Chase Diehl (File Photo-Vicki Vellios)
By Andy Shay:
1. Bringing out the big guns
I’d like to get a few Bishop McDevitt offensive numbers out of the way before the Crusaders embark on the less competitive portion of its 2018 Keystone Division schedule. Quarterback Chase Diehl has already thrown for 1,091 yards and is completing 68 percent of his passes. He’s averaging better than 350 yards a game. WR Nazir Burnett, a Syracuse verbal commitment, has 27 catches for 615 yards with nine touchdowns. He’s averaging 205 yards a game and nearly 23 yards a catch. T’nyis Becker has nearly 600 yards of total offense on 30 carries and 14 receptions. The dual threat is good for 8.7 yards per carry and 22.9 yards per catch with eight total touchdowns. That’s against Cumberland Valley, Gettysburg and Middletown. Those are some ridiculous numbers across the board.
2. Let’s see what WP has in store
I’m crossing off one of my must-see teams I shared with you last week. Friday night I’m headed to Elliottsburg and one of my Top 5 stadiums in the area to see West Perry tangle with Greencastle-Antrim. I’m curious to see if the 3-0 Mustangs are actually better overall or simply a by-product of a very favorable early schedule. I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing Terrance Quaker and Kenyon Johnson do what they do. And I think the Blue Devils are a more than fair test. Chicken corn soup at the Mustang Corral is top shelf, too. Just saying.
3. When tough schedule bites back
When I see teams schedule up and take on anybody and everybody, I so love that mentality. But when it goes south, like in the case of Cumberland Valley this year, I become more of a believer in having a one-game breather in there instead of hammer after hammer. I know that’s kind of talking out both sides of my mouth. But the Eagles are struggling, and in the first month they have played Bishop McDevitt, Coatesville, Central York and travel to Central Dauphin on Friday. That’s simply frightening, especially when you are struggling. Speaking of the Rams from CD, they have played Wilson, Berks Catholic, Manheim Township. No wonder they are all beat up. Three of those teams either won or played for a District 3 crown in 2017.
4. Bubblers no longer easy out
Congratulations to the Boiling Springs Bubblers for ending that wretched 24-game losing streak. You could see a win coming for this squad based on the first eight quarters this season. It wasn’t a matter of if they would win, just a matter of when. That was not the case in 2016 or 2017, when huge losses were not really a big surprise. The Mid-Penn Capital Division hasn’t exactly been a picnic these last two years. And maybe the Bubblers don’t win a division game in 2018. But I’m fairly certain they aren’t the “count that game as a win” team this year, either. The streak is ONE!
5. Commonwealth questions will get answers
We are going to learn a lot about a couple of surprise 3-0 Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division squads this week. Carlisle and Chambersburg, based on 12 quarters of 2018, have potentially added more bulk and grit to the Commonwealth Division. I say potentially because I need a little more meat on the bone to say the division is even deeper than expected. Carlisle travels to State College, and with the Little Lions loaded for a strong run at state gold, that’s not a fair measuring stick. If the Thundering Herd compete and don’t get rolled that’s good enough for me. Chambersburg travels to unknown Altoona, and it would seem the Trojans have the pieces to win this game. The Mountain Lions are the Commonwealth mystery team. This game will tell us a lot about the lower half of the division in my opinion.
6. Big week for several schools
Just my opinion, but I think wins by the following teams this week will viewed as key victories when they look back at the 2018 season: Hershey, Susquehanna Township, Cedar Cliff, Chambersburg, West Perry and Big Spring. Let’s see how many I get right.
Harrisburg quarterback Kane Everson dominated Cedar Cliff Saturday at Severance Field with his arm and his legs. (Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
Good Sunday morning. Each week we’ll present to you some thoughts and observations from the week that was in Mid-Penn Conference and Tri-Valley League football.
Bishop McDevitt's Dedrick Tinker charges up field against Cumberland Valley in Week 1. (Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
1. Rams ‘D’ providing the wow
Central Dauphin beating Berks Catholic is not a huge surprise, really. It was always going to be a tight affair, and whoever won would do so for a good reason. But the Rams defense tossing a shutout against the Saints is still a wow moment for me. Holding the Saints under two touchdowns is a massive accomplishment. I can’t wait to see the Rams defense in person on Friday against defending District 3 Class 6A champion Manheim Township at The Speedway. Hard to lose when nobody can score on your first-team defense.
2. Help a brother out
Anybody who has a HUDL account with access to the Bishop McDevitt-Middletown game on Friday night in Middletown and wants to one-time share with me, please DM me on Twitter. I can’t see the game in person, but I’m dying to watch the game. I think it could be a barn-burner. The Blue Raiders, rightfully so, should view this as a measuring stick game. And Middletown does NOT have to win to measure up. The two differences that stand out to me that favor McDevitt are size up front and that lethal passing game. My Twitter is @APShay. I have to see this game with my own four eyes.
3. Surprise, surprise
Here’s a list of Mid-Penn Conference 2-0 teams (in division order): Carlisle, State College, Chambersburg, Central Dauphin, Bishop McDevitt, Palmyra, Middletown, Milton Hershey, Steel-High, Big Spring, Shippensburg, West Perry. Of those 13 teams I see only two real surprises… and I’m taking schedule into account. West Perry and Big Spring are my early-season shockers.
4. Eagles in jeopardy
When was the last time Cumberland Valley was 0-3? Well I consider long-time former The Patriot-News high school football czar Rod Frisco a friend and we chatted about this very subject. He goes back in the 1980s. I started covering Central Pennsylvania HS Football in 1992. Neither of us ever remembers the Eagles being 0-3. I do know the Eagles were 3-8 in 1969 and that is their worst season. So that’s a candidate, right? With a road game to highly ranked Coatesville, who marched into Severance Field in Week 1 and thumped Harrisburg, it appears CV is headed in that direction. Looking around the Commonwealth Division and the remaining schedule, should the Eagles fall to Coatesville … am I wrong in finding it very hard to see five wins for this team?
5. Panthers are lethal
I’m pretty sure CD East is going to lose to New York Catholic League defending state champion Archbishop Stepinac on Saturday to fall to 1-2. And that would make the Panthers the best 1-2 team in the MPC you don’t want to play. They have a lot of pieces that are slotted in the right spots. When CD East comes up on your schedule, Commonwealth teams, just ignore the record.
6. Color me curious
I’m going to see Central Dauphin this week, but I’m dying to see West Perry, Susquehanna Township, Milton Hershey, Harrisburg, Northern and State College before the season is over. For different reasons those six teams intrigue me and are on my radar.