Daniel Boone meets Reading in battle of resurgent Berks 1 squads

It’s been a while since the Daniel Boone and Reading football teams took the field for a meaningful game in October.

That will all change Friday night at Brazinsky Stadium, as the Blazers play host to the Red Knights in a key battle for Berks League Section 1 position.

The Blazers (2-1 Section 1, 3-2 overall) haven’t had a winning mark since 2011, while the Red Knights (2-1, 3-2) haven’t enjoyed a .500-plus campaign since 2003.

“Two teams that are really hungry to make the (District 3) playoffs,’ Boone coach Bill Parks said.

The Blazers would like nothing more than to satiate their appetites with a fourth win over the past five weeks.

They feature a diverse ground game that has been clicking on all cylinders lately in averaging 241 yards over the past four games.

Paul Galanti, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior, leads the team with 345 rushing yards; junior Cinque Ramsey has picked up 202 yards over the last two weeks; and junior quarterback Nick Hughes (256) is also a threat to call his own number.

The return of wideout Shayne Bookwalter (who suffered a concussion in a 39-28 Week 4 loss to Conrad Weiser) should also bolster the offense.

“A lot of it is just them trusting the system and taking what the defense gives us,’ Parks said. “They’ve really done a good job understanding through the week in practice what we’re going to see Friday and what we want to do against it.

“We’re really pleased with the way they approach everything. Their work ethic during the week has really carried over. We keep telling them, ‘ You play the way you practice,’ and they take that seriously.’

That said, the resurgent Red Knights — they knocked off previously unbeaten Conrad Weiser 20-13 last week are tied for first in Berks in turnover ratio at plus-9 — pose a serious threat on both sides of the ball.

Multi-threat Dontae Owens leads the way for coach Rob Flower’s Veer attack with 329 rushing yards and a gaudy 20.6 yards per carry average. Quarterback-turned-running back Sterling Young-Trapp (284 yards), running back Jai Whitlock (266 yards) and quarterback Elijah Bayne (198 yards) are also threats that linebacker Jon Passifione and the Blazers must contain.

“Their speed is our biggest concern,’ Parks said. “Obviously, they’ve got kids that can break it every play, so we’ve got to play disciplined on defense and everyone needs to handle their responsibilities.

“We want to keep the chains moving and keep the field, and on defense we want to swarm to the ball and gang-tackle. Plus, we’ve got to be disciplined: make sure we don’t make mistakes and play fundamentally sound. We can’t get ourselves in situations anybody else can control.’

Boone has won three of the four meetings in the series (including a 17-6 victory last year). A victory would match the Blazers’ season total from last year.

According to the latest power ratings figures released by District 3, Boone is 17th in 3-AAA and Reading is 15th in 3-AAAA.

“They haven’t really been in this position for a while, so they’re excited to have a chance to rise up to the next level,’ Parks said. “But at the same time it’s business as usual for them, and they’re working just as hard as they always do. Our coaches are doing a great job preparing them this week, and they’re ready to go.

“It’s Homecoming, and hopefully we can get our crowd into it and give them what they want.’

Around the area

Hill School is on its traditional bye week before opening the Mid-Atlantic Prep League season at Peddie next Friday. … After forcing just two turnovers over the season’s first three weeks, Methacton has nine takeaways in its past two games. The Warriors secondary has allowed a PAC-10 low average of 64.6 passing yards per game. … Speaking of team stats, Spring-Ford ranks No. 1 in total offense per game (404.4), while Pottstown is No. 1 in total defense (213.6).

District 1 doings

A couple of prime-time Ches-Mont League National Division clashes are on tap Friday, with Coatesville (5-0) visiting Downingtown East (4-1) and Bishop Shanahan (4-1) traveling to Henderson (4-1). … Pennsbury (5-0, 650 points) tops the initial District 1-AAAA power rankings, with Coatesville (5-0, 610), Quakertown (5-0, 570), Council Rock North (4-1, 560) and Bayard Rustin (4-1, 550) rounding out the top five. Perkiomen Valley (4-1, 500) is at T8 and Methacton (3-2, 400) is at 19. … Springfield-Delco (5-0, 670) tops the District 1-AAA power rankings, with Pottsgrove (3-2, 440) fifth. … Pennsbury (No. 3) and Coatesville (No. 6) are each in the top 10 in the latest Pennsylvania Football News Class AAAA state rankings.

Berks beat

Former Boyertown and Pottstown assistant James Martinez, in his third season as Fleetwood head coach, has the Tigers off to a 4-1 start, which includes a 2-0 mark in Section 2 of the Berks League. The Tigers took down Schuylkill Valley (coached by St. Pius X grad Jeff Chillot) 49-18 last week. … Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne will be inducted into the Wilson High Hall of Fame Friday. … Heading into Friday’s game against Pottsville, four-time defending Berks League Section 1 champ Governor Mifflin has won a record 26 straight league games.

PIAA potpourri

Archbishop Wood, ranked first in the state in Class AAA by Pennsylvania Football News, won its 300th game in last Friday’s 47-14 win over Archbishop Ryan. The Vikings (5-0) face Class AAAA No. 1-ranked LaSalle College High (4-1) Friday at William Tennent in a mega-matchup. … Old Forge’s 35-0 win over Riverside was its 500th in program history. … Upper St. Clair’s 48-0 loss to Woodland Hills marked the worst in the 55-year history of the Panthers’ program. … Speaking of the WPIAL, South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh enters Friday’s game against Steel Valley 104 yards away from the WPIAL career passing yardage record of 8,508 and two touchdown passes shy of the career mark of 102 (both held by former Sto-Rox QB Lenny Williams), according to Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

National notes

Marcus Lester of Chavez Academy (Detroit) threw for 609 yards in a 32-28 win over Star International Academy last week, with his 75 attempts breaking a Michigan state record and his yardage ranking second behind predecessor Omar Salih’s 674. … Kiante Enis of Winchester (Indiana) ran for 466 yards and six TDs in a 49-6 win over Union City. … Ra’Quon Glenn of Niles Tech (Michigan) hauled in 17 receptions for 338 yards and three TDs in a 28-13 win over Kalamazoo Central.

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