You can't turn the ball over in any game, let alone a District One championship. You can't do it against any team, let alone a team that has consistently won District One like North Penn. Turning the ball over as many times as Rock South did in the game a
The first observation that would pop out is how much North Penn continues to improve each week in the playoffs. Whether it's the run defense or their offense, it just seems they're becoming more and more the North Penn that we expect to see at this time of year.
North Penn vs Neshaminy
Defense wins playoff football games, and the North Penn defense played lights out on Friday night versus Neshaminy. The North Penn defensive line, led by strong end Shayne Watson, shut down the Neshaminy running game. The linebacking corp, led by Ralph Reeves, lived in the Neshaminy backfield all night. Matt Smith and Danny Wynne played well and did a tremendous job of setting the edge.
Both Neshaminy and North Penn did a terrific job representing the SOL with convincing wins on the road. I covered the North Penn Bayard Rustin game, and I was extremely impressed with the North Penn offensive line, how the team responded to injuries, and how they got defensive in the second half. I love how they NEVER FLINCH!!!!
I cannot wait to cover the latest installment of the Neshaminy - North Penn saga. Two great programs that know each other inside and out, two programs that are currently playing their best football, and the two top programs in District 1.
For non-playoff teams where do they go from here?
When you assess total improvement from year to year, you look at wins and losses, and obviously, that's the bottom line and the most important statistic, but when you add in other factors, you can still see improvements in programs even though there may not have been an increase in the win column. In fact, there may have been a decrease in wins. You might see that as a team is looking to build its program - they might have to take a couple of steps back before taking that jump forward. In short, improvements and setbacks in the win-loss column can be both telling and misleading.
Last Friday night I watched Souderton convincingly beat Central Bucks East 35-14. Souderton quarterback Tanner Allem connected on some nice passes to Ry Yozallinas, and the Souderton backfield led by speedster Jaovon White ran exceptionally well against an improved CB East defense. I was particularly impressed with Souderton's offensive line.
On Friday night I had the opportunity to broadcast the East-West game for WNPV. As my partner Kyle Berger pointed out numerous times, when East meets West, you can throw out all of the records. The only thing that matters on that particular night are those two teams, and that specific episode of the rivalry. Kyle couldn't be more correct- for both of these teams, it is an October version of the Super Bowl.
Those who are not familiar with the game may not understand the emotion that surrounds this rivalry.
What makes this rivalry so great?
Thanks to television, we are trained to watch a football game in a specific fashion. Think about it. Try this little exercise in your mind. Close your eyes (after your read this) and visualize a typical football play being run. Okay, do it now.
Now what did you see? No doubt most of you visualized the quarterback center exchange, then either:
A. A pass with the ball in the quarterback's hands and then a throw to a receiver
B. A handoff to the running back
But in your made-up play, what was the offensive line doing? What was the offensive formation? How did the defense adjust? What kind of stunt did the defensive line run? What was the depth of the safety? Did the corners have inside or outside alignment?
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see three different teams for the first time this season. On Friday night I provided color commentary for the Lansdale Catholic-Pennridge game. As you might imagine, as the game progressed, Poppy Yoder field turned into a mud bowl. By the end of the game, there were 13 fumbles between the two teams. I was very impressed with sophomore running back Mike Class. Even with the poor conditions, Class was able to run for over 218 yards and two long touchdowns. More impressive than his numbers was his ability to make sharp cuts in the mud. This kid is going to be an excellent high school player. I was also impressed with the Pennridge offensive line. They pull and trap very well. For the second week in a row, the Pennridge defense played well against an option team.
Where are we at heading into league play?
Non-league schedules serve a purpose. Whether it's to provide "tune ups" or provide your player with a true test, teams enter into contracts with non-league opponents for specific purposes. There is a value to each game. Neither team would agree to schedule the other if they thought that they were getting the short end of the stick or if they were not getting anything out of it.
Sometimes it is difficult to compare teams after non-league play because the competition and purpose of each team is so diverse. But you can be certain that at this point the coaches know where their teams are at and where they feel their team will end up.