Further analysis of the Suburban One Continental Division
North Penn. I see almost a parallel situation in this division to the National; a clear favorite and all of the rest. However, this division seems to have the credentials to be a little more competitive overall. And there are NO coaching changes compared to three in the National.
Four teams in this division return QBs, but the Knights’ Reece Udinski was first team all SOL division QB in 2015 as a junior. None of the other returning QBs placed on all league honors in 2015, but certainly bring experience back for 2016. The Knights also return three wide receivers, two of which were all SOL Continental last season. On the other hand, the Knights lost three strong running backs from 2015, and return a single O lineman.
On the defensive side of the ball four projected starters’ return, one defensive lineman who made all SOL Division honors in 2015. Both a placekicker and a punter need to be found, but the Knights usually come up with these.
The Knights school size and history since 1997 favors the ability to rebuild lines annually, find players to fill open positions, and more than anything; greatly improve as the season progresses. The philosophy of playing tough competition in early non-league games seems to work for North Penn.
The Knights do not return as much experience as several other schools in their division and that is why I earlier said the division might be competitive. But I think you have to give the edge to the Knights based on their history since 1997.
Pennridge, CB East, CB South, and Souderton to my view are the next four to sort out. And I think Pennridge or CB East could be in second and third spots. Neither team returns their QB; both teams return their placekicker/punters that made all SOL National honors in 2015. The Rams return 10 starters, 6 of which made SOL honors; the Patriots return 9 starters, 7 of which made all SOL honors. There is close similarities on paper. The two teams played to a 6-point double OT verdict in 2015, the Patriots getting the win.
Let’s take the Rams first. The Pennsbury-Pennridge video stream, a 38-32 Falcon victory was my only experience with the Rams for 2015.
I was certainly impressed with them, coming back from 38-6 to close it to a 6-point loss. And they were a team that had the physical size to go toe-to-toe with about anybody. The Rams had 71 players on their roster, 25 seniors, 25 juniors, and 21 sophomores. Nick Tarburton, a 6-3 217 lb TE/LB/FB and sophomore in 2015 looks like he will be a force to reckon with for the Rams.
The O returns 4; 2 were all SOL National. The D returns 6; 4 were all SOL National. They are spread out into all positions except QB. And 2 returnees are in the LB and DB categories. The Rams look to have some physical size returning for 2016 also.
Way too early, I like the Rams second, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a CB East challenge.
CB East. The Pats are a very close analysis on paper with the Rams. One thing I notice is that the Pats do not have experience back in all positions as the Rams. They have no returning RBs on O or LBs on D. But overall with 9 returnees and 7 all SOL honorees, they seem about equal to the Rams on paper.
Perhaps it will come down to which of the two develops the better QB for 2016?
The Patriots had 5 reserve QBs, 2 juniors and 3 sophomores on their 2015 roster. The Rams list only two, one junior and one sophomore. But the sophomore Oliver Jarvis 6-5, 220 (also DE) seems to have desirable height and bulk. For the Pats, sophomore Mitchell Vierling 6-1, 165 bears the same surname as Brad, an all-state CB East selection in 2004. If the name is not pure coincidence, perhaps some genes will be in evidence here for the Pats.
Both teams have established head coaches. It is hard to make a fine, clear distinction to place the two clubs; but I will say for now Pennridge second, CB East third.
The next two-group is CB South and Souderton.
Souderton returns 15 players, the most of any team in either Sub One big division. The problem is that the same was true last year when I predicted a big improvement for the Indians; and the same 4-6 year as the prior season was the result.
While I did not break the returnees down last season, this year every position returns someone except for the placekicker. The QB should return for a third season, a RB of SOL honors in 2015 returns, a wide receiver and 3 of five offensive linemen including one SOL honoree return. A placekicker must be found.
No other team numbers matches 9 returnees on D for the Indians. This includes 2 DL, 3 LBs and 3 DBs and the punter. One LB, one DB and the punter earned all SOL National honors last season.
There is enough experience back to place a better than 4-6 record for the 2016 Indians. I do not know what schedule changes will occur for the next season, but see a possibility of an improvement again in the Indians fate.
CB South. CB South is the 19th largest 6A school in Pennsylvania. Only North Penn and Pennridge are bigger in its realigned division. Proponents that claim that the biggest are always the best seem to have mislabeled the Titans. The twelve seasons it has existed have produced 4 winning records and 8 losing seasons.
The division of talent among three high schools in the same Central Buck School District seems to be the contributing factor. Neither of the other two schools has “disappeared” since the appearance of South.
A history of the Titans results with the teams now in its division shows the following: versus CBE 6-6; versus CBW 9-3; versus North Penn 3-7; versus Pennridge 4-6; versus Souderton 3-7; and versus Tennent 0-2 in the first two seasons for South, the only time they have met. This history would seem to bear out my placement of South behind North Penn, Pennridge, and Souderton, and with CBE it is even-up.
The Titans should have a returning QB for 2016, but little else, a total of 3 on offense and 3 on defense; and will need a placekicker and punter and wide receivers. No position description returns more than one player. One returning offensive lineman, one LB and one DB all were recipients of all SOL honors in 2015. Three on O and three on D is the smallest return total at 6 of any team in the Continental Division this year. Again, we do not know how much action subs got, or the results of the Titans JV or freshman or other feeder programs.
CB West. The Bucks’ are a year now under a new slate of coaches. Underclassmen stepping up this season should feel more comfortable with the whole situation. The returnee situation is about the same at CB West as CB South; CB West has 4 back on O and 4 back on D, but it is the kicker that is the fourth man in each case.
The Bucks had 77 on the roster, a look as in the “big days at West”. There were only 18 seniors which may mean that a lot of underclassmen got a chance for some playing time. Otherwise, the Bucks’ were the second most depleted Continental Division team with 8 returning players to CB South’s 6. The Bucks will need a QB, and 3 or 4 defensive linemen depending on the defense they play. All other player categories have at least one man back with the DBs having two. The placekicker/punter is back and he was an all SOL Continental pick as punter. One receiver and one LB were also all SOL honored, a total of three on the team.
Three sophomore QBs graced the Bucks’ 2015 roster. One caught my eye, Ryan Moylan 5-11 180. I am thinking genes here again as a Greg Moylan at QB led the 1991 Bucks’ to a state title. The Bucks’ may surprise and be much higher than the lowly spot I have them in a second full season in the new system and with what looks like a lot of interest in the program again.
William Tennent. As with the Bucks, the Panthers of William Tennent had a new coach and additionally a new spread offense and first-year QB the past season. Returning with this experience under their belt are 12 players of experience, the second highest total in the division. This includes the QB, 2 offensive linemen, and 2 wide receivers. Running backs are needed as well as a placekicker and punter. On the defensive side the entire 3-man defensive line returns, 2 linebackers and 2 defensive backs. But only two players, one OL and one LB gained all SOL honors last season. While this is not unusual for a 4-6 team; it puts the other 10 returnees into a question of just how much experience did they get?
Additionally the defensive side of the team gave up 30.7 points per game in 2015, and that needs repair. Although the offensive side only scored 18.2 points per game, that might be more expected with a new coach, new system, and new QB.
William Tennent is the smallest 6A school in the Suburban One large school divisions, but it is bigger than Garnet Valley and both Downingtowns’, so again do not rank size with power. It is just that the Panthers have never been a power football program as are MOST of the schools in Pennsylvania.
It has been ten years since the Panthers experienced even a mild 6-4 winning season. I hope the Panthers prove me wrong next season and climb the ladder more than I predicted.
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