Saucon Valley has many starters who have been part of successful baseball, basketball and wrestling programs.
They know what it takes to get to and win important games and matches.
Some of those crucial contests occur before the postseason. Saucon Valley’s football program prepared this week for one of them. First-year head coach Anthony Brinkley’s team travels Friday to Bangor in a Colonial-Schuylkill League game that has ramifications of something more than just a Week 4 meeting.
“They all have an understanding of how things play out,” Brinkley said. “We’re excited for the opportunity, to see what we can do if we play for four quarters. We are focusing on ourselves. If we give everything we have and things go our way, great. If not, that’s OK too because we want to be going in a better direction.
“We want to be a better football team by the end of October and into the playoffs in November.”
Saucon Valley is fifth in the race for eight District 11 Class 3A playoff berths behind Palmerton, Northwestern, Notre Dame-Green Pond and North Schuylkill. The Panthers’ only loss was in their opener to the Crusaders. They only play one of the three others ahead of them — a trip to New Tripoli at the end of this month.
The Panthers also have dates with current 5A No. 1 Southern Lehigh and 4A toughie Blue Mountain in consecutive weeks in October, so one can see why a Week 4 date with the Slaters is important.
Bangor is third among six 4A teams chasing four district playoff berths. Coach Paul Reduzzi’s team is coming off its first loss of the season to Southern Lehigh. It, too, has eyes on the postseason and recognizes the significance of learning from mistakes by everyone but always moving forward.
“I have to do some better things at practice to make sure we’re ready to do things in space,” Reduzzi said. “We have to find some better ways to simulate what we see when we see these types of athletes.”
Bangor was victimized last Friday by big plays from Southern Lehigh skill players Andrew Olesh, Jack Inglis and Cade Sawyer.
Saucon Valley has Jack Robertson, Jared Rohn and others who can produce big gainers at any time.
The Slaters’ Greg Campbell and Noah Hillis have big-play capabilities in the running game and the receiving corps must take better advantage of teams crowding the box to defend the run.
Both teams have experienced lines, so it comes down to execution and sustaining that execution from start to finish.
That means from the start of the game until the fourth quarter. It also means from Week 1 of the regular season until November.
“When I coached with Tim McGorry at Central Catholic, his teams were always better at the end of the year,” Brinkley said. “It’s what we’re trying to build here.
“This is a classic Colonial League game.”
Colonial-Schuylkill League Week 4 predictions
George School at Nativity BVM (6 p.m. Thursday): The Cougars have not played since a season-opening loss Sept. 1 to New Hope-Solebury. The Green Wave are coming off a home win over Kutztown and should have enough experience and talent to improve to 3-1. Green Wave 26-14.
Blue Mountain at Pottsville: The Crimson Tide rebounded from two lopsided losses to start the season. How will the Eagles bounce back from their first loss — at home to unbeaten Northwestern? Playing their rivals should help. Eagles 20-7.
Saucon Valley at Bangor: Pivotal game for both teams with playoff ambitions. The Panthers are searching for a third consecutive win while the Slaters are hoping to rebound from their first loss. They’ve won three of the last four in the series. Passing game may determine this one. Slaters 27-21.
Wilson at Lehighton: Both Class 3A schools are in need of a win to strengthen their District 11 playoff standing. The Warriors need to find a running game. They have only 120 yards in three games. The Indians managed only 31 yards in last week’s loss at Pottsville. Indians 28-7.
North Schuylkill at Tamaqua: The Spartans are gaining momentum again and the Blue Raiders are in search of some. Hard to believe coach Wally Hall’s bunch gets caught looking ahead to games against Northern Lehigh and Notre Dame-GP. Spartans 35-6.
Northern Lehigh at Pine Grove: This could be the weekend’s fastest game with two teams always looking to grind out an offensive attack. Neither starting quarterback has 100 yards passing in three games. The one forced to throw most likely comes up short. Bulldogs 21-7.
Palisades at Southern Lehigh: The Spartans have a date next Friday at Blue Mountain. They won’t be caught peeking ahead. Spartans 42-14.
Palmerton at Jim Thorpe: The Blue Bombers would love a 4-0 start to the season. The Olympians are hoping to continue their rebound from consecutive losses to start the season to solid 4A programs. Blue Bombers 36-22.
Catasauqua at Mahanoy Area: The Rough Riders are looking for their third consecutive victory in the series and third win in four games this season. The Bears will look to prevent those by providing a big dose of Colm McGroarty and Kyler Quick. Rough Riders 27-20.
Williams Valley at Minersville: The Miners have shown their battling skills in consecutive games decided by less than a touchdown to start the season. They will have to deal with standout Alex Achenbach if they are to start this season 4-0. He has eight rushing touchdowns and thrown for two scores. Battlin’ Miners 28-22.
Panther Valley at Shenandoah Valley: The Panthers bounce back after getting roughed up by Mahanoy Area and Tri-Valley. Panthers 13-7.
Schuylkill Haven at Tri-Valley: The Hurricanes are coming off a big win over Williams Valley. The Bulldogs are maturing well after graduation left many first-year starters. Bulldogs 17-14.
Sayre at Marian Catholic: The Redskins have struggled to score points in an 0-3 start. The Colts were blanked last week by Catasauqua. Something’s gotta give. Colts 27-12.
Northwestern at Pen Argyl (1:30 p.m. Saturday): The Tigers survived their first stiff test of the season. They’ll need to be paying attention again because the Green Knights are not happy after losing last week at Northern Lehigh. Tigers 35-14.
Salisbury at Notre Dame-GP (1:30 p.m. Saturday): The Crusaders have regrouped and are focused on a tough stretch ahead (Palmerton, North Schuylkill, Northern Lehigh). The Falcons are locked in making progress every week. They will continue to scrap. Crusaders 42-13.
Last week: 12-2
This year: 36-11
Morning Call reporter Tom Housenick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.mcall.com/2023/09/14/colonial-schuylkill-league-football-week4-predictions/ Colonial-Schuylkill League Week 4 predictions