Following a mostly successful three weeks to open the season, it’s time for the Lower Bucks County high school football teams to begin play in the Suburban One National League.
Heading into Friday night’s play, the five local teams are a combined 12-6. This includes Truman and Bensalem at 3-0, and Neshaminy and Pennsbury right behind at 2-1. If you add in Abington’s 2-1 record, it puts the SONL at 14-7 in non-league competiion.
With a capable Council Rock South team that will be at Truman on Friday night also in the fold, it all shapes up as a very entertaining year in a league that has traditionally been top heavy in terms of competitive balance.
And it’s not just the SONL Lower Bucks teams that have started strong. Bristol is 2-0, Morrisville has won two in a row and although Conwell-Egan is 1-2, one of those losses was in overtime.
Pennsbury (2-1) at William Tennent (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m. >> If they play like they did the first three weeks, this shouldn’t be much of a problem for Dan McShane’s Falcons. Winless Tennent has given up 91 points in three games and Pennsbury’s vastly improved offense has consistently moved the ball. Tennent has some good players, but it simply doesn’t have enough of them. Pennsbury did lose to North Penn, 29-20, last week, but this game might have been even tighter if a short Falcon field goal attempt hadn’t resulted in an unlikely 97-yard touchdown return when it was blocked. Senior quarterback Zach Demarchis was brilliant in defeat last week both running and passing the ball. The Pennsbury defense was also pretty solid last week when you consider one North Penn touchdown was on the blocked field goal return and two others came off a short field.
Neshaminy (2-1) at Council Rock North (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m. >> It’s kind of hard to know what to make out of Neshaminy’s 37-33 home loss to Downingtown West last week. Although Downingtown West is 2-1, it was crushed by Perkiomen Valley. Perk Valley just got ripped by Pennridge, 29-0, a week after Neshaminy beat Pennridge. Go figure. The Redskin offense finally got its running game going last Friday with Joel Stills rushing for 145 yards to complement the passing of sophomore Brody McAndrew (21-for-34, 287 yards). It was the performance of the Neshaminy defense that was hard to figure because it had looked so strong the first two weeks. Anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to get back on track. After opening with a win, Rock North is 1-2 and did not look good last week in a 28-7 loss to Penn Wood.
Council Rock South (1-2) at Truman (3-0) 7 p.m., Friday, 7 p.m. >> This is going to be an interesting test for the high-flying Tigers. To date, Truman has outscored its three opponents by a combined margin of 124-12 and is coming off a win over William Tennent in which its Wing-T grounded out a whopping 355 yards, including 191 on 19 carries by David Akinwande. Rock South will be the toughest team Truman has faced to date. Although the Rock South offense is still struggling a bit to find an identity, its defense looked strong last week in a 21-7 loss to undefeated Central Bucks South. If Truman wins this game easily, it really will be time to get excited in Bristol Township.
Bensalem (3-0) at Abington (2-1), Friday, 7 p,m. >> Although the Owls are undefeated, they have not exactly been dominant and are coming off a double overtime win over Archbishop Carroll. This game will tell a lot about where Bensalem’s season is headed. Abington has won two in a row and as always is athletic. The Ghost’s feature weapon is running back Darryl Davis-McNeil, who ran for nearly 1,900 yards a year ago with 18 touchdowns.
Bristol (2-0) at New Hope (2-1), Friday, 7 p.m. >> This is yet another game that will be a barometer of where a local team stands. After getting crushed by Conwell-Egan in its opener, New Hope has rebounded for two wins. It is led by four-year starter Mike Garritano at quarterback. Bristol is coming off a 27-14 road victory over Pennington in which it stormed back with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Eric Bell showed he’s ready to go by reaching the end zone three times. The winner of this game will be in a strong position in the Bicentennial Athletic League.
Delaware Christian (2-1) at Morrisville (2-1), Friday, 7 p.m. >> With two straight wins, things are clearly looking up in Mo’ville, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it runs its winning streak to three. Delco Christian runs a triple wishbone and the key is putting the clamps on senior quarterback Luke Gatowski. The Bulldogs are coming off a big win over Valley Forge in which quarterback Felix Feliciano passed for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Amir Pack led the team with 53 rushing yards and also excelled on defense with 11 tackles. DelCo Christian barely won this game last year, 20-14, and Morrisville has obviously improved.
Conwell-Egan (1-2) at West Catholic (2-1), Saturday, 1 p.m. >> Following a 38-21 loss to Episcopal Academy of the Inter-Ac League, the Eagles have lost two in a row and will have their hands full here. West Catholic is shooting for its 16th straight winning season and appears to have a tough defense. Its most eye-opening result was a 24-0 win vs. Roman Catholic, which gave Neshaminy a stiff battle before succumbing, 14-7.
TOP PHOTO: Truman High, which hosts Council Rock South on Friday night, is off to a 3-0 start. Pictured here is quarterback Dylan Snelling handing the ball off. (Gregg Slaboda — Trentonian Photo)