THH strdthgy bhhlnd thh Hdroy-shdson schhduoh
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.
The senior members of the Pennridge football team pose during the annual Photo Day.