Neshaminy unhappy with title game site

Neshaminy's Devon Brown (right) and Tyler Wombough will have a 45-minute commute to Souderton to face North Penn in the Class AAAA matchup. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Neshaminy's Devon Brown (right) and Tyler Wombough will have a 45-minute commute to Souderton to face North Penn in the Class AAAA matchup. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 26, 2013

There was, understandably, some grumbling in the Langhorne area over the weekend.

That's when No. 4 seed Neshaminy, following a 35-14 victory over Abington, learned that its clash Friday night in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA final with No. 11 North Penn, which advanced with a 40-19 defeat of Perkiomen Valley, would be played at Souderton High.

That struck the folks at Neshaminy as a bit unfair, since Souderton is about a 45-minute drive from Old Lincoln Highway. North Penn, despite being the lower seed, has an approximate 10-minute bus ride from Lansdale to the stadium.

"I'm a little surprised," Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt said. "I thought that there would have been some venue between the two schools that would have been more suitable."

District 1 officials, including executive secretary Bob Ruoff and football chairman Robert Boyer, were prepared for some griping over the choice of sites for the final.

"It was a difficult call," Ruoff said. "No matter what we decided, at least one side probably wasn't going to be happy about it."

Boyer said Central Bucks West, in Doylestown, was his first thought. But because the school winterizes War Memorial Stadium (the water is shut off to avoid the possible freezing and bursting of pipes), he had to look elsewhere.

"A lot of it has to do with availability," Ruoff said. "A lot of places, including C.B. West, shut things down right after their season ends. And we have to find a school that's willing to host the game on a holiday weekend."

Ruoff said timeliness in announcing a site, parking-lot capacity, and stadium seating are other issues. "It's a combination of things," he said.

It would be ideal if District 1 could make a deal with an attractive site, say West Chester University or Villanova, to host the final each season.

Villanova is the site for the District 1 boys' and girls' basketball finals in late February or early March.

Said Schmidt: "Why can't a school like Villanova host a Class AAAA and AAA doubleheader? It just makes sense to do something like that."

Ruoff agreed that "Villanova Stadium would be great," but added, "it's expensive and they're not able to truly commit themselves because of the potential each year for the school to be competing in the [Football Championship Series] playoffs."

On the cusp. Neshaminy junior tailback D'Andre Pollard carried 29 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Abington.

With 2,563 rushing yards this season, he is close to breaking the school's single-season mark of 2,585 set by Jamar Brittingham in 2001 in the Redskins' drive to a Class AAAA state title.

Moving forward. In Friday night's District 1 Class AAA final, Academy Park quarterback Brian Ingram suffered a possible broken collarbone in the Knights' 22-14 win over Glen Mills.

That means Academy Park will likely have to turn to wide receiver Jeff Devaughn or backup QB Allon Ruffin in Friday's state quarterfinal against Archbishop Wood.

"We'll decide on that during the week," Knights coach Jason Vosheski said.

Week 14. Here is next weekend's PIAA football playoff schedule:

Friday

State Class AAAA quarterfinal/District 1 final: North Penn (10-3) vs. Neshaminy (12-1) at Souderton, 7.

State Class AAA quarterfinal: Academy Park (10-2) vs. Archbishop Wood (10-2) at Northeast, 7.

Saturday

State Class AAAA quarterfinal: St. Joseph's Prep (9-3) vs. Parkland (12-1) at Bethlehem Liberty, 1.

State Class AA quarterfinal: Catasauqua (12-1) vs. Imhotep Charter (10-1) at Northwest Philly Super Site, 1.


The Inquirer TOP 25

FOOTBALL

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

Rk. Team Rec.

1. Imhotep (1) 10-1

Junior wideout Denniston Moore has 11 touchdown receptions. Next: Saturday vs. Catasauqua.

2. Arch. Wood (3) 10-2

Sophomore Tom Garlick has passed for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns. Next: Friday vs. No. 13 Academy Park.

3. North Penn (5) 10-3

Luke Berry ran for 154 yards and two TDs in a 40-19 win over Perkiomen Valley. Next: Friday vs.

No. 4 Neshaminy.

4. Neshaminy (8) 12-1

Fullback Denny Lord chipped in two TDs in a 35-14 victory against Abington. Next: Friday vs. No. 3 North Penn.

5. St. Joe's Prep (2) 9-3

Quarterback Jack Clements ran for a score in a 24-20 nonleague loss to Malvern Prep. Next: Saturday vs. Parkland.

6. La Salle (4) 8-3

Coach Drew Gordon has compiled an 83-23 record in eight seasons. Next: Season complete.

7. Pennsbury (7) 10-2

Junior Charles Snorweah rushed for nearly 1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns. Next: Season complete.

8. Arch. Ryan (6) 7-3

Multipurpose standout Connor Golden has intercepted 10 passes. Next: Thursday at George Washington.

9. Malvern Prep (12) 8-2

In the win over St. Joe's Prep, Troy Gallen rushed for 260 yards. Next: Season complete.

10. Abington (9) 10-3

Christian Werner had a fumble recovery in the loss to Neshaminy. Next: Thursday at Cheltenham.

11. Garnet Valley (11) 11-1

12. Perk. Valley (10) 10-3

13. Acad. Park (14) 10-2

14. Glen Mills (13) 9-4

15. Pottsgrove (15) 11-1

16. Spring-Ford (16) 9-3

17. Frankford (17) 7-4

18. Down. West (18) 8-3

19. Coatesville (19) 9-2

20. W.C. Rustin (20) 10-1

21. Father Judge (21) 6-4

22. C.B. West (22) 9-3

23. West Catholic (23) 9-3

24. Unionville (24) 8-3

25. P-Whitemarsh (25) 8-3

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Council Rock North (7-4), Episcopal Academy (8-3), Haverford School (6-5), Pennridge (7-4), Upper Darby (8-3), Upper Dublin (9-2).

- Rick O'Brien

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