Unbeaten Upper Dublin relying on balance

Upper Dublin receiver Ryan Siwinski has a team-high 26 receptions for 399 yards (a 15.3-yard average) and a touchdown. LISA SIWINSKI
Upper Dublin receiver Ryan Siwinski has a team-high 26 receptions for 399 yards (a 15.3-yard average) and a touchdown. LISA SIWINSKI
Posted: October 18, 2013

Many expected John Derr to be a gunslinger when he took over at quarterback for Upper Dublin last season.

After all, Derr's brother, Andrew, now a redshirt freshman at West Chester, threw for 2,962 yards and 27 touchdowns in his last two years with the Cardinals.

However, wanting to capitalize fully on John Derr's abilities as a runner, Upper Dublin has opted for a balanced attack, especially in storming to a 7-0 start this year.

"Being on the other end of a lot of passes would have been great," Cardinals senior wide receiver Ryan Siwinski said. "But whatever is best for the team works for me. As long as we're moving the ball down the field, that's what's most important."

Upper Dublin has won its seven games, including four in the Suburban One League American Conference, by a combined score of 274-93.

"I don't think we expected to come out of the chute that strong," Siwinski said. "Beating Central Bucks West in our opener was a big confidence booster."

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Siwinski, a second-year starter, has a team-high 26 receptions for 399 yards (15.3-yard average) and a touchdown.

In Upper Dublin's 6-4 campaign last year, after missing his sophomore season because of a back injury, Siwinski acknowledged he was "a little timid" in his pass-catching role.

"I was a bit apprehensive when it came to running after the catch," said the 17-year-old, a midfielder in lacrosse. "That's not an issue now. I don't mind getting hit. I'll go for the extra yardage."

Derr, who last season threw for 876 yards and 12 TDs, has completed 52 of 91 passes for 667 yards and two TDs. The 6-3, 205-pounder has rushed 62 times for 529 yards and six TDs.

"Running is what he does best," Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover said.

"His brother is more of a natural thrower. We made the mistake last year of trying to make John a passer. That wasn't fair to him."

In the 45-21 romp over C.B. West, Derr turned six carries into 169 yards and two scores before leaving with a separated shoulder.

"He's so strong," Stover added. "When things break down, he makes things happen with his feet."

The Cardinals offense also features tailback Kaleif Lee (61 carries for 440 yards, 9 TDs) and fullback John Lee (65 for 415, 9). The two are not related. The line is anchored by center Patrick Echevarria, tackle Tyler Berish, and tight end Marc Conran.

A defense with a bend-but-don't-break mentality is headed by linebackers John Lee, Henry Winebrake, Jack Rapine, and Tim Rasmussen.

Ben Gause and Tamir Bailey lead the charge up front.

The future also looks bright for Upper Dublin, as five sophomores and three juniors are prominent contributors this season.

"The other thing we have this year is depth," Stover said. "When we have to turn to our bench, there's not the significant drop-off there was in years past."

Upper Dublin likely will battle defending champ Plymouth Whitemarsh (5-2, 4-0) for the American Conference crown on Oct. 25.

Cancellation. Mastery Charter North will be idle this weekend after learning that its scheduled opponent, the SEED School (Md.), will not make the trek to Northwest Philly for a Saturday afternoon game.

"It's very disheartening," Pumas coach John Davidson said. "I was told they're not playing because of academic ineligibility. I finally heard back from somebody after reaching out to them for the last 21/2 weeks."

SEED is a public boarding school in Southwest Baltimore that opened in 2008 and serves at-risk students.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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