It's the same reaction from anyone who knows anything about Southeastern Pennsylvania high school football: The bottom half of the 16-team District 1 Class AAAA bracket is much stronger than the top.
When Pennsbury thumped Neshaminy last week, 31-3, the Falcons' reward was a second straight Suburban One National League title and the No. 3 seed in the district playoffs.
As it turned out, the latter wasn't much of a reward at all because the No. 3 seed put Pennsbury in the bottom half of the bracket along with the likes of undefeated West Chester Rustin, North Penn and defending champ Coatesville.
The result that played a big part in throwing the seeding out of whack was Coatesville's loss last week to Downingtown West. Coatesville lost star running back and Penn State recruit Daquan Whorley the week before with a torn ACL.
How much did his absence mean to Coatesville? Well, consider Coatesville was undefeated before falling to a Downingtown West team Neshaminy beat, 39-0, in the second week.
As always, a team to watch is long-time District 1 power North Penn. The Knights lost their first three games to La Salle, Archbishop Wood and St. Joe's Prep, but you can't read anything into those results because of the strength of the PCL clubs.
On the flip side for those who want to jump on the Knights' bandwagon, what quality victory does North Penn own?
Either way, it would be something else if North Penn comes to Pennsbury next week for the second round. The last time North Penn head coach Dick Beck was in Fairless Hills he ended up facing charges of assaulting a female flute player in the Pennsbury band and nearly came to blows with Falcons coach Galen Snyder.
There's nothing quite like Pennsylvania Quad A football, and this looks like another district playoff bracket full of intrigue.
As for Bristol (8-1), it does not swing into playoff action until next week when it faces the winner of this weekend's Class A game between Delco Christian and Future. Originally it looked like Bristol would host Jenkintown tonight, but the Drakes subsequently pulled out because of a lack of players.
Upper Darby (8-2) at Pennsbury (9-1),tonight, 7 p.m. — If Pennsbury, which is now ranked sixth in the state by Pennsylvania Football News, can blow out Neshaminy, you have to figure it can handle Upper Darby. The Royals of the Central League lost early to Garnet Valley and Glen Mills but have since won seven straight. Making its first playoff appearance since 2006, Upper Darby likes to throw the ball. In last week's playoff-clinching win, Royal quarterback Chris Rossiter was 11-for-12 for more than 200 yards. His main target is De'Andre Pendergrass. It's possible Pennsbury comes out flat after last week, but there's no way Upper Darby can hold up against Pennsbury's relentless run game.
Unionville (8-2) at Neshaminy (9-1), tonight, 7 p.m. — A member of the Ches-Mont League, Unionville's only losses are to Garnet Valley and Rustin, which are both undefeated. There is actually a common opponent here. Neshaminy beat Souderton, 28-0, and Unionville beat Souderton, 28-7. Junior quarterback Alex Perchin, who threw for 298 yards last week when his team scored 70 points, leads Unionville. Dom DiBaggio steers the Unionville run game. This isn't the easiest opener, but you have to think Neshaminy will be in a really bad mood after last week.
Council Rock North (7-3) at Garnet Valley (10-0), tonight, 7 p.m. — The top-seeded Jaguars are talking proud and acting like they expect a big playoff run. It remains to be seen how far they will go, but they are certainly favored tonight. With sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain, Rock North can move the ball and put up some points. What the Indians don't do is play great defense. Garnet Valley has some weapons and a balanced offense. Its top players include quarterback Christian Portale and tight end John McGrogan. The status of Garnet Valley's top running back Jaki Irving is unclear after he was forced from a game last week with an ankle injury.
Tonight's PIAA District 1 Class AAAA Matchups
No. 16 Council Rock North (7-3) at No. 1 Garnet Valley (10-0)
No. 9 Upper Dublin (9-1) at No. 8 Abington (8-2)
No. 13 Unionville (8-2) at No. 4 Neshaminy (9-1)
No. 12 Spring-Ford (8-2) at No. 5 Downingtown West (8-2)
No. 15 Perkiomen Valley (8-2) at No. 2 West Chester Rustin (10-0)
No. 10 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (8-2) at No. 7 Central Bucks West (8-2)
No. 14 Upper Darby (8-2) at No. 3 Pennsbury (9-1)
No. 11 North Penn (7-3) at No. 6 Coatesville (9-1)