District One 6A Playoffs Week 4 Summary
District 1 Championship/State Quarterfinals
by Dave Ferris
This week’s game Friday 7:00 at North Penn (seeding in parenthesis)
(10) Garnet Valley 11-2 at (1) North Penn 13-0
North Penn is playing in its tenth D1 title game in 16 years. Garnet Valley is playing in its first since moving up to the largest classification in 2008. NP has won six D1 titles all under current coach Dick Beck who started at North Penn in 2002. NP is the biggest school in D1. Garnet Valley is one of the smallest. NP’s male enrollment is 1564 while GV’s is 608. This will be a David versus Goliath match-up. Garnet Valley is on a roll having beaten undefeated teams on the road in back-to-back playoff games. Now they face their third consecutive undefeated team in North Penn. The game will be played at Crawford Stadium where NP is 21-0 in the playoffs never having lost there. GV is going up against great odds. Theirs is a Cinderella story that is similar to Upper Dublin’s playoff run last year that resulted in UD defeating NP for their first District One title ever. Could North Penn succumb to the same fate two years running? Not likely, but stranger things have happened.
Common opponent: Haverford. North Penn beat them 56-7 in the first round of the playoffs November 4. Garnet Valley lost to them 34-28 OT in the seventh game of the regular season September 30.
Scoring margins: North Penn has outscored its playoff opponents 119-39. Garnet Valley has outscored theirs 107-55. Being the lower seed, GV has played a tougher playoff schedule.
North Penn key players: QB Reece Udinski, RB Nick Dillon, WR/RB/SS Ricky Johns
Garnet Valley key players: FB Matt Lassick, LB Dominic Bertone
Last week’s results
(1) North Penn 42, (4) Coatesville 25
North Penn appeared to be well prepared for this match-up as they controlled Coatesville’s outstanding speed with a good game plan and good execution on defense. As the game wore on, Coatesville seemed to sag and lose its swagger. Coatesville took early leads of 6-0 and 13-7. North Penn rebounded with TD’s on back-to-back possessions. They never lost the lead thereafter. The half ended at 21-7. North Penn scored the first three TD’s of the second half to make the score to 42-13 and seal the deal. NP QB, Reece Udinski, threw for 257 yards and a touchdown while his teammate, Nick Dillon ran for 135 yards and four TD’s. Udinski added to his record-breaking season yardage total of 3,367. Female kicker, Kelly Macnamara, was 6-for-6 on extra points for NP. Ricky Ortega, the freshman QB for Coatesville, is the son of head coach Matt Ortega. He threw for 219 yards and a touchdown. Coatesville will be a force next year with Aaron Young (15/135 yards rushing) and Avery Young (9/71 yards receiving) returning with Ortega . Coatesville finishes 11-2.
(10) Garnet Valley 44, (3) Perkiomen Valley 27
This game was a clash of high powered running verses high powered passing. The Garnet Valley running game easily prevailed and was surgical while methodically eating up 5, 10, 15, and 20 yard chunks of real estate. Junior fullback, Matt Lassik, ran for a game-high of 244 yards on 35 carries and four touchdowns. Garnet Valley, as a team, ran for 426 yards for the game. That was the most PV has given up all season. The defense was equal to the task contributing eight sacks in a dominating performance. Garnet Valley had a game-controlling 27 first downs to PV’s 17. Garnet Valley didn’t punt all game and they went 6-for-10 on third downs. GV led 21-14 at the half. They scored on the opening drive of the second half. They then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kick-off which led to a field goal and a 31-14 lead. That would be all GV would need for the upset. PV tried a desperation fake punt from their own 45 which worked for a TD late in the third quarter to give them some hope. They would score once more, but it was not enough to stem the GV tide. PV failed to make its first District One final appearance. They now have been stopped in the semifinals for the second time in four years. The Vikings fell to North Penn in the 2013 semifinals. PV QB Stephen Sturm’s outstanding career has ended with numerous league and state records for career TD’s (94), career yards (8,554), season yards (3,448) and season TD’s (42). For the game, he went 24 of 39 for 264 yards. Perk Valley finishes 12-1
The Road Ahead
There are eight teams left in the state who are vying for the first-ever 6A football championship. Parkland, last year’s finalist, will play #1 ranked St. Joe’s Prep. The winner takes a place in the Eastern PA final against the District One champ – North Penn or Garnet Valley.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic, last year’s 4A champ, takes on Williamsport the only 6A team in District 4. PCC is ranked second in the state. The winner will play the winner of Wilson West Lawn vs. Cumberland Valley for the right to play for the Western PA title.
If all plays out as expected, the PIAA will have its first all-Catholic big-school final – #1 St. Joes Prep vs. #2 PCC. That prediction would not be going out on a limb. St. Joe’s Prep and Pittsburgh Central Catholic have won the last three state championships between them.
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