West Catholic, Garnet Valley, Pennsbury, Judge favored

Posted: September 05, 2008

Thankfully, feared Hurricane Gustav largely spared New Orleans and Louisiana.

Now, meteorologists - and area high school athletic directors, coaches and players - are focused on watching tropical storm Hanna. She could play havoc with this weekend's slate of football games. Several schools have switched games originally scheduled for tomorrow to today.

Here's hoping that Hanna, like Gustav, doesn't pack a big-time punch.

Last week: 8-3.

Overall: 8-3.

No. 8 West Catholic (1-0) at Penn Charter (0-0), today, 4. The Burrs pulled past rookie head coach Joe McCourt and Roman Catholic, 34-28, in their overtime opener in Wildwood, N.J.

Not surprisingly, running backs Rob Hollomon and Raymond Maples both eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark. Penn Charter's defense will be challenged by those two and similarly athletic quarterback Curtis Drake. Barring a rainy day that stalls West's high-octane offense, the Burrs win by two touchdowns or more.

Pick: West Catholic, 23-7.

No. 7 Garnet Valley (1-0) at Penncrest (1-0), tonight, 7. Penncrest must come down to earth after its uplifting Week 1 win over Strath Haven. Garnet Valley, with top-notch running backs Tim Keyser and Jared Bonacquisti, poses a bigger challenge. The Jaguars, who last season reached the PIAA Class AAA state championship game, crushed shorthanded Harriton, 42-6, in their opener. Kudos to the Lions and interim coach Paul Graham for the victory over Strath Haven, but we don't see another upset here.

Pick: Garnet Valley, 32-12.

Frankford (1-0) at No. 9 Pennsbury (1-0), tonight, 7. Frankford is fresh off an impressive road victory against a formidable suburban school. Tailback Zaire Anderson zipped for an 81-yard touchdown run, and the underdog Pioneers held off Hatboro-Horsham, 14-7. Pennsbury needed a late touchdown - and the help of the referees, who put time back on the clock in the late going - to nip Archbishop Ryan, 21-20. We love Frankford's spirit and guts. Not enough, though, to side with them against the Falcons.

Pick: Pennsbury, 19-6.

Father Judge (1-0) at Northeast (0-1), tonight, 6. We were glad to see the start of this Northeast Philadelphia rivalry in 2005. The Vikings took the inaugural matchup, 28-14. The Crusaders dominated the last two meetings, winning by 27-7 in 2006 and 38-7 last year. Key for Judge is finding a capable replacement for quarterback Paul Volpe, who passed for more than 1,200 yards last season. Note to Northeast coach Mel Hinton: Find more ways to get Je'Ron Stokes the ball.

Pick: Father Judge, 28-13.

Other games to watch:

Perkiomen Valley (0-1) at No. 10 Coatesville (1-0), tonight, 7. Pick: Coatesville, 20-14.

Council Rock North (0-1) at Central Bucks South (0-1), tonight, 7. Pick: South, 27-26.

Bensalem (0-1) at Pennridge (1-0), tonight, 7. Pick: Pennridge, 24-16.

Lansdale Catholic (1-0) at No. 2 North Penn (1-0), tonight, 7:30. Pick: North Penn, 27-6.

North Catholic (0-1) vs. Archbishop Ryan (0-1), at George Washington, tomorrow, 1. Pick: Ryan, 23-21.

Conwell-Egan (0-1) vs. Archbishop Carroll (0-1), at Radnor, tomorrow, 7:30. Pick: Carroll, 21-0.


Pick of the Week

La Salle (1-0) at No. 6 Malvern Prep (0-0),

today, 4.

   Because of the threat of tropical storm Hanna, this one was moved up a day. La Salle looked good in clobbering Plymouth Whitemarsh, 45-0, in last week's opener. Mike Donohoe rushed for more than 100 yards and Drew Loughery threw for more than 100 and a pair of touchdowns. Malvern Prep has to replace QB Ryan Nassib, but has eight starters back on offense and six on defense. A potent ground game is sparked by Neil Willis and James Connelly. Joe Price is the top receiving threat for new signal-caller Billy Conners. The Explorers put up a good fight on the road, but the Friars escape with a win.

Pick: Malvern Prep, 26-21.

- Rick O'Brien


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 215-313-8019

or robrien@phillynews.com.

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