Rick O'Brien: Two big games in Dist. 1 AAAA

Posted: November 03, 2011

It's crunch time!

Before the Week 10 games are played and the final numbers tabulated, we take out the crystal ball one last time and look at the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA and AAA playoff pictures.

In Class AAAA, two Friday night contests could significantly affect how things shake out: Downingtown East at West Chester Henderson, and, in the Bucks County Brawl, Neshaminy at Pennsbury.

Downingtown East, with a 121.1 average, is tied for third place in power points with Unionville. Ches-Mont League National Conference rival Henderson (105.6) holds the 10th spot.

Neshaminy (82.2) is in 17th place and can make the 16-team cut with a victory in Fairless Hills. Pennsbury (101.1) is tied for 11th with North Penn and Ridley.

If Neshaminy beats Pennsbury, the Redskins would get in and Downingtown West, currently No. 16, would end up on the outside looking in even if the Whippets beat Bishop Shanahan, as expected.

Here's how we expect it to play out, with our prediction of each team's final record and power-points average. That will be followed by our projected first-round pairings.

Class AAAA

The 16 teams with the highest points averages will qualify.

Predicted finish: No. 1 Council Rock South (9-1, 133), No. 2 Downingtown East (9-1, 132), No. 3 Abington (9-1, 131), No. 4 Unionville (9-1, 130), No. 5 Garnet Valley (9-1, 127), No. 6 Plymouth Whitemarsh (8-1, 126.7), No. 7 West Chester Rustin (9-1, 122), No. 8 Spring-Ford (9-1, 121), No. 9 Coatesville (8-2, 113), No. 10 Pennsbury (8-2, 111), No. 11 North Penn (8-2, 109), No. 12 Ridley (8-2, 107), No. 13 West Chester Henderson (7-3, 100), No. 14 Central Bucks South (7-3, 98), No. 15 Upper Dublin (7-2, 93), and No. 16 Downingtown West (7-3, 90).

Top half of bracket: No. 16 Downingtown West at No. 1 Council Rock South; No. 9 Coatesville at No. 8 Spring-Ford; No. 13 Henderson at No. 4 Unionville; and No. 12 Ridley at No. 5 Garnet Valley.

Bottom half of bracket: No. 15 Upper Dublin at No. 2 Downingtown East; No. 10 Pennsbury at No. 7 Rustin; No. 14 C.B. South at No. 3 Abington; and No. 11 North Penn at No. 6 Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Class AAA

The eight teams with the highest points average will qualify.

Predicted finish: No. 1 Pottsgrove (8-2, 123), No. 2 Springfield, Delco (8-2, 120), No. 3 Phoenixville (7-3, 105), No. 4 Marple Newtown (7-3, 96), No. 5 Strath Haven (7-3, 93), No. 6 Interboro (7-3, 87), No. 7 Pope John Paul II (6-4, 87), and No. 8 Academy Park (7-3, 81).

Quarterfinal matchups: No. 8 Academy Park at No. 1 Pottsgrove; No. 5 Strath Haven at No. 4 Marple Newtown; No. 6 Interboro at No. 3 Phoenixville; and No. 7 Pope John Paul II at No. 2 Springfield (Delco).

Denman honored. Pennsbury's J.J. Denman, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound senior, was one of seven offensive linemen selected to play for the United States under-19 national team in the 2012 International Bowl.

In a game set for Feb. 1 at The Palace at Round Rock in Austin, Texas, Denman and the U.S. squad will face an International Federation of American Football (IFAF) world team composed of players from outside the country.

Denman, who has committed to the University of Wisconsin, was the only Pennsylvania player picked to play for the U.S. team.

Trivia answer. In Sunday's column, we asked readers to name the leading rusher for Springfield (Montco) in 1995 and the opponent that snapped the Spartans' win streak at nine that year.

Chad Merriweather was the top rusher for Dave Puchalski's team, which went 9-0 before bowing to Lansdale Catholic, 28-6, in the District 1 Class AA final in Erdenheim.

Gary DeGiacomo, of Wyndmoor, was the first to answer correctly.


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter.

Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone.

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