Enjoy and discuss.
Team: Ridley (5-0)
Last Week’s Super 7 Ranking: Third
Last Week’s Result: Defeated Harriton, 35-0
Combined Record of Opponents: 14-11
Contentions: The Green Raiders shut down one of the highest-scoring offenses in the Central League and, to date, have disposed of three teams with winning records (Haverford, Conestoga, Harriton).
Top to bottom, you can’t go wrong choosing Ridley, which is second in the county in average points allowed (10.6) and points scored (31.2). Further, the Green Raiders are averaging 311.8 yards of total offense, while holding teams to 208.6 yards. That’s a pretty impressive disparity.
After giving up 140 yards rushing in the season opener at Glen Mills, Ridley’s rush defense has held teams to no more than 91 rushing yards in a single game. Ridley’s bread and butter is its defensive front seven, which has limited ball carries to a paltry 2.7 yards per carry It helps to have two of the top linemen (Matt Sinex and Steve Plousis) and linebacker (Shane Dougherty) in the county.
In the secondary, they have three players with two interceptions (Jabree Savoy, Mike Crowley and Mike Smoluk), so they are very strong defensively in all facets.
Offensively, first-year quarterback Ed Hild has settled in nicely and running back Darren Washington is starting to show some real potential.
Team: Episcopal Academy (5-0)
Last Week’s Super 7 Ranking: Second
Last Week’s Result: Defeated Chichester, 49-0
Combined Record of Opponents: 11-12
Contentions: First, the counter-argument, and that is the Churchmen’s strength of schedule. Though Del Val Charter sits at 3-2, it is widely believed that Interboro (4-1) was their only true test of the season. And, well, they obviously passed with flying colors.
It’s unfair to suggest Episcopal wouldn’t nearly be as good had they played against teams such as Ridley, Garnet Valley and Springfield. That’s where things start to get nonsensical. Fact is, we’ll never know for sure how good Episcopal is compared to those aforementioned schools. However, they’ve more than earned the right to be labeled a legitimate winning squad, and a favorite to win the Inter-Ac League (which, admittedly, appears down this season).
By now, you know the deal: Episcopal is dominating anyone that steps its way. They hold a 225-7 scoring margin, and the averages for and against are far and away the best in the county.
Quarterback Adam Strouss has completed 64 percent of his passes (32-of-50) for 559 yards and has run the spread offense flawlessly. He has 11 touchdown passes against one interception and his yards-per-completion average is 17.4, which is tops in the county. Strouss also has rushed for 292 yards and seven TDs.
Wide receiver Ian Strain has 16 catches for 342 yards and six touchdowns. The team is loaded with athletes, including kicker/receiver/defensive back Quinn Hager, who is 30-for-31 in PAT opportunities.
On defense, the Churchmen are very similar to Ridley, stats-wise. It’s clear they’re the top two defensive squads in the county.
Team: Springfield (4-1)
Last Week’s Super 7 Ranking: Not ranked
Last Week’s Result: Defeated Garnet Valley, 35-25
Combined Record of Opponents: 13-12
Contentions: Due in large part to their victory over reigning Super 7 No. 1 Garnet Valley, the Cougars are part of this discussion, though it’s far more difficult to make a case in their favor.
Obviously, if I were ranking teams by quality wins, Springfield would take over the No.1 spot because, well, to be the best you have to beat the best, right?
The Cougars have won four in a row, including a pair of overtime victories against Harriton and Upper Darby, after dropping their season opener at home to Interboro.
Springfield is a dynamic run-first team. They’ve amassed a county-best 1,404 yards, highlighted by Cameron Durham, the Tim Tebow of Delco, who has 496 yards and seven touchdowns. Rob Murphy broke a string of four consecutive games of at least two rushing touchdowns last week. Only one team can boast two 400-yard runners after five games, and that’s Springfield.
Its offensive line is dominating the battles at the line of scrimmage. Nick Apostolu, a 6-5, 290-pound junior guard, is garnering serious Division I looks.
Springfield was taken out of the Super 7 because of an uneven performance versus Upper Darby. Yes, I expected much better than a three-point victory, because they are a superior team.
On the other side of the coin, they’ve been good at stopping the run, but no where as solid as Ridley and Episcopal. The Cougars’ biggest weakness is pass coverage, as they’ve allowed quarterbacks to complete about 50 percent of their passes for 822 yards — 164.4 per game.
Even if they’re not No. 1 this week, Springfield is back to what it was predicted to be in August — a District One Class AAA contender