Tonight, Week 3 gets going, and if the first two weeks are any indication of what we will see, it surely will be an unpredictable and wacky week. Many area teams face almost must-win games a lot earlier than they may have expected, and one of the most impressive area teams, Great Valley, takes on a tough Glen Mills team in the Patriots’ home opener.
Great Valley has scored 80 points in its two wins over Phoenixville and Owen J.Roberts and the Patriots are fortunate to have talent galore at the skill positions and quarterback Robert Geiss has been on fire.
“We always knew Robert had the eventuality to be a quality quarterback,” said coach Dan Ellis. “It was a matter of him growing into his body and now he is reaping the rewards of all the hard work he put in the weight room since January. He has been an example to all the other guys on the team and he has matured physically very well. As far as our success so far this season, I think we are fortunate to have played so many underclassmen last year and they got valuable game experience.
“The kids are battle-tested and they are playing very well right now,” Ellis added. “Glen Mills always presents a physical challenge for teams, so up front we have to be ready for them. The are very good up front and then when they make plays we have to tackle well. Last season, when we played them at their place they broke a lot of tackles and it was a close game although I felt we were in control of the game. We have to get to our spots and tackle well to beat them.
“And we are excited to be playing at home for the first time. We have a small school but there is a great sense of community and our student section is very big and supportive.”
Great Valley has too much offense for the 0-2 Battlin’ Bulls. Geiss lit up the Owen J. Roberts defense for 342 yards and four touchdowns last week.
The Pick: Great Valley 31, Glen Mills 14
La Salle vs. Malvern Prep (8 p.m. at franklin field)
Malvern lost to the No. 1 prep team in New Jersey, St Augustine, last week, and the road gets a little easier this week, although not by much. La Salle shut out Pennsbury 28-0 last week, but the Explorers are young at many key spots, including quarterback, and Malvern should get into the win column tonight.
The Pick: Malvern Prep 27, LaSalle 14
Neshaminy at Downingtown West
Almost a must-win for the Whippets, who really do not want to go 0-3. The Redskins are one of the favorites to take home the District 1 Class 6A title and they are strong at quarterback with senior Nolan Jones and 1,000 yard rusher Will Dogba. Downingtown West has allowed 635 yards throughout the air in its first two games and that has to be rectified tonight if the Whippets are to come out with a win.
I just cannot see the talented Whippets going 0-3, no matter how tough the Redskins are.
The Pick: Downigntown West 35, Neshaminy 28
Unionville at Avon Grove
Unionville is another team staring at an 0-3 start. The Indians have only scored 21 points in their first two losses while Avon Grove is riding high at 2-0. These teams are pretty evenly matched, and I really like the winning culture Red Devils head coach Harry O’Neill has brought to Avon Grove. Nate Jones is the leading rusher in the Ches-mont League with 302 yards.
The Pick: Avon Grove 20, Unionville 17
Pottstown at Bishop Shanahan
Bishop Shanahan has been very impressive in its first two wins over George Washington and Glen Mills. The Eagles defense has allowed just 20 points in those two wins. Quarterback Nick Skulski has been red hot, throwing five touchdown passes in the first two wins. The Eagles offensive line has played well and should control Pottstown up front.
The Pick: Bishop Shanahan 34, Pottstown 13
Owen J. Roberts at West Chester Henderson
The surprising Warriors are 2-0 with wins over Oxford and Rustin while the Wildcats are 1-1 and coming off a blowout loss to Great Valley. The key here is if the Henderson defense can control the Wildcats’ spread offense. Henderson got a huge game from its defense against Rustin, allowing the Knights less than 100 yards rushing and just six points.
The Pick: West Chester Henderson 21, Owen J. Roberts 7
West Chester Rustin at West Chester East
The Golden Knights are off to a very bad start at 0-2. The knights have not been able to run the ball at all in their first two losses. East quarterback J.T. Thompson threw for 162 yards in the Vikings’ 23-0 win over Radnor last week. The Vikings have to be able to throw on the Knights to help running back Jaret Cooper, who totaled 114 yards on the ground against Radnor. This is a tough pick and could be a season-breaker for Rustin if they lose here.
The Pick: West Chester Rustin 17, West Chester East 13
Kennett at Twin Valley
Twin Valley is a much improved team under first year head coach Dean Owens. Kennett is sitting at 1-1 after a good 24-12 victory over Chichester. Blue Demons running back Myles Robinson had 122 rushing yards in the win.
The Pick: Twin Valley 27, Kennett 14
Octorara at Pequea Valley
Pequea Valley is led by former Great Valley head coach Mike Choi and the Braves can match up with their Lancaster County neighbors, but I like Pequea to eke out a close win.
The Pick: Pequea Valley 21, Octorara 17
Oxford at Phoenixville
Oxford has lot two heartbreakers, one to West Chester Henderson and one on a missed extra point to Avon Grove. Hornets running back Tim Davis is a quality player, but he will have to gain more than the 52 yards he totaled against Avon Grove. Oxford allowed Avon Grove just 44 yards through the air last week.
The Pick: Oxford 20, Phoenixville 13
Haverford at Conestoga
This is a matchup of two 0-2 squads and Conestoga has only scored six points and no touchdowns in its first two losses. The Pioneers have not been able to run effectively this season, and Haverford’s defense has six players back from last years Central League title team, making it look like another tough night for the Pioneers.
The Pick: Haverford 28, Conestoga 7.
Coatesville at Council Rock North
Council Rock North lost the 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year, quarterback Brandon McIlwain, to graduation, and he is now the starting quarterback at the University of South Carolina. Although the Indians have their entire offensive line back, they are not that talented at the skill positions. Coatesville could not handle Cumberland Valley, although Avery Young, who may end up being the best offensive player in school history, had a big part in two of the Red Raiders’ three touchdowns in the 41-21 loss to the Eagles.
The Pick: Coatesville 35, Council Rock North 13
Roman Catholic at Downingtown East
Roman has a low Division 1 quarterback in senior Anthony Butler and the Cahillites are almost as big as the Cougars up front. East has soundly defeated Roman the last two seasons, and although Roman is much improved, as its 28-7 win over West Catholic last week showed, I think they make it three here with a big game from quarterback Bryce Lauletta, who only threw for 41 yards in the Cougars’ 23-7 loss to powerful North Penn last week.