Suburban One after the non-league schedule
(National and Continental Conferences)
I wrote an article in March on a very early look at Sub One, and I wanted to see how I fared after the non-league portion of the various teams schedules.
A few of Sub One teams still have a turkey-day game and some schedule contingency games for the 11th week or beyond; but basically, for playoff points gathering purposes, all teams play three non-league games to start the season and then play 7 league, or conference games to determine the league champion. The results of the ten games for each team determine playoff positions in District One for week eleven.
I have the greatest respect for every person that plays high school football, and all of the coaches, parents, and administrators that make it possible; so in the following discourse do not take anything as negative from the narrative; it is just a record of what has happened, and in some cases, the writer’s views as he negotiates yet another season.
Sub One National
In March I said the expected round-robin among Pennsbury, North Penn, and Neshaminy would be a most important ingredient in the league. This might still be true, but Abington-Pennridge-C B South might also be a fine round robin; and one of these three might just be more critical than Neshaminy. But they all have to play each and the expected matchups when this realignment was announced appear to be all they were hyped to be.
Abington, Pennridge, and Pennsbury have all posted 3-0 slates in their non-league encounters. The Ghost’s have beaten Northeast (D12), Plymouth-Whitemarsh, and Upper Dublin, a very valid 3-0; as Northeast was somewhat touted pre-season as were both P-W and Upper Dublin. Pennridge and Pennsbury have beaten foes with a collective record of 2-7 and 4-5 respectively; not earth-shattering, but wins are wins.
I said the Rams had to replace some strong senior talent from 2013, and they have scored exactly 35 points each game in winning their first three games against traditional foes (formerly league) Hatboro-Horsham (0-3), CB East (1-2), and CB West (1-2); all on the road. They now go to Crawford Stadium to meet the North Penn Knights (1-2) in what might be considered a “real test”. The Knights were almost expected to start the season 0-3 or 1-2 and they did and we know why. But as league play starts we will have to see just what those three non-league games meant. Despite records, I would think the Knights are favorites.
Abington journeys to Harry Franks Stadium to meet Neshaminy Friday night. They should be favored on record (3-0) to the Skins 1-2. But this is Heartbreak Ridge, and Tim Sorber will need to have the Ghosts rising for sure.
The game is important to Neshaminy after an 0-2 start to two very good teams; and then their first victory under Tom Frederick – decisively over a struggling Council Rock South program. I appeared correct about the very big losses to graduation that Neshaminy suffered from 2013, plus the loss of a 20-year coach and new head coach. But starting Friday night the Neshaminy players will start to show if I was wrong in my appraisal, or off base.
I was impressed with current Ghost QB Kretschman when I saw him in 2013; and this appears on target. I mentioned the ghosts always bring speed; pretty much a given. There is no doubt about Tim Sorber and his record at Abington. They are 3-0 now, and a win Friday night at Neshaminy will eliminate hurdle one, and keep the Ghosts at the top of the league with the other three league winners this Friday night.
I have seen two Pennsbury games so far. Yikes! Armand Vanore covered their last game and pretty much said it all. Without seeing anyone else in the National so far (except the Pennridge-Council Rock North scrimmage in August) I have to make the Falcons the favorite, as I had them in March.
They journey to Souderton Friday night. The Big Red surprised a few folks with a win over P-W their first time out. But they also lost to CB West (1-2) and then won over Wissahickon (1-2). So Souderton is 2-1, but I would think would be an underdog at home Friday night. I rarely see Souderton and do not know about the physicality of the defense, which I think will be a key. The ground and pound of Pennsbury is totally real this season with a huge offensive front and depth and speed, and an aerial game to boot. And size and speed is also a defensive asset for the Falcons this time around.
Central Bucks South has Josh Adams. Enough itself for some games, but they are the 4th biggest school in the National conference; and they have other talent also. At 2-1 they beat their sister schools CB East and CB West, and this is pretty much the way the strength in the CB system is thought to lay. But Coatesville proved too much in a 34-47 loss two weeks ago. The Titans host Bensalem in their league opener Friday and should be heavily favored.
The Owls of Bensalem were thought to have an uphill battle with the league realignment and it has appeared so even in the first three non-league games. I saw them open at Harry S. Truman and they appeared to have some numbers and size in the trenches. They may be young and inexperienced, I do not know. But inconsistency on both O and D stopped them this night and Truman won 40-13. Losses of 0-41 and 0-53 followed. I wish the Owls well going forward against a gauntlet of league foes.
I mentioned in March that the Continental Conference might be a most intriguing division with five new teams coming in. Per the non league experience, this appears to be the case.
Of the eight-team conference, one team is 3-0, four are 2-1, and three are 1-2. This fairly balanced picture is sure to change starting this Friday.
I had Council Rock North as the favorite here based on their fine QB Brandon McIlwain and the return of a few other stalwarts. But I saw the Pennridge-Rock North scrimmage in August and the Rock D appeared a bit undersized and I thought the Rams ran the ball effectively against it. This was more than echoed in the Pennsbury game last week when the Falcons dented the Rock D for 440 yards on the ground. But all of Rock’s opponents do not have the size and speed of Pennsbury, and McIlwain proved he is hard to handle with 3 TD passes and 75 yards rushing. Still a favorite, but it appears this conference will be no cakewalk.
My dark horse was Quakertown. At 3-0 (the only Cont. Conf. 3-0 team) I look good; but “just a minute my friend”, as Lee Corso says. The Panthers three opponents so far have a combined 1-8 log. Credit is due for every time a team wins a game they play for sure; but we have to hold in reserve for team records. In what should be a very interesting game, these Panthers host the William Tennent Panthers Friday night. Tennent is 2-1 and the record of their opponents played is an exact 1-8 as is Quakertown’s. Quakertown has outscored opponents 98-20; Tennent has outscored opponents 100-48. This matchup is an example of the balance I feel is in this conference. I would not have a clue as to who will win this one; go with the home team?
A team that might trouble some opponents this season is Harry S. Truman, incidentally, the largest school in this division. They looked good in their opener against Bensalem. They lost narrowly 21-28 to a good Upper Dublin club. They beat O’Hara (D12) 37-14; a team that has to be struggling under the tragedy that befell the school with the loss of beloved coach Algeo this year. The Tiger’s host Council Rock South Friday night in one of the games I might take in. The Golden Hawks lost to Pennsbury and Neshaminy and beat Bensalem, which is a scenario that a lot of teams might record. Although Rock South is 7-1 all time versus Truman and the last win (only win) in the series for Truman was 2005; Truman might bear the favorite roll at home Friday night. But it is a second example of balance in this conference.
Norristown was expected to struggle after seasons’ of 1-10 and 0-11 in the smallest Sub One American Conference. Surprise; the Eagles opened 2-0, and are 2-1 currently. Here too, the record of the teams they faced overall is 2-7 in nine games. The strongest opponent they met was Plymouth-Whitemarsh who at 0-2 beat the Eagles 35-6. So shall we say the jury is still out until they host CB West this Saturday at 1:00 PM?
At 1-2 C B West is still an unknown quantity. They beat larger Souderton. But they lost to Pennridge and sister school CB South; all of which were regular foes from the pre-realigned conferences. West lost a lot of talent from last year’s squad. Their next three is Norristown, Truman, and Council Rock South. Normally what you would call winnable for CB West; and the three may be the key to West’s season.
CB East in three games appears a mirror image of CB West. Both sport identical 1-2 records. Both lost to the same two teams; Pennridge – who beat West 35-23 and East 35-18, and CB South who beat West 41-14 and East 42-24. Both won their one game so far by a two-TD margin. Another example of what so far appears a wonderfully balanced conference. CB East travels to Council Rock North Friday night in another possible venue for me. I would think that Rock and McIlwain would prevail at home, but again, there is just enough “if” to possibly make this a fine game. Perhaps the Patriot’s have a big line and good pass defense?
Council Rock South is in the third year of a rebuilding stage after two great years in 2010 (11-2) and 2011 (12-2). Following two consecutive 2-8 tours in 2012 and 2013, the Golden Hawks are looking for better this season. I mentioned above that they are at Truman Friday night, a team they have handled in 7 of the 8 games they have met. But they will have to go all out this season as the Tigers look much improved over prior years, even last years’ 6-6 campaign.
In District One all games count because of the playoff points involved, but, as in other areas across the state, when league games start it boosts the interest and re-establishes old rivalries in some cases. I once again find myself wishing I could be at three different games at once this coming Friday night!
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