2023 Pioneer Athletic Conference Preview: Liberty
Tagged under: Conference Previews, District 1, News
Willie McGonigle | August 17, 2023
Last season the Perkiomen Valley Vikings for the second consecutive year took home the Liberty Division Championship and defeated the Frontier Division Champions Pope John Paul II Golden Panthers in the Pioneer Athletic Championship Game. Both the Vikings and Golden Panthers appear poised to be playing in the PAC Conference championship for the third season in a row but both teams will have some tough competition to make that match-up happen. Spring-Ford, Owen J Roberts looks to challenge the Vikings in the Liberty Division. In the Frontier Division look for Pottsgrove, Upper Merion, and Phoenixville to challenge the Golden Panthers for the Division Championship.
Perkiomen Valley Vikings PIAA Classification 6A, Head Coach: Rob Heist
Last Season Review: The Vikings went 11-2, losing a 14-13 heartbreaker to CB West in the District-t 1 6A Semi-Final
Key Games: 8-26 at Chester, 9-1 at Downingtown West, 10-6 at Spring-Ford
2023 Outlook: There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the 2023 version of the Vikings and rightfully so. With 10 starters returning from last years team. Kyle Gallagher, Cole Euker, Carter Euker, Richie Strano, Robbie Sturges all are returning two-way starters. Patrick MacDonald (Quarterback) Jake Stewart(Running back) return to the offensive backfield. Sam Koehler(Inside Linebacker) and Dimitri Toman(Cornerback) return on the defensive side of the ball. Anthony Micelli (RB/OLB) Stephen Tracanna (TE/OLB) Anthony Rodriguez (RB/S) Braydon Perone (WR/CB) Aaron Crothers (OLB) Colin Hollingsworth (WR) Jace Moreno (WR) and Braydon Avery (K/P) all look to make an impact this season.
Coach Heist: “We are very excited for the 2023 version of the PV Vikings to take the field. We play a very challenging non-league schedule before starting our PAC schedule. Leadership will be key to our success this season on and off the field”
Spring-Ford Rams PIAA Classification- 6A, Head Coach: Chad Brubaker
Last Season Review: The Rams went 8-4 and lost Garnet Valley 30-27 in the second round of the District 1 Playoffs
Key Games: 9-8 at Cumberland Valley, 9-15 at Manheim Township, 10-6 vs Perkiomen Valley
2023 Outlook: Offensively the Rams return 6 starters including QB Matt Zollers and his three top targets in WRs Belal Abdelrahman, Mason Scott, and TE Ryan Kerchner. Upfront will be anchored by Owen Norman and Luke Ellor. Max Stadler, Dustin Flynn, Tyler Moyer, Jordan Marsillio, and Nick Garzarella will look to contribute at Wide Receiver. Defensively only Evan Strzeminski (DL), Mike Bendowski (LB), Shane Lewis(DB), and Abdelrahman (DB) return as starters but all four of them were named all-league last season. The Rams will look to a rotation of Owen Norman, Ryan Kerchner, Ellor, Conner Hudak, Evan Strzeminaki, AJ Moyer, Bryce Roberts, Tanay Shankar, and Gyasi Romu up front while Luke Hall, Braden Welch, Garzarella, Sean Hassis, and Jamal Lewis will all compete for LB spots. Zach Stead, Dustin Flynn, and Blake Turner will all compete for Cornerback positions while Anthony Early and Ethan Freed are among those competing for safety position.
Coach Brubaker: ” We return our starting QB, Matt Zollers, for essentially his 3rd varsity season, as well as 3 receivers, Mason Scott and Belal Abdelrahman at WR and Ryan Kerchner at TE. We have some seniors, Max Stadler, Dustin Flynn, and Tyler Moyer, and juniors, Jordan Marsilio and Nick Garzarella, who will be competing for our 3rd and 4th receiver position, along with a couple of sophomores. Juniors, Declan Finney and Ian Peticca and sophomore Brett Schulz, will be competing to get on the field as 2nd TEs. At RB, Mike Bendowski had a tremendous 2nd half of 2022, but juniors, Jamal Lewis and Sean Hassis should also challenge for carries. On the offensive line, Luke Ellor will move from LT back to C to anchor our line. Owen Norman will return again to RT. Sophomore Andrew Moyer has the early lead at LT. Senior, Evan Strzeminski and Juniors, Connor Hudak, Jaiden McLeod, and Dylan Callahan will compete for left and right guard. 2023
We only return 4 players on defense, but all 4 were All-League selections last season. On the defensive line, we will try to rotate quite a bit with Owen Norman, Ryan Kerchner, Luke Ellor, Conner Hudak, Evan Strzeminski, and AJ Moyer, who all play potentially on offense. We will be helped tremendously on DL if Bryce Roberts, Tanay Shankar, and Gyasi Romu compete to earn starting jobs. At linebacker, Mike Bendowsi returns, but we will continue to evaluate Luke Hall, Braden Welsh, Nick Garzarella, Sean Hassis, and Jamal Lewis for the other 2 positions. At DB, Belal Abdelrahman returns at free safety, and Shane Lewis at CB. Zach Stead, Dustin Flynn, and Blake Turner look to be the players competing for the other CB position. At strong safety, Anthony Early and Ethan Freed are competing, along with a few others. Matt Zollers returns to handle the punting. Liam McGarvey was 19/20 on PATs and 1-3 on FGs prior to getting injured. Ryan Fields jumped in and was 28/28 and 3-3 on FGs. We need to find a new long snapper. Belal Abdelrahman returns as our primary punt returner”.
Owen J Roberts Wildcats: PIAA Classification 6A, Head Coach: Rich Kolka
Last Season Review: The Wildcats went 5-6 losing to Perkiomen Valley in the opening round of the District 1 Playoffs
Key games: 8-25 at Conestoga, 10-13 vs Boyertown, 10-20 at Methacton
2023 Outlook: The Wildcats are entering the 2023 season needing to replace their top offensive products from a season ago. Derek Hinrichs takes over the reigns of the Wildcat offense. He will be joined in the backfield by Logan Brower. On the outside the Wildcats having a pair of freshmen whose speed could cause opposing secondaries trouble in Mekhi Graham and Matt Gregory. Up front Trent Long and Doug Keck anchor the offensive. On the defensive side of the ball the Wildcats have plenty of experience coming back has Hinrichs (LB), Keck(DE) along with Jason Greiner (DL), Colin King (DL) and Andrew Lehman(DL) all return. Hinrichs will be joined at LB by Zach Arp, Lorenzo Satiro and Brody Mazzerle. In the secondary the Wildcats have Justin Daubert and Troy Swittenberg returning.
Boyertown Bears: PIAA Classification 6A, Head Coach: Justin Konnick
Last Season Review: The Bears went 5-6 and lost to Williamsport in
Key Games: 9-15 at Pottsgrove, 10-6 vs Methacton, 10-13 at Owen J Roberts
2023 Outlook: The 2023 Bears will look to build off some of the success from last season. Offensively the Bears return Cole Yesavage, Jason Oakes, Anthony Famularo, Anthony Genovese all return to the Bears backfield which also benefits from having QB Ryder Gehris returning. In the trenches Gavin Williams returns at tackle. Joining Williams up front is expected to be Brody Ayers. Nick Pannarello (DE/TE) and Mike Palmero return to the defensive line. Yesavage, Famularo are expected to be joined at LB by Luke Hagan. Oakes, Genovese will be joined in the secondary by Logan Oakes, and Owen Dykie.
Coack Konnick “Building on some of the success we had in fall 2022. The program isn’t where it needs to be and we must continue to put the foundation in place to keep growing. We have some keys spots returning and will hope to sneak up on the power this league provides. We will be pounding week in and week out to improve this football team”.
Methacton Warriors: PIAA Classifcation 5A, Head Coach: Brian Kennedy
Last Season Review: The Warriors went 4-7, lost to Kennett 7-3 in the First Round of the 5A playoffs.
Key Games: 9-1 vs Plymouth Whitemarsh, 10-6 at Boyertown, 10-20 vs Owen J Roberts
2023 Outlook: After reaching the District 1 Playoffs for the first time since 2014 in 2022, the 2023 Warriors look to improve every week and establish their identity and return back to the playoffs where they hope to host a game. With Colin O’Neill and Vinnie Icavino returning to anchor the offensive line and Anthony Perillo, Wesley Conover, and DJ Ballinger all returning to the backfield the Warriors with QB Kolby Howarth at the controls will look to control the ball and the clock. Defensively Perillo(LB), Ballinger(DB), Conover(DB)O’Neill(LB), and Icavino(DL) along with Levi Borkowski (LB) along with newcomer Dylan Pachlik the Warriors defense will look to play fast and limit mistakes.
Norristown Eagles: PIAA Classification 6A, Head Coach: Joe Milligan
Last Season Review: The Eagles went 3-7 last season but ended the season with a 20-0 shutout of Pottstown in the PAC Crossover game.
Key Games: 8-25 vs Penn Wood, 9-8 at Pottsgrove, and 9-15 at Pottstown
The Eagles have the difficult task of replacing 18 seniors from last season’s team. One area that Eagles do have experience coming back is in the offensive backfield where Brendan Farrell (QB), Meyon Ferrell(RB), and Marzon Carr(RB) all return. Rashon Giddens provides experience to the Eagles’ receiving corps while Johnathon Hedgepath will anchor the line. Quadir Drummond and Dom Esposito will lead the Eagles’ defense.
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