Rick's Picks: Friday playoffs

Academy Park quarterback Brian Ingram is yanked off his feet by Pennridge defender Ryan Sterling in the second quarter. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Academy Park quarterback Brian Ingram is yanked off his feet by Pennridge defender Ryan Sterling in the second quarter. BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer
Posted: November 23, 2013

It's a history-making opportunity for two Del-Val League teams.

Academy Park and Glen Mills, each seeking its first postseason championship, will meet in the PIAA District 1 Class AAA final at 7 p.m. Friday at Ridley's Phil Marion Field.

The Battlin' Bulls, en route to claiming the Del-Val crown, topped host Academy Park, 20-13, in Week 9.

"Defensively, we gave up big plays at the wrong time," Knights coach Jason Vosheski said. "Offensively, we turned the ball over, and we didn't take advantage of our scoring opportunities."

Remarkably, No. 2-seeded Glen Mills (9-3) forced a total of 14 turnovers, including eight interceptions, in its first two district wins.

"It's been a real team effort so far," Bulls coach Kevin Owens said.

The No. 4-seeded Knights (9-2) are coming off a 27-26 upset of No. 1-seeded and previously undefeated Pottsgrove.

"We were disciplined for the most part, and fought through adversity," Vosheski said.

Academy Park is spurred on offense by tailback Jerry Lanier. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior has rushed 238 times for 2,027 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Glen Mills likewise has a highly productive rusher. Shaaheen Dow, a 5-8, 180-pound senior, got loose for 230 yards and three scores in last week's 34-13 blitzing of No. 3-seeded West Chester Henderson.

"He's more of a quick back than a power back," Vosheski said, "but it's hard for one person to bring him down."

Academy Park also can move the ball through the air, with dual-threat quarterback Blair Ingram firing passes to wideouts Jamar Dembry and Jeff Devaughn.

The Bulls' run-heavy attack is led up front by guard Julius Ludwig (6-0, 200), tackles Tyshawn Anderson (6-2, 270) and Naje Lathan (6-3, 250), and tight ends Juawan McMillian (6-2, 215) and Kaheem Brower (6-0, 200).

In what should be a taut contest, we expect the Knights, successfully mixing the run and pass, to achieve the breakthrough win.

Pick: Academy Park, 26-21.

Last week: 6-3. Overall: 89-29 (.754).

Other Friday games

District 1 Class AAAA semifinal

No. 15 seed Perkiomen Valley (10-2) at No. 11 North Penn (9-3), 7:30. North Penn, with the roll it has been on since an 0-3 start, has become the favorite to claim top district honors.

That said, Perkiomen Valley - fueled by athletic QB Rasaan Stewart, who has passed for 1,900 yards and rushed for 1,000 - can take a nothing-to-lose approach against the Knights.

The Vikings will have to guard against play-action tosses. In last week's 31-21 win over Pennsbury, QB Austin Shearer completed 7 of 8 passes, most in the flat, for 117 yards and three TDs.

Pick: North Penn, 41-23.

State Class A first round

Bristol (9-1) vs. Schuylkill Haven (9-3) at Blue Mountain, 7. Bristol is back in the state tournament, after last year's run to the quarterfinals.

The Warriors will go as far as tailback Donte Simmons (210 carries for 1,807 yards, 26 TDs) and QB Trevor Leone (82-for-123 passing, 1,296 yards, 12 TDs) take them.

Schuylkill Haven's wing-T scheme is sparked by 1,800-yard rusher Will Casella, QB Ryan Fink, and 6-4, 240-pound tight end Mike Feryo.

Pick: Schuylkill Haven, 34-19.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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