Note: Opponents’ 2012 records are in parenthesis.
Garnet Valley (49-51): The Jaguars begin their Central League schedule with three consecutive road games (Upper Darby, Ridley, Radnor), and you have to figure they’ll be a favorite in at least two of those. They come home to face Marple Newtown and Penncrest, before travelling to Strath Haven. They finish the regular season with a road game against Haverford sandwiched between home dates with Harriton and Conestoga.
Nonleague Opponent: Unionville (Week 1).
Haverford (45-42): The Fords open with Penncrest at home, but will interrupt their Central League schedule with a Week 3 game at home against Neumann-Goretti. Of course, this anomaly is due to the Fords’ built-in Thanksgiving Day game with Upper Darby. The Fords have a tough following four weeks at Strath Haven, vs. Harriton, at Conestoga and at Springfield. After that, they host Lower Merion before hosting Garnet Valley and traveling to Ridley in back-to-back weeks. Those two games certainly will test the Fords’ mettle.
Nonleague Opponents: at C.R. North (Week 1); Neumann-Goretti (Week 3); at Avon Grove (Week 11 contingency game).
Marple Newtown (43-54): Based on last year’s won-loss records, the Tigers have a fairly easy schedule. Yeah, right. If only it was that simple. The Tigers host Strath Haven to kick off their Central League slate, and will alternate home-road games (at Harriton, vs. Upper Darby, at Garnet Valley) before coming home for two in a row to face Ridley and Radnor. They finish the year with three straight road contests against Penncrest, Springfield and Lower Merion.
Nonleague Opponent: Academy Park (Week 1).
Penncrest (50-49): The Lions are at Haverford in Week 2 and host Conestoga the following week, which is no easy task. Things lighten up the next week when they travel to Lower Merion (which always plays tough at home on Saturday mornings), before coming home to face Springfield Week 5. After that, the Lions go to Moe DeFrank Stadium to play Garnet Valley, a difficult two-game stretch. They’ll play at Radnor the next week before ending the year with three in a row at home (Marple Newtown, Ridley, Upper Darby).
Nonleague Opponent: at Upper Merion (Week 1);
Radnor (47-51): If the Raiders are going to turn things around this year, they’ll have a chance to do it with four straight home games, including their Week 1 neighborhood rivalry ”at Archbishop Carroll,” a game that is played at Radnor. The Central League slate starts with games against Harriton, Springfield and Garnet Valley. A 2-2 split would be considered a great success for a team that snapped a 20-game losing streak on the final week of 2012. They’ll finally open on the road Week 5 and Week 6 against Upper Darby and Marple Newtown, respectively, which isn’t too daunting on paper. Add in a home date the next week with Penncrest, and you have to think the Raiders have a good chance to play semi-decent football in the Central League. They finish at Ridley, at Strath Haven and at Lower Merion.
Nonleague Opponents: at Archbishop Carroll (Week 1); Valley Forge Military Academy (Week 9)
Ridley (42-56): It’s impossible to portend 2013 success based on 2012 records alone. With that said, the Green Raiders have the “easiest” Central League schedule going into the season. It doesn’t seem easy, though, considering the Green Raiders’ first three games are at Conestoga, vs. Garnet Valley and at Springfield. The Springfield game starts a stretch of four straight road dates, the most of any CL team. But that’s when the load lightens a little, as the Green Raiders go from Springfield to Lower Merion, Upper Darby and Marple Newtown, three teams that combined for a paltry 8-24 record in 2012. Ridley comes home to play Radnor (1-9) before hitting the road once more to take on Penncrest (3-8). Finally, on Nov. 1, the Green Raiders host Haverford High. Wouldn’t it be something if that game is for all the marbles?
Nonleague Opponents: Glen Mills (Week 1); Interboro (Thankgiving Day contingency game).
Springfield (45-53): The Cougars open with a home date against Lower Merion and at Radnor, two teams that combined for a 1-19 record in 2012. It gets tougher for the Cougars, who host Ridley in Week 4, travel to Penncrest in Week 5 and come home for two with Strath Haven and Haverford. They finish at Conestoga, vs. Marple Newtown and at Harriton.
Nonleague Opponent: at Interboro (Week 1).
Strath Haven (44-53): The Panthers start with two winnable games (based on 2012 performance) at Marple Newtown and home against Lower Merion, but the competition stiffens. The Panthers’ next four games: vs. Haverford, at Conestoga, at Springfield, vs. Garnet Valley, four teams that combined for a 30-15 record last fall. They can make up whatever ground is lost during that stretch with two on the road against Upper Darby and Harriton before ending the regular season with a home date with Radnor.
Nonleague Opponent: Dobbins Tech (Week 1).
Upper Darby (53-46): The Royals, like Haverford, have three nonleague contests: Bonner-Prendergast in Week 1, at Glen Mills in Week 3 and a contingency game at home with Penn Wood Nov. 8. In between, the Royals have one of the toughest Central League slates around. It starts Week 2 at home against Garnet Valley. After traveling to Marple Newtown Week 4 and a home date with Radnor Week 5, the Royals have a brutal stretch: Ridley, at Harriton, Strath Haven and Conestoga. Those teams went a combined 27-18 last year. They finish the Central League portion of their regular-season schedule at Penncrest Nov. 1.
Nonleague Opponents: Bonner-Prendergast (Week 1); at Glen Mills (Week 3); Penn Wood (Week 11 contingency game).