By Matt Smith
News of a District One schedule proposal for the 2017 season was released last month to mixed applause. The proposal outlines realignment across board and the elimination of leagues as we know them. Instead of leagues, teams would be grouped into standings by PIAA classification.
This proposal is a result of concerns expressed over several seasons about the current playoff points system, as well as the challenges faced by schools to schedule nonleague games.
The proposal was reviewed by the District One Football Steering Committee and the District One Committee in September.
“There is no major progress or movement to report. At our September committee meeting we agreed there should be continued discussions,” Sean Kelly, the District One assistant executive secretary, said in an email to the “We asked all committee members to go back to their leagues to discuss the schedules and bring us feedback in October. I do not expect us to make any major progress or decisions anytime soon. We still plan to meet with the football steering committee members at some point after the season in December.”
If the proposal passes, the Central League and Del Val League would cease to exist.
Surprisingly, this doesn’t infuriate as many Delco coaches as you would think. However, some longtime coaches in the Central League are against the idea of disbanding.
“If this is passed, we would play Haverford on Thanksgiving as an exhibition game,” Upper Darby coach Rich Gentile said last month. “That’s because we would play Haverford earlier in the year . … I’m a league guy. I love the Central 1. Springfield (6-0) 2. Haverford School (4-1) 3. Academy Park (6-0) 4. Episcopal Academy (5-0) 5. Ridley (5-1) 6. Marple Newtown (6-0) 7. Haverford (4-2)
League and the tradition. It would be a real shame to see all of that go away.
“You want to win a championship. And now you’ll have a 99.9 percent chance of never getting that opportunity.”
On the other hand, Academy Park’s Jason Vosheski and Penn Wood’s Nick Lincoln both agree the schedule changes would rid them of the burden of finding nonleague games. The Del Val League plays five straight weeks of nonleague contests before its conference schedule kicks into gear. Filling out a schedule of nonleague opponents is increasingly difficult every year.
In addition, Penn Wood is the lone 6A school in the Del Val League, which hurts its chances of gaining valuable power points because it doesn’t have opportunity to play other 6A schools.
“If you think about it, 8-2 probably won’t get us in the playoffs, so we’re at a disadvantage,” said Lincoln, who has guided the Patriots to a 5-1 record. “To us, (the schedule proposal) makes a lot of sense.”
*** DISTRICT ONE RANKINGS >> Let’s take a glance to see where everyone stands in the District One power rankings.
In 6A, Ridley is tied for fifth place with Downingtown East. Penn Wood is ranked 10th, followed by Haverford (13) and Garnet Valley (14). Delco’s only other 6A school, Upper Darby, is back in 26th place. The top 16 teams qualify for the district tournament.
In 5A, Springfield holds the top spot. Academy Park (three) and Marple Newtown (fourth) are right behind. Sun Valley sits in sixth place, while Glen Mills is tied with Unionville for ninth.
Chester is in 15th place, while Chichester and Radnor are tied for 16th.
The top 16 teams qualify for the district tournament in 5A, as well.
Interboro is the No. 1 team in 4A. The Bucs will look to hold off second-place Pottsgrove. Only four teams qualify for the 4A tourney.
Finally, Delco Christian sits in second place in the threeteam 1A standings.
*** It’s quite possible the Central League will feature co-champions this year.
Marple Newtown and Springfield are tied for first place with matching records of 6-0. Unfortunately, the teams do not play this year.
The Tigers and Cougars face stiff tests this week. Ridley (51) travels to Marple Newtown looking to make up for its overtime loss to Springfield a week ago. Meanwhile, Springfield visits George L. King Field to face an improved Strath Haven (33) squad.
Marple and Springfield have difficult paths to a perfect regular season. The Tigers have Ridley, Haverford (4-2), Harriton (0-6) and Strath Haven remaining. The Cougars have Strath Haven, Penncrest (2-4), Garnet Valley (4-2) and Haverford on their schedule.
*** The Haverford School and Episcopal Academy — ranked second and fourth in the Super 7, respectively — are on a bye week before beginning Inter-Ac League competition next week. The reigning champion Fords begin their quest for a four-peat Friday, Oct. 14 at Penn Charter (3-0). Meanwhile, the Churchmen travel to Malvern Prep (3-2).
*** MOVING THE CHAINS >> In the battle for most rushing touchdowns in Delco, Interboro’s Chris Thomas holds the lead with 13, followed by Strath Haven’s Zach Newlon (12) and Haverford School’s Mallik Twyman (nine). Twyman leads the county in rushing yardage (814), while Thomas ranks second (769)… With its 41-8 rout of Lower Moreland last Saturday, Delco Christian snapped its first fourgame losing streak since 2012… Alex Coll’s 156-yard receiving performance was the best such game by a Bonner & Prendergast player since Christian Summers in 2012 (206 yards vs. Archbishop Wood).