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What it takes to win a wide open district tourney

By 9 November, 2011August 18th, 2012No Comments

By Matt Smith, Delaware County Daily Times
November 09, 2011

If recent history proves anything, the District One playoffs can be a crapshoot.

A year ago, No. 1 seed Ridley, which rolled through the regular season unscathed, suffered a stunning first-round defeat to West Chester Henderson. Eight teams from Delaware County qualified for districts this year, and four of those teams are on the road this weekend.

Here’s a look at each matchup involving Delco teams, explaining what those schools must do to advance in their respective District One brackets.


Ridley at Garnet Valley

n Garnet Valley can beat Ridley if … the Jaguars control the tempo on the offensive side of the ball. Mike Ricci’s offense is dangerous –with running backs Justin Pyle and Jordyn Bennett leading the way – and Ryan Corkery under center. The Jags must avoid beating themselves with turnovers (minus-4 ratio) and stop Ridley from jumping on them early – a habit the Jags have fallen victim to in many games this season.

n Ridley can beat Garnet Valley if … they win the battles at the line of scrimmage. The key player in all of this is Jalen Randolph, who wasn’t much of a factor in the Green Raiders’ loss to the Jags during the regular season. If Randolph is running on all cylinders – he sat out last week’s game against Lower Merion with turf toe – Ridley could walk away with the upset.


Academy Park at Springfield

n Springfield can beat Academy Park if … the Cougars mix things up on offense. Although they’ve missed starting running back Rob Murphy, Springfield has received steady production from backups Cameron Dunham and Barry Foster in Murphy’s absence. Senior quarterback Ryan Strain is due for another big game throwing to favorite targets Matt Reichert and Warren Allen.

n Academy Park can beat Springfield if… the Knights defense, statistically one of the county’s best, prevents the Cougars from making the big play. Offensively, Caleeh Jeffrey has emerged as a threat in the backfield, but can the Knights avoid the wrath of linebacker Tyler Morrissey?

Strath Haven at Marple Newtown

n Strath Haven can beat Marple Newtown if … the Panthers can bottle up Marple’s Cimirrow Moat and keep up their torrid scoring pace. Moat gashed the Panthers for 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 21-point victory in Week 3. The Panthers have averaged 46.6 points per game over the last three weeks.

n Marple Newtown can beat Strath Haven if… the Tigers can execute as they did in the teams’ previous meeting and hassle the Panthers’ ball handlers. The Panthers were held to a mere seven points – their lowest output of the season.

Interboro at Phoenixville

n Interboro can beat Phoenixville if… the Bucs can abide by coach Steve Lennox’s run-first philosophy against a defense that allowed 415 rushing yards last week against Pottsgrove.

Calvary vs. Delco Christian

n Delco Christian can beat Calvary Christian if … the Knights do what they do best out of their double-wing offensive formation – run the ball. Zak Moore and Sam Tascone are a potent one-two threat, but it was top linebacker Tyler Winkis who had most of the success carrying the ball in the teams’ Week 3 contest – a 14-0 decision for the Knights.