Neshaminy is favored to repeat as the Suburban One League National Conference football champion, but Council Rock South and Abington each have a shot at taking the league crown away from the Redskins.
The Golden Hawks and Galloping Ghosts, both 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference, square off at 7 p.m. Friday at Schwarzman Stadium.
C.R. South, guided by 17th-year coach Vince Bedesem, went 2-8 overall and 4-6 last season.
“We took our lumps two years ago when a lot of our current seniors were playing a lot,” Bedesem said. “Last year, we really couldn’t get going in the right direction.”
The Golden Hawks rebounded from this season’s 14-0 loss to Cheltenham with wins over Central Bucks West, 10-7, Central Bucks South, 27-17, and Harry S Truman, 20-6.
Abington is likewise on a three-game roll. The Ghosts followed a 20-0 loss to Northeast with victories against Plymouth Whitemarsh, 16-7, Cheltenham, 17-0, and Bensalem, 41-10.
“I knew we were going to have a solid offensive line this year,” Abington third-year coach Kevin Conlin said. “Our biggest concerns were having to break in a new quarterback and new running backs.”
C.R. South’s spread offense, which includes read-option plays, is ignited by halfback Chase Patterson. He has carried 65 times for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s a tough runner, has good balance, and he’s a strong downhill runner,” Bedesem said.
The Golden Hawks have one of the top two-way players in the area in Nick Gallo. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior tight end and defensive end has committed to play at Virginia Tech.
“He’s a phenomenal defensive end,” Conlin said. “As a tight end, he blocks well and is a really good receiver.”
The Ghosts’ offense revolves around dual-threat quarterback Tamir Berthau, running backs Andrick Wesh and Chance Byrd, tight end Tom Lukens, and receiver Keith Hudoka. Hudoka takes snaps out of the Wildcat formation.
Gallo is supported on defense by fellow end T.J. Pritz, tackle Shamir Parker, inside linebackers Bradley Kraut and Sammy Vaniver, cornerbacks Matt Checchia and Daniel Scannapieco, and safety Tim Vickrey.
Abington’s goal of slowing Patterson is led by ends Lukens and T.J. Allen, tackles Chris Allen and Malik Strothers, and safeties Hudoko and Jordan Gramaldi.
Game at a Glance
Council Rock South at Abington, Friday, 7 p.m.
Last season: The host Golden Hawks turned back the Ghosts, 28-14, at Walt Snyder Stadium.
Leading the charge: C.R. South’s offensive line is boosted by center Brandon Berghaier, guard Shane Anderson, and tackle Derek White.
Stalwarts: In addition to Tom Lukens, Abington’s offensive line is headed by center Brent Flynn, guards T.J. Allen and Dean Kelly, and tackle Kobe Gaskins.
Familiar face: Tim Sorber, Abington’s boss for 16 seasons, is back with the Ghosts as an offensive line coach.
Filling in: The Golden Hawks lost starting quarterback Andrew Vera to a knee injury in Week 1. The senior has been replaced by junior Noah Caldani.
Pick: Abington, 20-13.