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September 25, 2019

PhillyVoice high school football Top 10: Central Bucks West is 5-0 for the first time in almost 20 years

High School Football high school football top 10
CB-West-Football-local-high-school-top-10 Joe Santoliquito/for PhillyVoice

CB West is at 5-0 for the first time in ages.

It’s halfway through the 2019 high school season and the Central Bucks West Bucks have already exceeded their victory total of a year ago. There was a time when the mere mention of “CB West” would cause opposing teams to quake under late legendary coach Mike Pettine Sr.

That hasn’t been the case for a while now.

The landscape has shifted to St. Joseph’s Prep in the city, but it doesn’t mean the Bucks can’t have a little taste of their rich, winning tradition.

Success has placed further distance from the CB West past, when the Central Bucks School District cancelled the 2014 season in October of that year amid hazing allegations. It gave a good, wholesome program a temporary black eye.

Second-year coach Rob Rowan, an Archbishop Ryan graduate, or anyone on the current Bucks’ staff had anything to do with that. Rowan and his group have left the past in the past.

They instituted a new Wing-T offense that has led the Bucks to their first 5-0 start since 2000—and with 41 players on their varsity roster.

The Bucks are led offensively by 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior Jack Neri and 5-10, 195-pound senior fullback Jack Fallon, and defensively by 6-foot, 210-pound senior middle linebacker Tristan Hulme.

“We made it a major point of emphasis to win the last two games of last season, and then carry that momentum into this year,” Rowan said. “There’s no doubt that it established the mindset of where we were headed and what we needed to do. But to be honest, being 5-0 was a little premature.

“I knew we had a special group coming back, and they really believed in what we were doing. I thought we would have an opportunity to put a run together, but starting 5-0, I honestly didn’t see this. Jack Neri manages our offense, and he works well as a complementary piece to Jack Fallon, our feature guy. It works well.”

Hulme, Rowan notes, is off to a great start this season. Hulme is averaging 12 tackles a game and possesses better-than-average speed.

The Bucks are currently the No. 2 team in the PIAA District 1 6A playoff standings with 760 points, behind Downingtown West (5-0, 810 points) and tied with Downingtown East (5-0, 760 points).

The Bucks have scored 31, 30, 35, 42 and 28 points over their first five games, averaging 33.2 points a game. What’s interesting is that the Bucks are still a work in progress.

“The offense took root fast, but based on our expectations and as a program, we’re still way behind where we need to be,” Rowan said. “There’s tremendous room for growth on both sides of the ball. That’s what is driving us on a day-to-day basis. The guys are aware of the tradition.

“We have set our focus on the present and the future. When this program was at its peak, they operated at a standard that was as high as high could be. One of the elements that we wanted to look from the past is that standard of excellence and the energy and commitment that it takes to reach that level. That hasn’t changed here. We talk about respecting that past, but we also speak about building our own future.”

The Bucks are currently No. 9 in the PhillyVoice Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10.

The PhillyVoice Area Top 10

Week of Sept. 27, 2018
1. St. Joseph's Prep (1-2)
2. La Salle (4-0)
3. Downingtown West (5-0)
4. Williamstown (NJ) (3-0)
5. Coatesville (2-1)
6. Neumann-Goretti (4-0)
7. Woodrow Wilson (NJ) (2-0)
8. Archbishop Wood (3-1)
9. North Penn (4-1)
10. Shawnee (NJ) (3-0)
Under consideration: Garnet Valley (4-1), Souderton (5-0), Central Bucks West (5-0), Northeast (4-1), Imhotep Charter (2-3), Camden (NJ) (3-0), Woodrow Wilson (NJ) (2-0), Lenape (NJ) (3-0), Malvern Prep (1-3), St. Augustine (NJ) 1-2, St. Joseph (NJ) 2-1.

The PhillyVoice Southeastern PA Top 10

Week of Sept. 27, 2018
1. St. Joseph's Prep (1-2)
2. La Salle (4-0)
3. Downingtown West (5-0)
4. Coatesville (3-1)
5. Neumann-Goretti (4-0)
6. Archbishop Wood (3-1)
7. North Penn (4-1)
8. Downingtown East (5-0)
9. Central Bucks West (5-0)
10. Imhotep Charter (2-3)

Under consideration: Northeast (4-1), Academy Park (4-1), Garnet Valley (4-1), Ridley (4-1), Souderton (5-0), Penn Charter (4-0), Plymouth-Whitemarsh (5-0), West Chester East (4-1), Abington (4-1), Malvern Prep (1-3).

Games to watch

St. Augustine (NJ) (1-2) at Shawnee (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday night  
This could possibly be a game for the West Jersey Football League American Division title and we’re not even out of September yet. St. Augustine salvaged its season with a thorough thumping of powerhouse St. Joseph’s (Hammonton), 28-12, behind over a combined 240 yards rushing from Nasir Hill and Franklin Sims. Shawnee has outscored its previous three opponents by 93-21, but those three teams were a combined 3-6 and none of them were the Hermits. One of these two will be getting a reality check.

St. Joe’s Prep (1-2) @ La Salle (4-0), 7 p.m. Saturday at Wissahickon High School
One team, St. Joe’s Prep, is determined to prove that they’re as good as everyone projected them to be. The Hawks are agitated they lost a game against national powerhouse IMG that they could have won if not for costly mistakes. The other team, La Salle, is out to prove that it is better than projected. The Explorers are agitated over the fact that the area has already anointed the Hawks as the Catholic League Red Division (large school) champs before playing a game.

The game holds a lot of intrigue because there is a likelihood that they’ll meet again sometime in November for larger stakes.

La Salle will try and slow the game down, using sophomore power back Sam Brown, who has the speed to break off homeruns and can catch the ball down field. The Explorers are averaging 32.3 points and 394.3 total yards a game, while giving up 14.5 points and 197.5 total yards a game defensively. Prep is giving up 27.3 points and an average of 383.7 yards a game. But that was against some of the best high school teams in the country, which the Hawks averaged 25.3 points and 328.7 yards against.

La Salle has won using offense and defense. The Hawks have primarily used offense to win.

La Salle has yet to face a healthy Jeremiah Trotter Jr. The Hawks’ junior linebacker is heading to defending national champion Clemson, because he’s one of the best in the country.

Don’t forget to check out every Friday night at 11 p.m. NBC10’s High School Blitz, which features all the best highlights from across the region in high school football.

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