland advanced to the championship game with a come-from-behind 28-20 victory over # 6 Marple Newtown.  The Golden Bears showcased the talents of running back Rodney Morgan who rushed for a game-high 266 yards and scored three touchdowns.  Morgan also scored on a passing reception from quarterback Casey Decker.  Upper Moreland opened the playoffs with a 33-6 victory over # 7 Pottstown.
Academy Park advanced to the championship game with a 39-14 victory over # 4 Great Valley.  The Knights were led by senior running back Jermaine Wesley who scored a pair of touchdowns.  Wesley has rushed for over 1300 yards this season and has scored 17 touchdowns.  Academy Park opened the playoffs with a 14-7 victory over Springfield-Delco.
Season Resume:

  • Upper Moreland finished second in the SOL American Conference.
  • Acadmey Park finished the season as the champion of the Delaware Valley League.

Signature Wins:
Upper Moreland

  • Defeated Plymouth Whitemarsh 49-35
  • Defeated Conwell-Egan 20-10
  • Defeated Penncrest 28-15

Academy Park

  • Defeated Lansdale Catholic 21-7
  • Defeated Chester 26-8
  • Defeated Interboro 7-6


     Upper Moreland

  • Lost to Hatboro-Horsham 20-13
  • Lost to Upper Dublin 35-7

Stat Track:

     Upper Moreland – 29.4 points per game * 17.0 points allowed per game * + 12.4 margin of victory
     Academy Park – 31.3 points per game * 5.7 points per game * + 25.6 margin of victory
 Players To Watch:
     Upper Moreland – Rodney Morgan, Casey Decker & Nick DeLucas.
     Academy Park – Jermaine Wesley, Taylor Moors & Jeremy Dembry.
 Upper Moreland Head Coach Adam Beach says:  “We’re really excited about having a chance to win our first district championship.  We were in the championship game back in both 2006 and 2008, but this time we want to end the season with a win.  Academy Park is a very athletic team that can put a lot of pressure on you defensively.  They try and force you to make mistakes and turn the ball over.  We had to come back to beat Marple Newtown and we found a way to win.  There are always lessons to be learned in playoff games, and that experience should help.  Our entire focus this week is on beating Academy Park.”

Quakertown Panthers (9-3) @ Pennridge Rams (8-3)
Thanksgiving Morning – November 26, 2015, 10:15 am

This will be the 86th meeting between Pennridge and Quakertown with the Rams holding a 53-27-5 advantage.
Last Thanksgiving:
      Quakertown scored a fourth period touchdown to defeat Pennridge 8-7.  The Panthers had beaten the Rams 14-10 in the previous week in a PIAA Quad-A District One playoff game.
 Season Resume:

  • Quakertown finished the season in a second place tie in the SOL Continental Conference.
  • Pennridge finished the season in second place in the SOL National Conference.

Signature Wins:


  • Defeated Neshaminy 17-7
  • Defeated Central Bucks South 28-17
  • Defeated Souderton 14-8


  • Defeated Norristown 49-7
  • Defeated Council Rock South 35-14
  • Defeated Hatboro-Horsham 38-19


  • Lost to Central Bucks East 16-10
  • Lost to North Penn 31-7
  • Lost to Pennsbury 38-32


  • Lost to Central Bucks East 24-23
  • Lost to Council Rock North 41-31
  • Lost to Neshaminy 31-17

Stat Track:
     Pennridge – 27.8 points per game * 18.3 points allowed per game * + 9.5 margin of victory
     Quakertown – 34.1 points per game * 13.5 points allowed per game * + 20.6 margin of victory

 Players To Watch:
     Pennridge –
Devon Balmer, Ryan Cuthbert & Nick Hirsch.
     Quakertown – Rob Burns, Nick Bonomo & Tom Garlick.

 Pennridge Head Coach Jeff Hollenbach says: “This will be the first Thanksgiving home game at Pennridge not played at Poppy Yoder Field, and it would have been awesome if we could have played there this year.  We are happy with the transition to the new field at the high school, and it does feel like home.  The team was frustrated not to make the (district) playoffs – frustrated that we lost to Quakertown (twice) last year – and we are going to be ready to play.”

Abington Ghosts (1-9) @ Cheltenham Panthers (4-7)
Thanksgiving Morning – November 26, 2015, 10:30 am

This will be the 94th meeting between Abington and Cheltenham with the Ghosts holding a 57-30-6 series lead.
Last Thanksgiving:
   Abingtonled 6-0 at the close of the first half and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to secure a 21-0 victory over the visiting Panthers.
Season Resume:
Abington finished the season as the seventh place finisher in the SOL National Conference.
    Cheltenham finished the season as the fourth place finisher in the SOL American Conference.
Signature Wins:

  • Defeated Bensalem 36-35


  • Defeated Upper Merion 22-14
  • Defeated Springfield 26-7
  • Defeated Wissahickon 30-14



  • Lost to Souderton 42-41
  • Lost to Upper Dublin 63-14
  • Lost to Northeast 21-14


  • Lost to Plymouth Whitemarsh 35-14
  • Lost to Upper Dublin 42-6
  • Lost to Truman 29-28

Stat Track:
     Abington – 21.2 points per game * 42.8 points allowed per game * - 21.6 margin
     Cheltenham – 18.1 points per game * 29.1 points allowed per game * - 12.0 margin
Players To Watch:
     Abington –
David Kretscham, George Reid & Darryl Davis-McNeil
     Cheltenham – Yasin Abdul-Haqq, Branden Mack & Matt Tuszi.
Abington Head Coach Tim Sorber says:  “This Abington-Cheltenham series began in 1915, but this isn’t the 100th meeting.   There were some years (1943, 1946, 1947, 1995 & 2006) when the two schools didn’t play.  This game is very important to the kids – our two biggest neighborhood rivalries are Cheltenham and Upper Dublin, and unfortunately, neither one plays in our league.  Cheltenham looks very good on film and (Branden) Mack is a dual threat at quarterback and can make plays.”
Cheltenham Head Coach Joe Gro says:  “This game has always had a great tradition – and it is a game that really involves the community.  I have been involved in Thanksgiving Day games since I was a little kid – it just seems right to play football on Thanksgiving.  It can be a sad sendoff for the seniors – but it is a right of passage – and they are getting themselves ready for the rest of their lives.  I have a bunch of nice kids on this team.”

Norristown Eagles (4-7) @ Upper Merion Vikings (4-7)
Thanksgiving Morning – November 26, 2015, 10 am

This series – which was suspended in 1989 – will resume with both teams owning a 15-15-5 record.
Season Resume:
     Norristown finished the season as the sixth place finisher in the Suburban One League Continental Conference.
     Upper Merion finished the season as the seventh place finisher in the Suburban One League American Conference.

Signature Wins:

  • Defeated Council Rock North 44-43
  • Defeated Methacton 43-13
  • Defeated Wissahickon 38-13

     Upper Merion

  • Defeated Harriton 29-13
  • Defeated Sun Valley 14-13
  • Defeated Wissahickon 18-6



  • Lost to Central Bucks West 31-28
  • Lost to Truman 28-25
  • Lost to Plymouth Whitemarsh 20-16

     Upper Merion

  • Lost to Upper Moreland 22-21
  • Lost to Springfield 33-20
  • Lost to Hatboro-Horsham 30-6

Stat Track:
     Norristown – 26.1 points per game * 29.1 points allowed per game * - 3.0 margin
     Upper Merion – 17.3 points per game * 23.6 points allowed per game * - 6.3 margin
Players To Watch:
     Norristown –
Khalif Sinclair, Desmond Gorski & Corey Davenport.
     Upper Merion – Isaiah Graham Mobley, Jarrett Quinn & Kori Smith.
Norristown Head Coach Jason Powel says:  “We haven’t played this game since 1988, and both communities are excited about having the tradition back.  The players don’t really understand how big this game was back in a day – and we are going to have to educate them about that tradition.  We are excited about going to the PAC-10 next year – the players are anxious to begin rivalries with the Spring-Ford’s and the Perk Valley’s.”

Truman Tigers (5-6) @ Conwell-Egan Eagles (5-5)
Thanksgiving Morning – November 26, 2015, 10 am

This will be the 11th meeting between Truman and Egan – and the series is tied at 5-5.
Last Thanksgiving:
     Truman led 17-0 at halftime and the Tigers roared to a 24-0 victory.
Season Resume:
Truman finished the season in sixth place in the SOL Continental Conference.
     Conwell-Egan finished the season in third place in the Philadelphia Catholic League AA Division.
Signature Wins:

  • Defeated West Chester Rustin 28-14
  • Defeated Cheltenham 29-28
  • Defeated Norristown 28-25


  • Defeated Archbishop Carroll 6-0
  • Defeated Martin Luther King 14-6
  • Defeated Neumann-Goretti 32-0



  • Lost to Upper Dublin 38-7
  • Lost to Council Rock North 34-15
  • Lost to Central Bucks East 19-7


  • Lost to Upper Moreland 20-10
  • Lost to Hatboro-Horsham 42-14
  • Lost to West Catholic 23-6

Stat Track: 
     Truman – 18.5 points per game * 27.6 points allowed per game * - 9.1 margin
     Conwell-Egan – 18.1 points per game * 15.0 points allowed per game * + 3.1 margin of victory
Players To Watch:
     Truman –
Justin Fant, Jordan Freeman & Quentin Mulbah.
     Conwell-Egan – Kendall Jones, Kyree Bronson & Jarrett Patman.
Truman Head Coach Jon Craig says:  “The game with Egan is always a game that our seniors look forward to playing.  It gives us a chance to win four in a row and get to 6-6 for the season.  We are feeling good about how we are playing – but Egan is having a decent year and isn’t going to hand it to us.  The game always provides a great environment with a ton of people at the game.  It is great for the community – and for the players.”

Top Ten
1.  Upper Dublin Cardinals (12-0)
2.  North Penn Knights (10-2)
3.  Neshaminy Redskins (9-3)
4.  Pennsbury Falcons (9-3)
5.  Quakertown Panthers (9-3)
6.  Central Bucks East Patriots (8-3)
7.  Pennridge Rams (8-3)
8.  Council Rock North Indians (7-4)
9.  Upper Moreland Bears (10-2)
10.  Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials (8-3)