2020 Week S6 (Pennsylvania)

2020 Week S6 (Pennsylvania)

Though my plans showed last week that I would be in Philadelphia once again. That was not the initial plans. I wasn’t even planning to be in Pennsylvania. I had planned four games in New York. However, one big caveat was thrown in: Spring Break. With many schools in NY operating with spring break even if they were ‘open’, meant that many schools were a bit tougher to get ahold of. And that wasn’t to mention even more schedule changes.

So, despite a few schools on the schedule, I opted for the much easier to handle Philadelphia games. The couple of schools in Section 6, hopefully I can make it back to later this abbreviated spring season.

Despite going to Philadelphia, there was still one game in New York I was able to do. Lewiston-Porter was scheduled to host Cheektowaga on Saturday night, however, the game was postponed to Sunday night. And I was able to go. But, the drive from Philadelphia, to Buffalo, to home was a bit much for one day. Even for me.

As a contingency, I had a few games in Philadelphia I had already planned for. And luckily they were mostly available.

So, Friday morning, I was up at 7am, and on my way out the door by 7:30. Stopped at the office, and then proceeded east on I-80 to I-476. I thought I had the gas to make it all the way, but instead, realized I had misjudged. Google Maps has a habit of putting ‘turns’ into your directions even when there aren’t any. Such, as I-80 east will say X number of miles to your turn, you think it’s your exit. But, really, it’s where I-81 and I-80 intersect near Hazleton. Well, I should’ve remembered it’s exit 277, which was going to cut it close on gas. I didn’t feel like stopping more than once.

But, I had to when I realized I was an additional 17 miles from my exit, so stopped at the Pilot just east of I-81 and got gas there instead. And then stopped at the Wawa for a mac-n-cheese bowl.

Luckily, it wasn’t raining despite the forecasted possibility. Made my way west to the immediate exit off I-276 through Whitemarsh and down through to Roxborough.

This was my first time at Roxborough, and not my original plans. However, it was one of the ‘old’ stadiums in the city. It lacks lights, but is situated not far from the high school building.

I got there and parked in the little lot behind the far sideline, and got situated. Luckily the rain didn’t show up. Though I had brought my rain gear in case.

Roxborough Stadium has no visitor sideline seating. It’s just on the home side. With a small, inoperable scoreboard to the right endzone. The field is lumpy, with clumps of weeds and patches of grass and otherwise bare spots.

#109 Roxborough v. Kensington

This was the second time I had seen both teams play. Roxborough had played at Frankford, and Kensington had played at Abraham Lincoln. With no scoreboard, the officials kept the time but were inconsistent with announcing it. Especially lacking after scoring plays.

Kensington jumped out to a first quarter lead on the first possession, and the clock ran quickly. Kensington took that 8-0 lead halfway through the third quarter when they finally scored again, a 26-yard TD catch where the receiver took a whack across the top and hung on, got his footing, and ran the remaining ten yards for the TD. And then the fourth quarter exploded with points. Roxborough gave up a safety, and Kensington was moving the ball down field on the ensuing drive. But then Roxborough finally got on the board with a 94 yard interception return. Kensington scored again just a few plays later. There was some scoring discrepancy. But, Roxborough got another TD on a 32 yard pass late in the game. No time was given. And the game ended anticlimatically. The final score was Kensington, 24-12.

With no rain, it was 5.4 miles to Gratz’ Marcus Foster Memorial Stadium. With the early finish at Roxborough, getting through rush hour was fairly easy. Though, before reaching the stadium, I stopped at the McDonald’s where I had a memorable time trying to get breakfast a few weeks ago. And today’s excursion wasn’t much different. I also picked up food for my friend who was already at Gratz for the early game and didn’t intend to leave the stadium just to return later.

Simon Gratz’ stadium, Marcus Foster Memorial Stadium, is one of the “Super Sites” in Philadelphia. A series of stadium renovations that took place to a few venues across the city. There’s four total. South Philadelphia, Northeast, Germantown, and Gratz. Though, of the four which I’ve been to now as of this weekend, Gratz is maybe the least impressive. Parking is minimal. The stadium is only on the home side. The lighting is also fairly dim. Though a similar problem I’d see at Germantown.

Simon Gratz, the Bulldogs, were hosting John Bartram. Two new teams for me in a new stadium. Marcus Foster would be my 400th different stadium I’ve attended a game at.

#110 Simon Gratz v. John Bartram

Now, there is a discrepancy on John Bartram’s nickname. Some places, it will be listed as Maroon Wave. And others, including the football uniforms, it’s listed as Braves. And apparently has been in this duopoly for several years.

Gratz jumped out to a quick lead, but unlike Kensington, couldn’t roll that into a bigger lead. Or even a victory. Bartram would score in the 2nd, but miss on the two point try. But, the second half narrowly belonged to Bartram. A 7 yard TD run. And then an 80 yard interception return for a TD late in the 4th. This also caused the final minutes to stall. As Gratz needed two scores now, they were saving as much time as possible. Converting multiple fourth downs. Meanwhile, the forecast for rain was inching closer on the radar. Actually able to follow it to the street as it moved. And, just as the final seconds ticked off, the rain started. Not too heavy, but enough to be a nuisance. John Bartram 20, Simon Gratz 8.

After the game, it was a quick ride west on US1 to the hotel, and got photos done for the day. Got to sleep around 4. Woke up at 10, and carpooled with my friend to the afternoon game. It was a bit of a drive. So, stopped at a “Corner Bakery” for breakfast. Had an avocado scramble. Which was basically a loose omelet. Was the first time I’ve ever actually had avocado outside of guacamole. It was… firmer than I was expecting. And kinda bland. Not sure the giant appeal of it.

After that, we cut down through from the LaSalle University campus down to I-76, the Schuykill Expressway, and down I-95 to Chester.

Chester has a bad rap. To anyone outside of Philly, it’s basically described as some sort of hellscape due to crime and murders and just the general conditions of areas of the town. However, that’s not the impression I got the two times I’ve been there. I’ve seen worse in Cleveland, New York, and Chicago. Parts of Atlanta, Houston, etc.

We drove down 322 toward the Commodore Barry Bridge, and took a short detour to see the Philadelphia Union’s stadium up close. Then cut through a few streets over the stadium.

The stadium isn’t at the high school. Instead, it’s behind what is I believe a charter school. Located right next to I-95. Which coincides with their nomenclature “Exit 6” emblazened on their helmet bumper and a large flag carried out onto the field before the game.

#111 Chester v. Academy Park

One great thing about Chester’s stadium is the Commodore Barry Bridge dominates the southern endzone’s view. It was a bit hazy so photographing it as part of the game was a bit difficult. But, i did get some excellent shots of it. Including kickoff.

Now, for the spring, ten teams outside the city joined together to creat the “United Ten” league. Split into North and South, the two groups of five would play for a division title with a championship game at the end.

Chester was 4-0 coming into the game. While Academy Park was 3-1. Essentially, it looked like the winner would get the Southern spot in the United Ten Championship.

And it played out that way during the game. Academy Park’s QB Rodriguez dominated, but Chester made a game of it and took a slim 14-13 lead. But, their offensive output was minimal. And the second half was worse than bad. Academy Park would get a TD and then a turnover turned into another TD to go up 29-14. And that would be the final.

But, it wasn’t enough for Academy Park. Penn Wood was also 3-1 going into this weekend. And had won. So, in a three-way tie-breaker, defensive points were the go to metric. And that favored Chester who had given up 0 points prior to Saturday.

Other than the still air and oppressive humidity from the early rain, the only real issue was that Chester’s scoreboard was inoperable. A second occurrence of the weekend.

With the loss, Chester still moves on to face Harry S Truman next Saturday afternoon.

After the game, it was a long drive back to the hotel for my car. Taking I-476 to US1. Which was a bit faster than I-76. Then, driving through Lincoln Drive through Wissahickon Valley Park, and then Germantown Ave to Bethlehem Pike. At dinner at Scoogi’s. Didn’t get any photos of it. But had the Short Rib Ravioli and loaded fries with shredded chicken.

After that, we made our way to the one and only Saturday night game in Philadelphia. Imhotep Charter was hosting West Catholic at their usual stomping grounds.

Though my originally plans had me going to Germantown for a few games. It being one of the nicester of the Super Sites, the scheduling changes moved several games from there off the docket.

However, when we did arrive, we found it that, it too, had no operable scoreboard today. Though it had worked in the past, it was not working today. For either the early or late games.

#112 Imhotep Charter v. West Catholic

This was my third time seeing Imhotep Charter. Twice in state championship game losses to Erie Cathedral Prep. West Catholic I had seen earlier this spring season against Neumann-Goretti. Also in a state championship game against Wilmington.

Imhotep’s line play was just better, and though it took them a drive, did finally get on the board in the 1st. In the second quarter, Imhotep got a safety I didn’t tweet about due to a camera issue, and then a TD on a 6 yard run coming right at me. And one more touchdown for good measure with only 18 seconds remaining in the half.

Imhotep didn’t need a running clock, as this game moved at a blistering pace. One more touchdown was all that Tep would need. And after just 1:45, Imhotep Charter would be victorious, 27-0 over the Burrs.

After the game, I decided to head north on I-476 for a change, and take that to I-80. I stopped in Allentown for Popeyes to get sweet tea. And find out that, after getting it, that at night they stop making it. Instead, using one of those Coke all-in-one machines to give you carbonated crap water sold as sweet tea. Luckily, there was a White Castle nearby and they had sweet tea.

Then, from about Hazleton to Ohio, was non-stop rain. Sometimes torrential. But, luckily, all of the rain had missed me this weekend at the games. Just waiting to make the drive home miserable. I got home a little after 4am.

Total for the weekend was 812 miles, and only cost me $50.23. Primarily because going to Philly means 0 for hotel, very little for food, and this time I got away without needing gas anyone on my trip my gas card wouldn’t work. So, free gas. Though my car still did a respectable 26mpg.

On Monday, I got the Covid vaccine. And on Tuesday, that vaccine was temporarily suspended from use. So, as i said, we’ll see how this goes.

Overall, I’ve driven my car 2,532 miles in 20 days since the last oil change. Not exactly unusual for me. But, definitely unexpected given the time of year. This is usually fall mileage.

Photos of the Week

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk S6 Pennsylvania

Next Week

Well, my plans have already changed twice this weekend. First off, my daughter’s birthday is Sunday. So, I’m only staying in Philadelphia for the early Saturday game. And then heading home.

On Friday, the plan was to head to Edison for their game against School of the Future. And then Friday night at Central against Roxborough. However, Edison’s game was cancelled. And Central’s game was moved to 3pm. So, that left Friday night open. Secondly, Saturday afternoon’s game between Bartram and Northeast being held at Bartram was cancelled. As Bartram’s season is over thanks to Covid.

That left me with very few choices for the afternoon. Everywhere I had been before, and no other games were interesting. But, since Chester was now hosting the United Ten Championship, it was being played Saturday afternoon. And I will be doing photography there.

For Friday, I’ll stick with the game at Central. But, Friday night will be a tough one. I’m heading to Norristown for their game against Reading. However, that will be a drive and contingent on the Central game finishing quickly. The fallback was to go to Gratz for the night game, but Gratz is also now not playing.

So, as of Tuesday, it is:

3pm Central v. Roxborough (@ Central)
7pm Norristown v. Reading (@ Norristown)

1pm Chester v. Harry S Truman (@ Chester)

The next two weeks, I’m planning on New York games. But, I’m not going to jinx myself just yet.

2020 Statistics

112 Games
212 Teams
78 Stadiums
15 States

119 New Teams
68 New Stadiums

1,283 different teams
402 different stadiums

1,150 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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