Another glorious morning to watch a football scrimmage. Temps in the low 70’s with little humidity. A light breeze and a few shade trees kept the 100 or so fans very comfortable. Varsity came out first and played a traditional first half with yard markers, scoreboard and time clock. It started out pretty evenly but PJP started to get some control as they moved the ball down to the red zone but the Panther defense held and things started to change. As the Haven ‘O’ line began to find it’s footing the running backs just kept running “up the gut” for 5-7 yards and more and just kept pounding the ball. Some end sweeps and counters really gained yardage and Haven managed one score. The defense kept aggressive and, while allowing yards, kept PJP in check for the rest of the varsity scrimmage. JV also got off to a slow start but then dominated in the later part of the scrimmage on both side of the ball scoring a few times. Webmaster’s note: Catch a one minute video highlight of the scrimmage on Facebook!
A great way to end the last scrimmage and a terrific tune-up for what will be a tough game against Prep Charter. The opener is at home with the kick-off scheduled for 7:30 PM. If you can’t make the game you can always listen to it right here at www.havenfootball.net. Our broadcast begins at 7:15 PM!
By Matt Smith
Coach: Rich Gentile (21st season)
2014 Record: 6-6 (4-5 Central League)
2014 In Two Sentences: The Royals endured a lot of growing pains last fall, so it’s a testament to the coaching staff that the team was able to post a .500 record despite working in several newcomers to varsity. When it was going well, the Royals were one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the county (they played Springfield to a 34-33 loss), but lacked consistency on the defensive side of the ball.
For those fans who like to follow the BIG picture in AAA football here are the preseason rankings from PA Football News. Archbishop Wood is the defending champion.
(2014 record in parenthesis)
1. Imhotep Charter (12-2) – District 12
Talent is not an issue for the Panthers. With several players eventually heading to Division 1 colleges including TE Naseir Upshur and RB Tyliek Raynor. They will win a lot of games, but can they get past the defending champs. On paper, it looks possible which is why they get the top spot in the preseason.
2. Archbishop Wood (14-1) – District 12
Wood has three state championships now and with QB Anthony Russo back for his senior season, a fourth is probably. Obviously, they have to get out of southeastern PA which is always a challenge, but the Vikings have horses to continue to be a factor again.
By Matt Smith
Coach: Chris Britton (Second season)
2014 Record: 12-1 (9-0 Central League)
2014 In Two Sentences: The Cougars triumphed over all comers for 12 consecutive weeks and won the program’s first Central League title since 1994. They suffered their one and only loss of the year to Great Valley in the District One Class AAA championship game.
Key Departures: Adam Krauter (LB), Brian Layden (DL-OL), Brian Allen (QB), Lucas Spence (DB), Colin Bracconier (RB).
On a dramatically cool and comfortable morning the Sun Valley Vanguards came into George L. King Field to scrimmage against the 2015 Strath Haven Panthers.
Both teams played well and kept control of the ball with clean plays and very few dramatic mistakes. No bad snaps (other than a missed snap on a punt for Haven). The Haven varsity controlled the ball well on both sides of the line. Defense was very stingy on the rushing side and there were a few sacks and little yardage gained for Sun Valley.
The Haven Varsity offense was equally impressive. The Panthers have returned their entire front line of offense and it showed this morning with Haven seeming to open seams at will with lots of heavy ground rushing. Passing was sparse but several good gains were made through the air.
Junior Varsity struggled a bit more but also had a good strong outing giving up a few long balls but doing well on offense and playing the run well on defense.
A very good first outing!
By Bruce Adams
For the Lower Merion and Harriton High School football squads, the first week of football practice has made for some interesting challenges.
First, the Aces and Rams each earned one Central League victory last fall – LM defeated Harriton, and the Rams beat Penncrest – so there’s the challenge to improve in 2015.
The second challenge is that both teams have suffered from relatively light player turnouts the last few years.
But Lower Merion has reason to be encouraged this fall. LM had close to 60 youths show up on Monday (compared to about 35 players for the first day of practice last year).
LM head football head coach Bryan Scopelliti said, “We have a big freshman class that’s come out – more than 25 of them.”
Because of the increased freshman turnout this fall, Lower Merion will be fielding a freshman football team for the first time in several years. The decision to have a frosh football team was officially made Monday, but according to Scopelliti, “we knew by the end of July, the beginning of August, that we had enough [players].”
By Matt Smith
Coach: Chris Gicking
2014 Record: 5-6 (4-5 Central League)
2014 In Two Sentences: Adrian Sapnas ran roughshod on the Central League and Abel Hoff set the county’s single-season record for most receptions. Despite their explosive efforts, the Tigers suffered a streak of four consecutive losses and fell short of a District One Class AAA playoff berth in Gicking’s first year running the program.
Key Departures: Adrian Sapnas (RB), Vince Civardelli (DL), Lucas Maas (WR-DB), Dom Talluto (OL).
By Matt Smith
Coach: Kevin Clancy (25th season)
2014 Record: 5-6 (3-6 Central League)
2014 In Two Sentences: Despite solid production from many of their best skill players, the Panthers couldn’t recover from a stretch of six consecutive losses against Central League foes. While a district playoff berth wasn’t in the cards, the Panthers ended the year with four consecutive victories, averaging 38.8 points over that span.
Key Departures: Justin Fremont (OL-DL), Paul Somaru (SE-DB), Nick Milone (RB-DB), Alex Bratsis (RB-DB), Anthony Myers (RB-DB).
(webmaster’s note: We will be posting Central League team previews as they become available)
By Matt Smith
Coach: Rick Stroup (Fifth season)
2014 In Two Sentences: The Lions, who were considered a preseason favorite in the Central League, stumbled to a 1-7 start. They managed to hit their stride in the second half of the year, winning their last two games, and spoiled rival Marple Newtown’s chances of qualifying for the District One Class AAA playoffs.
Key Departures: Jonah Jackson (OL-DL), Carlos Ruiz (OL-DL), Diego Zubieta (LB), Chris Alyankian (LB), Dan Fisher (QB).
Looking Ahead: The Lions have a combined 12 starters returning this season — six on offense and six on defense.
Remember to pick up the annual Daily Times High School Football Preview in the Sept. 3 edition of the Daily Times. In it you’ll find full-page preview stories of all 22 teams in Delco, plus full schedules and other goodies.
As we approached the 2015 season we are working with our current sponsors on renewals (invoices just went out) and are always interested in new sponsors. If you have a business that would like to sponsor our web page and/or our LIVE Internet game broadcasts please drop us a line at email@example.com. Our web page sponsor programs start at $100 and include a direct link to your company’s web page and our live game broadcasts cost as little as $25 per game. We can even produce your 30 second commercial for you at no additional charge!
Link your company to the fun and excitement of Strath Haven football. Drop us a note today!