Suburban One League Preview: Continental Conference has a colossal battle in store for 2018 season
The Suburban One League Continental Conference has done the impossible: it’s gotten even better.
“Our conference, as a whole, is gonna be up. I think every team is gonna be up this year. And that’s scary,” said Central Bucks South coach Tom Hetrick, who guided the Titans to the playoffs a year ago. “It’s fun that way. In my opinion, if you can come through the Continental conference and earn enough points to make the playoffs, that’s saying something.
“Because our conference is full of very well-coached teams and some quality football.”
The conference sent four teams to the District 1-6A Playoffs a year ago and should once again be a playoff factory this autumn.
Said Central Bucks East coach John Donnelly: “It’s always tough. It’s always a dogfight.”
North Penn, once again, is the team to chase.
The defending champion Knights, 6-0 in the conference in 2017, have some turnover on both sides of the ball but should once again present a big challenge.
North Penn reached the district quarterfinals a year ago and eyes another trip to the postseason. The Knights have made it to the tournament five straight years and in 15 of the past 16 seasons.
Central Bucks West, Central Bucks South and Pennridge all qualified for the playoffs a year ago and CB East should be making a push this fall as well.
“Some great competition,” Pats quarterback Evan O’Donnell said, “and I look forward to playing everyone.”
Too close for comfort
The American Conference will also be crowded at the top, with Upper Moreland entering the season as the defending champion.
The Bears and Upper Dublin both showed up in the District 1-5A Playoff bracket in 2017 and Quakertown reached the 6A tournament.
Things could be bunched even tighter together this year.
“Upper Dublin has a lot coming back. They have a new quarterback but he’s really good. I look at them probably being the top contender in our conference,” Panthers coach George Banas said. “PW is always tough, no matter what. Hatboro’s tough. Wissahickon has a new coach but they have athletes everywhere.
“Cheltenham’s the same way — he’s a second-year coach so you should really start to see some changes. It’s gonna be interesting. Upper Moreland has a new coach as well — they graduated a ton but they probably have one of the top running backs in the league now. So every team has its own little niche. It’s definitely gonna be competitive every Friday night.”
National powers collide
Neshaminy and Pennsbury should duke it out again, but Abington is the wild card in the mix.
The Ghosts were a power in 2016 before injuries held them back a year ago. With Council Rock South and Truman coming on strong in recent years, the National possesses a pretty tight race of its own.
By Kev Hunter, firstname.lastname@example.org, @khunter10 on Twitter