Mid season round up

Off The Cuff and on the QT

BY Paula G.
Ace Sports Reporter

September 21, 2006

LANGHORNE: Okay, okay – four weeks into the season and everyone wants to know what I’m thinking. What’s my opinion and how is my early season compilation of expert predictions panning out (the price you pay for being in the public eye.)

Well, you asked for it so here it is.

The Team That Would Be King

But so we’re all clear on one thing, I’m only taking stock of the way things are shaking out in a matter of fact “here′s how it looks right now” overview. I′m not making any specific predictions and I’m not nominating any team as the next state champs. Since all the guys out there playing ball are tops in my book, picking just one team would be awfully hard (course, there is that group on Old Lincoln Highway, hmmm, better get back to the business at hand). Look, think of it this way: I’m simply providing you with a capsule summary of four week’s of games and measuring that against the mid-August expectations to see if the two are in sync.

Got that? Good.

And another thing, as you read this I want you to think about the teams out west, up north and right here at home in southeastern Pennsylvania. And with that said…

Out West

If anybody happens to recall, just before the ‘Skins opened their season (oops, did I already mention the ‘Skins – my bad), anyway, where was I, oh yea – ahem, I told all you die hard types that way out west in the WPIAL region the big boys looked to be as follows: Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Woodland Hills followed by North Hills and Upper St. Clair. And although not WPIAL (but still out west – or at least “to the west”) I also mentioned that the Harrisburg Cougars had been touted as perhaps THE TEAM and the Little Lions of State College were identified as a “stealth club” to watch. Thus far, I think you’d agree that those are the teams setting the pace.

And what a pace – and what a season – it’s been on the other side of the state. For instance, although ranked numero uno in the state last week, “The War” between previously unbeaten PCC and once nicked Woody went to the Wolverines, 17-14 (the game was played this past Friday night at the “Wolverena” and there were 11,000 of us screaming fans shoehorned into the stadium – yes, I was there so I know what I’m talking about). So now that that dust has cleared, they’re both 3-1. And with North Hills at 3-1 (and I better mention that a reigning 4A state champion McKeesport is also 3-1) that leaves the Upper St. Clair Panthers on top of the heap as the only club at 4-0 in the Steel City area (although their latest win over the Tigers of North Allegheny, 16-7, was no cakewalk).

As to that Harrisburg squad, they’re 4-0 (State College is 4-0 too). And what can you say about the Cougars? They’ve scored 173 and given up just 21 (that’s just about an average of 43-5 a game). In their one “tough” game against a ranked Bishop McDevitt, they won 29-7.

Check the polls this week (on a state wide basis) and you can be sure it’ll be the Cougars on top while it’ll be USC riding high in the WPIAL.

Up North

This is a little easier. The Bethlehem Liberty Hurricanes, the Easton Red Rovers and the Parkland Trojans in D11 and the Wyoming Valley West Spartans in D2 (and look for the Hurricanes to be number two in most statewide polls this week).

And now for some stats: All are 4-0. Bethlehem’s average game final score is 44-9 while Easton’s is 30-0 and Parkland comes in at 34-8. George Curry’s Spartans at Wyoming Valley West aren’t crushing people but they are 4-0. So those would appear to be the top dogs upstate (and I might add they had been highlighted as grid groups to keep in sight in my earlier crystal ball gazing guide). They’re all very capable and it’ll probably come down to who has their game in high gear when they meet up but the locals up there (as in up in the greater Lehigh Valley area) have given a nod to the D11 boys (watch out for coach Curry, though, as he learned more than a few tricks while guiding the Berwick crew for what seems like forever).

By the way, as to Easton, you did read that right. They’ve played four games and have allowed zero, zip, nada, none, zilch (I’m talking points). Pretty impressive – yes? Imagine the fireworks when that unstoppable Hurricane scoring machine welcomes the immovable Rover defense to their home turf (that’s Friday, October 27th at 7:00 P.M. – think I’ll be there or what).