Early leaders in District One
Although we are just entering week three of the 2014 high school football season it is never too soon to check which teams are breaking out of the gate in a fast pace.
There is a lot of early season chatter about the Pennsbury Falcons of Suburban One League National Conference. They have opened the season with big wins over Council Rock South and Frankford but many suggest we won’t be sure how good the Falcons are until we see the results of their games with Abington, North Penn and Pennridge.
Another team that is on an early season roll is the West Chester Rustin Golden Knights of the Chest-Mont League American Division. The Knights have also jumped out quickly with victories over Methacton and a one point squeaker over cross town rival West Chester Henderson. Downingtown East and Unionville are future opponents that could break Rustin’s smooth stride.
The Downingtown East Cougars have roared out of the starting block with impressive wins over Roman Catholic and Frankford. We really won’t know how sharp the Cougar’s claws will be until we see them play against Haverford School, Coatesville and Downingtown West.
The fourth team on the list today is an old favorite to be on top any given year and that is none other than the North Penn Knights of Suburban One National Conference. The Knights stumbled to a 29-7 opening night loss to La Salle but bounced back for an overtime win over a tough West Catholic squad in week two. North Penn has proved year after year that they cannot be overlooked even with some early season setbacks. They have a rough schedule ahead with Archbishop Wood, Pennridge and Pennsbury all ready to rumble.
The last team on today’s list is Coatesville of Ches-Mont National Division. The Red Raiders may have many new faces on the field but tell that to Martin Luther King High School and Central Bucks South both early season victims of the high powered Raider offense. Coatesville won’t have an easy ride with Downingtown West, Roman Catholic and West Chester Henderson all scheduled in the next few weeks.
We have checked out just a few of the many teams that will vie for District One honors, how about some predictions for games this weekend.
The last eight years the prognostication record stands at 368-158 while going 4-1 for last week’s picks. Downingtown West, West Chester Rustin, Conestoga and Bonner Prendie all won as predicted with North Penn’s overtime win over West Catholic as the only failed pick. Only top competitive games have been chosen for this fearless forecast.
One match-up close to my heart features a rather recent Central League rivalry between the Ridley Green Raiders and the Garnet Valley Jaguars. Being a Springfield (Delco) boy it seemed that if Ridley was not on top of the Central League something had really gone wrong that year. However in 2008 Garnet Valley entered the league and they were good enough to challenge Ridley’s almost thirty year dominance. While Strath Haven had grabbed a few league titles in recent years it was still Ridley that had the green mystique on their side. It did not take long for the Jaguars to make an impression with a 41-28 win in their first showdown in 2008. Garnet Valley has built a 5-2 series edge but Ridley never fades from a challenge. Coach Mike Ricci has a potent running attack led by Zach Nelson and Derrick West. The Jags used a great effort by the offensive line to overcome a riled up Upper Darby defense and came away with a 34-20 win last Friday night. Ridley will counter attack with the passing efforts of QB Jake Hoffman who passed for two TD’s in a tough 21-14 loss to Conestoga. This game is up for grabs but home field advantage works well on Friday night at Garnet Valley.
Garnet Valley 28 Ridley 17
The next game on the list of picks includes two undefeated teams from Suburban One League. The Abington Ghosts of the National Division took advantages of turnovers and the running performance of Juawine Sowell to defeat Plymouth Whitemarsh 23-8 last Friday. The Ghosts must face the Upper Dublin Cardinals of the American Division in what could be a very exciting contest. Upper Dublin needed last second defensive holds in their first two victories this season. Last Friday night it was an interception by corner back Matt Thompson that saved a 28-21 win over Truman. Ghosts should prevail but it won’t be easy.
Abington 24 Upper Dublin 21
The rest of this week’s fearless forecast
Archbishop Wood 31 North Penn 27
Coatesville 41 Roman Catholic 30
Downingtown East 17 Haverford School 13
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