Scoreless Tie

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year, End of the Decade

This best of the decade: NFL article jumped out at me from google news. 8 playoff appearances by the Eagles (2nd to the Colts). The Birds had the 4th highest winning percentage at .645, but they were the only top team with no top players for the decade. And while Korey Stringer and Pat Tillman were included in the significant deaths (and rightly so), Andre Waters was not, even though his suicide was one of the initiators of current high concern about concussions.

As for the end of the year, 6 Eagles were named to the Pro Bowl: cornerback Asante Samuel, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, left tackle Jason Peters, fullback Leonard Weaver, defensive end Trent Cole, and kicker David Akers. After a tremendous first half, Temple fell flat and lost to UCLA in the Eaglebank Bowl at freezing RFK Stadium.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ridley 19 - North Penn 10

I plan to link to articles and discuss commentary on this game, but I want to put down my impressions of this game developed over the last 42 hours. First of all, Ridley was ready for North Penn. North Penn was not ready for Ridley. Ralphie getting hurt on the first series of the game seemed to put the Knights out of their rhythm. The execution on the first offensive series was horrible. Would it have been better if Ralph were in? It doesn't matter.

I have to say that Ridley was the most physical team North Penn has faced since Liberty a year ago. Dick Beck was quoted somewhere as saying that North Penn was healthy going into the game. Well, they sure weren't comeing out. In addition to Ralph, Brandon Mercer and Mike Culbreath were both knocked out of the game. Dave Jackson and Craig Needhammer were both nicked and continued to play. If North Penn HAD somehow pulled out a win, I think they would have been severely disadvantaged in the next game.

Now for some second guessing on the game. After scoring before halftime, why didn't Dylan pooch the ball to an up man? Or even kick it out of bounds? On the opening drive of the second half, Ridley stopped the 4th and inches run using an old Dick Beck trick of having the D-lineman angle behind the direction of the O-line blocks. In hindsight, it's darn near predictable. Also, why the double pass to T.J. Gill in the 3rd quarter? You got a score on a trick play already; Ridley had to be looking for that. If you are going to run another trick play at that point, make it something brand new.

Finally, even though I think North Penn COULD have gotten it done, they didn't, and all the credit goes to Ridley. With Easton's loss, I think they can lay claim to the best AAAA high school defense in PA. Good luck to the Raiders against LaSalle.

And congratulations to the Knights on a great season. There were 560 odd other PA high school football teams that were sitting at home Friday night with their seasons over. You gave us some great thrills and excitement with your play this year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Looking toward Friday Night

One thing I haven't been able to figure out. Who is scoring all the points for Ridley. North Penn has Craig Needhammer with 24 rushing touchdowns and Todd Smolinsky has thrown 19 TD passes. The 258 points there put you well on your way to the Knights' total of 475. Ridley, though, has scored 425 points. That should be somewhere between 50 and 65 TD's for the year. Maybe I just missed it, but it seems like the Ridley offense is rather formidable. And on Monday, the Inquirer noted of North Penn's strong defense: "...Most impressive through three postseason games is the play of the North Penn defense. The Knights have allowed 31 points in three games. But take away the 15 points scored by Neshaminy during garbage time of a blowout in the District 1 quarterfinals, and North Penn is giving up 5.3 points per game."

I have this nagging suspicion that all the attention given to the Knights' O vs. the Raiders' D may be overshadowed by either North Penn's defensive performance or Ridley's offensive performance. North Penn's offensive line has gotten a lot of press, like Kev Hunter's widely published North Penn's offensive line is a force. Ridley's defense has been extremely stout against some high flying offenses. If the North Penn offense and Ridley defense play to a stand still, the game is going to be determined by the guys who come on the field when the North Penn offense and Ridley defense are on the sidelines.

Another unusual note. The Lansdale Reporter put up a Youtube video with North Penn highlights. It was picked up by Never Let it Rest, a blog which describes itself as "a glimpse into the funny mind of a semi-frustrated hyphen-happy housewife." I think it's because of the Latch Key Kid background music.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Inquirer: Rick O'Brien: N. Penn vs. Ridley: A rout or a rumble?

Rick O'Brien writes: "With its vaunted downhill attack, North Penn has outscored the opposition by a whopping 475-117 this season.

Next on the card, in Friday night's PIAA Class AAAA state quarterfinal, which also will serve as the District 1 championship, is a Ridley team that features a rugged defense potentially able to slow down the explosive Knights. The unit has notched five shutouts and yielded an average of only 7.5 points per game."

Game plan and execution. Both Ridley and North Penn have had superb execution this year, so who comes up with the better game plan? Dennis Decker or Dick Beck. In my opinion, Coach Beck has raised his level of coaching this year. He has gotten more out of this team than anyone thought possible. Dennis Decker is a first year coach, although he does have an excellent supporting cast. I'm looking for a good game, but I still think the Knights will win by 2 scores.