Central League schedule analysis

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).

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About mattsmith

Matt Smith is an award-winning local sports writer for the Delaware County Times. A Delco native, Matt's covered local, pro and college sports at the Delco Times since 2006. In 2013, he won a Pennsylvania Keystone Press Award for Best Sports Coverage. He was runner up for a similar award in 2009 and also nominated 2011. Follow him on Twitter @DTMattSmith

21 thoughts on “Central League schedule analysis

    • Buc Fan: Please. In the future, don’t bother leaving these sort of mindless comments. They’ll be deleted.
      If something on here doesn’t interest you, skip it and and move on.
      Your comment implies that we ignore other leagues, which is a pretty asinine accusation. Go do a search and see how many blog posts there were on the Catholics and Del Val (especially AP & Interboro) last fall. DO NOT sit here and pretend we don’t write anything on those teams.
      Hang tight, everyone else. There’s plenty coming in August.

      • In buc fans defense I think he is anxious like myself to get on with the football groove. I definitely agree that you covered Interboro pretty well last year. Had you not, it would have been foolhardy seeing how their season turned out. Especially the post season. They definitely were the talk of the county. Keep up the great work!!

      • Matt I was making an observation…on a new year…but NOT just me, it is known that the paper favors the Central League…not a slight, just the way it is…you did a fantastic job on covering Interboro’s run last year and all the fans of the DelVal appreciate it…didn’t mean to get your feathers ruffled up…and I never said you don’t write anything about other leagues…you did!!! They, the Central, just seem to be always first…just my “mindless” opinion!!!

  1. Del-Val Analysis(Brief)

    I’m not sure why the need for the “pressure” on analyzing the Del Val. Fairly clear cut with one wildcard.

    AP is the reigning Del Val Champ and Interboro is the reigning District 1 Champ. They meet week 6 and it will most likely decide the Del Val Championship. Wild Card every year is Glen Mills and what delinquent youth they have shipped in. They are usually strong kids and as the season goes on they get better and better.

    Chichester is a gritty program who could jump on a team if the opposition comes in thinking it will be a cake walk. Nice to have a three starter at QB (I believe).

    Chester and Penn Wood will probably battle it out for the bottom of the league.

    Sound about right?

      • I always wondered why there were more teams in the Central league(12) compared to the Del Val(6)……..seems there are too many teams in the Central league and a more even distribution of teams would be in order…
        Matt what do you think the future holds for these 2 leagues in the future inorder for them to be able to compete with some of the Power houses out there at the State level. I don’t see anything in the future like the Strathhaven teams of the Mid 90′s.
        Do u see the 2 leagues merging to make a new league for the entire Delco area East and West Delco or North and South with a Final Championship game betweem the 2 division winners……18 teams with 2 divisions of 9

        Would be interesting

      • Both the Central League and Del-Val League crown a champion based on league records not on a championship game. Scheduling what you suggest would call for a total revamp of not only the two leagues but district playoffs.

        This won’t happen, plus a true Delco league would get rid of two central league teams.

        I believe academic status has been a focal point on why this hasn’t happened as well as concerns with other sports programs.

  2. My take: By 2023 (or a lot sooner), the Del Val will have dissipated and there will be something known as the Delaware County Athletic Conference, featuring 18 teams (including all former Del Val teams sans Chester and Glen Mills. Chester will be defunct) split into two divisions, the North & South.

    I know there are rumblings of this actually starting to happen, discussions between ADs and school board members, etc. This is all just my prediction, but it can happen.

    • Fact is, the Del Val (in most sports) is weak, outside of Chester/Penn Wood in boys hoops and the recent resurgence of AP, Glen Mills, Chichester in football.

      I tend to blame Sun Valley for this mess. Playing in the Ches-Mont League has done nothing but weaken the competitive balance in the league and, to this day, pissed off a lot of people. Sun Valley, for lack of better wording, “wanted out” of the Del Val because it didn’t want to be in a league with Chester, Penn Wood, AP and Glen Mills….

      I can’t tell you how many parents and coaches have rightfully complained about having to play in the Ches-Mont. In fact, I know families who have taken their kids to private schools like Episcopal (of course, an entrance exams(s) is required) because they wanted to be able to watch their kid play every day, and not have to travel 45 minutes to friggin’ Oxford.

      • I agree with many of your points here, although I think you forgot to mention (honest mistake, I’m sure) Interboro Football as one of (the very few) strengths of the Del-Val League. If you are going to count the recent resurgence of AP, GM, and Chi as a strength, you have to count the last 20 years of strong play by the Bucs as a strength for the league. I don’t want to belabor that point, because I know you didn’t purposefully leave them out of that list and wasn’t the main point of the post anyway.

        I agree with you 100% that the Del Val League is very weak top-to-bottom in almost every sport. I agree with 100% that Sun Valley’s decision to leave was horrible for them in many sports and helped weaken the Del-Val.

        To be quite honest with you, even though I personally would love to see a Delaware County Athletic Conference, especially for football, I doubt we ever will.

        One minor point, if that’s what you call the league, what happens to non-Delco Central League schools Conestoga, Lower Merion, and Harriton where none of the School Districts’ territory lies within Delco? What about West Chester Area SD and Unionville-Chadds Ford SD whose territories do lie partially in Delco (even though none of their High School’s are actually located in Delco and all of them compete in the Ches-Mont)? Also, what about Sun Valley? Penn-Delco School District lies entirely within Delaware County, but doesn’t compete either in the Del-Val or the Central, would they be a part of this merger? There are just some minor considerations because they are more semantics than anything else.

        The big barrier I see for this super-league forming is the attitude (for better or for worse) of the ADs/Administration of many Central League Schools toward many Del-Val League Schools. The same reasons that led Sun Valley to leaving the Del-Val are the ones that some Central League Admins will site as reasons not to invite Del-Val League schools to compete with them in this league. Some examples, are you really going to force the State Champion caliber Girls Lacrosse teams like Garnet Valley, Strath Haven, and Springfield to go to Sharon Hill and Lansdowne to play against AP and Penn Wood who barely field Girls Lacrosse teams. Are you going to force Garnet Valley’s 100 person football team (and all of their fans) to go to Kerr Field to play Penn Wood (where there isn’t a proper Visitor’s Locker Room). For that matter, where would Strath Haven’s 400 piece band set up at Kerr? How about the Garnet Valley or Strath Haven baseball teams having to play at Penn Wood and AP every year. For schedule comparison purpose, Interboro 10-runned AP and PW a combined 4 times this year, but then got 10-runned themselves by Strath Haven. Those games would be over in the third-inning every time. Upper Darby softball against Penn Wood, the list goes on and on. I hate to rail against Penn Wood, but they do not field strong programs in many sports.

        I personally just don’t see the Central League Admins and ADs wanting to force their teams to travel every year into Sharon Hill, Yeadon/Lansdowne, or Chester (if they do not close). I don’t agree with that mindset, but I think it is the mindset they have. Also, this merger would dilute the competition in many sports for them, and that is another reason they could site not to have the merger.

        Personally, I would love to see a true Delco sports league, especially in Football, but I just don’t see it happening. Hope I am wrong.

      • I purposely left Interboro out of my comment because their success is assumed. I’m talking about the last couple years, there has been more consistent competition in the Del Val with the emergence of AP and Glen Mills.

        (I guess moreso AP than Glen Mills. Interboro-AP is one of the best football rivalries in Delco right now because of AP is a legitimate program once again after years and years in the dark. That was my whole point.)

      • Yes, there are many hoops to jump through and logistics to hash out and the inevitable concerns about competitive balance. Not to mention, the discrimination toward low income school districts such as Academy Park, PW and Chester. It’s hard to say what the landscape will look like in 10 years, it’s just my whacky theory.

      • Perhaps more realistic is Sun Valley’s reentrance in the Del Val. That is probably more likely to happen…

    • Curious as to how you think they would split the two leagues?

      North: Radnor, Harriton, Lower Merion, Penncrest, Marple, Haverford, Upper Darby, Glen Mills, and Conestoga

      South: Academy Park, Garnet Valley, Chichester, Ridley, Interboro, Springfield, Strath Haven, Sun Valley, and Penn Wood

      Just took a look at a school district map and dropped Chester(just my opinion). By 2023 you may see mergers between some school districts as well, just because of costs.

  3. I was just pulling your leg on the Interboro commentary, I know that you know all about the Bucs’ success over the years. You are right that the addition of Glen Mills and the emergence of Academy Park as a threat has made Del-Val Football much more interesting over the past five seasons or so.

    Your lips to God’s ears as far as Sun Valley rejoining the Del-Val. It would really help the Del-Val all around (not that much in Football except for eliminating some scheduling issues, I would see them as a 4th or 5th place team in Del-Val Football, but would substantially boost the Del-Val in all Girls’ sports and many Boys’ sports). It would be the right decision all around, but I don’t know if I see it. It would take acknowledging a big error on their part, and I don’t think they are going to.

    I stand by my earlier comments about the feasibility of a Delco Athletic Conference. I think we are in agreement that it should exist and about many of the logistical issues and biases that are keeping it from happening. You are 100% correct that it is hard to see the future and hopefully there are some changes in circumstances/shifts in attitude that make it possible. Like I said, I don’t see it.

    Lastly, good luck covering all the camps in the next few weeks. It is nice that football season is finally here.

    • I think the most reasonable option would be bringing Sun Valley into the Central League. Their softball is a powerhouse. And their baseball team would easily be a frontrunner in a very weak Central League for baseball. They’d be better off for ALL sports in the central league rather than the Del Val. I just think the disparity between private vs. public continues to grow and separate each year.

      • Jeff, I agree with everything you said. Unfortunately the Central League has turned down many schools over the years, including SV.

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