At the risk of going all Nat King Cole on you, it has truly been said many times, many ways on this site that we limit our coverage to the Delco contingent of the Central League. But it’s still worth pointing out that statistically, the most prolific quarterbacks in the Central League hail from two of its three non-Delco representatives. And seeing as they’ve put up those numbers against 17 Delco opponents combined, it’s worth at least a brief mention.
Harriton’s Pat Moriarty and Conestoga’s Joe Viviano are with little doubt two of the best – in my opinion, the two best – quarterbacks in the area. The seasons they are putting up, and as juniors to boot, are remarkable when viewed in context.
The offensive philosophy of football as a whole has shifted the way of the passing game at virtually every level. With the popularization and adaptation of schemes like the spread offense and the West Coast offense to all levels of the game, the ability to move the ball through the air has a renewed importance.
But – and I know there will be some out there who objects to this statement – prolific, even at times proficient, passing hasn’t manifested itself in Delaware County, per se.
At the risk of sounding like a misguided ESPN brand manager, Friday’s slate of Central League games promises to be an early filter in sorting out the leagues various echelons. All 12 teams enter with serious question marks and genuine opportunities to either allay those fears or have them realized. What we know about each of these teams will come into clearer focus by Saturday morning.
I’ll take you game-by-game with the burning question for each.
Is Marple Newtown for real?
Strath Haven quarterback Kevin Mohollen may be tested by Marple Newtown's defense. (Daily Times/Robert J Gurecki)
Scoring 83 points while allowing zero against anyone is impressive, but the Tigers have done so against a pair of teams in Penncrest and Sun Valley who look unlikely to win many more games than their point totals against MN. We know Cimirrow Moat is a force to be reckoned with on the ground, but this is the first test for the complementary components of that offense, like Jamie Ridinger and the passing game. Moat will also face a stiff challenge in a Strath Haven defense that despite massive retooling from a district championship squad a year ago has allowed a mere six points in two games. This could also be the first time the Panthers have to muster a threat in the passing game, with quarterback Kevin Mohollen needing just three completions combined to get his first two wins as a starter. By the end of the game at MN Friday, we should know whether the Panthers are again among the class of the Central or if the Tigers warrant mention in that category.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying one player is better than the other, nor am I purposely leaving certain players off the list because I think these five guys are better. “Top 5” is merely a catchy title.
I’ll publish other lists leading up to opening kickoff Friday, so keep coming back to delcofootball.com.
Feel free to chime in by leaving a comment or emailing me. Oh, and keep in mind … these are RETURNING STARTERS. So, if that hot-shot sophomore is looking good in summer camp, sorry, he’s not making this list.
Ryan Strain, Springfield: With good accuracy, a big arm, intelligence and athleticism, Strain (6-0, 175) could approach 2,000 yards passing. As a junior he finished with the second-best passer rater in the county and was third in total passing yards. Denzel Thompson, an All-Delco wide receiver, and Dontae Allen were main targets for Strain during the Cougars’ run to the District One Class AAA semifinal in 2010. Both are gone. Matt Reichert (8-235 yards in 2010) and John Wise (8-97) will play important roles in the Springfield passing game this year. I can see coach Tom Kline having Strain drop back to pass anywhere between 20-30 times a game. Continue reading →