A new conference rises Quakertown is hoping to contend with Central Bucks East and South

Posted: September 02, 2004

The Suburban One League Continental Conference is new this season. Quakertown competing for a championship is not. The Panthers were fixtures near the top of the old Liberty Division.

"From a competitive standpoint, the Continental will be one of the best around from top to bottom," Quakertown coach John Donnelly said.

Quakertown's strength is its large line on both sides of the ball. Senior Dustyn Seifert (5-foot-10, 265) was an all-league selection last season on the line, and senior Ryan Davis (6-4, 240), grandson of former Eagle great and Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, has worked himself into a standout two-way lineman. Senior Mike Devlin (6-1, 215) and sophomore Caleb Ruch (6-3, 260) are solid.

Senior James Streapy (6-2, 175) was an all-league outside linebacker and recorded 67 tackles. He also doubles at wideout.

Quakertown's offense centers around the quickness of senior receiver Nate Cox (6-0, 175). His all-purpose skills resulted in 42 receptions for more than 800 yards receiving last year. Cox has caught the attention of several Atlantic Ten programs. Senior Jon Ruch (5-9, 170) takes over at quarterback.

Central Bucks East. The Patriots (7-4) move down from the large-school division, but hope their size will ease the transition. East will have some big holes to fill at the skill positions, but can't be overlooked in the title race because of strength up front.

Senior Bradley Vierling (6-3, 285) anchors the offensive line. A three-year starter, he has gained interest from several Division I schools, including Akron and Vanderbilt. Senior Kurt Schneider and junior John Pfund (6-2, 265) add strength and experience to both lines. Junior Rocco Bocutti (6-3, 240) will play guard.

Senior J.J. Watson (5-11, 205) is a two-year starter at linebacker and is expected to make a big impact on offense from his fullback position. Junior Brian Trymbiski gives East an advantage in the kicking game.

Central Bucks South. Could the Titans have a championship banner this fall without having a school to hang it in? Central Bucks South has been working out at a junior high school in the district this summer and their players will attend the schools they originally came from while the opening of the new building is delayed.

Despite that adversity, the Titans could find themselves in the thick of the title race.

Bart Szarko, who was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at C.B. East since 1990, will field a talented and experienced team. He is familiar with many of the players from East, including senior standouts Bill McDonnell, James Bowes and Dave McClain.

McDonnell (6-4, 200) is one premier quarterbacks in the league, if not the area. His knowledge (1,400 SAT), decision-making and arm strength set him apart. He threw for 23 touchdowns in the last two years combined and had more than 1,000 yards passing in 2003.

McDonnell will have plenty of protection. McClain (6-5, 325) has already committed to Maryland. A three-year starter and four-year letterwinner, he is a textbook drive blocker with surprising quickness.

Bowes (6-0, 215) will be the beneficiary of McClain's blocking. Bowes isn't a breakaway-type, but beats defenders with elusiveness and slashing skills.

C.B. West transfer Dean Bowser (5-10, 210) was an all-league pick at defensive tackle and Mike Cristinzio (5-11, 220) is a stalwart on the offensive line.

McDonnell will have plenty of targets to throw to with former East receivers Bruce White and Adam Neumeister.

A player to watch is senior Mike Finnegan (5-7, 150). After sitting out two years at West, the speedy Finnegan could develop into a top-notch wide receiver and kick returner.

Council Rock South. Coach Vince Bedesem is calling this season a "judgment year" for the Golden Hawks (6-5). The team returns key skill-position players, including senior quarterback John Haldis (6-1, 180).

In a quarterback-rich conference, Haldis brings multiple skills. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and passing last season.

Senior Mike Weick (5-10, 200) brings ruggedness to the linebacker and fullback positions, and senior Shaun Minnich (6-2, 255), a three-year starter, anchors both lines. Minnich appears to be at full strength after suffering a serious knee injury last winter in wrestling.

Senior Pat Donohoe (5-11, 250) makes the offensive line calls from his center position, and senior Eric Kopacz give both lines size and experience.

Seniors Ryan Jones (cornerback/wideout) and John Kreft (cornerback/running back) and junior Ryan McCarthy (defensive back/running back) are three key returnees.

Hatboro-Horsham. The Hatters (7-4) are looking to rediscover the momentum of last year's fast start - four wins in their first five games - when they earned a share of the Liberty Division title.

Coach Dave Sanderson likes the Hatters' athleticism, starting with senior returnees Kevin Garland and Duncan Swezey.

Garland (5-8, 165) is a three-year starter at running back. Instinct and vision helped him gain more than 1,300 yards and score 18 touchdowns last season.

Swezey (6-1, 195), a member of the National Honor Society, brings a strong arm and quick decision-making skills to the quarterback position.

The offense is expected to get a boost from wide receiver Jay Littlejohn. The senior, a transfer from AA state champion Aliquippa, has 4.5 speed and is fearless going over the middle, according to Sanderson.

Senior Brian Schneider (6-2, 200) is a two-year starter at defensive end and tight end. He will be joined by first-year starter Ted Barnard, a senior (6-0, 195).

Junior John Bennis (6-3, 240) will switch from defensive tackle to linebacker to capitalize on his speed.

Norristown. The Eagles (1-11) hope last year's growing pains have passed. Coach E.J. Smith returns a strong nucleus of skill-position players, including seniors Greg Byrd and Ken Witter along with junior Jerry DiNolfi.

Byrd started at quarterback for five games before suffering a season-ending foot injury. DiNolfi took over and was productive, earning the starting nod for this fall. Byrd (6-0, 200) will switch to tailback; Witter, a speedy wideout, will be a focal point of the passing game.

Witter doubles as defensive back; he was an all-league pick in 2003. Junior D'Armond Pierce (6-2, 225) was solid at fullback and defensive end.

Senior Tyrese Barker (5-11, 220) adds size and strength to the defensive line.

Souderton. Despite not having won a game since the 2001 season, there is a buzz coming from the Indians' camp this summer. The team returns 15 starters, including eight on defense and all six at the skill positions on offense.

Junior quarterback Josh Insogna (6-1, 155) showed promise when he earned the job in the final three weeks of the 2003 season. After the team failed to throw a touchdown pass in its first seven games, Insogna threw for three TDs, including two in his first start.

Senior Matt Brown (6-3, 225) will see duty at tight end and defensive end. Junior Matt Freed (5-11, 180) is the top runing back in the wing-T offense. He battled numerous injuries, including a fractured growth plate in his hip, last season. When he returned for the final three weeks, he made a big difference in the running attack.

Senior Jack Tilghman (6-0, 200) is another productive back and junior Justin Kramaremko (6-0, 180) started five games at fullback last season.

Junior Chris Chylack (6-2, 250) anchors the offensive line at tackle. Keep an eye on junior Walter Boone (6-4, 290). Junior Josh Quintana (6-0, 185), a two-year starter, leads the linebacking corps.

William Tennent. The Panthers (6-5) will have work to do after graduating 15 seniors from last year's team. But coach Biz Keeney returns a solid group of skill players, including junior quarterback Kevin Godfrey and senior running back Brandon Pirrone.

Godfrey (6-1, 185) has developed into a solid passer while Pirrone (5-8, 175) was a 1,200-yard rusher last year.

Senior Jay Meikrantz (6-1, 245), a two-year starter, heads the offensive line and seniors Joe Hanley (5-11, 205) and Mark Maloney (5-9, 160) lead the defensive secondary.

Junior Brendan Green (6-3, 225) has fully recovered from a knee injury suffered on the third play of the season last year. He will line up at tight end and defensive end.

Junior linebacker Chris Gaunt (5-10, 185) and Shane Breen (6-2, 210) are two promising newcomers.

Contact suburban staff writer Tom McGurk at 215-854-5721 or tmcgurk@phillynews.com.

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