Crunch Time and Cold hit Playoff March
By Joe Stokes
This second week of the 2008 PIAA football playoffs is history and the home team higher seeds did very well. At the AAAA level, North Penn, Neshaminy, Garnet Valley and Downingtown West all advanced to this weekends District One semi finals.
Area fans will be treated to some red hot football and icy cold temperatures as they view this weekends show downs.
The top ranked teams on Ed Thomas’ Southeastern Pa Top Ten all did pretty well last week but now they face much tougher competition as the higher seeds in each PIAA level must face off in the final few weeks of 2008.
Over the last two seasons a little bit of observation and a lot of luck have allowed this writer a prediction record of 105-36. This season has been a little tough but a 41-19 prediction record going into the thirteenth week is fine given how closely matched these football programs have become.
Last weekend Neshaminy, North Penn and LaSalle all won as predicted while Pennsbury and Conestoga did not come through with what would have been upset victories.
Now we get to this weekend’s clash of the football titans. Although Garnet Valley fought through a tough second half to defeat Pennsbury 14-12, they must now defend home field advantage against the high powered attack from the Neshaminy Red Skins. In addition to Neshaminy’s relentless offense the Jags will be running into a very stingy defense that held Ridley to just 215 total yards on their way to a 31-3 win over the always prepared Green Raiders. Look for Byran Dean and his fellow Skins to take control early.
Prediction: Neshaminy 34 Garnet Valley 21
The North Penn Knights might be slow to start but once they warm up they are impossible to stop. With Ronnie Akins and Tyler Smith in the backfield Downingtown West is in for a long night. This contest is scheduled for live TV broadcast on Comcast Channel CN 8 locally on Friday night.
Prediction: North Penn 31 Downingtown West 14
The LaSalle Explorers out lasted two tough opponents to win the Philadelphia Catholic League (District 12) Championship. Their impressive wins over St Joseph Prep and Father Judge will make them a team to watch in the Catholic League’s first year in the PIAA playoff scheme. They must first beat Public League Champion George Washington for the city title. LaSalle will follow the leadership of quarterback Drew Loughery to another impressive win. This game will be televised live by channel 6 WPVI in Philadelphia Saturday at noon.
Prediction: LaSalle 38 George Washington 14
Here is the rest of the fearless forecast:
Prediction: Upper Moreland 27 WC Rustin 21
Prediction: Wilson West Lawn 31 Bishop McDevitt 28
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