Neshaminy defensive lineman Eddy Parry, right, closes in on Pennridge quarterback Jagger Hartshorn (#16) in District 1 playoff opener at Nov. 4 Harry Franks Stadium, Langhorne, Pa. (J.S. Garber – For 21st-Century Media)
Something will clearly have to give when the loaded-up PIAA District 1 Class 6A football playoffs resume Friday night with four quarterfinal collisions.
How competitive is this year’s field? Consider the eight remaining teams have a combined gaudy record of 80-8 and not one of them has more than two losses. Obviously, four very good teams are about to see their seasons come to an end.
From a local perspective, the big story is Neshaminy. The Redskins were forced to rally in the fourth quarter last week against fellow SOL-member Pennridge, but the bottom line is the Redskins remained undefeated and can earn a third straight home playoff game with a victory this evening.
Garnet Valley (9-2) at Neshaminy (11-0), tonight, 7 p.m.
Located in the bowels of Delaware County, Garnet Valley is coming off a 21-14 opening round victory against Central Bucks South, a team Neshaminy previously pounded, 42-14. Garnet Valley is mostly a running team, but it does give the ball to a variety of backs. The guy with the most rushes is Jacob Buttermore, who has nearly 900 yards on 111 carries and has scored 12 TDs.
Quarterback Nick Juliano also bears watching for a team that has five players with at least 300 rushing yards. The main receiver is Colin Davis, who has 11 receptions for 123 yards. Garnet Valley is averaging over 36 points a game, but will be hard pressed to come near that total due to its largely one-dimensional offense.
Neshaminy has been a bit banged up of late, but the game is at Heartbreak Ridge and last week served a reminder it can’t take anyone lightly. Ranked No. 4 in the state, look for Neshaminy to advance against the winner of the Downingtown East-Perkiomen Valley game.
Conwell-Egan (7-3) vs. Kipp-DuBois (7-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.
To be played at the South Philadelphia Super Site, this is a D1-12 Class 3A regional semifinal game. There is a recent common opponent that would suggest Conwell-Egan could be in good shape.
“We had a really good week of practice and it’s playoffs so it’s win or go home,” said CEC head coach Jack Techtmann. “The kids know it and they’re not ready to end it.”
In last week’s District 12 final, the Eagles beat Delaware Valley Charter, 14-12. The week before DelVal Charter blasted Kipp-DuBois, 34-0. Kipp DuBois also lost by the score of 7-0 against Simon Gratz, which is not exactly a powerhouse.
Kipp-DuBois has been using a two-quarterback system consisting of senior Tyree Howard and junior Saheeb Burrows. Neither throws a lot, but they do have speed and Conwell-Egan will want to keep them from turning the corners.
The big advantage here is Conwell-Egan is a much more physical team, especially on defense.
The winner of this game will face either DelVal Charter or New Hope-Solebury, the two teams playing in the other semifinal. The championship will take place at 6 p.m. next Saturday at the Germantown SuperSite.
Some good news for the Eagles is that 6-2, 255-pound left tackle Jimmy Buchanon is back along with 6-foot, 230-pound senior lineman Matt Wolfe, a recent transfer from Calvary Christian.
Sophomore running back Patrick Garwo (rib injury) may be cleared but Techtmann has said he will not risk the 10th-grader in the semifinal. Instead, the coach will rely on sophomore Trey itchell and senior Victor Nyanway. In last week’s win over DelVal Charter, the duo combined on 125 yards rushing.
Senior Kyree Bronson is also back after serving a one-game suspension.