Philadelphia High School Football
Catholic League Playoff Recaps, 2015
(All Classifications; Includes City Titles)
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La Salle 29, Judge 6: Nick Rinella turned in quite the multi-pronged performance. Aside from collecting 146 scrimmage yards and a receiving TD, he prevented scores with a tackle at the 5 and an interception at the 3. Syaire Madden ran for 136 yards while Chris Ferguson passed for two (10-for-18, 93) and ran for one. Judge scored first on Rob King's toss to Tom Penko, but its chances were hurt when franchise rusher Yeedee Thaenrat (8-89) departed in the second quarter with an ankle ding.
SJ Prep 49, Roman 13: D'Andre Swift, Benny Walls and Terrence Greene thirded six TDs as the Hawks posted all of their points before intermission. Also, each guy was involved in a non-scrimmage TD -- Swift and Greene on punt returns; Walls by blocking a punt that set up a 15-yard return score for Phil O'Connor. Swift and Walls rushed for 96 and 97 yards, respectively, on just three carries apiece. For Roman, the first team in CL history to enter a playoff game with a winless overall record (0-8), Phil DiWilliams passed 10-for-26 for 192 yards and one score apiece to Joey Bristow (3-91) and Matt Galasso (2-75). The Cahillites still needed one win to claim their 500th all-time.
La Salle 29, SJ Prep 28: For the fourth time in 10 years, the Explorers downed the Prep in a championship game (one Red, three AAAA) after dropping the teams' regular season battle. And this one was an all-timer. With 49 seconds left, Nick Rinella made a TD catch with major Barnum & Bailey qualities. From the right side, he steamed downfield and just beyond the goal line, in the exact middle, reached high to get his left hand on a 24-yard pass from Chris Ferguson. While tumbling to the ground, backward, Rinella gathered in the ball to erase a 28-23 deficit at 0:49. Three defenders were in the vicinity. La Salle, which fell into a 14-0 hole, also received TDs from Charles Headen (pass from Ferguson), Jared Walls (pick-six) and Syaire Madden (rush; 26-73) while Matt Savage thumped a field goal. Ferguson finished 12-for-23 for 185 yards for first-year coach John Steinmetz, thanks largely to Winston Eubanks (5-76) and Headen (4-67). For the Hawks, Benny Walls ran seven times for 115 yards and two long scores (44, 55) while Richard Carr returned an interception 95 yards for a TD. In the four table-turnings mentioned above, the Explorers lost the regular season meetings by 68 total points (28, 7, 8, 25) before winning the title games by 16 total points (7, 7, 1, 1). They achieved the same feat vs. Judge in 2008 -- a win by 28-20 after a loss by 28-14.
Wood 49, Carroll 6: The Vikings stormed to a 42-0 halftime lead as Anthony Russo accounted for four scores. He passed 9-for-14 for 213 yards and three while adding No. 4 on a 2-yard surge. The TD tosses went to Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear (66 yards), Shawn Thompson and James Gillespie and those first two guys, along with Russo, scored on runs. Thompson's TD covered 55 yards and enabled him to garner 84 yards on just four rushes. Carroll managed a rushing tally from Christian Smith (14-65).
Ryan 7, Bonner-Prendie 6: After struggling big time on offense through 3 1/2 quarters, Ryan covered 71 yards on the decisive drove for the winning points. B-P was slapped with two personal fouls and QB Matt Romano hit Chris Kuhar for a 16-yard gain on a fake punt. Finally, Romano scored from the 1, Ryan Stock kicked the PAT and Charles "Cha Cha" Gary hustled for an interception. For B-P, Shaun Douglas rushed 19 times for 74 yards and passed 9-for-15 for 61 and a TD to Ryan George, who forced a fumble, broke up three passes and made four tackles for losses.
Wood 35, Ryan 7: On a play that began with three seconds left in the first half, Anthony Russo tossed a screen pass to Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear and wound up in the Catholic League record book. Blackshear posted a 45-yard TD for Russo's 34th aerial score of the season, surpassing 33 by La Salle's Brett Gordon in 1997. Earlier, Russo had hit James Gillespie for a 44-yard score. After starting the game by forcing a three-and-out, the Vikings posted a TD on their first play as receiver Jordan Johnson zoomed 59 yards on a reverse. Blackshear also had two rushing tallies and linebacker Ryan Barrett notched three early sacks. Jaye McNeil ran for Ryan's score.
Two Games at O'Hara
Lansdale 35, Conwell-Egan 12: Three days earlier, Ryan Quigley became just the fifth player in CL history to win division MVP honors for a second time. All he did in this one was make 15 tackles, intercept a pass and rush for 225 yards and three TDs on 22 carries. QB Mike Basilii scored twice on keepers and David Paulino added 11 stops. C-E's highlight was Patrick Garwo's 92-yard kickoff return for a TD.
West Catholic 46, Neumann-Goretti 0: In the 2014 AA final, N-G stunned the Burrs, 32-14, thus ending their 52-game, nine-season league/playoffs winning streak in the Blue/AA divisions. Revenge was achieved in dominating fashion as Joshua Evans passed 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) for 252 yards (14.8 per attempt) and five TDs (all to different receivers). The 77-yarder to Craig Jones (4-139) was the longest. Sharif Fennell and Supreme Kemp added rushing scores. For N-G, Khalil Roane accounted for 47 yards of rushing-receiving. The Saints posted just 26 more.
West Catholic 7, Lansdale 6: After a one-year hiccup, the Burrs again won the championship thanks to strong performances by Joshua Evans (7-for-13, 137 yards, 40-yard TD to Craig Jones) and Jameer Bryson (17-78 rushing). Jones also kicked the decisive PAT. Lansdale received two field goals from Ryan Carbone while Ryan Quigley rushed 17 times for 65 yards. There was no late-game drama. West possessed the ball for the last 5:12 and opted for sportsmanship with multiple kneeldowns after reaching the Crusaders' 8 in the waning moments.
At Northwest Super Site
McDevitt 50, KIPP DuBois 12: With Max Bryson not quite ready to return from injury, receiver Dontae Mason remained at quarterback and had a terrific performance. He passed 8-for-13 for 178 yards and three TDs -- two to Jaron Macon (3-85) -- and turned seven carries into 81 yards and another score. Vincent DiLeo posted one TD apiece via rushing/receiving along with 109 yards. Jayvonne Campfield scored on a fumble return. The Lancers were coached by long-time boss Pat Manzi, who'd missed the 2014 season due to health issues. Two days earlier, the school had won the Class A City Title in soccer. For KDB, the highlight was Brian Jones' 62-yard score with an interception.
At South Phila. Super Site
West Catholic 28, Del-Val 18: Though Calil Wortham (16-70) and Sharif Fennell (6-81) rushed well, Joshua Evans accounted for all four TDs while passing 17-for-27 for 295 yards. Amadou Barry (4-124) caught two six-pointers while Craig Jones snagged one along with two interceptions. He ran one back for a TD, but a penalty got in the way. Amir Postley (13) and Tymir Oliver (eight) led the Burrs in tackles. DV's Shayne "Sugar" Smith completed six of 24 tosses for 147 yards and one score.
Imhotep 20, Wood 14: While halting Wood's string of AAA City Title triumphs at seven, and its streak of league (29)/playoff (16)/CT wins at 52, the Panthers benefited from two huge defensive plays. With Wood ahead, 14-8, in the latter part of the third quarter, Mike Crawford created a tie with a 68-yard, strip-and-scoop, fumble-return TD on a play (wideout reverse) that at first looked quite promising. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Nasir Lewis made a diving catch for a 27-yard gain to the 5 and Mike Waters (16-85) ran for a 3-yard score two plays later. Wood advanced to Imhotep's 32 with the help of two 15-yard penalties, but a right-sideline pass was picked off by Waters at 5:53 and 'Tep maintained possession thereafter. Tyliek Raynor (16-81) also ran well for the winners while Boykin passed 5-for-9 for 168 yards and a score to Aamir Brown. Wood's Anthony Russo passed 12-for-21 for 164 yards and an early score to Mark Webb (4-55). Both teams entered with 11-0 records, eclipsing the record for total wins (19) by undefeated CT combatants.
La Salle 42, Gratz 15: With no points yet on the scoreboard, Gratz QB Amir Gillis was flushed out of the pocket and set sail on what should have been a 68-yard TD run. That didn't happen because Nick Rinella dislodged the ball at about the 2 and it bounced out of the end zone for a touchback. Immediately, Chris Ferguson hit Winston Eubanks for an 80-yard score. Rinella also collected two TDs (rush, catch) and a fumble recovery, Ferguson (7-for-10, 125) passed for two scores and Syaire Madden (19-179) ran for the same number. For Gratz, Luke White carried 14 times for 74 yards and one score while Gillis (8-for-21, 76; 12-94 rushing) hit Javon Whitfield for the other six-pointer.