Way Too Early Look at SOL Continental Conference
Once again we have a parallel to the National Conference in that the top team in each conference lost the most talent of any team in the conference; but, with qualifications. That said there is an historical distinction between the two conferences. And that is that North Penn has dominated their division, however it was structured, since 2008. In the last 9 seasons the Knights have only 3 losses in the league, 2 to CB South and 1 to Pennridge. Only one time NP was not league champion or co-champion – 2012 when the Rams of Pennridge won it and the Knights lost to both the Titans and Rams.
It is hard to put the season to rest when you have just had one of the best teams in school history. I know – what about 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011? All were great Knights teams; I specified “one of”.
What made this one special was a record-setting QB in Reece Udinski who now holds the District One passing yardage record, and is only the second QB in the State to throw for 4000 yards in a season. With 4093 (or 4119, I have seen both in print) yards Reece sits second in the state to Ben Dinucci of Pine-Richland HS who threw for 4,269 yards in 2014. The third spot, 3,951 yards being set in 2012 is an indication that the passing game in high school football is growing in the most modern times; records set in 2012, 2014, and now 2016.
Reece himself has said, and it is certainly true, that he had to have good receivers to throw to and time to throw the ball; his record is indeed tied-in to the fine team around him.
By now it is well established that North Penn is a big, power-football school that reloads year-to-year with lots of interest and a well-established successful coaching cadre. But as with any sport anywhere else, annual results are not equal; although they tend to be on the high performing end.
I could not make a statement about “replacing” Udinski that would sound intelligent. He was that once-in-a-while athlete that comes to a school system; everyone is not a record-setter.
That said; Dick Beck and his staff will take who returns for 2017 from this year and the new faces, former frosh and JVs, and any new players that enter the school district, and mold a team with schemes that matches the skill sets and talents of the players. That is what all coaches must do, and the difference is in the talent available and many, many intangibles you cannot predict.
I have few sources of rosters anymore; newspapers doing pre-season reviews do not print rosters anymore like they used to; a shame, it would be a big help. Some high school websites have rosters; some do not. Programs are iffy these days, some games have them and some don’t. One program a man showed me at a game did not have the opposing team, just the home side. It greatly impacts what I can do, as I can get no idea of certain player’s grade level to know if they are back or not. I can only identify class level of those in the pre season newspaper accounts.
The Knights lose Udinski QB, receivers Johns and Hubler, RBs Drop and Dillon, three OL Chung, Cataldi, and Caputo from the offense. On defense the DL loses Vasger, Jasinski, and LaValla; LBs Drop and Johns; and DBs Hubler and Berry. Punter/Placekicker Kwortnik, too.
All conference from this squad included – Udinski QB (1st), Dillon RB (1st), Bevan OL (1st), Thomas TE (1st) LB (HM), Hubler WR (1st), Johns LB (1st) WR (2nd), Vasger DE (1st), Henley DB (1st) WR (HM), LaValla DL (2nd), Caputo OL (3rd), McNamara PK (3rd), & Drop LB (3rd). Those names underlined were juniors in 2016.
That is certainly a load of talent, but let’s see what we have left to build on. The “with qualifications” I mentioned earlier is the number of first-team all-conference picks (8) the Knights accomplished. There were in-conference teams that lost more experience overall.
Remember I have no access to frosh and JV results, no input on new people coming to the school (or leaving), and little idea of substitution during the past season. As such, I cannot predict a QB replacement from within or without the system. Same for both running backs, except a few rushing TDs were scored by an Andrews, Riccardi, Xavier Gorski, Jason Prince, and a Quallet. Whether these are various underclassmen that may serve in running back roles cannot be ascertained by me. We all know there will be some.
However, there are two good receivers returning for their senior seasons – Owen Thomas 6-4 210, and Justis Henley 5-11 155. Henley accounted for 931 yards on 54 receptions for 8 TDs (according to my rough culling from newspapers). Thomas had 4 TDs receiving plus he returned two picks for TDs, one of 34 yards and one for 90 yards from his LB post. And, note that they were the two Knights’ accorded all-conference honors on BOTH sides of the ball.
Rebuilding offensive lines seems to be a specialty at North Penn. It always seems to be successfully accomplished. Two returnees are Matt Bevan 5-11 200, and Ryan Cody 6-0 200. As juniors they were also the lightest offensive linemen, but while I only saw the Knights once, the Archbishop Wood Vikings proved what you could do with a lighter line through technique and rigid training. So on O for the Knights, the cupboard is not bare, just a little thin.
I mentioned the departing troops on both offense and defense above; returning to the D line is Joe Beck 5-11 175, and Ryan Cody (two-way lineman). Owen Thomas returns at LB and three DBs return – Henley, Dars Bowski 5-7 160, and A. J. Catanzaro 6-2 160.
I would speculate that Miss Kelly McNamara would return for placekicking duties for her senior season as she had 7 FGs and 57 PATs and good placement on kickoffs when instructed where to place them. She also had a sideline hit on a runner that went national media and perhaps international. Kelly has a unique opportunity for 2017; she is one of only two experienced conference returning placekickers, the other, at Tennent did not get many chances to kick.
Three teams in the conference returned more experience than the Knights at 11, but the Knights return the most all-conference choices at 7. Chief needs – QB, RBs, and punter.
To put anyone else in the Continental Conference number one preseason would be foolhardy. It may happen, but an in-conference loss is a rare occurrence for the Knights.
Central Bucks South. As was Bensalem in the National, the Titans’ were the pleasant surprise in the Continental. They ended three places higher than I had them figured for 2016.
Finishing 8-3, they had three quality losses. They only lost to North Penn (14-1), and Neshaminy (11-1) by almost identical scores, 13-42 and 14-42 respectively; and a Garnet Valley playoff loss (11-3) by a late single score 14-21.
The Titans’ lose senior QB Sam Thompson for 2017, but they had started the 2016 season with a dual-QB scheme that included junior Jack Johns as well. But Johns was dinged for most of the season, limiting his actual playing time. So at least a QB with some experience returns for 2017 for the Titans.
Not so for the RB positions as seniors Tyler Watson and Nate Norris logged 8 TDs apiece for the bulk of the rushing scoring in 2016. Norris was all 8 rushing, and Watson had 6 rushing and 2 receiving. The only rushing TD all season not scored by Watson, Norris, Thompson, or Johns was one by sophomore Jake Layer, a possible future RB (?)
Two seniors also received the bulk of the TD passes thrown by either Johns or Thompson – Cole Braccio and Casey Sloms, both WRs. They caught 6 of the 10 TD passes thrown, with three other receivers splitting the remaining four. Sloms also had an 80-yard kickoff return for a TD.
An experienced starting offensive line in 2016 consisted of five seniors; and an OL rebuilding process must begin for 2017. Lost to graduation were Letzia 6-0 225, Knapp 6-4, 330, Riotto 5-9 205, Madara 6-2 261, and Gaida 6-1 210.
The 2017 Titans’ offense will have to be rebuilt around QB Johns and one WR Jason Horvath; with a lot to replace. But again, it is not possible to detail subs that may have gained experience.
The defense fares a little better, returning DL Pat Fleisch 6-2 260, and Noah Collachi 6-0 246; while losing Jeremy Bass 6-0 254 and two-way OL/DL Sean Gaida.
The LB spots were the “Norris Bros” primarily in 2016. Senior Nate graduates and he was a load and quick from his LB slot. Brother Matt 6-0 215 should return for two more seasons.
Only two of five DBs return – Tom McLaughlin 5-11 175, junior in 2017, and Ryan Watson, 5-7 150 for his senior season.
The Titans lose their placekicker (Ridolfo), punter (Thompson); and return their kickoff man Owen Rhydderch.
All conference for the Titans for 2017 included Tyler Watson RB (1st) DB (1st), Knapp OL (1st), Collachi DL (1st), Nate Norris LB (1st), Matt Norris soph LB (2nd), Fleisch DE (2nd), Thompson QB (3rd) P (HM), Jeremy Bass OL (3rd), Braccio WR (3rd), John Madara DL (3rd), Ryan Watson DB (3rd), and Theo Riotto OL (HM).
The Titans return the second fewest experienced players (tie) at 7; and the third fewest all-conference players at 4. Chief needs – every offensive position except QB and one WR.
Roster size for the Titans was 85 for 2016; they are a big enough school to rebuild. But they return only 2 players on O and need to completely rebuild the offense. While the D returns only 5; four of those were some choice all-conference. The rebuilt offense will have to gel quickly to match the Titans’ 2016 record.
Central Bucks East. Funny thing about the Patriots’; last season (2015) I pondered on what effect their new stadium had in them going 8-3, their first winning season in 10 years!
So returning to 8-3 for 2016 may mean a real home field is an asset. Well, the stadium didn’t play a single down against an opposing team, so I kind of guess the returning talent and coaching staff won 8 games again. It did not surprise me, I picked the Patriots or Pennridge for 2-3 or 3-2 (place) overall for teams in this Conference. (The Pats’ are 8-3 at home over their first two seasons in the new stadium; coincidently with their record of 8-3 the past two seasons).
The Patriots’ were impressive last year, especially on defense (16.2 ppg, best since 2005). The D was not overly big, but they flew to the ball, gang tackled, and in the three games I saw them, appeared very well schooled on position and technique. They were “hitters” to a man. It was especially apparent against a much physically bigger Pennridge team late in the season.
The Pats’ starting QB was senior Matt Szczypiorski who threw for 13 scores, ran for two, and caught a pass from others for one. His backup was Evan O’Donnell who was in enough to throw three TD passes and run for another. But I can’t determine his class, so hopefully he was a junior or sophomore. He was not listed in pre-season newspapers and the online CB East roster carries no class year for players.
Junior Jack Elias is listed as a QB/RB and had two rushing TDs in 2016, so he is another possibility. And Chad Guzzi, a junior, was also listed as a QB, and had a rushing TD in 2016.
RBs lost to graduation were burner Myles King, Dakota Knipe, and Brian Stella. Elias returns at RB, listed at 5-8 135 in 2016.
Three of four WRs also depart to graduation, most importantly Wes Verbit, who snagged 11 TD receptions among other catches. The returning WR, Jake Novroski 5-11 155 had one TD catch for 2016.
NOTE: In hand culling performances from newspapers, I could not locate two CB East TDs – one against Methacton and one against North Penn. So if I gypped anyone in my narratives, please accept my apologies in advance.
Pre-season reports listed 6 OL, and 3 depart and 3 remain for 2017. Greatly missed will be Ryan Plank 6-3 220, and Nate Ventresca 5-11 185 who was only listed as DL in the pre-season listings. If ever there was a legacy name it is Ventresca in the Central Bucks School system. Five Ventresca brothers played for CB West in the 1980s and 1990s, and I likely saw most of them. One now coaches at CB East and there were 4 Ventresca’s (2 sons, 2 nephews) on the 2016 Patriot edition. Returning to the O line is Gavin Ventresca 6-2 205, sophomore, P. J. Szymanski 6-3 250 (1st team all conference), and Dylan Badger 5-11 260 (2nd team a-c). P. J. and Dylan return in 2017 as three-year starters.
It would appear that the O line will be the pre-season strength for the Pats with three strong returnees, while the skill positions, (I dislike the term – it takes a great deal of skill to properly play at the “grunt” positions; another distasteful term), will be the greener positions.
On the defensive side of the ball, 4 of 5 DL positions graduate; leaving Trent Petro 6-1 260 the lone returnee. But Trent was accorded 3rd team a-c DL, so he will be the man to build around. Missed will be 2015 top tacklers Nate Ventresca and Ryan Plank who were none the less effective in this season of 2016, but I have no numbers.
The linebacking corps is in good shape. No less than 4 of 6 return, and three of those were sophomores, bidding well for the future. Evan Dorsey 5-10 185 returns for his senior go around while sophomores Drew Bethke 6-3 190, Connor Martin 5-8 145, and Jack Kueny 5-10 170 return as juniors.
The DB situation is just the opposite, 2 of 6 return for 2017. They are Cody Ventresca 5-11 160 and Ryan Stout 5-6 150 (soph in 2016). Missed will be the speed in coverage of Myles King (3rd team DB a-c) and Matt McKenney (2nd team DB a-c). And senior Andrew Wilson also was HM all conference, good recognition for the Pats DB hitters.
Perhaps the team’s biggest loss for 2016 is the placekicker Barney Amor. Barney rightfully made 1st team all conference as both placekicker and punter. He was 39 for 39 on PATs. He was also first in the east on special teams with 10 of 16 FGs made, longest 50 yards, and a total of 69 points kicked, good for 13th in the east in total kicking points. He averaged 39.4 yards punting, and likely led the state as overall kicker. I have seen no mention of school records, but would believe that Barney Amor might possibly own some.
CB East 2016 all conference selections – First team: P J Szymanski OL, Wes Verbit WR, Barney Amor PK, Mike Melchiore DL, Barney Amor P. Second team: Dylan Badger OL, Brian Stella LB, Matt McKenney DB. Third team: Dakota Knipe RB, Nate Ventresca and Ryan Plank OL, Conor Larkin TE, Trent Petro DL, Ventresca and Plank DL, and Myles King DB.
Honorable Mention: Chad Guzzi RB, Jake Ventresca FRESHMAN RB, Mike Gresco DL, and Andrew Wilson DB.
The Patriots appear ready to challenge again in 2017. They return 14 experienced players, tie for second in the conference. And they return 6 all conference positions, second best in the conference. Possibly a QB with some experience, 3 running backs, and 3 offensive linemen are a lot of returning offense. Chief needs – kicker and defensive line.
Pennridge. The Rams were a bit of an enigma for 2016. I had the Rams for 2nd or 3rd behind or ahead of CB East, but CB South’s rise and other factors negated my prediction. The Rams returned a QB from the state of Georgia after starting there for two years, a couple of prime linebackers in Joe Robinson (81 tackles in 2015), and Nick Tarburton (100 tackles in 2015); along with (perhaps – I did not compare team “tonnage”) the biggest physical team in either SOL conference.
But you have to review the “intangibles” I mentioned above to get a picture for this squad. They posted a 6-6 .500 season. The losses were to 11-1 Neshaminy, twice- both close; 12-1 Perkiomen Valley; 14-1 North Penn; 8-3 CB South close; and 8-3 CB East, 0-35 which I saw and was a bit surprised at the gap. The Rams came to Holicong for CB East with heavy hearts due to a tragedy in the system, and also a dinged Nick Tarburton that was aggravated during the game; he did not play much in the second half, if at all. I saw a totally different Ram squad the following week at Neshaminy in the playoffs where they gave the Skins all they could handle in a 5-point loss. They capped the season and obtained a 6-6 breakeven season by defeating an equally decent Quakertown team that came in riding a 5-game win streak and also ended 6-6.
Let us see who is back and who is not for the 2017 tour.
Departing senior Jagger Hartshorn was a one-man wrecking crew at QB for the Rams last season. A two-way threat, he threw for 8 TDs and ran for 15; plus received a pass for another. Twenty-four TDs from your QB is nice production. But before I knew about his return from Georgia last season, I thought 6-5, 220 pound Oliver Jarvis would be QB projected from the 2015 Rams’ roster. I was not totally wrong because in very late season games, Jarvis was indeed the QB, and I have to assume the heir apparent for 2017.
He has the size and arm strength to be a good one if the other QB mechanics are there. He operated from QB the last two games of the season and he looked capable in the playoff game against Neshaminy where I saw him.
Speed and power return to the running back positions in Josh Pinkney 5-5 145 speed burner, and Nick Tarburton FB 6-3 245 bull of a back that could prove hard to bring down. Pinkney had 5 rushing and 1 receiving TDs last season and Tarburton had 3 rushing and 2 receiving.
Both WRs graduated and will be missed. Ryan Cuthbert had 4 receptions for TDs and Anthony Kelly had 3 TD receptions and threw a TD pass. Several underclassmen show “wide receiver” as their position; none of them scored, however they may have gotten some experience.
They are Tucker Chaikin junior 6-0 165, Jack Goddess sophomore 6-1, 175, Andrew Nace junior 5-4 146, and Adam Yeager junior 6-0 185.
The OL loses three to graduation – Tom Koch, Timmy Schneider, and Dylan Anton. Two of the three received all conference honors which I will post in total later. Returning to anchor the OL will be Randy Bahmueller 6-1 265, and Ryan Rapp 6-0 225. Rapp also made an a-c team. Catching my eye on the Rams’ roster was one Zach Tarburton, a 6-3 245 pound sophomore OT/DT that would seem to be gene-related to Nick, and might be good news for the Rams.
Overall, the Rams look to have a nucleus for the offense coming into the new season.
The defensive side looks a little more depleted with possibly 9 of the 11 game positions needing rebuilding plus finding a replacement for the fine placekicker/punter Matt Mauer who received all conference honors in both positions.
Oliver Jarvis would be the one returning defensive lineman, but if he does become the starting QB it is doubtful he will remain at DE also. Koch, Alex Schmidt, and Anton departed. Schmidt received all conference DE honors, while the other two made OL honors.
The Rams roster is loaded with potential underclass defensive tackles and ends, it is a matter of experience and skill sets for those who make the slots. Zach Tarburton 6-3 245 DT should be a candidate as a junior. Ryan Rapp, OL for 2016 also lists as a DT at 6-0 225. Seth Kerrigan will be a junior, listed in 2016 as 6-0 215 as OG/DE. And Joel Hartzel a sophomore in 2016 lists as a 6-1 240 OT/DT.
Although a major return to LB is Nick Tarburton, two other experienced LBs depart – Joe Robinson and Jackson Henry who, with Nick; were a very experienced trio.
Four or five underclassmen list LB as their defensive choice and there will be a lack of experience to some degree in the second line of defense for 2017.
Cuthbert, Kelly, and PJ Brown depart three of the four DB positions to graduation and Joe Devine 5-11,160 returns for his senior season. Here too a rebuilding process must be initiated. Only the Rams’ staff knows who they got a look at, or may be a prospect, from the list of roster underclassmen ascribing to a safety or cornerback position. There are many to choose from.
These kinds of decisions are best helped by a big team roster. We discuss on our websites time to time the advantage of the “big schools”. Discounting the smallest school classes, which are somewhat beyond large rosters (Bishop Guilfoyle [A] and Southern Columbia [AA] excepted); for the largest schools, the numbers game can be seen in results over history.
But we know too that school size is not a panacea to state championships either; cite Reading, Northeast (Philly), and Allentown Allen, for examples.
The Rams seem to continue to have numbers and size, although the roster at 63 was a bit below the 76 or so for 2015. Hopefully the numbers continue for the Rams.
Pennridge all conference selections – First team: Tom Koch OL, Nick Tarburton LB, Joe Robinson LB, Alex Schmidt DE, and Ryan Cuthbert DB. Second team: Jagger Hartshorn QB, Josh Pinkney RB, Ryan Rapp OL, and Matt Mauer PK. Third team: Austin Herrlinger RB, Joe Robinson RB, Dylan Anton OL, Jackson Henry LB, and Matt Mauer P. Honorable Mention: Jackson Henry OL, Cuthbert & Anthony Kelly WR, and Kelly also DB.
The Rams’ lost the most to graduation in numbers in the conference (in both conferences actually). They return 6 positions of experience (last in both conferences) and 3 positions of all-conference selection in 2016 (second-to-last) in both conferences. But that said they do have a QB, 2 RBs, and 2 OL returning on offense. The D needs rebuilding; returning just 1 or 2 players. On paper it appeared that 2016 was the Rams year, but with a big roster, good coaching, and Nick Tarburton as a nucleus, the 2017 Rams still might be a tough out.
Souderton. The Indians, or Big Red sometimes, are the most removed from me in this conference and in my long-time handwritten records. I have seen Souderton 13 times in history, the first in 1959 at Neshaminy but versus Council Rock who was using the Redskin facility as home field that season. I had visited the old field in Souderton at East Broad Street and North School Lane three times. The last time I was there was for the 1991 CB West at Souderton game. I picked the Indians up for my records only in 2014 with the latest league realignment.
Coming off of two consecutive 4-6 seasons for 2016, I predicted the Indians had a solid returning cast and should improve. Six and 5 is an improvement indeed, and the Indians made the first ever class 6A District 1 playoffs as well. Two swing games for Souderton were CB South and CB East, close losses of 0-7 and 36-37. Ten more offensive points meant the difference from a 6-5 to 8-3 season, a record the two Central Bucks schools mentioned achieved. This 2017 Big Red squad was better than the record reveals.
A big reason was the record-setting running back, senior Koby Khan. Khan, a 6-0 232 bruising back ran for 1530 yards and 20 touchdowns, 18 rushing and 2 receiving (1820 all purpose yards). I believe Koby established a school season rushing record, and perhaps a career school rushing record, but I cannot find a posting to confirm it.
The rest of the team scored 22 TDs, and that is the way it is when you have a “go to” guy.
Another weapon was third-year starting QB Joe Curotto 6-0 205 senior. Joe added 9 passing TDs and 5 rushing to his all purpose yards and hit 7 different receivers. These were the two big weapons for the Big Red in 2016, but you can’t operate without team support.
The cost to the coming 2017 season was that this was a senior laden ballclub, at least in pre-season projected starters. We have mentioned departing seniors Khan and Curotto.
Two other running backs were also seniors – Camerin Carroll 5-9 147 who added two rushing TDs, a pass reception TD, and an 87-yard kickoff return TD. And Brandon Taragna 5-10 170 RB who added 6 rushing and 2 receiving TDs; and a 2 point PAT dash.
WRs listed were a senior Shane Day 6-1 183 (1 receiving TD), and junior Austin Miller 5-6 160 who had one TD reception for 2016. Three seniors depart the OL – Andrew Stein, Lucas Carreras, and Jack Morgan; and two juniors return – Trevor Watts 6-3, 255 and Jacob Myers 6-3, 348. They were the two largest O linemen in 2016 per pre-season listings.
The 2016 Souderton roster carried 64, and the sixties is becoming commonplace in some of the biggest schools nowadays. The scoring offense was decimated, with seniors accounting for 48 touchdowns out of 50 scored for the season.
Backup QB Dean DiPisa 6-2 210 junior was predicted to get some snaps in 2016 pre season chat and appears to be a candidate for QB for 2017. Two sophomore QBs dotted the 2016 roster – Kyle Walker 5-10 145, and Tre Samuels 6-1 176.
Three new RBs must be installed and I can get no clue from game accounts, it seems that Khan, Taragna, and Carroll were always on the field; at least did all of the scoring. There are eight potential underclassmen backs on the roster; likely they will be in-house replacements.
So it would seem that the entire 2017 offense would be green except one WR and two OL.
The defensive side of the ball is the same story. It appears they will need all green troops except one DB and two DL. The LB corps is wiped out to a man – Khan, Blessing, Morgan, and Voss all were seniors; as well as Bryce Collingwood, an all-conference selection not marked as a 2016 pre-season starter.
The DL returns Tycier Goods 6-0 225 and Manny Brown 5-9 277, a senior and junior in 2017 respectively. And of four DBs, only Kyle Walker 5-7 140 sophomore in 2016 returns.
As you might guess, both the team placekicker Dylan Molyneaux and punter Zach Bradshaw were seniors and gone for 2017.
Souderton all conference for 2016 – First team: Koby Khan RB, Trevor Watts OL, Andrew Stein DL. Second team: Brandon Taragna RB, Andrew Stein OL, James Malm TE, Tycier Goods DE, Jack Morgan LB, Shane Day DB. Third team: Shane Day WR, Trevor Watts DL, Bryce Collingwood LB.
Honorable Mention: Joe Curotto QB, Camerin Carroll RB, Lucas Carreras OL, Austin Moyer SOPHOMORE OL, Dylan Molyneaux PK, Manny Brown SOPHOMORE DL, Nick Blessing LB, Bret Vince LB, and Ben Yerk DB.
Returnees for Souderton are tied with the Rams and Titans; 7 in all, and 5 all-conference selectees in 2016. The offense looks to need a total rebuild around a little-experienced QB and two OL. Chief needs – offensive replacements and kicker.
It would appear to be a rebuilding year for the Indians. But there are a few returning players that made various all conference positions to build around. And in reality it is no different than every year for high school football teams; the Indians just need to come out and play football!
Central Bucks West. It is beginning to appear that the three high school system in the Central Bucks School District might be hurting CB West the most for football with the large talent split. By the same token, new coach Cathers has improved the record each of his two years by a win, inheriting a 2-7club and moving to 3-7 and then 4-6; and the roster of 80 for 2016 was healthy.
The Bucks’ swing game was likely Bensalem non-league, a close loss 21-28 that would have made a 5-5 season record with the rest of schedule playing out as it did.
The Bucks should return two QBs for their senior seasons, Ryan Moylan 6-0 190, and Joshua Crecca 5-10 155. In 2016 Moylan threw for 4 TDs and ran for 3; while Crecca had 5 passing TDs and one rushing TD. The Bucks’ may have the best QB situation for 2017, returning two with experience.
In addition, the primary rushing threat with eight TDs in 2016 returns for his senior season, Jake Reichwein, a 6-4 220 battering ram of a back. T. J. Rakowsky 6-0 200 also returns as a possible running back. Another junior in 2016, Luka Munari 5-9 165 saw enough action to cross the goal line twice rushing; the most of any other underclassman.
The O will miss WR Kevin O’Hanlon who hauled in 6 TD passes in 2016, but do return Nick Ferrentino 6-2 160 who had two TD receptions in 2016.
Of six projected starting offensive linemen, 3 depart and 3 remain for the 2017 season. Returning are James McGowan 6-5 225, Michael Taylor 6-1 210, and Jimmy McCann 5-11 245. In addition, tight end Luke Benson, a sophomore in 2016 was not listed as a starting player, but was accorded all-conference HM honors.
The returning CB West offense looks to be the most experienced in the conference with two QBs, three running backs, a wide receiver, and four offensive linemen coming back.
The defense will also return some assets for 2017. Only one of four D linemen returns, Michael Taylor, two-way player also an OL returnee. Taylor was a DE all conference HM player.
All three pre-season listed LBs return for 2017, Jake Reichwein, 2nd team a-c, TJ Rakowsky, HM a-c, and Don McCauley 6-1, 200.
It appears that Zane Williams 5-11 145 is the only returning DB for 2017, of four listed pre-season.
CB West All Conference for 2016 – First team: None. Second team: Chase Lorino OL, Kevin O’Hanlon WR, Cory Cepeda DL, Jake Reichwein LB, Frank Amsler DB, and Kenny Doak P. Third team: see below. HM: Jake Reichwein RB, James McGowan OL, Luke Benson TE, Michael Taylor DE, and T J Rakowsky LB. A third team LB Mike Glauber is listed as #44 for CB West on the all-conference listing, but he is not #44 on the roster, nor mentioned pre-season.
The Bucks return the most experience in the conference – 15; second most (tie) in either conference. Five were all-conference positions; third-best (tie) in the conference. The Bucks return the most players in the conference and it covers at least a part of every O and D position. Chief need – placekicker/punter. It appears the Bucks’ are honed to rise in 2017.
William Tennent. The Panthers had a rough tour in 2016; a no-win season is always frustrating. But they should take heart, it was a very inexperienced group and the 74-man roster is both sizable and loaded with underclassmen, including 13 freshmen. Only 18 seniors dotted the roster, and we will have to see the breakdown of returning talent.
Two sophomores shared QB duties in 2016, an example of the youth parade. The predicted soph QBs were Kip Mooney 6-1 180 with one pass TD and Jason Schweizerhof 5-9 170 also with one thrown pass TD. But senior Scott Herbert listed as TE/DL threw three TDs, so either from subbing at QB, or from trick plays did some scoring. Junior Mitchell Vierling also threw a TD pass and he is listed as a QB at 6-2 200, good size.
It would appear that HC Leo Plenski and staff tried various combinations as the youth and inexperience in general could not establish a consistent offensive flow and the 9.3 ppg average on offense at year’s end revealed that in bold relief. On the plus side, perhaps a great amount of players got good experience under trying circumstances.
Both RBs return for 2017; Sean Bragen, a returning junior and staple in 2015 did the bulk of the rushing and had 7 scores. Sam Forr 6-1 220 returns and was last year primarily a blocking fullback.
A good-sized WR returns as a junior, Ryan Savage 6-4 200.
Three of the O line were seniors but Jakob Banks 6-4 275, and Mike Baker 6-0 220 center return for their senior seasons.
On the defensive side of the ball the DL returns only one of four, Yusuf Aladinov 6-1 220. One LB also returns, a freshman in 2016- Quame Moore 6-1 200, highly touted, and could be a beast by his senior season.
Youth in the DB positions abounded with 3 of 4 returning including two-way RB Bragen, and two 2016 sophomores – Dan Goodz 5-9 175, and Eddie North 5-10 190.
Kicking duties should be in good hands with 2016 sophomore Dakota Wherrity handling both placekicking and punting, likely kickoffs as well. Recruited from the soccer team, hopefully there will be no schedule conflicts to prevent his appearing.
Teams that suffer 0-10 seasons seldom see many all-conference selections, and this is no exception this season for the Panthers. But RB Sean Bragen made second team and of course returns for 2017. Jakob Banks made HM offensive line and brings that back for 2017. Departing senior Gabe Morales was HM defensive end for 2016.
Special mention should be made for departing senior Ryan Stecklein 6-3 260. An all conference tackle in 2015, Ryan made this year’s a-c team on both sides of the ball as second team OL/DL. Kudos to Ryan for great recognition in a struggling year.
The Panthers return the second most (tie) in the conference for 2017. They return the least all- conference in both conferences at 2; not unusual for a team that goes winless. But they return some experience in every single position on the field for 2017 including 2 QBs, placekicker and punter. They should prove to be a tougher out in 2017, and should break the snide streak as well.
It would appear that based on returning experience and all-conference selections, the National may be the stronger of the two big SOL conferences this season. The teams in the National return 91 experience positions, the Continental 75. The National returns 50 all-conference choices, the Continental 32. It appears that the Continental teams, generally speaking, were the hardest hit by graduation.
Will the Knights be as good in 2017 just because they are “North Penn”?
Can the Titans’ rebuild the offense to match the results of 2016?
Can the Patriots’ maintain the “home stadium turnaround” begun in 2015?
Can the Rams’ rebuild after losing the most to graduation in both conferences?
Can the Indians’ rebuild the O with similar problems to both the Titans and Rams?
Will the Bucks’ match their potential with the most returning experience in their conference?
Will the Panthers’ snap the streak with some experience returning at every single position?
A possible 2017 finish:
- North Penn 2. CB East 3. CB West 4. Pennridge 5. CB South 6. Tennent 7. Souderton.
General note: These team capsules are meant for off-season reading, and should be taken with a grain of salt. At no time do I suppose I know something the capable coaches and staffs; players and administrations of the schools do not know. Nor will many of the readers not know. But it is an honest effort of what I saw in person and my interpretation of possible teams’ movement for 2017 based on the teams’2016 pre-season starting lineups, the teams’ all-conference selections, and known graduation losses, and prominent players returning. I can have no knowledge of players entering or leaving a school system, and very little knowledge of experience gained by players substituting in 2016. Many readers will have a better knowledge of the specific team they follow than I do, but hopefully; putting this compendium of each conference in writing will provide some insight and off-season reading.
Bucks County Courier Times/Intelligencer
Philly.com high school sports
team’s in narrative football home websites
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Share This Post: