Which Teams Advance?
By Joe Stokes
This first week of the 2008 PIAA football playoffs offered more than any fan could ask for in hard fought competition. The selection of a team to the higher seed and home field advantage offered no guarantee of victory as a few of those squads found out.
The first round saw several upsets in District One including wins by lower seeds Abington, Conestoga and Ridley. Those surprises have set up some great second round contests for us to analyze. The Ridley Green Raiders are defending District One champions but must travel to third seed Neshaminy this year to keep the dream alive.
The top ranked teams on Ed Thomas’ Southeastern Pa Top Ten faced some tough competition last week. However their rankings stood the test of time and they now must fight it out to keep their seasons alive.
Over the last two seasons a little bit of observation and a lot of luck have allowed this writer a prediction record of 105-36. This season is has been a little tough but a 38-17 prediction record going into the twelfth week is fine given how competitive these teams continue to be this season.
Last weekend Garnet Valley, WC Rustin and Pennsbury all won as predicted while Interboro and Glen Mills suffered playoff set backs despite this writers predicted victories.
The match up between Ridley at Neshaminy offers some interesting history in this AAAA showdown. The Skins have lost both meetings with the Ridley Green Raiders in 2002 and 2007. However this is the first time Ridley has had to travel to Neshaminy in playoff action. This may well be the difference along with the running tandem of Bryan Dean and Jay Corbert putting constant pressure on the always resilient Green Raider defense.
Prediction: Neshaminy 31 Ridley 28
The Pennsbury victory over Central League’s Penncrest broke the Suburban One’s 0-3 run against Central League teams on Friday night. They now must face Central League Champion Garnet Valley. This is going to be an upset win as quarterback Brandon Pepper is going to use not only his own great talent but the running skills of Richie Applegate and Dante Devine to surprise the home favorite Garnet Valley.
Prediction: Pennsbury 21 Garnet Valley 20
The Abington Galloping Ghosts forced several turnovers in their come from behind win over Glenn Mills last weekend. However that earned them trip to top seeded North Penn and they will not have an answer to Knights running back wonder Ronnie Atkins.
Prediction: North Penn 35 Abington 14
Here is the rest of the fearless forecast:
Prediction: LaSalle 27 Father Judge 20
Prediction: Conestoga 38 Downingtown West 35
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