It’s pretty much do or die for the Pennsbury and Bensalem football teams Friday night in terms of making it to the postseason.
Seeking a sixth straight District 1 playoff berth after winning an impressive 50 games the previous five years, Pennsbury will take on Abington at Falcon Field. Bensalem, meanwhile, will host Council Rock North in “Death Valley.”
As it has turned out, making the playoffs is proving to be more difficult than many originally projected. In the new District 1 6A classification, 33 teams are fighting it out for 16 berths.
On paper, that would seem to suggest a .500 record might be enough, but heading into this weekend, only 10 of those 33 teams have losing records. A lot, of course, depends on who you beat, but the magic win number could now very well be six.
And even that might not be enough. If Pennsbury beats Abington, it would pick up big bonus points and vault into the top 16. But the Falcons will also be big underdogs in their regular-season finale next week at Neshaminy and would just have to wait and see how the numbers shake out if they lose to the Redskins.
Should Pennsbury get in, it will probably be as a very low seed and this could very well mean it would have to travel to North Penn or Neshaminy in the opening round.
Ouch! Although for such a young team, making the playoffs would be a positive, no matter what happens once it gets there.
As for Bensalem, the Owls are hoping to nail down their first ever playoff berth. Bensalem will host Council Rock North on Friday and take on Truman next week.
Coming off a strong showing in a loss to undefeated Neshaminy, Bensalem will be favored to win both of those games. Whether a 6-4 record would be enough — Bensalem currently sits 18th on the chart — will also be a close call.
Pennsbury (5-3) at Abington (5-3) Friday Night, 7 p.m.
This game has huge playoff implications for both and could be a classic. The teams have identical records, but overall it’s the Ghosts that have been more impressive. The key defensively for Pennsbury is stopping running back Darryl Davis-McNeil, who has been tearing it up and is coming off a game in which he ran for 272 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns. The key for Pennsbury offensively is to execute and get some balance. The Falcons’ passing game last week in a 21-19 win over Rock South was virtually non-existent. Believe it or not, this game also has league title implications. If Pennsbury wins, it would travel to Neshaminy next week with a chance to earn a share of the SONL title.
Council Rock North (1-6) at Bensalem (4-4), Friday Night. 7 p.m.
Although Bensalem lost to Neshaminy last week, the fact the Owls were ahead at one point is a positive in itself. The big mismatch here is Bensalem’s running game against Rock North’s defense. Leading the Bensalem running game is power back Malcolm Carey. Keith Parrish is a weapon as well. Rock North is coming off 32-point drubbing at the hands of Central Bucks East and doesn’t match up well with Bensalem physically.
Monsignor Bonner (3-5) at Conwell-Egan (5-2), Friday Night, 7 p.m.
This might be a little closer than their records would indicate. Bonner has lost to some quality opponents and has scores that are somewhat similar against common opponents. Conwell-Egan was hoping to really break out against undefeated Cardinal O’Hara last week, but turnovers proved to be its undoing in a tough 16-13 loss. Four of those turnovers were in the first half when the Eagles fell behind, 14-0. Although it was in a losing effort, sophomore Pat Garwo continued to run well with 97 yards on 17 carries.
Council Rock South (1-7) at Neshaminy (8-0), Friday Night, 7 p.m.
Rock South is more competitive than its record indicates and gave Pennsbury all it could handle last week. Neshaminy rallied past Bensalem with Will Dogba running for nearly 150 yards and quarterback Mason Jones throwing for 140. Vince Bedesem will have his team ready to play, but this is asking for too much.
Truman (2-6) at Souderton (4-4), Friday Night, 7 p.m.
Although Sounderton has four losses, keep in mind all of them were to quality teams, including unbeaten North Penn last week. The Tigers offense did look good in a 49-35 loss to Abington last week in a game in which new quarterback Dylan Sterling completed 11 passes for 163 yards and four touchdowns. The Tigers have a shot here, but it’s Souderton that has a playoff berth on the line.
Bristol (4-2) at Valley Forge (3-4), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The Forge has three wins, but one of them was an 8-0 victory over Morrisville and another was against Lower Moreland. That won’t cut it against playoff-bound Bristol, which returned to action after a bye week with a 33-13 win over Delco Christian. In that game, Parker Kelley threw two TD passes and ran for another. Eric Bell was also a force with 164 yards on 21 carries.
Morrisville (2-5) at Delco Christian (2-5), Saturday, 2 p.m.
It’s all on the line for Morrisville, which could still make the playoffs if it beats this team and then Jenkintown next week. It’s possible. Mo’ville got ripped by New Hope last week, but for most of the year, its defense has been solid. Delco’s two wins are against Lower Moreland and the George School. Call this a toss-up.
Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickFort7 on Twitter
PIAA Power Points
- North Penn (8-0) 1530; 2. Neshaminy (8-0) 1400; 3. Perkiomen Valley (8-0) 1340; 4. Coatesville (7-1) 1240; 5. Ridley (7-1) 1230; 6 Central Bucks South, 6-2) 1210; 7. Downingtown (East (6-2) 1200; 9. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (7-1) 1100; 10. Central Bucks East (6-2) 1090; 11. Spring-Ford (6-2), Garnet Valley (6-2) 1030 each; 13. Abington (5-3) 990; 14. Penn Wood (6-2) 980; 15. Souderton (4-4) 950; 16. Haverford (5-3) 930; 17. Pennsbury (5-3) 920; 18. Bensalem 944 890; 27. Truman (2-7) 610; 28. Council Rock North (1-6) 530; 31. Council Rock South (1-7) 480.
- Kipp DuBois (7-1) 1280; 2. Conwell-Egan (5-2) 920; 3. New Hope (5-2) 920; 5. DelVal Charter (5-3) 900.
- Bristol (4-2) 810; 2. West Catholic (4-4) 940; 3. Strawberry Mansion (3-4) 780; 4. Valley Forge (3-4) 650.
- Jenkintown (4-2) 790; 2. Delco Christian (2-5) 580; 3. Morrisville (2-5) 500.