THH strdthgy bhhlnd thh Hdroy-shd­son schh­duoh

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION - By An­drew Marcus

Be­fore coaches can start watch­ing fiOP on HDrOy sHD­son oSSonHnts thH rHDO worN hDs to tDNH SODcH. FLndLng non-OHDguH oSSonHnts hDs bH­coPH Ln­crHDsLngOy dLI­fi­cuOt Ln rHcHnt sHD­sons. Teams have taken notice on how strongOy thHy DIIHct thHLr SODy­off chances and no longer look for ri­valry games or a week one cake­walk.

IdHDOOy tHDPs wDnt Dn oSSonHnt thDt thHy bHOLHvH thHy cDn bHDt Dnd wLOO DOso bHDt othHr tHDPs. ThH cur­rHnt SODy­oII IorPDt DwDrds bonus SoLnts HvHry tLPH D tHDP you SrHvi­ously de­feated wins a game. But find­Lng D tHDP to tDNH SotHn­tLDO Ooss in week two is not al­ways easy.

“LDst yHDr wH SODyHd soPH tough tHDPs Dnd tooN soPH OuPSs HDrOy,” PHn­nrLdgH coDch RDndy Cuth­bHrt said. “It is re­ally hard to get those non-league games. But when you OooN Dt SODy­oIIs, thHy DOO count. It Ls crLtLcDO to wLn gDPHs.”

PHn­nrLdgH hDs dLSSHd Lnto CODss AAA to SODy schooOs such Ds thH Haver­ford School and Academy Park to start their sea­son in 2012. Play­ing the fa­mil­iar faces of Lans­dale Catholic no longer did any good Ior thH RDPs, Ds thH CrusDdHrs con­tin­ued to strug­gle in the tal­ented PhLODdHOShLD CDthoOLc LHDguH. ThH Fords Dt OHDst hDvH D chDncH to coOlect some strong wins against league IoHs, 0DOvHrn PrHS Dnd PHnn ChDr- ter.

“I think our non-league sched­ule Ls good Dnd Lt wLOO hHOS us gHt rHDdy Ior thH OHDguH,” Cuth­bHrt sDLd. “It doHs hHOS LI thHy DrH 4-A schooOs. But whHn you bHDt good tHDPs Dnd thHn thHy stDrt wLn­nLng gDPHs, you cDn Dc­cuPuODtH PorH SoLnts.”

One more sig­na­ture win a sea­son Dgo PLght hDvH Sut thH RDPs, who finLshHd 6-5, Ln thH SODy­oIIs. WhLOH a 2-0 non-league loss to Coun­cil RocN South hDunts thHP, thH Subur­bDn 2nH Con­tLnHn­tDO ConIHrHncH team knows that game is a must win in or­der to make the Dis­trict One tournDPHnt. 2I coursH, OHDguH wLns over North Penn or Soud­er­ton will Ln­crHDsH thHLr chDncHs oI D Sost­sHD­son bHrth, but thH first oSHn wHHNs are no longer taken lightly.

“2ur bLg­gHst goDO Ls to bHDt 1orth PHnn,” RDPs’ sHnLor TuDrtHr­bDcN AOHx .rLvdD sDLd. “ExSHc­tDtLons are high for us and I feel like if we PHHt thosH HxSHc­tDtLons wH cDn rHally make a run at the Dis­trict One SODy­oIIs.”

SoudHr­ton DOso finLshHd 6-5 D sHD­son Dgo Dnd just bDrHOy out oI thH fiHOd oI 16 tHDPs. CoDch Ed GDOODgher loves the non-league chal­lengHs, but too hDs PDdH soPH DOtHr­cD­tions to the start of the sea­son this IDOO. ThH IndLDns DrH hoSLng thH shuIflLng oI schooOs PDy gLvH thHP thH nod thLs yHDr LI thHy find thHPsHOvHs on thH bub­bOH oncH DgDLn.

“Our non-league sched­ule has been bru­tal,” Gal­lagher said. “I like play­ing Neshaminy, I like play­ing Abing­ton, but we have not beat Neshaminy in three years and did not beat Abing­ton in the two years we played them. It is re­ally hard to get to the playoffs with that start.”

“You can­not just say I want to play them and them, be­cause they do not al­ways want to play you. And we moved Neshaminy from week one to week three. We also are re­plac­ing a play­off team in Abing­ton with a play­off team in rnionville and I am not sure how that is go­ing to go. For North Penn, it’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.”

North Penn’s abil­ity to dom­i­nate the Subur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence since the re­align­ment has al­lowed them sched­ule the tough­est non-league games in the area. The de­fend­ing Dis­trict One champs play La Salle, Arch­bishop Wood and St. Joseph’s Prep be­fore they open up league play. TKH .nLJKWs IHHO Fon­fiGHnW in their abil­i­ties to re­bound from non-league losses.

“WH DUH GHfinLWHOy JoLnJ to get an idea of where we are at and whether we are 3-0 or 0-3 I think we will be bet­ter by play­ing those teams,” Knights’ coach Dick Beck said. “The ob­jec­tive is to win, but if we don’t win we will learn from our mis­takes.”

Last year when the Knights started 1-2 coach Beck did not worry. His team im­proved as the sea­son went along and went un­de­feated in the league. Though the early sea­son non-league losses earned them the 11th seed in dis­tricts, it even­tu­ally proved to be an in­cor­rect eval­u­a­tion of the Knights’ strength, as they went on to win the Dis­trict One ti­tle.

“Some peo­ples ap­proach is they want to get wins that are more highly likely,” Beck said. “I un­der­stand that ap­proach, but we are try­ing to chal­lenge our­selves at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son. It bodes well for the rest of the sea­son.”

That is how the cur­rent play­off sys­tem works and each team in the area is get­ting bet­ter at manag­ing their strength of scheduOH. TKH fiUsW IHw wHHNs oI non-league games are now equally as im­por­tant as the last league game if you want to play past Thanks­giv­ing.

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / SU­SAN KEEN

The se­nior mem­bers of the Pen­nridge football team pose dur­ing the an­nual Photo Day.

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