Sunday, October 09, 2005

PHUL Season Kicking In

With intial recruiting, first practices, and early scrimmages complete, PHUL had a one day fall tournament on Sunday, Oct. 9. Eight teams came out to Turnver Valley and although I wasn't there, early season favorites can be picked out from results. Hampton and Mt. Lebanon seem to be the teams to beat (as they both have strong, established programs and have been gearing up for this season the longest). Both teams return the majority of their top players and will both be significantly better than their 2004 editions. Hampton's Lukas Truckenbrod and Perry Martin as well as Jay Heurbin are definitely players to watch for and Lebo has a wealth of solid talent with the likes of 2005 Pittsburgh Youth Club players Julian Hausman, Pete Imler, and Zach Ehler and senior Hao Su. Hampton beat Lebo at the tournament 13-10, but Lebo has beaten Hampton in a previous game - so the teams are looking very even at this point.

My personal preseason favorite is North Hills, however, although I'm definitely a bit biased. Even though they lost to Lebo and Hampton at the tournament, they have beat Hampton in a scrimmage and have a ton of potential. Every player on the team (at this moment) is in 10th grade or lower and will likely (although maybe not this year) be the best team to ever exist in PHUL. Alex Thorne, Ben Funk, Colin Conner, and Jack Gazdik make up the team's core (and all played on the Youth Club team in 2005). Add in Ed Reith, who I hear runs a 10.8 40-40 (WITHOUT CLEATS) and you have a team that is building towards greatness. I honestly believe this could be the first year of a series of years that this team is on top, but its going to take a lot of work for them to compete with their older opposition.

Central Catholic has the league's best player (Chris Brenenborg), but has consistently finished spring seasons as only a mediocre team with the same kind of top players. They took Hampton to universe point in Semis, but couldn't close the deal.

Bethel Park has clawed its way back from a huge graduating class loss before and this year will have to be another one of those times if they hope to be in the Championship game for the 4th straight year (which would be a PHUL record). They finished 7th at the tournament, but were made up of almost all rookies. Brent Shipe is one of the league's top 5 players and is just beginning to come into his own as an ultimate player and will be important to Bethel's success.

I'll have a lot more updates this year (and better ones too as I've seen very little so far and know the Impulse (youth club) players better than the rest of the league). See ya later.