Rick's Picks: Week 9

Pottsgrove's quarterback Riley Michaels throws a touchdown pass to Michael Fowler against Spring-Ford. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Pottsgrove's quarterback Riley Michaels throws a touchdown pass to Michael Fowler against Spring-Ford. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer) (Steven M. Falk)
Posted: October 26, 2013

It's Week 9 on the gridiron, and league championships are at stake across Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Among the area's marquee showdowns is the Pioneer Athletic Conference duel between unbeaten Pottsgrove and white-hot Perkiomen Valley at 7 p.m. Friday in Collegeville.

The Falcons (8-0 overall, 7-0 PAC-10), ranked eighth in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, can all but clinch an outright title with a victory. They gained the driver's seat with a 14-7 win at Spring-Ford (6-2, 5-1) in Week 5.

Rebounding from a 14-7 loss to Spring-Ford in Week 3, No. 17 Perkiomen Valley (7-1, 6-1) has won its last five contests by a combined score of 240-13.

Tailback Marquis Barefield fuels Pottsgrove's veer option offense, which is averaging 44 points. The 5-foot-8, 150-pounder has carried the ball 100 times for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In last week's 52-14 thumping of Phoenixville, Barefield turned seven carries into a career-high 201 yards and five TDs.

The Falcons, who have won 21 straight league games, also can turn to quarterback Riley Michaels, fullback Sene Polamalu, and receivers Michael Fowler and Jalen Mayes.

Rasaan Stewart, a dual-threat quarterback, leads of Perkiomen Valley's no-huddle, spread attack. A Division I-A prospect as a defensive back, he has passed for 1,057 yards and 16 TDs and run for 743 yards and 11 scores.

The 6-1, 185-pound Stewart gets support from running backs Mark Bonomo and Ryan O'Donnell, and receivers Dakota Clanagan and Clay Domine.

Pottsgrove's defense, allowing only 8.6 points per game, is spearheaded by linemen Nico Demetrio and Anthony Pond, linebackers Jeff Adams and Tyrone Parker, and backs Barefield and Fowler.

For Perkiomen Valley, a defense that has posted four shutouts is keyed by linemen Seth Jonassen and Anthony Pachella, linebackers Anthony Rotondo and Austin Gansz, and backs Stewart and Liam Grande.

We expect the Vikings, with their defense playing a leading role, to win and forge a three-way tie atop the PAC-10 standings.

Pick: Perkiomen Valley, 20-14.

Last week: 9-1. Overall: 66-17 (.795).

Other Friday games

No. 22 North Penn (5-3, 5-0 Suburban One Continental) at No. 12 Central Bucks West (7-1, 5-0), 7. Against the resurgent Knights, the host Bucks can take a huge step toward claiming their first league title since 2004. Pick: C.B. West, 26-21.

No. 3 Neshaminy (8-0, 5-0 Suburban One National) at No. 18 Abington (7-1, 4-1), 7. Can Abington find a way to slow 1,533-yard rusher D'Andre Pollard? Pick: Neshaminy, 42-21.

No. 23 Downingtown West (6-2, 4-0 Ches-Mont National) at Downingtown East (4-4, 2-2), 7. East leads the Battle of the Brandywine series, 5-4. Pick: East, 27-23.

Conestoga (6-2, 5-2 Central) at Upper Darby (6-2, 5-1), 7. Upper Darby's Cyrus Barlee (670 yards rushing, 11 TDs) is the X-factor in this one. Pick: Upper Darby, 21-14.

Ridley (5-3, 4-3 Central) at Penncrest (7-1, 6-1), 7. When it comes to the playoffs, it's a must-win situation for Collin Wright and the visiting Green Raiders. Pick: Ridley, 21-20.

Saturday

Roman Catholic (3-5, 1-2 Catholic AAAA) vs. No. 13 Father Judge (5-3, 1-2), at Northeast, 1:30. The teams fight for the right to face second-place La Salle in a playoff semifinal. Pick: Judge, 20-17.

No. 1 St. Joseph's Prep (6-1, 3-0 Catholic AAAA) vs. No. 15 Archbishop Ryan (5-3, 0-3), at George Washington, 1. Can Ryan catch the Hawks taking a pre-playoff nap? Pick: Prep, 28-13.

No. 20 West Catholic (7-1) vs. No. 6 La Salle (6-2), at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 7. In a playoff tune-up, West Catholic will seek to snap a five-year losing streak vs. the Explorers. Pick: La Salle, 34-12.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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