The Season Begins
How is it possible that the 2009 high school football season is upon us in just two short days? It seems like yesterday that we were all excited about championship weekend in chocolate town. This year features great new talent with some seasoned seniors to guide their teams with the hope of reaching Hershey in December.
The first week of every season is almost impossible to predict. The turnover of talent is every coach’s challenge and early season nightmares are as sure as a hot day in August. Over the last three seasons this writer has compiled a 106-39 prediction record.
Each week the most competitive games will be highlighted and a fearless forecast will be featured with most attention to be given to District One.
Let’s start the 2009 prognostications with a look at the game between Penncrest of the Central League entertaining Downingtown West. Both squads had impressive seasons in 2008. The Penncrest Lions owned an 8-3 record with victories over Ridley and cross town rival Strath Haven in Central League showdowns. The Whippets of Downingtown West finished 11-2 with playoff wins over Coatesville and Conestoga before a final game loss to North Penn. The Lions will rely on senior quarterback Matt Atkinson and running back Jerry Boyer to lead this veteran squad. The Whippets also have an experienced QB with Bret Gillespie and running back Zac Scott. The Lions experience and home field advantage will be the key to their win this Friday.
Prediction: Penncrest 27 Downingtown West 21
Another key opening night contest has the Ridley Green Raiders traveling to Coatesville for their season opener. These two teams will be difficult to predict given that both will be led by new coaches this year. The Green Raiders welcome first year head coach Dennis Decker who as quarterback led Ridley to its only trip to Hershey in 1990. The Green Raiders fell to North Allegheny 21-14 in that championship game but Ridley fans will never forget the ride. Coatesville’s new coach Matt Ortega comes to the Raiders with 19 years under his belt as both a head and assistant coach. It appears Ridley will be small and fast as usual. Defense may well be the key with returning linebackers Casey DePrinzio and Vince Jennings holding down the fort. Coatesville may go as far as their experienced QB Charles Green can take them. Count on the Ridley Green Raider tradition to squeak out a close one.
Prediction: Ridley 24 Coatesville 20
The rest of the fearless forecast:
Prediction: North Penn 31 Bethlehem Liberty 14
Prediction: Strath Haven 27 Upper Moreland 17
Prediction: Interboro 20 Springfield (Delco) 13
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