By Matt DeGeorge
It’s with a hushed tone that Ato Troop thinks back to last season’s finale at Penn Wood football camp.
Each of the last two seasons, Troop’s team has run across dreaded Perkiomen Valley in the District 1 Class 6A playoffs. Two years ago, the Vikings ran up 55 points in a lopsided win over the No. 14 Patriots. Last fall, a game that stung immeasurably more, saw the second-seeded Vikings recover from a 16-point second-half deficit to claim a 38-30 win.
There’s one consolation for Troop and his players: The 2018 season won’t end at the hands of Perkiomen Valley. Even as they convene for preseason camp, that end-of-season truth is secure.
It’s not due to the Patriots’ growth as a team. It’s because the new PIAA football classifications have the Patriots in Class 5A while the Vikings remain solidly in 6A.
If Troop has the opportunity to gameplan for a playoff contest this season, he’ll still focus on Xs and Os, on executing, on being the better team on the day. He won’t have to worry about structural disparities, like having 43 Patriots in uniform against 90-something Perk Valley players.