Closer look at Upper Dublin-PW

Upper Dublin's John Derr looks for running room during a football game against Central Bucks West. (Lisa Siwinski/Staff Photographer)
Upper Dublin's John Derr looks for running room during a football game against Central Bucks West. (Lisa Siwinski/Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 26, 2013

Not since the early 1960s, when it played in the old Inter-County League, has Upper Dublin had such a successful start to a football season.

The youth-laden Cardinals are 8-0, have won by an average of 26 points, and are zeroing in on a Suburban One League American Conference title.

Standing in the way of Upper Dublin's bid for a league crown is two-time defending champion Plymouth Whitemarsh, which is riding a six-game winning streak.

With top honors in the conference on the line, the Cardinals and host Colonials, both 5-0 in league action, will clash at 7 p.m. Friday in Plymouth Meeting.

In the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoff rankings, Upper Dublin, with a 127.5 average, is tied for fifth place with Neshaminy (8-0). Plymouth Whitemarsh (6-2), with a 111.25 average, is tied for 12th with Penncrest (7-1).

Here is a closer look at the showdown.

Last year. Netting 300-plus yards on the ground, the visiting Colonials stormed to a 28-7 lead and romped, 42-14.

Dual-threat QB. The Cardinals' John Derr has completed 49 of 87 passes (56.3 percent) for 597 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior has rushed 63 times for 526 yards and seven scores.

Three-headed attack. Plymouth Whitemarsh's option offense is spurred by QB Connor Hanlon (59 carries for 455 yards, 7 TDs) and RBs Jose Mora-Vega (126 for 802, 9) and Brian Afflick (107 for 736, 8).

One-two combo. For Upper Dublin, tailback Kaleif Lee (76 for 550, 12) and fullback John Lee (75 for 468, 9) have combined for more than 1,000 rushing yards and 21 TDs. They are not related.

Primary receiver. Hanlon's top target is junior WR Jimmy Rodgers (31 catches, 560 yards, 5 TDs).

Multiple options. Derr spreads the ball among wideouts Ryan Siwinski (26 catches for 399 yards) and Matt Thompson (16 for 176) and tight end Marc Conran (13 for 217).

Patrolling the middle. The Cardinals' solid linebacking corps features John Lee, Henry Winebrake, Jack Rapine, and Tim Rasmussen.

Analysis. Plymouth Whitemarsh has struggled on defense, allowing 27 points per game. That spells trouble against Derr and company.

Pick. Upper Dublin, 35-21.

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