Pirates are first to take field, other local teams prepare for Oct. 2 kickoff
Palisades head coach Ramie Moussa knows his team showed its mettle, but the Pirates suffered a 36-28 loss at Northwestern to kick off the local football season Sept. 11.
Central Bucks East, Central Bucks West, Central Bucks South, Pennridge, New Hope-Solebury, Quakertown and South Hunterdon all will begin their seasons Oct. 2.
“We has some moral victories, and our kids played hard,” said second-year head coach Moussa. “We had the ball at the end, but we couldn’t score. I’m proud of what we did. We had a good showing against a very good football team.”
Seniors Mason Smeland ran for a game-high 158 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and cornerback Jon DeNato corralled three interceptions. The Pirates have their home opener Friday against Wilson and begin league play Sept. 25 at Northern Lehigh.
“Mason isn’t playing defense this year, and he has fresh legs,” added Moussa. “It showed how he ran the ball and you realize how fast he is. DeNato was injured last year, and he will have a big game for us.”
CB East head coach John Donnelly has first-team, all-league quarterback senior Anthony Giordano (2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns) and fellow senior wide receiver Will Silverman (48 catches, 870 yards, eight touchdowns) along with senior linebacker Mark Lapioli (team-high 80 tackles) back to a 6-4 team last year that could be on the rise this fall.
“Despite an unprecedented offseason, we are ready to go,” said Donnelly. “I am incredibly proud of the effort our team has displayed during this trying time.
“Offensively, our line is one of the more experienced we have had in recent years. We return a first-team, all-league quarterback and wide receiver. At running back, we will have a solid rotation. Defensively, we have experience at defensive line and the secondary. Our linebacking corps is the least experienced, but there is talent.”
CB West lost a senior-laced team paced by all-stater and 2,000-yard-plus rusher Jack Fallon that produced an overall 10-2. The Bucks expect to be back in the hunt led by senior trio Tyler Fasti, Jack Fileppo and Jackson Spradlin.
“The beauty of high school football is that every year, us coaches are tasked with the opportunity to build a new team and maximize the talent on our roster,” said head coach Rob Rowan. “Our whole focus is and always will be on squeezing all the juice we can out of every player on our roster and letting the chips fall from there. Our roster this year is mixed with a handful of experienced seniors and juniors as well as an exciting core group of young players vying for positions on Friday night.”
Pennridge second-year head coach Cody Muller has a full core on both sides of the ball from a 3-8 team last year. Senior quarterback Bobby Croyle and lineman Jake Tarburton will set the pace for the Rams to help them reach the next level.
Four-time defending Bicentennial League champ New Hope-Solebury is moving into the Suburban One League, and the Lions will rely on senior quarterback Phil Weinseimer, who missed all of last season after throwing for over 1,700 yards with 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. The Lions played a number of younger players who matured last season, and they should be in the mix.
Senior Jason Christiansen returns in the backfield for CB South, which posted a 7-4 mark a year ago. The Titans will need their underclassmen to help fill some voids.
Senior wide receiver Tyler Merwarth and junior quarterback Will Steich will try to change the plight of a Quakertown team that went 3-8 last season. Head coach George Banas should benefit from a number of younger players who saw time last year.
South Hunterdon seniors quarterback Ryan Hinman and running back Logan Conner will look to bring the Eagles from the depths of a 2-8 slate last season. Head coach Toby Jefferis has a good mix of players and can make some inroads.