Rick O'Brien: Garnet Valley, Pennsbury are favored to advance

Neshaminy quarterback Joe Bianchino will have his hands full with streaking North Penn in Friday's Class AAAA quarterfinal. The Knights, on an eight-game win streak, are favored.
Neshaminy quarterback Joe Bianchino will have his hands full with streaking North Penn in Friday's Class AAAA quarterfinal. The Knights, on an eight-game win streak, are favored. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 18, 2011

Nine playoff games are on tap this weekend, including two District 12 championship tilts Saturday at Northeast High's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium.

Here is a game-by-game look at the matchups.

Last week: 6-2. Overall: 90-32.


District 1 Class AAAA Quarterfinals

No. 13 seed Central Bucks South (8-3) at No. 5 Garnet Valley (10-1), 7 p.m. C.B. South is led by handyman Dan Brown (1,638 rushing yards, 38 total touchdowns) and Virginia-bound quarterback Matt Johns.

Garnet Valley's triple-option attack has been fueled by fullback Justin Pyle (228 carries for 1,443 yards and 16 TDs) and QB Ryan Corkery.

Analysis: The Titans have averaged 45 points over the last seven games, but look for tackle Andrew Thomas and company to slow them down when it counts.

Pick: Garnet Valley, 28-17.

No. 15 Pennsbury (8-3) at No. 10 Coatesville (9-2), 7. Pennsbury's wing-T offense is headed by bulldozing fullback Daquan Mack and shifty halfback Adam Lewis.

Coatesville likes to open things up, with Manny Stocker handing off to Dae-Hon Cheung or throwing to speedy wideouts Kyle Kerrick and Chris Jones.

Analysis: The difference will be up front, where the Falcons have bigger, more physical players.

Pick: Pennsbury, 24-21.

No. 14 Neshaminy (8-3) at No. 11 North Penn (9-2), 7:30. Tailback Sean Ulmer (1,205 rushing yards, 12 TDs) and southpaw QB Joe Bianchino hope to give Neshaminy its first win against the Knights since 2007.

For North Penn, handyman Dan Gevirtz and tailback Kyle Mayfield have fared well running behind linemen John Garland and T.J. Smink.

Analysis: The Knights have been on a tear lately, winning their last eight games by a combined score of 290-71. Look for it to continue.

Pick: North Penn, 31-14.

District 1 Class AAA Semifinals

No. 5 Strath Haven (8-3) at No. 1 Pottsgrove (9-2), 7. For the Panthers, who use a wing-T scheme, James Griffin (1,055 rushing yards, 13 TDs) and fullback Andrew Crawford (641, 10) are the driving forces.

Since tailback Mark Dukes (1,043, 9) went down with a broken ankle, Pottsgrove has relied heavily on QB Tory Hudgins and fullback Bobby Curtin.

Analysis: Strength of schedule will be a factor here. The Panthers were toughened while playing the likes of Garnet Valley and Ridley.

Pick: Strath Haven, 26-14.

No. 7 Academy Park (8-3) at No. 3 Phoenixville (8-3), 7. The Knights need another big effort from wideout-turned-running back Mark Doe and backfield partner Caleeh Jeffrey.

Phoenixville also relies heavily on the run, with fullback Vinny Nattle (1,180 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and QB Alec McQuiston (554, 7) leading the way.

Analysis: This one is a toss-up, with turnovers probably being the difference.

Pick: Phoenixville, 27-23.

District 1-12 Class AA Subregional Final

No. 4 West Catholic (8-3) at No. 2 Springfield, Montco (11-0), 7. David Williams (1,53 rushing yards, 16 TDs) and the Burrs nearly had their bid for another state title end last Saturday against Bok.

The Spartans' breakthrough season has been ignited by Clay Ewell (1,340 rushing yards, 16 TDs), QB Doug Bauer (42 for 80 passing, 930 yards, 15 TDs), and handyman Tim Quigg.

Analysis: West's close call against Bok is cause for worry, but the Burrs have too much speed for Springfield.

Pick: West Catholic, 28-7.


Doubleheader at Northeast.

District 12 Class AAA Championship Game

Dobbins (9-2) vs. Archbishop Wood (10-1), noon. Dobbins must find running room for Daquan Brown and Jameel Davis. Wood has outscored foes by 487-88.

Analysis: Wood has gained its last three district crowns by a combined 142-20. Enough said.

Pick: Wood, 55-0.

District 12 Class AAAA Championship Game

George Washington (8-2) vs. La Salle (10-1), 4. The Eagles "shocked the world" in 2008, beating La Salle, 23-14. They'll need a monster effort from Hakeem Sillman to do it again.

The Explorers, in looking to get back to the state final, must iron out some kinks on offense.

Analysis: While Sillman has been superb vs. Public League opponents, we don't see him doing much damage in this one.

Pick: La Salle, 30-7.

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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