Delco Football Mid-Season Report: What do we know?

The second half of the regular season begins tonight (before the start of districts, that is), so let’s highlight some of the biggest stories from the first five weeks. Here is what (I think) I know:

1. Ridley, Springfield and Garnet Valley are the top dogs in the Central League.

Coming into the year, Garnet Valley received most of the attention in our area. Truth be told, they were considered the only serious District One Class AAAA contender, with Ridley being a “team to watch.”

So far, it appears most prognosticators  — including yours truly — have either overrated Garnet or underestimated Ridley… or maybe a little bit a both. If Ridley can beat Garnet Valley, then we can start talking about Ridley’s chances to win districts. Right now the Raiders sit first in the district standings, meaning if they go 5-0 the rest of the way, they’ll probably earn the top seed. Remember what happened the last time Ridley was No. 1 in the district playoffs?

Springfield, meanwhile, has won four straight games. They have more holes than Ridley, for sure, but they’re still undefeated in the league. They struggle in pass coverage, whereas Ridley has excelled. Also, the Cougars have attempted the fewest passes (by far) of any team in the county, but speaking with Springfield coaches and players, I get the sense their passing game will help them in the weeks ahead.

If it came down to RIdley and Springfield playing for all the marbles a few weeks from now, it wouldn’t surprise me if Springfield comes out on top.

2. Episcopal and Sun Valley are the comeback kids

I’m not beating a dead horse. Everyone who reads this blog already knows what kind of team EA is, it’s now a matter of believing the hype. The only thing EA has left  to prove is going out and winning the league. Of course, the big test is Malvern Prep. Frankly, they should beat everyone else with relative ease.

As for Sun Valley, its turnaround is more impressive than Episcopal’s. The Vanguards haven’t been relevant in years, but they are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Ches-Mont. Quietly, Sun Valley has had a tremendous year, led by a solid offensive line corps, quarterback T.J. Mancini and running back Dan Griffin, the No. 1 rusher in Delco.

I still like Unionville to win that division, but Sun Valley has positioned itself pretty well for a District One Class AAA playoff spot.

3. Interboro is the favorite to win the Del Val League

It has been since 2009, but the Bucs have shown they have the most complete team in the league. While Glen Mills is the defending champ, not one player from that team is on this year’s Bulls team. Glen Mills has looked better as of late, but Interboro is stronger from top to bottom.

The only other viable contender is Academy Park, which is 4-1 (its only loss vs. Pennridge). They defeated Archmere on the road last week and posted a 32-0 shutout of Sun Valley. The Knights should qualify for districts, but the big question every year is can they beat Interboro. I

Chichester had so much to look forward to this year, but injuries and inconsistency have led to a 1-4 mark. I don’t think they’ll compete with Interboro, AP or Glen Mills.

4. O’Hara, Bonner are still not up to snuff

Though a young team with only three seniors, O’Hara has under-performed despite its 3-2 record.

Junior quarterback DaShawn Darden is having a productive year, and the Lions’ defense has been pretty solid, but have struggled to score points. O’Hara has scored more than 14 point only once.

They don’t have the horses to compete Wood and Lansdale Cathiolic in the PCL Class AAA. If O’Hara was a Class AA squad (which, based on enrollment figures, I believe he should), they would have a far better chance at winning a Catholic League title.

Same can be said for Bonner, which is sitting at 1-3.

Archbishop Carroll gets a lot of credit. Last week the Patriots routed Conwell-Egan, but West Catholic should give the Patriots a tougher challenge. Nonetheless, dropping to Class AA should prove very beneficial for Carroll .The once-proud program is slowly rebuilding from the ground up.

5. What I didn’t quite expect…

— I knew Haverford High would likely finish above .500, but so far the Fords are in a great spot in the Class AAAA disitrict standings. At 4-1, they have games with Conestoga and Garnet Valley, but if they win three of their next five, you can wipe out that scheduled Nov. 9 date with Avon Grove… The Fords would be off to the playoffs.

— Funny how Delco Christian started 2-0 without playing one single second of football. Two forfeits in the Knights’ first two games? You don’t see that every year.

— Episcopal and Sun Valley combined for three wins last year. This season, they’re 9-1. Not bad.

— Two Penncrest kids, Kevin Trusty and Dan Young, leading the county in receiving. Last time the Lions had such a prolific passing game was 2009, when QB Matt Atkinson and WR Matt Bundy were setting county records.

12 thoughts on “Delco Football Mid-Season Report: What do we know?

  1. Curious to hear your reasoning as to why O’Hara has “underperformed”. They lost to AW and LS, two of the best teams in the state of PA regardless of classification. Their offense has simply not performed which people who know the O’Hara roster expected but not to this extent. They have a harder schedule than most teams in the CL and EA have had. IMO, they would be right there against Ridley and Gv and most likely would beat EA and Springfield. Bold statements that I’m sure will get some heat. Their front seven has played admirably without arguably their best player in Nick Moriconi. Roberts, Cummings and #56( can’t remember name, ate up Galambos when they played) have been forces for that defense. The secondary and special teams has not performed neither has the offense. They lack a true RB which they would have had, if Avon Grove signed off, they did not leaving them with no true in between the tackles runner. That is what I believe is missing from this team. Do not think of this as an attack just my input and curious to hear yours. This blog was a great idea and kudos to you guys for coming up with this idea.

    • You made all the points I was going to make.
      Maybe I had higher expectations for their offense. They probably should have lost to Haverford School, but played a great fourth quarter and were assisted by some head-scratching play calling on Haverford’s side. So, if they would have lost that game, they’d be under .500.
      It’s a shame there is such a disparity in the Catholic League between the elite teams (Wood, Prep, LaSalle) and the rest. I can only seeing OHara getting to the PCL title game.

  2. – Can Penncrest upset Conestoga tonight?
    – Harriton has a lot to prove tonight with a tough game ( i think ) against MN.
    – I would like to see O’Hara put one or two public schools on their schedule.
    – Cant wait for tonight’s games to start.

      • Why would I like to see O’Hara put two public schools on their schedule? Here are my thoughts on that question:
        1. Since there are only 4 teams in Catholic AAA, they have to schedule a whopping 7 non-league games. Why not diversyfy a little? 6 of the 7 non-league games are with other Catholic schools. The private, and non-PIAA Haverford School is the only non-Catholic,
        2. Now that they can qualify for the PIAA playoffs, it would be good to get a feel for the public competition.
        3. Wood, The Prep, and La Salle are playing North Penn, which I think gives them a feel for what to expect in the playoffs.
        4. I think it would generate fan interest, because it is so unusual.
        5. Hopefully, it is the wave of the future.
        6. Maybe one game with a public school and one with the Inter-Ac is enough, because I know how important your old Catholic school rivalries are, being a Bonner Grad (’75)
        7. Central League teams only get to play one non-league game, and I wish we had the luxury of diversifying more. Springfield’s only non-league game is against Interboro, which is a great matchup usually decided in the fourth quarter.

      • O’Hara and Chester had an ongoing relationship that fizzled over the last couple years. That game was always a blowout, anyway.
        Outside of Carroll vs. Radnor, you never see a Catholic vs. Central League game. There reason for this is two-fold.
        1. I know there are Central League coaches/ADs that flat-out want nothing to do with the Catholic League.
        2. As Joe said, the Centrals get one nonleague game before the league schedule begins, and they are better off facing a District One opponent as opposed to a District 12 (after all, there is a points system in District One).

  3. I like your idea because it’s nearly impossible to play a Central League team because of O’Hara’s boardwalk bowl. So including that game and the league games and then the two crossover games (LaSalle and I think McDevitt this year) it leaves them with 3 open spots, which they filled with Hav School Roman and Carroll I believe. I guess either get rid of Roman or Carroll and try and play a SOL or Ches-Mont team but the strength of schedule which has been scrutinized in prior years is solid this year. I do know Central League teams have been contacted to play O’Hara and have declined (Haverford High comes to mind). But yes I would like to see if they could throw a public school on the schedule, I think it would shut up some of the Central League guys seeing some Catholic League speed for once.

    • haha. Yea. I hope it happens. With 3 open dates it would be great to find a team where it would be a good close matchup ever year.

    • @delcofan- do you really think that OHara is that above Ridley, Stoga, and Garnet???? You act like all the other PCL snobs. I bet there are four or five Central teams this year(Conestoga, Ridley, Garnet Valley, Haverford, and Springfield that would be on a fifty/ fifty footing with OHara. Some years, not so much. But this year, absolutely. I see a lot of PCL and Central games. Lets not kid ourselves. This year, OHara is NOT in the league with Lasalle, Prep, or even Malvern.
      Most leagues are the same. A couple
      Of perennial top dogs, a big middle ground, and a couple of teams that always struggle for any amount of reasons.

      • Nowhere in my statement did I say O’Hara is above Ridley and Garnet.CO hung with Garnet throughout their entire scrimmage and it was a close one. I do not even want to hear Conestoga in the discussion, always overrated, QB is a solid player though. Haverford let Marple hang with them most of the game, their team speed is nowhere near CO’s. Springfield and CO would be a great matchup, and don’t kid yourself, Malvern is down this year and O’Hara would stick with them and maybe beat them. Nowhere did I say CO is in league with Lasalle and Prep and Wood. But hey thanks for the PCL snob compliment.

      • Basing head to head outcomes on the basis of scrimmages is ridiculous. Period. No game planning, playing everyone, and early season learning curve allows for funky outcomes. It very well may be that OH is on par with GV. But don’t give me week one scrimmage results as evidence.

        My PCL snob remark is in reference to the idiots in both public and private camps that think high school football was invented and played by their respective allegiances. You obviously are of the opinion that O Hara would dominate the Delco public schools other than Ridley or Garnet. I believe there are at least three to five other public schools that would love a crack at Danny A’s team this year

  4. Even if you play out of district teams you still end up getting the points based off of the District One points scale…so it doesn’t matter what district you play in your non-league games.

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