General 2001 Articles


Listen to the Big Game

The Road to Hershey

National Ranking

2001 finals photos

2001 playoff brackets

Game by Game Stats

2001 Roster

2001 Schedule

Coach Schmidt Story

Playoff Videos


Webmaster's note:

Toward the end of the 2001 season and during the playoffs, I began searching the Internet for various articles on the Redskins and emailing them to myself. I wasn't sure why I needed them but I kept them all. Now, these 6 years later they are like a treasure of great memories from that awesome 2001 season. This is probably the biggest collection of articles from the 2001 playoffs that you will find anywhere. Enjoy reliving the moments.


The following is a list of the predictions listed in the articles:

Downingtown - 21

Neshaminy - 17


Neshaminy - 31

Conestoga - 21


Cumberland Valley - 24

Neshaminy - 21


Woodland Hills - 28

Neshaminy - 14


Neshaminy - 28

Woodland Hills - 27

 The (2) winning predictions were by the Courier's John Gonzalez.


There are too many articles for one page so the articles section is broken down into 4 separate pages.

General Articles District One Playoffs
Cumberland Valley Woodland Hills would like to thank the following Newspapers for the use of these articles:

  • The Bucks County Courier Times

  • The Trentonian

  • The Patriot News

  • The Pittsburgh Tribune Review

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer


  • Woodland Hills Progress Star

  • Post Gazette (W.H.)

  • The Bucks County Intelligencer

  • The Sentinel (Carlisle, PA)


'Skins state champions
Neshaminy 21, Woodland Hills 7

Neshaminy quarterback Jason Waiter calls the signals during the Class AAAA state title football game Saturday in Hershey.
Bill Johnson/Courier Times)

A season to be cherished forever

All season long, they never tread too loudly. They never boasted. They never pumped arms of defiance. They simply worked. They won and worked - and dreamed.

HERSHEY - Just before they belly-flopped into the mud pools like joyous children, just before they kissed and hugged their parents and friends, these young men - the conquering heroes from Neshaminy High - had one last on-field meeting with the pugnacious coach Mark Schmidt.

As the players swarmed Schmidt in a barrage of hoots and grins, the coach bellowed: "All I have for you is two words!"

Silence; then, Schmidt bellowed again, in a hoarse-voiced holler that could curdle milk:


All season long, they never tread too loudly. They never boasted. They never pumped arms of defiance.

They simply worked.

They won and worked - and dreamed.

For four months, they won game after game, battle after battle. They knocked off titans. They strolled into a world of anxiety, preferring the come-from-behind-win to the blowout triumph.

And yes, the Neshaminy Redskins did it yesterday, beating No. 1 ranked Woodland Hills, 21-7, climbing out of a 7-6 halftime hole. They polished off the implausible assignment: perfection, 15 wins, zero losses, winning the PIAA Class AAAA title.

They cried, too, joyous tears from tough, young men.

Fullback Jay Collins, who ran for a touchdown two hours earlier, wrapped his arms around his coaches, mud-juice trickling down his pink cheeks, the tears of eternal youth mixing with the mud.

Neshaminy teammates celebrates their state title.
(Photos: Bill Johnson/Courier Times)

"A whole bunch of fun emotions," Collins said, his eyes still moist 20 minutes after the win. "I'm so happy. I'm just thanking God and my mother and my dad who's up in heaven. I know he's watching and he's proud."

The players hoisted the PIAA trophy, a grand emblem of superiority, one with a giant gold football, and held it high.

It was a monolith, rising above the ground, hoisted above everyone, carried in the muddy paws of the best football players in the state.

"It doesn't feel like it should be over," said senior quarterback Jay Wiater, who was 9 for 11 for 150 yards yesterday. "We played 15 weeks and we won every game. My stomach feels weird. There is no feeling like this."

"It's been a long season," said star running back Jamar Brittingham, who had perhaps the greatest season ever for an area back, amassing 30 touchdowns and 2,575 rushing yards.

Afterwards, Coach Schmidt's voice crackled. His eyes fluttered about, rapidly trying to process the whirlwind of happenings.

A moment later, Schmidt embraced the golden football, clutching the trophy in one hand, and held his 4-year-old daughter Erica in the other arm - a glorious coach in a glorious moment, looking like he'd just might live forever.

It is his team - the team he assumed duty seven years ago, the team which finished 1-10 in his first season, a team he has led to the Promise Land.

Just after the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Redskins splashed through the mud. Thousands and thousands of their faithful roared. The Redskins engulfed Schmidt as he rallied for one a final motivational message.

Schmidt bellowed: "Are you satisfied?"

"YEAH!" the players screamed.

"If you said, 'Yeah,' give me a 'Hell, yeah!'" Schmidt bellowed again.


And we are, too. We are satisfied.

Thank you, Redskins.

But wait, before the newspaper clippings turn yellow, before the memories fade, before the young Redskins traipse into adulthood, hark back 50 years when legendary Neshaminy football coach Harry Franks penned the words: "Time will never dim the glory of the Neshaminy Redskins."

It's true, Redskins.

Neshaminy Superintendent Gary Bowman congratulates head coach Mark Schmidt after the football team's victory.

It's true, particularly this year.

Redskins, please heed the words of Harry Franks.

You see, Redskins, you played a lone season, an unbelievable season of eternal youth, of 15 wins, of zero losses, of hope and hugs, of dramatic triumphs - of joyous tears.

You played a lone season, a four-month long odyssey which led to the mountain top, where thousands of your faithful packed the stands to cheer you to praise you - to love you.

You played a lone season, and yet, so quickly it is over.

You played a lone season, but you'll walk together forever - for time will never dim the glory of you.



Sunday, December 9, 2001 

The finest hour for Brittingham

Despite all Woodland Hills press and pomp, Jamar Brittingham had definite plans for his last high school game. And none of them included subservience. Or defeat.

Courier Times

Jamar Brittingham is on the loose for a long gain in the second quarter yesterday.
Bill Johnson/Courier Times)

HERSHEY - The game was decided, but he paced the sideline anyway. He was as combustible as usual, but also eager to shed his favored disposition for a smile and a few hundred hugs.

Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt is nothing if not thorough, however, so he refrained from hooting and hollering with the rest of the legions until the clock had completely exhausted itself. Besides, there was another play to run and an attendant decision to be made.

Someone suggested handing the ball off to one of the backups. It was a suggestion that made Schmidt glare, hard and pointed and telling.

"I'm going with our guy," he grumbled. "He's the one who got us here."

Indeed. While the Redskins have undoubtedly been a product of their parts this season, Jamar Brittingham, more than any other, was the most significant contributor. More than any other, he was the one who pushed and carried them to an undefeated season. And, more than any other, he was the one who got them to yesterday's Class AAAA state final against Woodland Hills at Hershey Stadium.

And so he was granted a final carry, the final carry, in the 21-7 victory. It was as much Brittingham's last duty as a Redskin as it was a tacit thank you from Schmidt.

"He's the best back in the state," said Schmidt beaming after the win, and soaked equally from a relentless rain and the celebratory Gatorade shower. "Put that in the paper anyway you want it. He's the best back in the state."

Quarterback Jason Wiater hands off to Jamar Brittinham.

It certainly seemed that way against Woodland Hills, which entered the contest highly touted and was picked by masses of pundits to run roughshod over Neshaminy. Consider, the Wolverines, like the Redskins, went into the game undefeated at 14-0, but they also carried with them an astounding margin of victory - an average of nearly 24 points.

Despite all Woodland Hills press and pomp, Brittingham had definite plans for his last high school game. And none of them included subservience. Or defeat.

The senior controlled the contest's pace, running strong and with determination. While Woodland Hills had difficulty with the wet, cold weather - the Wolverines fumbled, and recovered, seven times - Brittingham mucked through the dirt and slim for what was perhaps his finest hour.

"Man, I don't even like the rain," laughed Brittingham, who rushed 30 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns. "I just knew that this was our biggest game and our biggest opponent, and I had to come with that something extra."

He did. Most unquestionably, he did.

Brittingham danced as he often does - left and right, and then left and right again. And he flexed as he often does - bowling over unsuspecting and under prepared Wolverines defenders who were frequently left face down in a thick mud.

Jamar Brittingham runs for daylight.

But that wasn't all. The show didn't end there, and he didn't charge any more for that "something extra" he talked about, either.

In the third quarter, after a huge defensive stop by Neshaminy, the Redskins damned the elements and called a halfback option. Brittingham, never shy, took the ball around the left end and let fly to wideout, and chief mate, Keith Ennis, who hauled in the pass for 32 yards and a first down. It was a momentous play for the Redskins, who fought forward from that point toward their first state title.

After the win, Brittingham was ushered under the stadium to deal with media types and adoring fans. While his teammates revealed in their extraordinary achievement, he nodded and talked politely with all those demanding his attention.

It looked like an incredible nuisance, but Brittingham didn't seem to mind.

"I can't even explain to you how good this feels," he said evenly. "There are a lot of people who made this happen. It's's just the best feeling in the world."

 Courier Times - Sunday, December 9, 2001 

One final tribute to the Redskins

The Neshaminy Redskins won the AAAA football state title a month ago. Last night, several hundred people celebrated the triumph once again.

Courier Times

BRISTOL TOWNSHIP - The glow has yet to fade.

The glory is still growing.

It's the Neshaminy Redskins and their magical football season, and it's still their time - a time to remember.

Last night, the Redskins became a team once again, everyone together one last moment for Neshaminy's 61st annual football banquet at King's Caterers, an event sponsored by the Langhorne Lions Club.

But last night's gathering had a deeper meaning than the previous ones. This was one final tribute to the ultimate - the PIAA state AAAA title, which the Redskins won last month.

A crowd of 300 people, friends and family mostly, celebrated the season last night. There were hugs and kisses, video tributes and awards.

And gold rings, too.

Superintendent Gary Bowman said local businesses have donated $12,500 to buy each player a personalized championship ring.

Meanwhile, Bowman couldn't stop praising the team and coaches.

"Thank you, young men," Bowman said.

The PIAA trophy - the giant gold football - sat in the middle of the room as a reminder to the team's glory.

Coach Mark Schmidt, a loquacious man whose words motivate, took to the microphone.

"Nobody this side of Pittsburgh is having a banquet," Schmidt said. "That's pretty stinking cool."

Time has passed and thoughts have settled since the Redskins won the state title on Dec. 8, beating Woodland Hills, 21-7. Neshaminy became the first team in area history to win the AAAA title, going undefeated (15-0) this season.

"Finally, everything has sunk in," said senior quarterback Jay Wiater. "It already seems like it happened a long time ago, but it will live with us forever."

Senior fullback Jay Collins can relate, saying the accomplishment seems bigger now than it did when it happened. He's been approached by children in stores, asking for his autograph.

"It's pretty cool going places or going into stores and people know who you are, and they know your name. They want to congratulate you," Collins said. "It just make me feel proud."

No matter how much time passes, senior lineman Steve Brett said the magnitude of the team's achievement is still beyond comprehension.

And he also said celebrations, such as last night's, are always welcome.

"It's never going to get old," Brett said. "I don't think we've realized what we've done. I never thought I'd be put in that situation."

Last night was full of awards.

Here is the list of winners:

Achievement Award: Jamar Brittingham and Kevin Kelly
Most Improved Player (offense): Ryan Contento
Most Improved Player (defense): Miguel Lebron
Unsung Hero (offense): Scott Mullin
Unsung Hero (defense): Ryan van der Brand
Mr. Defensive Line: Chuck Koch
Mr. Offensive Line: Steve Brett.
Iron Man: Geoff Donahue
Mr. Back: Keith Ennis
Dick Bedesem Award: Austin Jones
Coaches Award: Neck Feszko
MVP Defense: Pat Carroll
MVP Offense: Jay Wiater
3-D Award: Jay Collins
N-Club Award: Kevin Kelly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002 

Neshaminy set for big football 'rumble'

Students, teachers, players pack gymnasium for pep rally. 'This game is personal,' shouts the football coach on eve of state championship game.

Courier Times

Neshaminy High School football players are ready for a rumble.

At a pep-rally yesterday in Gym 3 on the school's south campus, more than 2,500 excited students and teachers packed bleachers and then roared when Neshaminy Football Coach Mark Schmidt issued the rallying cry.

"You hear everybody saying Woodland Hills is going to kick our butts," Schmidt said, his hoarse voice barely making it over the screaming students, cheerleaders and the school's drumming band.

"That's what they said about six other teams we played this year," he shouted, boasting his football team's 14-0 record.

"This team has got what it takes, which is heart. This game is personal and we're going to win.

Schmidt and the rest of Neshaminy High School are getting ready for Saturday's PIAA state championship football game between the Neshaminy Redskins and the Woodland Hills Woolverines, who are also 14-0 for the season. The two teams will meet in Hershey with a kick off set for 5 p.m.

Cheerleaders in blue and white skirt-dresses stood in the middle of the gym, kicking and jump-starting the school's fighting spirit while the high school band play "Go Skins" fight songs to set the mood.


'Skins stars Erik Pederson, Jamar Brittingham, and Keith Ennis joke around during a pep rally at Neshaminy High School before their state championship game.

Neshaminy Jim, an alumnus and the school's booster, ran around the gymnasium, flapping his arms to roar of the crowd before doing a belly flop and spin on the gym floor.


"We are - Neshaminy! We are - Neshaminy!" students and teachers yelled as Neshaminy Jim led the cheer. Football players took turns speaking.

"We're going to take Pittsburgh and turn it upside down," said linebacker Jay Collins, who stood in the middle of the gym wearing the team's Red and white football jersey. Collins is the son of Neshaminy Principal Mark Collins. The Woolverines are from Pittsburgh.

"Without these guys on this football team and you the students, we wouldn't be here," Jay said as the crowd roared.


Lindsay Heayn cheers for the Redskins

Neshaminy is the first Lower Bucks football team to go to the state PIAA championship. Principal Collins said Neshaminy alumni from as far back as the class of 1971 sent faxes and letters saying they're going to the game.

Everywhere around the school, the fight theme was the same.

Prior to the rally, the school's band practiced songs, playing hits such as "Maria," "Tonight, Tonight, and "Somewhere" from the musical "West Side Story." The music sparked memories of the famous battle scene in the musical between rival street-gangs the "Sharks" and the "Jets."

Everyone said they're going to the game.

"It's going to be a battle, a rumble," said 10th grader Adam Volcskai, 17.

His friend, Duane Contendo, agreed.

"It's going to be a tough game, but I think we can win."

Coaches transform players into champions

The state title wasn't won on sheer talent alone, and it wasn't won solely at the behest of head coach Mark Schmidt, either.

LANGHORNE - They went undefeated, and people took notice. A lot of them, the players, were regulars in the newspaper, radio or television. They were, and are, minor celebrities.

And yet the Neshaminy Redskins, to a man, would tell you they didn't do it on their own. The state title wasn't won on sheer talent alone, and it wasn't won solely at the behest of head coach Mark Schmidt, either.

They all had help. No question about that.

"You're the Coach of the Year when two things happen," said Schmidt, the Courier Times' choice for that honor. "First, your players have to be outstanding. Second, you have to have a good staff. This was the best staff I've ever had. They did a lot with these kids, and it was more than just football. I'm talking quality stuff. They're a really good group."

There was John Chaump, who worked with the defense, and Reed Nichols who molded the linebackers. There was Steve Wilmot and Ray Jones forging the offensive line and Don Wiater countering them on the defensive line.

"The position coaches did a great job," said senior running back Jamar Brittingham.

"They're really smart guys who showed us a lot. And they're lots of fun, too."

There was John Tezik pushing the wideouts and Ryan O'Neal guiding the running backs and Jay Weidenbaugh kicking the defensive backs. Joe Foster pitched in as an administrative assistant, and helped as the game day coordinator.

They all had a role, each as important as the next, and none overlooked by the Redskins.

"They taught us the fundamentals, and then coach Schmidt polished them," said senior linebacker Jay Collins.

"We owe them a lot."

Thursday, December 13, 2001 

Dream comes true for Redskins

The Neshaminy seniors said they knew two years ago that the team would be good this season. Little did they know how good.

Courier Times

LANGHORNE - It was a long road, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 weeks. From summer conditioning to the preseason to league games to the playoffs.

To state champions. You can't forget that - PIAA Class AAAA state champions.

It has a pleasant ring to it, and the Neshaminy Redskins don't mind hearing it. A lot went into securing that title, and so they are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

"It was a long season," said wideout Keith Ennis, "but it went quick. It's crazy that it's over."

Crazy, but not unexpected.

Now don't go thinking that the Redskins (15-0) bragged pre-fact about winning it all. They would never be so crass, and they surely wouldn't tempt fate with that kind of abandon.

But they did entertain the idea. And they did discuss it.

You may have heard that quarterback Jay Wiater and running back Jamar Brittingham and some of the other seniors got together and talked about what they wanted from this season before it began. That was true. You may also have heard that they set their goals high, that they wanted to win all 10 regular-season games and that they believed mightily in their chances to go undefeated. Also true.

What you probably don't know, though, is that the planning, or at least the dreaming, to this state championship business goes back farther than a few weeks. Or even a few months.

In truth, for the seniors, it dates back two years, to when they were sophomores.

Mostly, they were a raggedy group back then. Talented, naturally, but also unpolished and largely unknown.

Not that any of that stopped them from looking to the future.

"Oh yeah, we talked about it a lot," said senior defensive and offensive lineman Steve Brett, a hulk of a teen who was instrumental this year's success. "We knew back then that we were going to be good when our senior year came around."

Perhaps he was blowing it out of proportion and they simply touched on the topic. Or perhaps he spoke the truth and he and his mates were a horde of visionaries given to prescient predictions.

Who knows? The records on that forecast are spotty at best.

Either way, and more importantly, they achieved their goal and now all that's left is for them to delight in its grandeur.

For many of them, there were supreme sacrifices made - weekends, summers, holidays, all spent on the field or in the gym without question or grumble. They'll tell you it was all worth it, the blood and the sweat, because it got them where they wanted to go.

"They did everything we asked," head coach Mark Schmidt said time and again this season. "I know there are a lot of teams that work hard, and some of them probably work just as hard as we do, but no one works harder."

It has been said that the victors pen the history books, so that could be true. For now, and for the foreseeable future, they are content in knowing that they gave an incredible performance. Unbeaten. Untouched.

And where lesser athletes must fabricate their fish stories, the Redskins will never have to be so dishonest. They actually caught the big one, and gutted it, and they will be sustained on it for a long time.

Maybe forever.

"I'm never going to forget this," said Brittingham. "Never."

Thursday, December 13, 2001 

Brittingham lives up to coach's billing

By Matt Townsend
Sunday, December 9, 2001

HERSHEY - Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt wanted to make it perfectly clear what he thinks of star running back Jamar Brittingham.

"Jamar is the best running back in the state," Schmidt said. "Write it down. Put it in the headlines. Do whatever you want with it."

Woodland Hills might have a hard time disagreeing with that endorsement after Brittingham rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns in undefeated Neshaminy's 21-7 victory over the Wolverines (14-1) in the PIAA Class AAAA championship game Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.

"He's a great running back," Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. "I thought we did a good job containing him, to be honest. He broke a couple, but I thought we did a nice job on him."

Those couple of plays made the difference in a game that wasn't decided until Brittingham (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) busted a 55-yard touchdown run off of right tackle with 5:54 to play to give the Redskins a two-touchdown lead.

"The play was called lead, and it was wide open," Brittingham said. "I knew after that, all we needed was a stop on defense and the game was over."

Brittingham's career is far from over. The senior said he is being recruited by West Virginia, Boston College, James Madison, Maryland and Connecticut. Saturday's performance only should bolster his demand with college recruiters.

"It should help," said Brittingham, who helped turn a 6-4 team that didn't make the playoffs in 2000 into a state champion. "Maybe I'll get some more interest."

The hype entering this game surrounded the Wolverines with their top ranking in the state and No. 7 spot in the USA Today.

"There was all the talk about Woodland Hills, and we came to the state championship and showed who was better (Saturday)," Brittingham said.

The Wolverines also had senior quarterback Steve Breaston, the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year.

"It motivated us," Brittingham said. "We played against great quarterbacks in our league, but not like him."

Neshaminy's defense limited Breaston, who twisted his ankle in the first half and did not play most of the fourth quarter, to 76 yards rushing and 50 yards passing.

Meanwhile, Brittingham accounted for 214 total yards. He also caught four passes for 96 yards and completed a halfback pass for 31 yards.

"He's been a gamer all year long," Schmidt said. "He's the whole package."

Brittingham ends this season with 2,565 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns. And most of those yards came after eluding at least one tackler.

"He always makes the first kid miss and maybe the next two or three," senior fullback Jay Collins said. "He's phenomenal."

Brittingham nearly scored a touchdown on Neshaminy's second play from scrimmage. He took a handoff off of left tackle and broke through the Woodland Hills defense. Mark Nesby saved a touchdown when he clipped Brittingham's feet for a 31-yard gain.

That drive ended in missed field goal, but Brittingham would make sure the Redskins would score in the third quarter. The lefty completed a 32-yard pass to Keith Ennis with 7:29 in third quarter to make him 5 for 6 passing in his career.

"I threw the ball and let him go up and get it," said Brittingham, who started at receiver as a sophomore.

Later in the drive, Brittingham caught a swing-pass, side-stepped a defender and gained 13 yards on a third-and-7 from the 17. Brittingham finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to push the Redskins' lead to 14-6.

"He's a player," Collins said. "I'll enjoy watching him in college and in the pros."

Matt Townsend can be reached at or (412) 320-7937. 

Center of attention

What's it like to be one of the greatest running backs in area history before the biggest football game of your life? Hang out with Jamar Brittingham as he walks the hallways of Neshaminy High School.

Courier Times

Jamar Brittingham walks hallways with teammates Jay Collins and Keith Ennis.
Art Gentile/Courier Times)

LANGHORNE - Jamar Brittingham is alone. Not common happenstance in the hallways of Neshaminy High School, something that'll usually last for 2.4 seconds. If that.

"Where'd you get those shoes?" a passing assistant football coach asks, pointing to Brittingham's shiny, nearly glowing, red sneakers.

"Down in Philly last night," Brittingham says. "They look nice and crazy."

So, Brittingham moves down the narrow hallway, past the principal's office, with the easy gait of a cattle wrangler. He stops; leans against a locker, just the precise spot, a busy enough thoroughfare for Brittingham. "I'll be chilling right here. This is A-hall," he says. "This is where everything's at, all the ruckus."

Soon, the throng will arrive - Brittingham's throng. The once-tranquil hallway has quickly turned boisterous and packed with baggy jeans and hip-huggers, hair gel and retro-afros and ever-so-slight midriffs.

"Yo, J.B.!" a voice booms. Jamar waves, smiles, then accepts a spate of handshakes. "Some people call me J.B. But most people just call me Jamar," he says.

One by one, a crowd of baggy jeans forms around Brittingham, more like builds around him, like side dishes augmenting an entre. This is his epoch before the finale of the Jamar Brittingham Era. One game remains in a magical career (including an area-record 2,418 rushing yards this season), in the most magical season (14-0), and a lone win from the glory - the PIAA Class AAAA championship Saturday at Hershey.

And these are Brittingham's people.

"Who's the deadliest rapper in Neshaminy?" says one baggy-jean newcomer.

Brittingham giggles. He's encircled by a half-dozen or so baggy pants and, yes, a couple girls.

"What's the dilly-yo?" one asks Brittingham.

"How was gym without me?" a girl asks.

"Yo, Jamar," another baggy jeans asks, slipping a cool handshake.

"Hey, Jamar," another intervenes, "I heard you're 21. Make sure you tell the Courier Times that."

"Get outta here," Brittingham says, laughing.

Neshaminy's #2 Jamar Brittingham tries to get away from Conestoga's #26 Terrance Smith.
Joe Dixon/Courier Times)

Brittingham remains still, as the action moves around him. He keeps propped against the lockers, in his black untucked shirt and baggy blue jeans (of course) setting the mood for his crazy sneakers.

Here comes wide receiver Keith Ennis, Brittingham's best friend. The only thing faster than Ennis' feet is his mouth. Ennis loves to talk. Brittingham loves to listen to Ennis talk.

Ennis works the hallways with a politician's verve. He could run for office. No, just give him an office. He smiles at everyone. Gabs with everyone. Hugs girls. One even plants a smooch on his cheek.

Jamar refrains from staring, but you know he's observing the whirlwind which is Ennis. But then the impossible happens: Something freezes the ubiquitous Ennis. A girl hugs Brittingham and struts right past Ennis.

"He can get a hug, but I can't," Ennis says.

Brittingham laughs.

A girl sidles up to Brittingham, hugging him.

Brittingham, you see, is the quiet one, amid this beloved ruckus, the commotion of baggy pants jostling and joking. You could even say he's shy, preferring Ennis to entertain.

"He's not like me, not outgoing," Ennis says. "I'm only here because I gotta keep people off him."

But Brittingham is the crowd, the centerpiece, just as he is on the field, as when Brittingham moves, everything moves (or chases) around him.

He's been here long enough. Time to hit the cafeteria. He eases off the lockers, adjust the bagginess in his baggy jeans.

"Gonna roll out," Brittingham says.

And they all roll out, with Brittingham in the middle, in his crazy red sneakers as they drift into the lunchroom.

Thursday, December 6, 2001 

Neshaminy's defense a well-kept secret

Much of the Redskins' success this season has been credited to the offense. Don't forget about the defense, which has held seven of its opponents to two touchdowns or less.

Courier Times

LANGHORNE - Think Neshaminy. Think offense. Think the explosiveness of running back Jamar Brittingham, the power of fullback Jay Collins, the arm of quarterback Jay Wiater and the speed of wide receiver Keith Ennis.

Lovely stuff. Weaponry at its finest. The core of the undefeated team, right?

Uh, think again.

There, in the shadows of a wondrous offense, belies a heart and pulse so strong, an unheralded talent.

It's the defense, much of it under wraps, as opponents and media and fans have fixated upon the flash of the offense.

The defense is surely hoping for the same on Saturday: to surprise Cumberland Valley (13-0), the team separating Neshaminy (13-0) from the PIAA Class AAAA title game.

For the season, the defense has adored the anonymity.

It has exploited it, too.

"The opposing teams think our offense is the better part of us," said defensive tackle Miguel Lebron. "When they do that, we take advantage of them. They're not ready for our tough D."

Heed Lebron. He nailed it.

His words, like a mission statement from a defensive guru, tells the sentiments of all those in Neshaminy's defensive trenches.

Neshaminy linebacker Jeff Donahue (left) is tied for the team lead with five sacks.
Joe Dixon/Courier Times)

Linebacker Austin Jones sure would say so.

"We get overlooked," Jones said. "But that's our strength. Our opponents underestimate us and we bite them in a sense."

Bite marks abound - as sacks and hurries and turnovers have been key, and often timely, a big reason why the Redskins are undefeated, coach Mark Schmidt will tell you.

"The offense has had two or three stellar games," Schmidt said, "but every game there's been somebody who has made a huge defensive play, maybe an interception or sack or fumble recovery."

Case in point: Friday's playoff game when the Redskins beat Conestoga, 28-12 - an archetype performance from Neshaminy's defense as it snagged three turnovers, with safety Devon Swope's interception putting "the game on ice," as Schmidt called it.

So far this season, a bevy of defensive players have contributed, Schmidt said. Swope has five interceptions. Defensive End Chuck Koch has recovered two fumbles and forced another and is tied with linebacker Geoff Donahue for the team lead in sacks with five.

"We all know each other's assignments," Donohue said.

It's also been an assignment of simplicity each week: Keep the opponent to 21 points or less - and let the offense do its thing.

"We have a very conservative game plan - hold the opponent to 21 points," said defensive coach John Chaump. "It's been a little bit of a joke, but that's the way it's been."

Simple as it might seem, it's worked. In Neshaminy's 13 games, only two teams, Father Judge and Pennridge, have scored more than 21 points.

The defense has kept seven of its opponents to two touchdowns or less, and has not allowed a team exceed the three-touchdown limit since Week 3. It has surrendered an average of just 15.8 points per game.

"In the beginning of the season, we were doing a lot of jabbering," said Swope. "But we've come together really nicely."

Schmidt would agree: Cohesiveness, he preaches.

Another key would be health.

Last season the Redskins lost linebacker Pat Carroll and defensive end Ryan van den Brand for most of the season.

This season, both are healthy, with Carroll leading the team in tackles with 97 and van den Brand chipping in four sacks.

"I get twice as excited when I see a turnover than when I see a touchdown," van den Brand said. "A turnover is like gold."

And all of the Redskins will be hoping to see lots of gold on Saturday against Cumberland Valley, an offensive juggernaut that is averaging 34 points a game.

"We don't want to give up an easy TD," said Chaump. "We have to let the offense score their four touchdowns and let Jamar do his thing, and we'll do our thing."

Wednesday, November 28, 2001 

No pep rally for team, just a rally cry

One win away from a state title match-up, Neshaminy High is keeping a lid on the hoopla - for now.

Courier Times

Although Neshaminy school officials want their undefeated football team to beat the stuffing out of its next opponent, they've decided to keep the hoopla in the hopper - and wait until next week, if there is a next week.

Neshaminy High School officials have yet to regale their undefeated football team - no pep rally, no bonfire, no wild sendoff.

The Redskins - who've won more games than any other Lower Bucks football team ever, going 13-0 - are one win away from a state title match-up. They'll leave for Hershey today for the state semifinals without any school-sponsored fanfare.

Feeling snubbed?

Players say no.

"It doesn't bother us," quarterback Jay Wiater said. "I wouldn't even notice it if we didn't have [a pep rally]. We're just trying to keep our heads in the game and prepare. That's all we're worrying about."

School officials said they'd rather not disrupt classes to throw a rah-rah party, even if it's for one of the biggest high school football games in Lower Bucks history.

"The prime reason students are here is to learn, and you can't take away from that," athletics director Sheila Murphy said.

The school will plan for a party next week - if the Redskins beat undefeated Cumberland Valley tomorrow at Hersheypark Stadium.

"We want to keep to the program at this point and look forward to a win this week," Neshaminy spokeswoman Sandra Costanzo said.

"You have to understand the important game is the state final," Murphy said. "Before, when this has happened [in other sports], we've always planned something before or after the state championship game."

It's been a magical season.

During the PIAA Class AAAA regular season, the Redskins knocked off titans such as CB West, North Penn and Pennridge and have marched through the first three rounds of the state playoffs. No local team has gone this far into the AAAA postseason.

Anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 fans have packed Harry E. Franks Stadium, their home turf, for the Redskins' previous three playoff games. For last week's District One title game against Conestoga, 1,600 tickets were sold in advance.

A grand sendoff is planned for next week if the Redskins win tomorrow. The state title game is slated for Dec. 8.

Even the team's N Club - a boosters group that orchestrates fund-raisers to team dinners - doesn't object to the school keeping this week's hoopla low key.

"I don't think the players are worrying about who's throwing a party," said Erik Pedersen, vice president of the club and father of team players Erik and Anthony. "They're more concerned about becoming No. 1 in the state."

Friday, November 30, 2001 

Ennis a prize catch for Neshaminy

Senior wide receiver Keith Ennis has emerged as a not-so-secret weapon for the Redskins with an area-high 45 receptions for 632 yards and five touchdowns.

Courier Times

LANGHORNE - Keith Ennis is not exactly a big guy. Kind of small, actually, in football terms, only 5-8, 170 pounds.

But he's fast, quite slippery, with darting feet. He enjoys the slashing routes. But he really loves to burn the secondary for the deep ball.

"I know I can beat most of the people out there," Ennis said, curling a grin.

Yes, Ennis is stealth, with just the right amount of speed and size (or lack thereof).

The senior wide receiver has become the centerpiece of the Neshaminy passing game, ranking first in the area in catches (45) and second in receiving yards (682). He also has scored five touchdowns.

It's usually worked this way:

Wide receiver Keith Ennis (right) has become a great offensive weapon in Neshaminy's arsenal.
Joe Dixon/Courier Times)

When defenses start ganging up on star running back Jamar Brittingham, it's time for the stealth attack. The Redskins hit Ennis with a pass, letting opponents know they have another weapon.

It's an approach that surely will be part of Neshaminy's game plan on Saturday when it plays Cumberland Valley (13-0) in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals at Hershey.

Ennis is hopeful Cumberland Valley neglects the passing game maybe a little too much.

So he can strike.

"I think other teams underestimate our passing game," Ennis said. "We know we can't run Jamar every play. So, when I get a chance, I know I have to get open."

Ennis also is a good listener. Quarterback Jay Wiater, who has a knack of foretelling a gang-up on Brittingham, will call the occasional audible and pass to Ennis.

"Jay's probably the smartest guy in the way of football on our team," Ennis said. "We look to outsmart [our opponents] a little bit, and show them something they haven't seen."

It's all part of coach Mark Schmidt's plan.

"When Jamar is doing his thing, it's good to have a plan B," Schmidt said. "When they start packing them in against Jamar, we hit them with other stuff."

Ennis is a big part of the other stuff, Wiater said.

In the second round of the playoffs, Ennis nabbed three passes for 108 yards and a touchdown to help beat Downingtown, 37-20. In Neshaminy's latest playoff battle Friday, Ennis grabbed a 39-yard scoring pass in a 28-12 win over Conestoga.

"He's my go-to guy," Wiater said. "He's got great speed and can beat the corners. He has great hands, too. If I see a mismatch, we can call an audible and I can look for him."

"[Wiater and Ennis] are good together - in sync together, and very comfortable," Schmidt said. "People are becoming more and more aware of them. They're both good football players."

It's not Ennis as the lone ball-catcher.

It's a diverse attack.

The a variety of threats include wideouts Mike Loveland, Mark Beck and Justin Edwards.

Running back Geoff Donahue, who has six touchdowns, also will rumble out of the backfield for a pass, and tight ends Chuck Koch and Scott Mullin have been frequent options.

"Our receivers were overlooked by a lot of teams," Loveland said.

Added Schmidt: "We certainly have the weapons."

Thursday, November 29, 2001 

Word to the wise: Never count out Neshaminy

If you forget everything you know about Neshaminy football from this point forward, be sure to retain this: Nothing is ever easy. Nothing.

HERSHEY - If you forget everything you know about Neshaminy football from this point forward, be sure to retain this: Nothing is ever easy. Nothing.


And so it followed that yesterday's Class AAAA state playoff semifinal in Hershey had to be another in a long line of arduous litmus tests for the Redskins. The kind where the results don't come in until the last possible moment - and even when they do, no one is quite sure whom they'll favor.

The clock ticked under two minutes in the fourth quarter in a game that, for two-plus hours, had swayed like a sickly tree in a violent wind. Neshaminy clung to a shaky six-point lead as Cumberland Valley began to cross midfield. Facing a third-and-3, the Eagles did something they tried to avoid all season. They passed.

With an obstreperous Redskins crowd filling the afternoon air with a confident din, Eagles quarterback Corey Biscof dropped back and threw across the middle. Everything seemed to stand still as the ball floated into the hands of tight end Adam Cook for what should have been a first down.

Then, just when it looked as if all was lost for Neshaminy for the umpteenth time that day, the Redskins were redeemed. Saved by their safety, Devon Swope.

He stripped the ball, you see. Forced it from the hands of Cook and onto the mint-green grass, where it was fortuitously secured by cornerback Jamar Brittingham.

And that was it. End of game.

Neshaminy 25, Cumberland Valley 19.

Lliam Kelly and Keith Ennis hug Jamar Brittingham after he scored a touchdown in yesterday's state semifinal game.
Art Gentile/Courier Times)

"I was thinking about going for the interception," said Swope, who has made so many big plays for Neshaminy in these playoffs that there's not enough space in this column to revisit them all. "I didn't go for it because I didn't want a pass interference call. But my hand was on the ball side, so I tried for the strip."

It has been that type of year for Neshaminy. The 'Skins have been in some tight games against quality opponents - backed into situations where wins were all but an impossibility and the only recourse appeared to be tears and Kleenex. Yesterday was no different.

At the half, the Redskins trailed by two scores. Neshaminy was a disheveled lot, disturbed by Cumberland Valley's running game and the ease with which the Eagles moved down the field.

The brunt of the damage in the opening half was caused by fullback Regis Perry - a large lad who, at 5-10, 250 pounds, had little trouble bowling over the 'Skins defenders. Perry finished the game with 48 yards rushing, and, at least initially, that figured to be enough.

So the Redskins retreated to their locker room at the midway point with nearly everyone thinking they were about to witness the death knell. No undefeated season. No state finals berth.

"I didn't think that," countered head coach Mark Schmidt. "I wasn't worried at all."

Either he was lying or he's as composed and insightful as they come. Whichever, and more importantly, he and the staff and the players snapped to it. They woke up, as they had countless times before, to drag themselves back into a game that Cumberland Valley clearly controlled.

A lot of that, of course, had to do with Brittingham, who was once again the best player on the field. In addition to recovering that final, fateful fumble, the senior also carried the ball 27 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and that includes the winning score.

In total it was an improbable, crazy, heart-stopping victory. Though, in retrospect - considering all they've accomplished this season against long odds - the final score and the means to that end really shouldn't come as a surprise.

Regardless, they are now where they wanted to be all along. Not that they discussed the possibility. Well, that is they didn't talk about it aloud or in the presence of company. But make no mistake, this is what they were driving toward from the onset - this chance for a state championship.

"The future," Schmidt said throatily while addressing his players in the postgame gathering, "is just seven days away."

He's right. The future, their future, is nearly at hand. That is the emboldening part.

And this is the disquieting, ironic part: Despite all their travails, the most taxing stretch is yet to come.

John Gonzalez covers high school sports for the Courier Times.

Sunday, December 2, 2001 

Jamar Brittingham 2001 Player of the Year

Neshaminy's talented senior Jamar Brittingham, the football player of the year in 2000 and 2001, became the first area running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.

Courier Times

It was a run off tackle to the short side of the field. An average gain for him - about 13 yards - and nice enough, but not overly spectacular. Not for Jamar Brittingham, anyway.

It wasn't a typical rush for Neshaminy's star back. Wasn't one of those carries where he stops, then starts, then takes off through a haze of defenders for a length-of-the-field jaunt and a touchdown. Wasn't one of those plays where he jukes a few defenders, then simply crashes over a few more unsuspecting, and unfortunate, souls for that extra yard.

No, it was more or less a solid gain against Downingtown in the playoffs that didn't really garner a shrug or an extra thought one way or the other. In fact, most of the people in the stands that evening didn't know what had happened. For another quarter or so, they remained blissfully ignorant.

And then, as the game wound down, Neshaminy's PA announcer demanded focus. Something significant had occurred earlier, and he hoped they would all pay attention in reverence.

"Jamar Brittingham," the announcer said through crackling loudspeakers while fighting for aural dominance with an obstreperous crowd, "has just gone over 2,000 yards this season."

That's when it registered. That's when it sunk in - 2,000 yards in a single season. Amazing.

Neshaminy's Jamar Brittingham runs the ball for a touchdown. The senior running back has been named the Bucks County Courier Times football player of the year.
Joe Dixon/Courier Times)

Brittingham, who has run roughshod over the SOL for the past two years, became the first area player to ever eclipse that barrier. It was as meaningful an achievement as it was remarkable. It's no surprise, then, that the senior running back has been named the Bucks County Courier Times football player of the year. It's the second consecutive season that he's been so honored.

"It means a lot," said Brittingham of the 2,000-yard milestone. "But I didn't come into the season thinking about it."

We'll let you in on a little secret here, something Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt didn't know: Brittingham didn't dwell on individual statistics before the season. But he did fantasize about going undefeated. And he talked about it aloud, which, at Neshaminy, is close to blasphemy because the Redskins are about as superstitious a bunch as you'll find.

"Yeah, me and a few of the guys talked about it," said Brittingham. "That's what I really wanted. To go 10-0."

The Redskins did that, and made the playoffs, too - the first time they'd reached the postseason since 1988. Obviously, Brittingham, who also played defensive back, was an integral part to the team's success. And yet, he wasn't consumed by his own accomplishments. Rather, and to his lasting credit, he reveled in the feats of teammates.

"He was the first guy to get to Scotty Mullin when he caught [the winning touchdown pass] against CB West," said Schmidt of his running back, who is being recruited by Virginia, West Virginia, Boston College, North Carolina, James Madison, and Pitt. "Jamar was on the other side of the field when we won that game, but he was one of the first to get to Scotty and hug him. When [quarterback Jason] Wiater got 1,000 yards this season, which is something he really wanted to do, I think Jamar was happier than Wiater was. You know, it's not about Jamar. He completely buys into the team system. He's just a great kid."


Sunday, December 2, 2001 

Neshaminy started roll early

Friday, November 30, 2001

By Rod Frisco
Of The Patriot-News

Every championship football team has it: That coalescent moment when teammates come together, achieve and can properly say, "You know, we are good."

Neshaminy's moment came soon enough in the 2001 season.

The Redskins had won their season-opening game against a solid Father Judge team by just a point, 28-27, then saw their second game against Bensalem wiped out by the latter's teachers' strike.

Rusty after the layoff and still feeling their way, the Redskins fell behind a quality Pennridge team 15-0 in the first quarter in Week 3.

Then the magic kicked in.

"We fought back and worked hard to tie the game," Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt said. "But we still had to drive the length of the field in the final six minutes to win the game.

"When we did that, I said, 'Hey, if we can stick together and pull this off, we might have something special on our hands,'" Schmidt said.

They did. And they are.

Neshaminy followed its last-minute victory over Pennridge with a last-play victory over Central Bucks West the following week, and the jets have been on full burn ever since.

Now 13-0, Neshaminy finds itself in the state playoffs for the first time since its ill-fated appearance in 1988, the inaugural year for state championships, and one victory away from playing for a state title.

All the Redskins have to do is beat 13-0 Cumberland Valley in tomorrow's PIAA Class AAAA East Championship game at Hersheypark Stadium. First kick is 1 p.m.

While Cumberland Valley, clearly peaking after last week's impressive 41-31 come-from-behind triumph over Bethlehem Catholic, is playing quality ball, Neshaminy has stared down some similarly scary barrels this year.

"When we saw that opening schedule, we knew we had to take it slow," Schmidt said. "We had to concentrate completely on each game as it came before we could be concerned about the next one."

The second half of the season was substantially easier for the Redskins, who used the lessened resistance to build momentum for the CB West-less playoffs, resulting in strong triumphs over CB East (24-14), a good Downingtown team (37-20) and Conestoga (28-12).

Through it all, the Redskins leaned heavily on senior tailback Jamar Brittingham (6-1, 194), who has gained 2,263 yards on 316 carries for 26 touchdowns. The lefty has also thrown for multiple touchdowns.

Brittingham, like most I-backs, dominates Neshaminy's offensive landscape. But quarterback Jason Wiater (92-161-3, 1,273 yards, seven TDs) has been effective, often out of play action.

Wide receiver Keith Ennis (5-8, 174) catches nearly one-half of Wiater's passes with 45 receptions for 682 yards and five scores. He's a serious reverse, counter and return threat as well (hmm, Brandon Stanford, anyone?).

"Wiater runs our offense very well; he's very smart as far as understanding our game goes," Schmidt said. "Keith Ennis has just had a super year.

"We have a lot of kids who pay attention to what we're teaching and who have worked well together," Schmidt said.

Defensively, the Redskins started a little slower against that outstanding schedule but recently found a groove. Against Conestoga, a team that featured a 1,700-yard rusher and a 2,000-yard passer, the Redskins completely pinched the Pioneers until junk time.

Senior linebacker Jay Collins (5-11, 225) is generally recognized as Neshaminy's top defensive player, but ends Chuck Koch (6-3, 220) and Geoff Donahue (6-2, 225), and linebacker Pat Carroll (6-1, 225) are quality performers, too.

"It will be very interesting on that line of scrimmage," said Cumberland Valley head coach Tim Rimpfel, who has plenty of reason to be pleased with both of his. "We won't have to use a lot of defensive backs like we did last week, but that will put extra pressure on our linebackers. Brittingham has great vision and loves to cut back."

Rod Frisco may be reached at

It's still thumbs up for Neshaminy in football playoffs


Wednesday, November 21, 2001

By Rod Frisco
Of The Patriot-News

For a brief, chilling moment, Neshaminy thought that its brilliant 2001 season just might be over.

Less than halfway through the first quarter of Neshaminy's District 1-2-4 semifinal game with Downingtown, the undefeated Redskins (someone still uses that nickname?) seized up when they saw star running back Jamar Brittingham emerge from a pile holding his left thumb.

That was the thumb that the 2,000-yard rusher had broken two years earlier. And if it was broken now ...

Ah, not to worry. The Neshaminy trainers did the ol' tape-it-up-and-go routine, and Brittingham went to the tune of 216 yards to help Neshaminy into this week's sub-regional final against Conestoga (11-1), one of the most surprising teams of the season.

Still, the Brittingham story is representative of the thin line between success and failure in the playoffs. Lose the wrong player for a game, and all of those metal plates lifted back in April might as well have been paper plates.

In this case, the story had a happy ending for Neshaminy, less so for Downingtown, which was beaten 37-20.

Here's a small slice of what happened around the state last week:

Class AAAA: Altoona officially claimed the Mid-Penn Conference West Division championship by defeating State College 20-19. State College just missed (or just made, depending on who has your ear) a two-point conversion with 7:11 to play following its final touchdown.

Altoona heads into the quarterfinals against Erie Cathedral Prep, the defending state champion which is no doubt mindful of the fact that Altoona was a kneel-down away from blowing up Prep's season in last year's quarterfinals. Prep bombed Brashear as expected 41-9, but both teams had the same yardage, 333.

A reprise of quite possibly the best game of the 2001 regular season occurs Saturday when Woodland Hills and Pittsburgh Central catholic meet in the WPIAL championship game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Woodland Hills defeated Central Catholic 31-28 in three overtimes in midseason, and both teams brushed aside semifinal opponents

Woody High got slightly less than 200 yards rushing, which is nothing new, from star quarterback Steve Breaston to pound McKeesport 40-7.

Central Catholic surround North Allegheny with balanced offense for a surprisingly easy 38-14 triumph over North Allegheny.

Class AAA: What's up with Bradford? The Owls simply mauled District 6 champion Huntingdon, scoring early and often and earning a quarterfinal game against Perry, which cracked Wilmington 35-7.

Wait until the Owls get a load of Cupples Stadium, located in on the south side of Pittsburgh. It's not just because it's a lonnng way from McKean County and its cozy mountains, it's because Cupples (formerly South Stadium) is Perry's home field.

Class AA: Karns City, trailing Sharon by 14 with 4:27 to play, very nearly Chicago Beared-it.

The Gremlins pounded out a quick TD drive to make it 20-13, missed the onside kick recovery and got the ball back with 24 seconds left on its own 40.

The Gremlins hit a 34-yard pass, spiked the ball and had a final shot at the Tigers.

But a sack by Danny Tomko ended Karns City chance to advance.

Wilkes-Barre Meyers, a 66-0 victim to Lakeland in week 8 of the regular followed up its turnaround victory over Lakeland in the 2-AA semis with a 10-3 overtime upset of Valley View in the finals.

A blocked field goal with 13 seconds left enabled Meyers to force overtime.

Beaver Falls star Daine Williams said he felt sick the entire game with North Catholic in the WPIAL semifinals. We should all feel so terrible: Williams rushed for 257 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Falls' 46-30 triumph.

St. Pius X running back Zack Pierce did what he usually does -- gain a lot of yards and score a lot of touchdowns -- to lead the Winged Lions past Wyalusing Valley 34-15.

Pierce's 245 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries boosted his season totals to 2,366 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns this season.

Class A: Monaca, which usually saves its postseason frustration for the WPIAL title game, was a week early this year, turning over the ball seven times, a sure way to lose a game.

That's exactly what happened in a 27-6 decision to Fort Cherry in the WPIAL semifinals.

Here comes Rochester again. The defending state champion had lost twice this season, but the Rams are playoff mavens, proving it again with a 19-8 triumph over a Farrell team that had been playing strong football late in the year and had beaten Rochester 12-9 during the regular season.

Rod Frisco may be reached at or

Neshaminy's youth movement paying off

Neshaminy football coach Mark Schmidt knew Jamar Brittingham was going to be a good player when he was a freshman. He didn't know Brittingham was going to be this good.

A 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior, Brittingham has emerged as one of the top running backs in the state. He has rushed for 2,058 yards and scored 25 touchdowns in leading the Redskins to a 12-0 record and a spot in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals Friday against Conestoga (11-1).

Brittingham carried 19 times for 215 yards and scored on a 57-yard run as Neshaminy defeated Downingtown 37-20 last week.

"He was a wide receiver for us as a sophomore and we moved him to tailback part way through that year," Schmidt said. "He's been doing it for us ever since.

"I don't think people realize how strong he is. He carried four or five guys about eight yards on a play the other night. He can run people over if he has to."

Brittingham is a Division I college prospect and will wait until after the season to make a decision on a school. Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia have shown the most interest.

Last year, Neshaminy was racked by injuries and lost four regulars, and Schmidt was forced to play a lot of underclassmen.

"Because of the injuries, a lot of the younger guys got time. Now this season, we had the guys who were hurt coming back along with those other guys and we've got a lot of depth," Schmidt said.

Neshaminy competes in the same league at Central Bucks West, which has played in the PIAA final the past four seasons. Schmidt said a come-from-behind 21-19 victory against Central Bucks West fed his players' confidence.

"We went 75 yards in the final 1:40 to win that one," he said. "CB West has set the bar high around here. We all had to work harder and get better to compete with them."

Neshaminy's current powerhouse team is not its first

It is hard to imagine that a high school football program with an unbeaten streak of 51 games in its past and a penchant for producing pro-caliber athletes would actually still have goals unmet.

Yes, the current football juggernaut at Neshaminy is a school-record 12-0 and the latest hopeful to succeed Central Bucks West as the dominant power in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Win this Friday against Conestoga (11-1) and Neshaminy will have an even greater claim to the Bucks throne so long held by its Doylestown rival.

Succeeding C.B. West and psyching the student population and alumni alike on sold-out Friday nights at Harry Franks Stadium in Langhorne might satisfy many a program. But the Redskins of Neshaminy definitely want more, much more. Because no one will ever convince the Bucks County school that there are not significant kingdoms left to conquer. Not when Coach Mark Schmidt's team has in sight a state championship that was not there to be won for the best of the rest in the Redskins' storied history.

Thirty years ago, a similarly talent-rich Neshaminy team, coached by the late Jack Swartz and led by celebrated players such as Pete Cordelli, Dale Forchetti, Bruce McHale, Chuck Lodge and Matt Bahr, younger brother of another Neshaminy great, Chris Bahr, went 11-0.

That 1971 team, peppered with so much talent that the backups included future NFL punter Bob Grupp, future Virginia running great Joe Sroba and Yale back Barton Smith (yes, a relation, right little brother?). Yet even though the '71 squad plowed through a tough schedule filled with the likes of Easton, Bethlehem's Freedom and Liberty High Schools and Pennsbury, the year ended with 11 wins.

That Skins team could go no further because there simply was no place to go - no playoffs, no tests against Pennsylvania schools near and far that held such talents as the running Joe brothers, Tony Dorsett and the like.

Nor could the earlier Neshaminy teams that went undefeated from 1962 through 1965 - the bulk of the unbeaten streak put together by the late John Peter Cuskie's Redskins teams. Neshaminy started its 47-0-4 run during the 1961 season.

Today's class of blue-chippers in Langhorne, such as 2,000-yard rusher Jamar Brittingham, know that the landscape is as inviting as the tests are different. Neshaminy's penchant for flirting with perfection on the field has not changed, but the possibilities have, thanks to the statewide playoff system in which the Skins are thriving.

Neshaminy, well-tested by end-of-season wins against arch-rival Pennsbury and then Council Rock, proved something to itself. Those two schools beat Neshaminy last year, both heartbreakers, especially the Rock's double-overtime win. But the heartbreak brought seasoning. That seasoning showed this weekend when Neshaminy gave the latest, most concrete evidence of all the possibilities with a 37-20 drubbing of Downingtown - winner of two district titles and one state title since 1994.

Neshaminy is headed for the state quarterfinals. All the Skins must do to advance past that plateau is a lot - defeat visiting Conestoga in the subregional (District 1-2-4) Class AAAA championship on Friday night in Langhorne. Conestoga advanced to the game thanks to a 34-31 double-OT win over Cheltenham. "That's a very talented team with a lot of people that can do some damage," Schmidt said. "They have some real nice schemes, play very sound, and gutted it out to get to where they are."

What is said of Conestoga certainly can be said of Neshaminy, which was hit hard by injuries a year ago, but benefited in a way when upperclassmen stepped in, gained an upper hand on the game and reaped the rewards this season.

"We've weathered a lot of storms to get to this position - injuries, the need for comebacks, last-minute heroics," Schmidt said. "It's all added to the drama and put us in position to do a lot of fun things."

Schmidt and his players know that while all of the current Bucks County-area football fans are watching, so are a significant number of players and coaches from dynasties past. Yes, the possibilities of succeeding C. B. West are heady, even for a school that, when fed by four middle school programs, has more than enough of a foundation for its own rich football tradition. Still, Schmidt knows the real prize will be found in Neshaminy's living up to its own history.

"We're just hoping to find out how it was back in the day," said Schmidt who, on any given game day, can look into the stands and see his predecessors as well as many of the past playing greats. "It's really a great thing, to see these guys, talk about how it was," he said. "As I got to know them over the years, I always wished how it would be that way again."

A couple more wins, and both Schmidt and Neshaminy will write their own, unique chapter in the continuing legend. Not only can it be that way for Neshaminy, again, we now know it can actually be that much better - an amazing thought in itself for an exceedingly successful program.

Claire Smith's e-mail address is 

State champs the talk of the school

Neshaminy High students and faculty couldn't get enough of their undefeated football heroes yesterday.

Courier Times

Keith Ennis (right) can't resist another feel of the state championship trophy held by teammate Jay Collins after a trophy presentation yesterday at Neshaminy.
Kim Weimer/Courier Times)

LANGHORNE - He looked tired. His eyes drooped some and his shoulders slumped and his feet dragged. He was sorely in need of a nap.

Then, considering all Jay Collins and his pals have been through in the last few days, the obvious fatigue isn't overly surprising.

Since Saturday, since Neshaminy won the PIAA Class AAAA championship with a 21-7 win over Woodland Hills in Hershey, it has been an absolutely nonstop state of affairs for the Redskins. It has been fun, of course, as enjoyable and exciting and completely wonderful as they could have imagined.

But it's also been hectic.

"Man," Collins, a senior linebacker, said slowly while rubbing his head, "it was a long weekend."

It continued yesterday, the commotion and the demands on their time. Some of them - Jamar Brittingham, Keith Ennis, Geoff Donahue, Jay Wiater, Steve Brett, Nick Feszko and Collins - were assembled in the school lobby, along with head coach Mark Schmidt, for an official trophy presentation and yet more photos. Channel 6 showed up to shoot some video, and Neshaminy superintendent Gary Bowman was on hand, too.

Everyone smiled, laughed, joked and talked about the game. About how the players, their kids, had accomplished something so grand when few believed they could.

They were all proud of the players - the teachers, students and faculty perhaps even more than the team itself.

"There's a genuine happiness for these guys," said Neshaminy principal Mark Collins, grinning a crescent grin and nearly hopping with pride. "These kids, they're just so well thought of by their classmates and their teachers. They're just really good kids, and it's more than just sports. They do a lot with the community. The best part, though, is that they're humble. It's just made for a really great year. Everyone is thrilled for them."

That much was plain.

The players walked the halls at the end of the day but didn't get very far before having to stop and nod and say thank you to all the well-wishers. And there were lots of them. They came out of the woodwork, almost, shooting out of classrooms and bathrooms and offices just to tell the players what a good job they had done and how much it meant.

It didn't end with simple verbal congratulations. There was more. Much more.

Saturday night, with the victory fresh and the reality of it all still seeping into their collective consciousness, the Redskins loaded on the team bus and headed east, toward home. When they neared Lower Bucks, a police escort was waiting to lead their caravan the rest of the way.

"That was really cool," said Wiater, the senior quarterback who is rarely so moved. "At first, I thought there was an accident or something."

Naturally, that wasn't all.

The coaches office - which lies just behind the gym and only yards away from the practice field - was awash in pomp and copious gifts. There were balloons, colorful and pleasant, and cards. There were phone messages from as far away as Florida, and gift baskets from as near as the home economics department. There were candy bars and cookies and chips and, well, you get the idea.

They were very nearly swimming in the offerings.

Pleased as they were by the generosity, they kept a certain perspective. They remained thankful when no one would have faulted them for swaggering.

"There are a lot of kids out there who don't play sports who deserve this kind of recognition," Schmidt said. "I mean, our society is so quick to judge, you know? And if they judged some of our kids, just at a glance, maybe they wouldn't have done the things they've done. I really think that, in 90 percent of the kids out there, there's something good. They should get something, too."

Tuesday, December 11, 2001 

Neshaminy's Schmidt takes top honor for the third time

Mark Schmidt and his coaching staff demanded a great deal from the players. And, to the Redskins merit, they delivered.

Courier Times

He is driven, bordering on consumed. He is excitable, bordering on cantankerous.

Those are Mark Schmidt's character traits. That is, when he's coaching. On the field, in the film room, wherever there is football business needing administration, Neshaminy's head coach is a whirling dervish - a fiery paragon of work ethics and preparation.

Born from the mold of its coach, this year's team was eerily similar. The 'Skins were a tough bunch, a good group who fought with vigor during the week and even harder on the weekend. Which is why they went undefeated during the regular season, a perfect 10-0, becoming the first area team to do so since 1988. It was an effort that spurred them deep into the postseason.

In total, the season was fantastic, and perhaps a little surprising coming off a 6-4 2000 campaign. Still, whatever the expectations, the results spoke for themselves, which is why Schmidt is the Courier Times football coach of the year. It is the third time in his seven seasons at Neshaminy that he has been so honored.

Schmidt and his coaching staff demanded a great deal from the players. And, to the Redskins merit, they delivered.

So that is what you know about Mark Schmidt - he is an aggressive coach, who works every amount of potential from those entrusted to his care. But there is another side to Schmidt. A side hidden behind the extraneous melodrama, away from the field and the public eye. There is a side to Schmidt that you don't know, and one he'd probably rather you not find out about.

He is, in truth, a soft touch. A man who is as predisposed to hug as he is to holler.

"That man can make guys who you never thought could play football, play it and play it well," said senior linebacker Jay Collins. "But beyond that, he's just a good man. He helps us with so much stuff outside of football. I can't even tell you how much he means to a lot of us. He's like a father to me."

Sunday, December 2, 2001 

Southeast Pennsylvania Football TOP 20
By: Ed Thomas
November 20, 2001

1.  Malvern Prep (3A) 9-0:  Season over.  Here are the final standings for the Inter-Academic League.  1st Malvern Prep 4-0,  2nd Penn Charter School 3-1,  3rd Haverford School 2-2,  4th Episcopal Academy 1-3,  5th Germantown Academy 0-4.

2.  Neshaminy 12-0:  The Redskins whipped previously 5th ranked Downingtown 37-20 in the sub region semi final to move on to the Eastern semifinals against Conestoga.   Neshaminy was in control from the beginning by jumping out to a 10-0 lead that ballooned to 24-7.  Thereon they each scored 13.  The Downingtown defense had no answer for super division one prospect running back Jamar Brittingham who made it look easy with 19 carries for 216 rushing yards.  That�s 11.4 yards per carry and over 2000 rushing yards for the year.  We knew the Redskin attack was balanced.  Talk about versatile.  Kevin Kelly started things off with a 40 yard field goal, which was followed by a 69 yard TD strike from QB Jason Wiater to SE Keith Ennis.  And finally, Jamar Brittingham had a 57 yard gallop for the score.  Very few teams score 37 points on Downingtown or beat them by 17.  Central Bucks West did it last year in the final 39-14 and Malvern Prep did it in �99, beating the Whippets 47-7.  Playing in district one means you�re going to get it handed to you every now and then.  The point being, Downingtown is a constant and legitimate measuring stick.  Only the finest beat D-town like that.  It will take a fine team to beat this group.  Their next opponent is Conestoga (11-1) who won at Cheltenham 34-31 in double overtime.

3a.  St. Joseph�s Prep (3A) 8-3:  St. Joseph�s routed Cardinal O�Hara 35-6 in the Catholic League Red Division semi final for their 8th consecutive win since the 0-3 start.  They advance to the final to face Monsignor Bonner December 1st.   Just a few weeks back the Hawks beat O�Hara in the regular season 35-14.  That�s pretty fair pay back (70-20 cum) for O�Hara�s win in the Red Division championship game last year which denied them a perfect season.  Last Friday St. Joe�s was just too much for the Lions who to add injury to insult were further hampered by injuries.  QB Colin Smith�s 7 for 12 passing for 88 yards in the 1st half was crucial to Lion hopes for success.  He went down late in the 2nd quarter with a concussion.  Defender Brett Altman also had a concussion and division one recruit OL�er Mike Bucella went out with an injury.  The Hawks were all over O�Hara with 249 rush yards in 37 attempts and a superior performance by ever improving QB Vince Gallagher who went 11 for 12 for 186 yards and two TDs.  Their terrific running back Kyle Ambrogi was a pile driver with 144 yards on 18 carries.  O�Hara was held to 58 rushing yards, 13 first downs and 181 total yards.  This was a complete victory.  Next up is a Thanksgiving Day game with LaSalle (3-6-1; Moscow Patriots win was a scrimmage).  LaSalle�s had the week to prepare after getting knocked from the playoffs in the first round.  They live and die with their D and are so well coached they always pose a threat.  Hard hitting first team all Catholic League LB Ed Sabia, 6-2, 230, leads the D.  But the Hawks have matured since the start of the year especially at QB and reassigning RB Ambrogi to his rightful role as the featured back in the offense.  Excepting a major state or national power, no one is going to beat this team right now.

3b   Strath Haven (3A) 12-0:  Most of us would admit we did not expect this years edition to be where they are now.  We always expect quality and class from Strath Haven but another run at the title ?  Well, here they are and they�re looking as capable as ever.  The Panthers won their 6th straight 3A district one title last Friday by beating Pottsgrove 35-19.  It was their 42nd consecutive win and breaks the Delaware county record held by Del-Val neighbor Interboro.  They did it against previously undefeated Pioneer Athletic Conference leader Pottsgrove (10-1).  And they did it well.  The plan was to play keep away from Pottsgrove�s explosive option offense, especially TB Brent Steinmetz, so they came out with a short passing scheme and a lot of attitude to pound it home on the ground.  Panther lineman opened nice holes for the running backs to get 296 yards on 42 carries.  QB Dan Miller�s 5 of 12 night for 43 yards and one TD toss kept them honest.  FB Dan Connor blasted away for 126 yards on 22 carries, while HBs Brian Moore and Keith Davis took it outside going 8 for 98 and 8 for 75 rush yards respectively.   Haven�s 28-7 half time lead made it next to impossible for the Falcons to come back.  Still, Steinmetz was a force with 174 yards on 28 carries.  Pottsgrove got 302 total offense but it only resulted in 19 points.  Nice team but Strath Haven is a load at home.  The next opponent is an old foe from up state, Berwick (10-2), who defeated Blue Mountain 34-17 last week.  They meet Friday night in Coatesville.  It doesn�t get much better than this with two of the three staples (Manheim Central is other) of eastern football playoffs meeting on the field.  Berwick is reaching an average score per game of 28-10.  That�s nice but the D has only had one shutout and allowed five to reach double digits.  And the O has disappeared with production falling to 13, 14 and 15 the last three games.  The opposition was tough but so was Strath Haven�s.  Meanwhile the Panthers seem to have found new legs with outputs of 45 and 35 the last two games.  For the year they�re at 35-6 average scoring margin but have shutout 5 opponents and allowed only two to score in double digits.  That�s the fundamental difference between these two, defense, quickness and speed.  Berwick�s a brute and they�re well coached but so is Haven and they have more weapons to throw.  Tough game but the Panthers are in another zone right now.

4.  Archbishop Carroll (3A) 10-1:  What a program they have in Radnor, Pennsylvania.  Two years ago Carroll went 10-3 and lost to McDevitt in the CL Blue Division final.  Last year they won it with a 13-0 record and almost went unscored on allowing 42 points the entire year with 8 shutouts !  That�s a 33-4 W/L for the last 3 years.  Their 4 losses were by an average score of 12-8.  This year they�re at 10-1 and again zeroing in on the C.L.Blue title with a defense that�s allowed 56 points and an offense that�s at 355 points for the year and counting.  Some kind of football !   Last week Carroll finally go it going against St. John Neumann in the Catholic League Blue Division semi to win handily 34-13.  It took them a while with Neumann�s size and scheme holding things to a 7-7 half.  But a 3 TD outburst during a 5 minutes span of the 3rd and 4th quarters blew the Pirates out of the water.  Neumann�s QB Lego was hampered by a dislocated shoulder.  It helped having 6-1, 260 lb FB James Roderick to soften up Neumann�s D.  And division one recruit and Catholic League MVP Maurice Stovall returned a interception 52 yards for a score. The win places them in the final December 1st against Archbishop Wood (8-2) who beat Bishop McDevitt (8-3) 10-7.  Wedged in between is a game at home this week against Bishop Shanahan (4-5) of Downingtown.  Carroll can name the score and rest a lot of players.

5.  Monsignor Bonner 10-1:  What a year !  Let�s not forget Bonner went 4-8 last year following a 2-8 season the year before.  So we�re talking about a real nice turn around here for the Drexel Hill gang.  Real nice.  They�ve beaten Upper Darby (8-3), Interboro (8-3), Archbishop Carroll (10-1�3 nothing), Cardinal O�Hara (8-4) and Father Judge (8-4) twice.  To think St. Joe�s handled Bonner 42-21 may put the Hawks in better perspective.  But the playoffs are a new season and Bonner started things off on the positive with a hard fought win against Father Judge 28-7 in the Red Division semi.  The score was 7-7 through the 3rd despite QB Hennigar of Father Judge missing the game with a broken collarbone.  But a 21 point 4th quarter Bonner eruption did in the Crusaders.  Bonner just kept pounding away with 48 carries for 300 rush yards and only 10 pass attempts.  Running backs Jason Smith (24 carries, 130 yards) and Paul Kollhoff (18 for 105 rush yards) led the ground assault for Bonner.  Judge was forced to the air more than planned with QB Eaton going 5/15/1 for 55 PY. Their workhorse running back Justin O�Brien got 144 yards on 20 carries.   The loss eliminates Judge from playoff contention while Bonner advances to the final for a chance to avenge their only loss of the season against St. Joseph�s Prep.  The game is scheduled for December 1st at Northeast High and Bonner with no Thanksgiving Day game has two week to prepare.

6.  Northeast 9-0:  Northeast�s Vikings kept the streak going with a solid 24-7 win against Mastbaum (7-2) in the Public League semifinal.  The Division C champ hung tough throughout the game but Northeast slowly pulled away.  Franchise backs were featured by both teams with Chris DeShields of Mastbaum getting 152 yards on 15 carries, 10.1 yards per carry, and Northeast�s Chris Poindexter netting 184 on 29 carries or 6.3 ypc.  But in the end it was NE�s quickness when it counted that made the difference.  Mastbaum was held to 3 first downs and 122 total offense.  The Vikings got 306. They�ll play Washington December 1st for the title.  Meanwhile they have a Thanksgiving Day homer against tough Philly Central (6-3) who�s a few plays away from being undefeated.

7.  George Washington (3A) 9-1:  Washington High collected their 5th shutout of the year by defeating Bartram (8-2) 22-0 in the city semifinal.  Washington�s outstanding defense shut down the Division D champ but GW didn�t exactly run wild with 110 rush yards on 37 attempts and 178 total yards of offense.  Bartram�s got some people who can play to.  As they�ve done all year GW�s D stepped up big for this one by holding the Braves to minus 14 yards rushing and 85 total yards for the game.  Wow !  They bring that game to the final against Northeast and the Vikings are in trouble.  They get that chance December 1st in the Pub�s final against Northwest.  Before that they have a tune up against struggling Archbishop Ryan (3-7) Thanksgiving for win # 10.

8.  Central Bucks West 7-3:  Season over.  Here are the final standings for the SOL, National Conference, Colonial Division.  Central Bucks East 3-1,  Central Bucks West 3-1, Pennridge 3-1, Truman 1-3,  Bensalem 0-4.

9.  Conestoga 11-1:  The Pioneers won a sub regional semi final game on the road the same way they�ve been winning games all year, with defense.  The game ebbed and flowed with Cheltenham taking a 14-7 lead to the locker room.  But in the 3rd, Conestoga came out hot with RB Steve Shea (29 carries, 167 yards) getting two scores on runs of 1 and 14 yards.  The lead grew to 28-14 early in the 4th but Cheltenham showed their character by coming back with 2 scores off 70 and 87 yard drives, the last with 55 seconds remaining to tie it up at 28 each.  Cheltenham�s fine running back Jesse Patterson led the way with 2 TDs on 24 carries for 150 yards.  Knotted at 28 all at the end of regulation, it was time for special teams to play their role.  The teams traded field goals in the first overtime period with Matt Littman of Cheltenham making a 27 yarder and Conestoga�s Tyler McGraw nailing his from 23 yards.  In the 2nd OT period the Pioneers had first possession.  Cheltenham held and McGraw hit another field goal, this one from 32 yards for a 34-31 lead.  Subsequent possession went to Cheltenham who was inside the 10.  A pass was called over the middle to TE Paul Sandher, but its low trajectory allowed Pioneer defensive end Cal Corvaia to get a hand on it enough for team mate DL Ron Shepherd to come up with the interception.  What a class performance by both teams.  And how about Conestoga on an 8 game winning streak, coming off two impressive wins against SOL teams.  Any time you win on the road it�s a good day but in the playoffs it�s special.  That�s what Conestoga has to do again Friday at Neshaminy to keep this thing going.  The Redskins present many of the problems Strath Haven did to the Pioneers and they played them close.  Neshaminy has played more �name� opponents, such as North Penn, CB West, Downingtown, CB East (twice), Pennridge and Father Judge   Against them the Skins averaged 25 and gave up 19.  Against all opposition they�re at 28-16 ppg.  But Stoga�s played hard nose opponents to, such as Haven, Upper Darby, Quakertown and Cheltenham and other underated Central League teams.  But against those 4 they�re at 28-18 scoring margin and 26-11 for all games played.  That�s nice stuff.  Neshaminy�s big and bad and suppose to just walk all over other teams but this Conestoga group has also been doing it right all year and the game will go to the team that makes the least mistakes.

10. Downingtown 9-3:  Neshaminy brought an end to Downingtown�s 7 game winning streak with a convincing 37-20 win at Langhorne in the sub region�s semifinal.  See Neshaminy above.  But hey, D-town had a fine year and only lost to excellent teams.  Nothing new about that.  They went 10-2 in �99 losing to Malvern Prep and Coatesville. Last year they were 11-1 with a district final loss to CB West.  Their next game is a Thanksgiving Day affair at home with Ches-Mont League rival Coatesville.  A win here will take the 3 year W/L to a sparkling 31-5.   D-town beat The Ville 42-7 back on October 26th.  While they�ll probably be less emotion on the Whippet side, there�s always a lot of hitting when these two get together so it�ll be a tighter game.  D-town gets # 10.

11. North Penn 8-3:  The Knights were off last week and finish up the season in a Thanksgiving Day game against cross town rival Lansdale Catholic (7-4).  LC is a 3A perennial power out of the Pioneer Athletic Conference.  NP won last year 33-21.

12. West Chester Henderson 7-4:  The Warriors had an open week and now play the day before Thanksgiving against their cross town rival East.  Henderson beat East earlier in the year 27-7 and have won 4 of the last 5 encounters.

13. Frankford 7-2:  Frankford�s young team just missed the playoffs this year and showed some stuff with a win against Germantown 15-12 last week.   Their only losses are a 3 pointer to Northeast and a 6 pointer to GW.  Looks like next year�s city champ right here.  They should have no trouble with North Catholic Thanksgiving Day.

14. Pennridge 7-3:  The Rams were off last week.  This week they�re home on Bird Day for a game with Quakertown.  Q-town�s had an interesting year of extreme highs and very low lows. They jumped out the gate with a 7-0 start, scoring 230 points and allowing 80.  Heck of a start.  Over the course of the next 4 games they went 1-3 while scoring 100 and allowing 112.  So the bottom really dropped out.  Although they made the playoffs, they were unceremoniously ejected in the first round by Conestoga 42-6.  Pennridge has had a similar year of extremes that were the opposite of Quakertown�s.   They began with a difficult schedule up front that eased as the year progressed.  Their W/L showed as much with a 1-3 start (Carlsbad, CA; North Penn, Neshaminy and CB East), followed by the current 6 game winning streak.  That suggests it�s a bad time for Q-town to visit Pennridge.  Compounding things is the nature of Pennridge�s loss last year.  The game was one of the more memorable in the rivaly�s history with Quakertown coming out on top 52-45 after 6 overtime periods !  This should be another wild one.

15. Cheltenham 10-2:  Cheltenham lost at home to Central League runner up Conestoga 34-31 in 2 overtimes.  See Conestoga for more details.  Next is a trip to Abington (3-7) for a Thanksgiving Day game.  The Ghosts run the option and are led by QB Jeff Chick with over 900 rushing yards.  Last year Cheltenham ekked out a 20-17 win.  To avoid being the turkey it�s probably a good idea to take Abington seriously since they�ve won their last two games.

16. Dobbins 7-2:  The Mustangs beat a good King team last week 13-12.  They�ll end the season this Thursday at Franklin (3-7) where they can ride as hard as they want.  Dobbins has had a fine year.  Last year they went 9-2 and they�re almost as good this year with a win at Franklin. Their only losses are to two of the best teams in the city, Germantown (7-2) 6-0 and Northeast (9-0) 21-7 in the Public League�s first round.  Along the way they�ve beat Mastbaum, Central and King.

17. Central Bucks East 7-4:  Season over.

18. Germantown (3A) 7-2:  Lost to Frankford 15-12 last week after being thumped in the city�s first round by George Washington High 38-14.  G-town�s been getting a heavy dose of reality lately with two straight losses following back to back encounters with Division A powers Washington and Frankford.  It�s not much easier this week with dangerous King (6-4) the Division C runner up in town.  King has lost their 4 games by a average of 6 points so it�ll be competitive.  The Bears should take it but MLK will make it hard.

19. Father Judge 8-4:  Father Judge lost to Monsignor Bonner 28-7 in the Catholic League Red Division semi final last week.  See Monsignor Bonner above for more details.  What a solid year the Crusaders are having.  Two years ago they were 5-5.  Then last year they slumped to a 3-8 season so this is quite a turnaround to win 8 games and advance to the CL semifinals.  Remember, they lost their # 1 quarterback October 21st against LaSalle.  Can�t see anything preventing them from getting another win Thursday against Lincoln of the Public League.
Cardinal O�Hara 8-4:  The Lions put up a good first half struggle but didn�t have enough for St. Joe�s and lost in the Red Division semi 35-6 to conclude their season.  8-4 is a pretty fine year by most standards, but on the heels of a 10-2 year capped by a Catholic League Red Division championship, it must come with mixed emotions.  A bitter defeat at Father Judge 21-14 and home loss to Bonner 16-14, prevented their reaching last year�s win plateau.

20. Sun Valley (3A) 10-1:  It�s probably been an oversight not having the Vanguards from the Del-Val National ranked earlier.  They have truly snuck up on us with their recent history of a 4-8 W/L in �99 and a 5-7 mark last year.  But, here they are at 10-1.  Unfortunately the upset by Penn Wood denied them district one playoffs and us the opportunity of a Delaware county match up with Strath Haven.  Upper Merion nudged them out.  To bad, because SV has grown to a sizeable attack averaging 34 ppg while giving up 9.  During the year they beat Academy Park (8-3), the Del-Val, American Division champ 28-21, and Interboro (8-3), 24-14, the Del-Val National Division co-champ.  The Bucs are tied with SV and Penn Wood.  They bring the curtain down on their fine season following an open week in a neighborhood brawl with arch rival Chichester (7-3), the 2nd place finisher from the Del-Val American.  This is always a war but more so this year with CHI beating SV 7-3 last year and SV missing the playoffs this year.  Chi�s got a nice team and it�ll be a good game but I wouldn�t want to be Chi.

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