Non-Conference Strength of Schedule
The 2016 high school football season is quick approaching. And for most schools, including many in the PIAA, those seasons start with a slate of non-conference games against familiar faces and new foes alike. This holds true for the Mid-Penn Conference's Colonial Division where each team will be facing three non-conference opponents to start the season.
As with all levels of football, the non-conference schedule can be filled with a mix of cupcake games or uphill David vs Goliath battles against area juggernauts. In this article we will break down which teams have the most favorable and unfavorable non-conference schedules.
Waynesboro and Greencastle have the most favorable non-conference schedules on paper.
The Waynesboro Indians start off their 2016 season with games away at Red Lion (68.72 Power Ranking) and Lancaster Catholic (28.40 Power Ranking), followed by a home game against Gettysburg (12.49 Power Ranking). The season opener featuring an away game against a Red Lion team that finished last season 7-4 including a trip to the District 3 playoffs will be the biggest non-conference challenge for the Indians. However, assuming Waynesboro can have a solid performance in their season-opener, they will be rewarded with games against a 3-7 Lancaster Catholic team and a 1-9 Gettysburg team.
The Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils start off their 2016 season with games away at Chambersburg (16.35 Power Ranking) and Milton Hershey (53.73 Power Ranking), followed by a home game against East Pennsboro (56.88 Power Ranking). The Blue Devils season opener should help to ease them into 2016 with a match-up against a Chambersburg team that finished last season at 1-9. Greencastle needs to take care of business in the season opener, as they then go on to face two teams that were playoff bound in 2015 in 7-4 Milton Hershey and 9-3 East Pennsboro.
The teams looking at the most daunting non-conference schedules are Mifflin County and West Perry - the 2016 newcomers to the Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division. Both Mifflin County and West Perry are trying to break through and get their first wins in almost two seasons, as they are carrying 18 and 20 game losing streaks into the 2016 season, however both teams' non-conference schedules will be challenging.
The Mifflin County Huskies have the toughest non-conference schedule in 2016 with home games against Williamsport (43.48 Power Ranking) and Cedar Cliff (78.02 Power Ranking) followed by an away game against State College (Power Ranking 79.36). All three of these teams Williamsport (6-5), Cedar Cliff (8-3) and State College (9-4) had winning records and playoff experience in 2015 with State College going deep into the playoffs.
The West Perry Mustangs have an equally difficult non-conference schedule. West Perry will face Palmyra (53.58 Power Ranking) at home, then travel to East Pennsboro (76.24 Power Ranking) before returning home for their final non-conference game against Middletown (69.38 Power Ranking). Like Mifflin County, West Perry's football season is going to start with plenty of uphill battles, facing a full slate of 2015 playoff bound teams. Both Palmyra and Middletown finished their 2015 football seasons at 7-4, while East Pennsboro finished at 9-3.