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Delco Football Friday: Radnor among the teams happy about expanded playoffs + preview capsules of all the big games

The reaction on social media was swift and rather harsh.

When District 1 revealed its playoff seedings for all six classifications last Sunday, there was a lot to stew over.

Why, the Twitter universe wondered, are so many teams in the playoffs? More specifically, why are so many teams with losing records in the playoffs?

Good questions.

In 5A, mediocrity is the norm. Of the 16 teams in the tournament, seven are either 5-5, 4-6 or 3-7 overall.

What the … ?

That is crazy, and you would hope that PIAA and District 1 will take a hard look at its playoff structure going forward. One suggestion would be to cut the 5A playoff qualifiers in half.  Sixteen teams minus eight equals a better brand of playoff football.

In Delco, Strath Haven (4-6), Radnor (4-6) and Penncrest (3-7) are among the schools with unfavorable records.

But every player on those teams probably would tell you they’re just happy to be playing in November.

And is that so bad?

“It’s funny how it worked out because we did have a better record (last year),” said Radnor coach Tom Ryan, who has the Raiders in the playoffs for the first time in program history. “But I think we’re just excited to be in, to have the chance to play in the playoffs.”

Giving more teams a playoff pulse is why the PIAA expanded from four to six classifications in the first place.

And if you’re a team like Radnor, you take advantage of the system, however flawed it may be.

Here’s a look at all District 1 playoff games this week involving Delco teams, as well as the two big District 12/Catholic League qualifiers.

In Class 6A:

Plymouth Whitemarsh at Ridley >> The fifth-seeded Green Raiders (9-1) return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Check out the Friday feature on Ridley (Page 62) and its date with the No. 12 Colonials (8-2).

Garnet Valley at C.B. South >> The No. 10 Jaguars (8-2) have been led by a potent rushing attack featuring Jacob Buttermore, Austin Patton and Matthew Lassik. They’ll meet the seventh-seeded Titans (8-2), who took second place in the Suburban One League’s Continental Division.

Penn Wood at Perkiomen Valley >> The No. 14 Patriots (7-3) are in the postseason for the second time in history, led by 1,000-yard running back Answered Gleplay. No. 3 Perk Valley (10-0) is one of three 10-0 teams in the tournament.

Haverford at North Penn >> The Fords (6-4) have the unenviable task of playing No. 1 North Penn (10-0). Sophomore quarterback Jake Ruane has thrown for 1,826 yards and 14 TDs.

In Class 5A:

Penncrest at Springfield >> The top-seeded Cougars (9-1) won a share of the Central League title paced by wide receiver Joe Kennedy, who has eight TD catches. The 16th-seeded Lions (3-7) make the playoffs for the first time in three years. Springfield downed Penncrest, 42-14, in Week 8.

Radnor at Academy Park >> The second-seeded Knights (9-1) begin their quest for a third district title in four seasons. Senior backs Dazhon Miller and Teddy Wright have combined for 1,973 rushing yards. Isaiah Coates has been a two-way force for the No. 15 Raiders (4-6).

Upper Moreland at Marple Newtown >> The third-seeded Tigers (9-1) hope to avenge last year’s loss to No. 14 UM in the semifinals of the District 1 3A playoffs. Anthony Paoletti has passed for a county-leading 2,248 yards and 21 TDs.

Strath Haven at Upper Dublin >> The 12-time District 1 champion Panthers (4-6) are back in the playoffs as the No. 13 seed. Fourth-seeded Upper Dublin captured the District 1 4A title last fall.

Sun Valley at Henderson >> It’s been a rough last few weeks for the 12th-seeded Vanguards, who make their long-awaited return to the district playoffs riding a three-game losing streak. Ishy Ahmad is fourth in the county with 596 receiving yards. The fifth-seeded Warriors placed third in the Ches-Mont League National Division.

Glen Mills at Great Valley >> The ninth-seeded Battlin’ Bulls (5-5) will lean on running back Quadir  Gibson against the No. 9 Patriots. Gibson rushed for 176 yards in Glen Mills’ 42-26 victory over Great Valley in the regular season.

In Class 4A:

Pope John Paul II at Interboro >> After capturing their first Del Val League title in seven years, the No. 1 Bucs chase their second district championship behind senior Chris Thomas, who is the county’s leading rusher with 1,341 yards. PJP II (4-6) defeated No. 2 Pottsgrove two weeks ago.

In Class 1A:

Delco Christian (3-6) at Jenkintown (6-2) >> The second-seeded Knights go for their second District 1 Class 1A title against the top-seeded Drakes. DC looks to avenge a 12-0 regular season loss to its Bicentennial League rival.

In the Catholic League:

Bonner & Prendergast (4-6) at Cardinal O’Hara (9-0) >> The winner will advance to the District 12 Class 4A title game in two weeks. The Lions, who are the last remaining undefeated team in Delaware County, shut out the Friars in the regular season, 28-0. Senior quarterback Tommy O’Hara was recently named Catholic League Blue Division MVP.

Archbishop Carroll (1-9) at Archbishop Ryan (5-5) >> The Patriots got off the schneid last week with a 42-34 triumph over Bonner & Prendergast, the first win in the coaching career of Dan Connor. Stephen Honick is among the top passers in the county in terms of yardage (1,810). Ryan dealt Carroll a 26-7 loss in the regular season. The winner advances to the Catholic League Class 5A final next week.

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