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Amauro's Corner
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    Amauro "Amar" Austin is another of our trusty observers. He is not to be confused with Ruben Amaro, the Phillies' assistant general manager. Like "Huck" Palmer, Amauro is a West Catholic graduate. He will make occasional reports on games he sees.
    You may e-mail him at Thurlbough@hotmail.com.


NOV. 28
West Phila. 12, Overbrook 6
       As always the Turkey Bowl at West Philadelphia High School went down to the wire. The Speedboys finally put forth a complete performance and got a hard fought win. It almost became a loss as the Speedboy Center snapped the ball low to Sr. Punter/Two Way lineman Shane Foskey (6'1 285) deep in Speedboy territory. West led 6-0, but it was evident that the Panthers would score. I remembered saying to myself at the beginning of the 2nd Half that 'Brook's Sr. QB/WR/OLB Omarr Clark would make his presence known before long and I was right as he ran it in from 4 yards out. 'Brook looked to jump ahead with a conversion run, but it went for naught causing the Speedboy faithful, most noticably their always enthusiastic field man to rejoice saying its over now. It caused Mr. Clark to say, "Don't get happy yet, Old Head. It ain't over yet..." On West's ensuing drive, it seemed that nothing was doing. On third and ten, Coach John R. Lay called for the double stack. Sr. WR Andre Pettus (2/61) went over the middle for a short catch. He received three huge blocks, one by Jr. WR Shelton Myrie that handled three Panthers and he dashed to the outside and went all the way to the end zone diving over the line. What a way to win a game with a sub wideout making a big 52 yard play. If West had lost it would have been of their own doing as they amassed 11 penalties for 109 yards (3 Panther First downs). The Speedboys were led on the day by three bright-looking Juniors in QB Sheldon Ford (8-20, 127 TD), LB Omar McLaurin (10 Total Tackles, 3 for losses, 2 sacks) & RB Gerald Dove (13/51,  HB option pass for a 35 yard TD to Sr. TE Claudius Long). This was the best game I've seen the talented yet mistake-prone McLaurin play. He did cause 4 of the penalties just by being a little overly aggressive. He could wind up being a really good player once he learns to discipline himself. Dove was key as well. He was marred by injury for much of the season, but was sharp today. Ford gives them a QB for the future. He made some very nice throws today, some were dropped. Myrie also caught a pass for 14 yards and picked off an INT. He has much potential as well though he should have caught abaout three more balls today, two of which could have been 6. On Defense, Sr. DE/ILB Steve Fulton (6'2 250) had two TFLs, Sr. DTs Darryl Watson (6'1 300) & Dennis King (6'3 350) added two more TFLs apiece. Foskey made 8 total stops with three going for losses. he played a very aggressive game. I also liked Soph. CB Charles Henryhand. He had 6 Tackles and picked off the INT to put the Panthers away late in the game. For 'Brook, no one played with more fire than Clark. Clark, who has an 860 SAT and is said to be a quality student and citizen, was in on 15 total tackles (9 Solo). He just made play after play after play. He had to play out of position at QB. He's a natural wideout with suction cups for hands. I always said at 6'2 170, he isn't the fastest, but he beats you with heart, determination and desire. It also helps that he is slick and slithery and a precise route runner. He'll have a good college career somewhere in 1-AA or D-2. For whatever it's worth, he was the best player on the field in this one. He did receive help from two others in Sr. CB Neil Fisher (2 TFLs & 2 broken up passes) & Sr. DE Keenan Brooks (5 Total Stops with 3 for losses, 1 a sack). Fisher also had the hit of the game on Dove. He lifted him up and slammed him to the ground a la last year's Speedboy star Deshone "Stink" Cotton. He was in attendance amongst many others including Terrell Roper (LSU) & LeBarin Weaver (Morgan St.). Roper walked on at LSU and was kept around. He will be given a shot next year. That could be a great story... This is always a great game for me as I also see many old faces from my school days. It's just a great atmosphere... The future looks bright for the Speedboys as they have many quality underclassman. I've already mentioned many of them, but add Freshman Tackles Darren Watson (6'4 295) & Lawrence Brown (5'11 285) & RB Atland Williams (5'10 185) to that list... My cousin Sr. WR Jamil Randolph caught a pass for 6 yards. He'll never let me hear the end of it now. He thinks Florida St. is going to recruit him now. (Smile)... This had to be the muddiest field I've been on all season even worse than some of the wet days. It thought I was going to sink a few times... Another great Battle of West Philly...

NOV. 21
John Bartram 18, Ben Franklin 12
        I really wish this one was played under more pressing circumstances. It would have been a classic as both of these teams are evenly matched with many players that will play somewhere in college. Speaking of college, Millersville was in attendance eying a few of the Marooners and I'm sure a few of the Electrons. It just seemed that some of the kids didn't have the fire. Bartram controlled the game throughout due to 6 Electron turnovers, but the game was in doubt late in the 4th when Sr. QB Todd "Kojak" McCoy tossed a pitch slightly behind Sr. RB Kenny Mickens. Ultra-fast Sr. 5'6 122-lb SS (yes, Strong Safety!) Jesse Edney laid down a vicious hit on Mickens and recovered the ball. The next play was a pass from normal starting QB Jr. David Calloway to normal starting WR Tyrone Major for 13 yards to the Bartram 36. Neither started on offense. Major didn't get in until this play for breaking team rules. Normal wide-out Naim Ferguson started at QB. Then Sr. RB Jestin Brisbon (12/100 TD) ran for 5 yards on the next play to the Maroon 31. Luckily, Bartram's DBs then took over as Sr. CBs Alvin Tate (6'1 185) & Randall Eggleton (6'3 180 and qualified with an 860 SAT) both broke up the next two passes. Then Calloway wasn't even close on 4th down and Bartram took over on downs. Franklin was given one more chance with 25 seconds as Bartram had to Punt, but Calloway muffed the punt and it was recovered by Jr. DB George Morse to give the Maroon a sigh of relief. Sr. FB Marvin Snipes (6'1 225) was not his normal self on defense, but he carried 12 times for 97 Yards and 3 TDs. I hear that the D-2s are already on the case and I expect the 1-AAs to come in. The kid has shoulders for days and could even get stronger. Picture that! His best days are far from today.  McCoy (6'3 200) made some nice strong arms-extended throws. He looked very good in playing on a bad ankle. He only went 5-for-12 for 73 Yards and threw 2 INTs, but his mechanics were excellent. He looked like a natural under center making smart plays while under heavy pressure. He was only sacked once, but had to be knocked down atleast 6 other times. The 2 INTs were his only bad throws and hey they were playing against the Electrons so its a given that they'll pick off some balls. Tate caught two balls for 28 yards, but was more impressive on defense which is where I feel he'll play at the next level. He made 6 solo stops, forced two fumbles, picked off two balls and broke up three others. All this after he made a horrible play on the opening kickoff when he just couldn't pick up the ball and caused the Maroon to start on their own 1 yard line. I liked Sr. DT Roy Malcolm (6'1 290). He had 3 TFLs with one being a sack. For Franklin, Brisbon ran 12 times for 100 yards and a 41 yard score in which he went off the right tackle to paydirt. He just gets faster down the field. Sr. TE Bryant Jennings (6'3 235), a D-1 Prospect at DE caught an 18 yard pass to open the scoring. He also had one of patented vicious sacks and seemed to be in the backfield on damn near every play. The more I watch Edney, the more I like him. How does a kid his size hit like that? He picked off a ball and defended a pass. He also had 3 other retuns totaling 53 Yards. Sr. DB Tariq Sabree started in place of Ferguson who concentrated more on O. He impressed to the tune of 9 total stops. Calloway picked off a ball and broke up another as well. Jr. FS Darrell Fincher made 5 tackles and defended 2 passes. He seems to always be a threat to pick off a ball any time he's in the vicinity. This is the best secondary that I've seen all season. Forget that they are so small, they are aggressive and tough. They deserve any attention that they get. Large sub Jr. two-way tackle Julian Jackson (6'5 345, maybe more!) again provided many funny moments on the sideline. This kid is of many talents as not only is he a comedian, he's a harmonizer as well. He's pretty good too. This kid will make it one day! Coach Frank "Roscoe" Natale was missing his trademark black beret'. He said that he left it in his office.

NOV. 14
Frankford 47, Mastbaum Tech 0
       This was a statement game to say the least. The Pioneers came out with the fire in their eyes and wanted to mark their place as the Pub's favorite. I knew that the Panthers were in trouble when Pioneer aide Rasheed Muhammad turned to me early in the 1st Qtr. after Jr. DE Michael Washington blocked a Punt on the insuing Panther possession and boldly said, "Ain't nobody beating us." The Pioneers scored on their first three possessions. The Panthers never scored and turned the ball over on their first two. This was domination to say the least. I have to give credit to the Pioneer Defense more than anybody. They put on an A+ performance.  They are Jr. Ends: Jeremy Benson & Isaiah "Zeke" Thompson (2 TFLs, 1 a sack), Tackles: Sr. Ricky Rolon (2 TFLs, 1 a sack) & 6'0 335-lb Jr. Raymond Williams (2 TFLs), Jr. OLBs: Washington & Ervin Hook (8 Tackles, 2 for losses & an 83 yard fumble return for a TD), ILBs: Sr. Joselito Cruz   (6 Tackles, 2 for losses) & Jr. Joseph Farina (6 Tackles), CBs: lightning fast Sr. Sharif Nash (2 defended passes) & Jr. Arnold Mullins and Sr. Safety: Adam Hartman. All and all this was a great collective effort. I was very impressed with Hook, Farina, Thompson  & Williams. All are Juniors and all are very good. Hook made plays everywhere. He just may be the best of the bunch. Thompson, though undersized at 5'10 185, disrupted things on the line. Farina is great against the run and will only get stronger and better going into next year. Williams made plays on the line as well. He has catlike quickness for a big'un. All of this happend while the most highly touted of the Juniors, Benson was pretty much held in check. Nash, Mullins & Hartman made life miserable for the profific tandem of Tavares & Pratt. Reserve Sr. DE Ian Thomas (6'5 215) had a great game with 7 Tackles with 3 for losses, 1 a sack.  On offense the Pioneers rang up 353 Total yards, 325 rushing. The onslaught was started by tough Sr. RB Mikal Jones (5'6 160) with 10 Carries for 168 yards and a TD. Jones never seems to go down easy or be brought donw by the first tackler. I was really impressed with Freshman phenom Brandon Norris (5'8 160). I can't say that Norris will sparkle in time because it seems that when he gets in now he sparkles. He had two scores in which he went untouched. The second one was a 61 yard TD in which he went off the right tackle and he just effortlessly flew down the sideline. The first was a screen pass in the flat where he took off down the left sideline and never was touched. This kid is going to be special and will continue the tradition of great Pioneer Backs. He even made some nice hits on Defense, one forced a fumble. Cruz ran 7 times for 54 yards and 2 scores. "Hose" was probably the best Pioneer on both sides of the ball as his blocking set things up for Jones and Norris. This was an average day for Sr. QB Darrell "D.J" Turner though he did run for a score and throw for another. There will be better days for the young Panthers. They only lose 10 Seniors and have many young players that are good. They will have to find a go to runner to complement Soph. QB Markies Tavares' passing. Tavares had his most miserable day in this one going 4-of-14 for 51 yards and being sacked 5 times. He also fumbled twice. Needless to say, the young kid took a beating. Jr. WR Jovan Pratt (2/17) took a beating as well, but he really showed his toughness as he went over the middle at will. He had one catch called back by a penalty worth a long gain. The kid just may return next year as the Pub's best receiver. Two Soph. backs showed that they may step up to the plate in RB Jadrien Reynolds & FB Jahlil Porter. Both had their moments. Sr. NG Jose Perez (6 Tackles) and CBs Jr. Steven Gilbert (6 Tackles with one for a loss) & 6'2 165-lb Soph. Sherrod Evers (7 Solo Stops). Frankford Coach Tom Mullineaux was indeed today "Mr. Sunshine."  Its always funny being on the sidelines with him. Next up for the Pioneers will be a battle with Central in the Semis.

NOV. 12
       It's now Mid November and the City is in a state of Playoff Football fever. I'm more excited than ever as the Public League is as Wide open as ever and hey I'll be honest it really feels good to be a Burr. It's tough to be objective when it comes to the old alma mater, but I think I've been hard on the Burrs over the years. These Burrs have an aura about them that could catapult them to the Promised Land. There's a tough tilt with those pesky Pirates that looms and it won't be easy, but if they indeed get past that I feel they'll win the CL Blue Title. It will be a tall order though because the Pirates are peaking at the right time and just may be the most dangerous team in the Blue. They are the most physical and the biggest. They are poised to prove that they're the baddest. They can really just wear you down. It'll be an interesting Friday night at the Charlie. Speaking of aura, how about those Simon Gratz Bulldogs? I saw them 3 times this year and realized something from the beginning. That is that this team is for real. The Dogs are not the most sound team in the world, but they are super fast & athletic and love the big play. They'll give up their share of Big plays as well, but they have the will to win and succeed and they are at their hungriest. I told people after the G-Town game that the Bulldogs may well be the most talented team in the Pub. We'll see what happens against those Playoff savvy Bartram Braves who always seem to find a way to be right there. They also can match Bartram with speed & athleticism and are more than capable of making the Big play. That one could shpae up to be a great game. Can these Marooners duplicate what their Basketball mates did last year by going to 18th & Hunting Park and beating the Dogs. I guess we'll soon see... Also don't count out Division C Champion: Ben Franklin against the mighty two-time defending Champion Eagles of the greater Northeast, George Washington. Those Electrons were another team that I saw the fire in from the start. No one can match them in the team speed department and they have the Pub's best secondary. They have 6 speedsters that contribute at Defensive Back in starting Corners: Sr. Naim Ferguson (5'10 185) & Jr. Darrell Fincher (5'7 160), starting safeties: Sr. Jesse Edney (5'6 135) & Jr. David Calloway (5'7 185). Then there are the reserves: Sr. Tariq (5'6 155) & So. Mikal Sabree (5'7 160) who are bottled lightning as well. Not to mention that hard-hiting Sr. OLB Tyrone Major (6'2 205) is listed as a DB and sometimes play SS. These guys make life hard for a QB as Calloway, also the QB-K-P has great strength, hands & instincts. Fincher has even better instincts and he leads the Pub in INTs with 7. Ferguson gives a hard pop and runs
very well. Then Edney doubles as one of the Pub's top sprinters in the track season. Mr. Kennedy and Co. will  definitely have their hands full with this group. Especially when you equate tough LB Jestin Brisbon & D-1 Prospect DE Bryant Jennings (6'3 235) in the mix... The Panthers of Mastbaum fought hard to gain a playoff spot, but they'll get to face a Frankford (7-1) team who came into the season as the favorite and is very hungry, winning 5 straight.  These Panthers are mostly cubs as their led by their Soph. QB Markies Tavares (5'11 165). He has started every game, but one and been nothing short of spectacular this season. The key will be Frankford's secondary as they are fast and strong. The two teams with similar secondaries: Bok & Franklin beat the Panthers this year... Bok has a home tilt with the Lancers of Central. Central is stumbling into the playoffs and the Wildcats (6-1) haven't lost since Week 2. I haven't seen the Lancers this year, but all I hear is how dangerous they are on a positive and on a negative how their star Jr. Quindel "Milky" Ladson has been taken off of defense. I thought that the "Milkman" was one of the city's best LBs last year as a Soph. and with no disrespect to the Lancer staff I can't fathom why he isn't playing D. He's just too good. Maybe in the playoffs we'll see the "Milkman" back out at LB. Thursday should be very interesting.
       Next I'd like to give my opinions on another group of underrated Public League Prospects. I have 10 more kids that I feel deserve some notice. Here goes:
  Larry Turner 5'9 175 RB Washington - Turner has really come of age in the last year. He always had the will to win, even when he was at Olney, but now he gets show it on a regular basis as one of the main cogs on a Championship team. He's is very much suited to play at a 1-AA, but could star in the PSAC one day. His work ethic has goten alot better and he seems to want it now more than ever. These '02 playoffs could be Turner's personal showcase.
  Marcus Kennedy 6'0 185 FS Washington - Kennedy is a very good QB, who could possible play there at the next level, but I love the way he play FS. He does a good job following the play, breaking when nessessary/staying home when necessary. He also looks a lot stronger than he was a year ago. Yet another Eagle who could wind up playing 1-AA Football.
  Stanley Ebron 5'8 160 ATH. Northeast - Ebron is not your prototypical Football player, but he could be servicable somewhere because of his speed (4.3/40?) and versatility. He could be a good Return man or Wing Back or Nickel DB, maybe even all three. Those are the kinds of guys that are difference makers on the field each and every week.
  Raymond Massey 6'3 200 QB Germantown - Massey looked at the end of last season as if he  was primed to have a breakout season. Then he tore his ACL in August. He really worked hard in the off-season in getting stronger. He is said to have close to 1100 on the SAT and be an A student. Maybe the a Peddie or Hun School would take a chnace on him as a Postgrad.
  Dorian Brewer 6'4 375 OT Germantown - Brewer is the most improved player on the Bear team. Sure he's overweight, but he can move and move well. He could definitely make it in 1-AA. Hey the big guy has personality and he shows it on the field, week in and week out.
  Ronald Blue 6'5 305 OT Dobbins Tech - Blue is one of the Pub's best lineman. He has also made great strides from last season to now. His most impressive attribute is that he's no where near fat for 305. He does need some toning, but with hard work it'll come. He also has very quick feet and that's always a key for a Lineman. This kid could be a steal for someone who is patient.
  Steve Fulton 6'3 265 DE West Phila. - Early on when I saw the Speedboys, I felt that Fulton was their best player. he played everywhere from ILB to DT to DE (natural position) and had success. The big guy is cat quick and he wraps people up. He'll make it on somewhere at the next level probably in State School land.
  Alvin Tate 6'1 185 CB John Bartram - Tate is the Braves most underrated player as he is fast, strong and tough. In my opinion he's their top DB and best WR. He play for keeps out there every week and makes plays on both sides of the ball. He also is their chief return man. He'll play college Football somewhere.
  Voncel Harrigan 5'11 210 MLB Simon Gratz - Harrigan is the glue to the 'Dogs. He is the 3rd star, but he may be the most valuable of the 3 as he makes the big
stops when Spivey doesn't and he does the lead blocking for Watson's dances down the field. Not to mention he kicks and punts. I feel Harrigan could make it on somewhere in D-2 as well.
  Kevin Snyder 5'10 215 MLB M.L King - Snyder is the leader of the stingy Golden Cougar defense. He shoots gaps with regularity and makes tackles. Someone will grow to appreciate him at the college level. He's best against the run.

NOV. 8
George Washington 26, Northeast 0
       In the Public League chess match that is NE-GW, there is always a tactical battle. This game was no different as the Eagles struck early and often. They were led by their galant knight Sr. RB-CB Larry Turner (8-98, TD). Turner, an Olney transfer, has really made improvement. He's always been very talented, but he's now mature and he knows what it feels like to be a winner. He made the first big move of the night on the first play of the Eagles second possession with a 62-yard run to the house that caused the whole crowd (and it was a good one) to go bananas. He was used sparingly afterwards, but that's where the maturity factor comes in. The old Larry Turner always had to be the man. The new Larry Turner is a man. That's the difference.  I'll never forget how the brassy Turner, for no apparent reason, disrespectfully berated the Central basketball players last winter at the Olney Christmas Tourney. "I hate Central!" He repeatedly shouted. He probably can now laugh about it and put it behind him. He's really just come of age. Larry made for the play of the day when he ran over strong Jr. ILB Warren Bartlett. Bartlett is a very good LB and he's one of the strongest Vikings. Turner will be one to watch during the Eagles playoff run in which they go for their 3rd straight title which is very much in reach. His normal helpers Srs QB-FS Marcus Kennedy & RB-CB Andre Odom. Kennedy didn't have a great passing day, but he made the big plays. He had two rushing TD's: 1, 21. He also led the defense from start to finish from his free safety position which I think he'll play in college with a team high 9 tackles (6 solo), an interception & another pass defended. He just plays a mean Centerfield with his hard hits and good coverage. Odom had a rushing TD and caught a big 5 yard pass for a first down to ice the game. He also played well on defense from his CB position with 2 TFLs and a pass defended. Star Sr. MLB Jameel McClain (6'2 240) spearheaded the defense as always. He was in on 8 bonecrushing tackles with one for a loss. All of his hits could be heard from Verree Rd to the Blvd. Some D-1 school is going to get a treat as he just may be the best the Pub has to offer. His biggest hit was his tackle on Jr. backup QB Andrew Lihotz when he knocked his mouthpiece out of his mouth and 5 yards backwards. Lihotz popped right up, but it didn't look like he wanted to. Turner made 5 tackles (1 TFL) and may have been the most consistent defender over the course of the game. He had that fire from start to finish. I liked stocky Sr. NG Sean Kelly (5'4 195). He may be short, but he's very strong & physical and he makes plays at the line. Three other Eagle defenders has their coming out parties in Jr. OLBs  Ricardo Rivera & Marcus Banks & Sr. DE Randy Brooks. Rivera was in on 8 stops and he recovered a fumble. Banks had a TFL & an interception with a 52 yard return before being brought down on the 1 by you know who, lightning Sr. RB-CB Stanley Ebron. That INT really broke the Vikings spirits and was the
beginning of their demise. Brooks had the best game of anybody as he was in on 7 stops with 4 for losses totaling 16 yards, 2 were sacks.  This was a strange outing for the Vikings. They weren't totally dominated, but they made 5 turnovers and the Eagles had none. What made things weirder was the fact that 4 defensive starters played little after the 1st Qtr. and none after the half for one reason or another. It looked like Sr. FB Mark Pasley (3-28) was off to a great start and then he was not seen after late in the 1st Qtr. He also starts as an ILB. The others were rugged Sr. DE Michael Donnelly & CBs: Ebron & Jr. Ben "Slim Herc" Franklin. Ebron was his slippery self on runs with 10 carries for 45 yards and he had a few impressive returns. With a patched up defense Srs. DB Eric Clark moved from his FS position to his former CB position and made things hard. He made a sack when he was still at safety on a blitz. He shadowed Turner when he set up wide or went in motion. I really like his possibilities. He just may be the city's best cover man. Had this been a close game, he would have been a huge factor. Sr. DE Joe Tizol was himself with 4 tackles with one for a loss. It was just tough in the 2nd half without those 4 starters. I hope all is well. This was a fun day at GW. There was a spirited crowd with a Hip-Hop DJ. Many faces were in the place like members of the 2000 & 2001 Champions Kyle Bell, Michael Van Allen, Jason Bermudez & Peter Lyde. I had a chance to chat with Bell. He seems to be ready to make up for his mistakes. He's spending this year at Valley Forge and needs 30 points on his SATs to qualify. He says that Purdue was in to see him a few weeks ago plus all the schools that recruited him last year. Hopefully, he reaches his potential because he surely has alot of it. He looks good too, about 15-lbs of muscle heavier. Good luck Kyle. Van Allen was in the crowd chillin' with his girl so I didn't bother him. Lyde, the 6'6 350-lb sub lineman and grandson of former boxing champ Joe Frazier, made for the day's funny moments as he continually heckled fiesty little NE sub Jr. CB Dwayne Gay (5'5 150). Gay did a good job in the circumstances, but he did nothing right in Lyde's eyes as he continually called "#5!" from his megaphone. The big fella was hillarious all afternoon.

NOV. 7
Dobbins Tech 45, Roxborough 8
       This contest was over well before it started. The Mustangs basically frolicked from the start as no one from the 'Boro had a desire to tackle anybody. Then on top of that the Indians turned the ball over on 3 of their first 4 possessions and the Mustangs capitalized each time. To make a long story short, none of the 'Stangs starters were in after halftime and the subs got to have some fun. Strong Sr. RB Khalif Boldin ran 10 times for 105 yards. He needed 144 coming in to get to 1000. I guess he'll have to wait until next week. He ran for three scores: 9, 4 & 17. His normal partner Sr. FB Lateef Ferguson ran 4 times for 38 yards and a score. I was impressed with strong Jr. RB/LB Greg Meyers (6'0 190) once again. He has much potential and he'll probably be the star next year as one of the Pub's top Juniors. Myers ran 8 times for 63 yards and 2 scores today. He has quality vision and hits holes with reckless abandon. He also hit ball carriers with abandon as he always does (3 tackles with 1 for a loss & a forced fumble). I felt good for Sr. WB Jamar Rowley as he turned a broken play into a 40 yard TD run. The whole bench celebrated. The Mustangs showed that times will be good in the future as both Jr. RB/LB Kenny Robinson & Freshman RB/DB Paul Boldin, 'Lif's brother, showed promise. Both are in the 5'5/5'6 155-165 range, but they are strong, fast & have a concept of how to run. Robinson layed out a few fierce hits on defense. Ferguson only had 2 tackles, but one was for a loss. Sr. CB Gary Outlaw (my kind of name) recovered a fumble and picked off a ball. Two other 2nd stringers enjoyed good moments as Jr. DT Michael Roberts made 3 tackles with 2 for losses on 1 of which he forced and recovered a fumble. He's pretty strong and I'm willing to bet he'll be stronger come next year. Rangy Jr. Safety Cliff Gilliam made 6 solo tackles. All of the 2nd teamers went against Roxborough first teamers. Atleast they were 1st teamers today. There will be better days for the Indians. Many have told me over the years that they always have a strong JV Team and then kids just transfer at alarming rates. Two promising players from last year's team cousins Jr. QB Raymond Taft & Sr. DL Carlton Taft both moved to Florida. The year before arguably the city's top player now Curtis Brinkley bolted for West Catholic. It seems to happen every year. Today, they only dressed 25 players. There are 33 on the roster. Their top guys are Juniors RB/LB Dante Bryant & Multi-Purpose Clinton Taylor. Both were out with injuries. They normally bring it. This is a team that's already small and lacks agression. Because of all of the Turnovers in the first half, the Indians only had 6 offensive  plays for the half. Very sad! You just get the feeling that this program needs fresh blood if you know what I mean. There were two bright spots and they were Sr. RB Brandon Sutton (11/80 TD against the 2nd stringers) on offense & Sr. DB Tyree Wyche (9 solo tackles with a forced fumble), listed at 5'7 140, on defense. The funny moments of the day were all by the officials. They seemed to be having fun out there all game long. Dobbins needs Gratz to lose to Central and Germantown to beat Olney tomorrow in order to get in the playoffs. That's asking for alot. We'll see if they get their wishes.

NOV. 5
       I know its November which is a little late for a my first football notes column, but its taken me a while to see everybody (I still haven't) and to compile some things. Football is a much different animal than Basketball. I like to see most guys twice before making a judgement and sometimes that's not enough. However, one conclusion that I have come to is that in this city sometimes the Public League kids get a raw deal. Most of the CL and IA guys get recruited at the right levels, but the Pub somehow gets slighted. Last year many guys ended up in the PSAC that should have went to higher levels. This year the names are Boldin, Ferguson, McClain, Whittington, Spivey, Watson, Clark & Jennings, but nothing is promised for any of them except probably McClain. All are capable of playing 1-A Football, but may not. Then there are another tier of guys who may or may not be able to compete at that level, but are aure good enough to go somewhere and possibly even star. Here is my list of guys in the Pub that have made an impression on me that could catapult them to the next level:
   Akil Stokes 5'11 170 WR Germantown - Stokes is hardly an unknown to recruiters in 1-AA, but his interest should be higher. 1-A's should atleast sniff as this kid is good enough to be mentioned with the Best group. Stokes is "Mr. Big Play." He's caught 13 balls this season for 418 yards (32.2 yards per catch). 7 of the 13 catches have been for TDs. Many of them have been spectacular. Stokes mixes good speed (well under 4.5/40), athleticism, discipline & great hands. He's like a silent assassain as he is like a quiet storm. I here that Hofstra leads for his services and a great get it would be for the Pride.
   Jestin Brisbon 5'11 195 RB Ben Franklin - Brisbon is one of the tougher kids that I've seen this season in the city. He's tougher than a bone-dry steak. He plays with injury and never complains, just plays. Brisbon has deceptive speed and power. He seems to just make timely plays and have a will to win. He, just like Stokes, is a quiet storm with a serious inner-fire. He's basically the kind of kid that goes to the PSAC and becomes a star.
   Bruce Hill 6'0 180 RB University City - Hill may be the most naturally talented athlete in the Public League. Its just too bad that he doesn't have adequate help on his team to prove it. In 7 games (He played very sparringly in the 7th), he's maganged to rush for 457 yards on 73 carries with all 5 of his team's TDs on the season with almost no help. The big thing is that his natural position is probably wide-out. He could thrive there at the next level. One game, Mr. Hill played Offense,
Defense & Special Teams (He is the Punter & Chief Return Man) with 4 different injuries. Everything he does is natural and that's the scary part, he's never been taught. A year of Prep school could do wonders for Bruce.
   Marvin Snipes 6'1 225 MLB John Bartram - Snipes may not be at the level of the top 2 ILB's in the League, Ferguson & McClain, but he leads the next group. He's strong and tough (275-lb bench/push-up fiend). He makes plays from east to west and seems to be growing in the confidence department each week. His work ethic is most impressive. He's also already qualified. If this were a perfect world, the Villanova's, Delaware's, Hofstra's ect. of the world would be all over him, but he'll have to wait and see.
   Akeem Green 5'9 170 RB Bok Tech - "Feathers" is seldom talked about, but he should be. He's 4th in the Pub in Rushing yards and in average with 107 carries for 570 Yards and 8 Touchdowns in 6 Games. Not to mention that he's probably a natural Wide-out which he played exclusively last season. He's needed behind the QB this year and he delivered. I want to see the speedy Green, who also runs track, again before I make a final decision on what level he could compete at, but I do know that it'll be atleast in the PSAC.
   William Ortiz 5'8 160 Kicker West Phila. - Ortiz may be just as good as Steve Sandberg as the Pub's Top kicker, but with the Speedboys being down, as are his chances. I remember the first time I saw him last season kicking in warm-ups. He'd set up on the 20 and kick the ball straight through the uprights, over the gate, hitting the apartment building across the street on Locust St. Those would have been good from atleast 40 yards. He's also an All-Public Soccer player and should get a chance somewhere.

   Maurice Williams 6'8 225 DE Thomas Edison - "The Wall" has the uncanny ability to make plays. He is stuck in poor situation at Edison, but at times has made the best of it. He is strong and agile for a big guy. At times this season he's played out of position, but has still showed his talents. I would just like to see if a college sees the same. He also shows well as a blocking TE and has even filled in at QB this season. Williams is another kid that a year of Prep would put on the map.
   Justin Digby 6'2 205 OLB Southern - Digby was the one Ram that played with brass & fire. He finishes his tackles and has textbook technique. Maybe someone will take a chance on him as he's another one of the Pub's diamond's in the rough.
   Keenan Nelson 5'9 165 ATH Thomas Edison - Nelson is the QB for the Owls (396 Yards, 4 TD passes), but his position is wherever he so chooses to play. he could be a WR at the next level. He may thrive as a CB. He returns kicks, kicks and punts for his High school team. Nelson is fast and elusive and he has a strong arm. He should eb a state school lock, another year of High school wouldn't hurt either, maybe in a Prep school. He's definitely worth the trouble.
   Omarr Clark 6'2 175 WR Overbrook - I have watched Clark over the last two years making circus all-hands catches and being an emotional leader for the Panthers. However, he's your traditional blazingly fast Panther skill player. Clark makes his money off being crafty and elusive. He just wants to more than anybody else. Though his offensive stats are modest this season, I'd still put my money on him making a big play if the game was on the line. He could wind up being a servicable player in the PSAC.
       As I said earlier, Football is a much different animal than any other sport, but you can't help but see certain things and mention them. Case in point, often times top underclassman are not given much spotlight as in other sports. However, I must say the city will have some good ones coming back next year as the Junior Class is loaded withh talent: Brinkley (hopefully; my fingers are crossed), Singletary, Heygood, Tracz, Sloan-El, Fisher, Ladson, Anderson, ect. These are just some of the names in a great class. The Sophs. are big timers as well in Slaton and Slocum. Then there are names to remember in the Class of 2006 (McCarter, Marrel, Maddox, Gilbert, Zeglinski & Norris) will all one day grace the field as stars. Some of them already have had their coming out parties and are working hard to be even better in an encore. Well until the next time...

NOV. 1
Penn Charter 21, Episcopal 6
       This very solid Quaker squad got a very impressive win over a very tough, fiesty bunch of Churchmen. This just may have been one of 6'5+ Sr. QB Matt Ryan's (Boston College) sharpest outings. Ryan went 10-for-14 for 198 yards and threw for three scores. He ran 5 times for 30 yards. He was almost flawless. PC's other captain Sr. RB Tony McDevitt was also a major factor with 19 carries for 98 yards and 3 catches for 56 yards. McDevitt may be this team's most valuable player. The sight of him during and after this game was priceless as his Gold, Navy & White PC uniform was brown mud from head to toe. Much had to do with the weird weather (Raining while sunny, bitter cold, pouring for 5 minutes, windy, etc.) and an already muddy field. McDevitt is just a solid player. In my estimation, his main attribute has to be the fact that he almost never loses yards. He just makes this team go. As good as those two were, I must say that Big Time Jr. WR Sean Singletary (4/65, 2 TDs) may have been better. Singletary may have been the best Junior I've seen in the city outside of Curtis Brinkley. He has all the tools: Great posture, good speed, seriuos hands, etc. His one-handed circus catch while getting both feet in bounds was ridiculous. Every other play, he made with his hands. Over the middle, no problem. He made two other super catches in succession that were called back by penalties. Many have told me over the years that S.S was better in Football than he is in Basketball (also generating Big Time attention). I'm not inclined to agree just yet, but I won't disagree either. Speedy Sr. WR Rob Hitschler caught a 49 yard TD pass as well. On D, the Quakers were led by So. LB Paul Sweeney with 8 stops, 1 for a loss & a pass defended. I liked the way Sr. DE Mike Boles (6'4 230) played today. He went for 7 stops. One was a sack. He played with much spirit all game long. Very fast Sr. DE Jarrod Williams made 5 stops with one a sack. He'll probably be on OLB in college and a good one too. McDevitt was in on 5 tackles. Soph. DT Colin Hitschler mirrored Williams' production. Sr. CB John Samuel made 4 tackles with 1 a sack. He also picked off a ball. Singletary did as well. I like the potential of Freshman DB Kamal Marrel. He made 5 tackles with 1 pass defended today. He has a good speed that will be great speed by his Junior year and he has a great feel for the game. He's one to watch for sure.  For the Churchmen, I liked quick Soph. QB Brian FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick is filling in for the injured Sr. Garrett Wilson and is probably not a natural behind center, but he does have very good instincts and he makes plays. So. WR Dylan Brown, listed at 5'6 135, was fearless going over the middle and caught 3 balls for 17 yards. Sr. RB Mike Lamb (13 times for 70 yards, TD) ran hard all game long. Lamb saved this one from being a shutout. Fitz made 6 solo stops on defense from his more natural CB position. The two leaders on D were Soph. OLB Joe Rosati (13 tackles, 9 solo) & Jr. DB Fran Grunde (10 Tackles, 6 solo.) Jr. DE Justin Leake made 5 solo tackles with one for a loss and forced a fumble. The funny moment of the day goes to PC B-ball coach Jim "Flipper" Phillips. As I talked to him before the game, he insisted that I take his game program saying, "I don't need this I already know all of these guys especially the ones that better not get hurt." Four of his starters are playing Football.

OCT. 31
John Bartram 39, University City 0
       I knew I was in for a long day when the Jags' all-everything Sr. Bruce Hill came up lame on the opening kick return. He had no explosion as he tried to play through a strained hamstring. He probably should have just sat this one out, but it's easy to see that this is his livelihood and he wants to rise until the wheels fall off; tough kid. I just hope that somehow he gets to put on his show somewhere in college, he's definitely good enough. I submitted his name to a top-notch Military academy, along with a few others. Hopefully something happens... Back to the game, the Braves/Maroon Wave (I don't know who they are anymore) frolicked after this. They held the Jags to minus-11 Total yards. Looking inside the numbers, the Jags went for negative yardage on 18 out of their 35 plays from scrimmage. They gained nothing on 8 of their plays and 1 play was a Turnover. That means that they only went for positive yardage on 8 of 35 plays. That's poor, but I guess that's what happens when your star has fallen. On O, the Marooners were almost exclusively given a short field. With Hill not really being able to go, the Jags had no Punter. The two leaders were the Rushing tandem of Srs Chironn "Goober" Davis (11/42, TD) & Marvin Snipes (5/49, TD) These two have become a force to be reckoned with and will need strong outings the rest of the way through. Athletic Sr. QB Todd "Kojak" McCoy (6'3 200, over 35 in. vertical) ran for two 1 yard scores. He also went 2-for-6 for 27 yards passing. He should have had more as all 4 of his incompletions were dropped. He's not a natural Football player, but I'm sure someone in State school land would take him as an athlete. He throws pretty well, runs well, ect. There's alot to like. Sub Sr. RB Leonard Smith had a nice untouched 44 yard run for a TD. On D, Bartram's leader was fiesty Jr. OLB Adrian Jackson. Jackson had what had to be his season's best game with 8 total tackles, 6 were TFLs, 1 was for a Safety, 2 were Sacks. His main help came from in my estimation, "Bartram's best Football player," Sr. MLB Marvin Snipes (6'1 225). Snipes really had a strong outing with 5 tackles, 2 for losses & a pass defended. I could feel all of his stops from the sidelines. He's just one of the most solid players in the city. He's also ready for the college rigors with his 275-lb bench and incredible work ethic. Sr. CB Randall Eggleton (6'3 180) made 6 solo stops, Intercepted a pass and defended another. He has potential as well as his athleticism rivals that of McCoy. Sr. DB Hanif Long defended 2 passes and made a 4th Qtr. cameo at QB. Smith was in on 2 Sacks. For UC, there just wasn't much good. Freshman TE Sean Gilbert (6'2 220) again made a catch. He could be really good down the line. He could also be a prominent player on the Jag B-ball squad. The best defender was Jr. DE Kayon Walton (6'4 210). he played with juice all game long. He made 5 stops, 2 for losses, 1 a Sack. The other Freshman starter Sherron Hill,  Bruce's brother, made 4 good tackles as well. He and Gilbert are Coach Williams' future. Coach Frank "Roscoe" Natale again wore his now trademark black beret. He's a West Catholic guy so he can get away with such a fashion statement. That wasn't good enough for the day's funny moment though as that title goes to Bartram's large and almost in charge Jr. DT Julian Jackson (6'5 345). Jackson has much potential on the football field, but he also has the same type of potential as a standup comic. He kept the nech all smiles all game long while the offense was on the field. For a moment, he had me thinking that I was in the movie Wildcats (One of my personal favorites, starring: Goldie Hawn) and he was playing the role of "Finch." If you saw the movie, you know what I'm talking about, just hilarious...

OCT. 28
West Catholic 42, Cardinal Dougherty 0
       When I arrived at West's practice field at 2:20 this afternoon, I immediately said, "Uh, oh, will this one ever be played?" The Cardinal buses had not arrived yet and by 11:36 of the first quarter, I bet they wished they didn't show because that's when the West onslaught began. The Cardinals turned the ball over 5 times and were outgained by a whopping 412 to 89. Meanwhile West was led by its star of stars stud Jr. RB Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley. Brinkley seems to accomplish something new every time he touches the field. Today, he rushed 20 times for 245 Yards & 5 TDs (49, 71, 4, 43 & 44). He came in needing 2 yards to go over 4000 for his career, 47 to bypass Chris Downs (Malvern Prep, now Maryland) & 234 to pass the late Abdul Sesay for West's single season record. He accomplished all three in easy fashion against a Dougherty club that didn't provide much resistence. The best of the TDs in my opinion was the 71 yarder when he hit the huge hole opened by Jr. LG Fran Enright & Soph. LT Matt DeMarco like a speeding bullet then commenced to run like a bat out of hell to pay dirt. Another very impressive moment/day in the storied career of Curtis Brinkley that for the moment has atleast 3 games remaining. The Burrs were without two offensive starters in Sr. FB Chester Roebuck (shoulder) & Soph. C Frank Pirotta (shoulder). They'll be needed next week against a peaking McDevitt squad. The rest of the line included: Sr. strongman RG Will Grant, Sr. RT Mike Cannon, Soph. C Thomas Davis  & Soph. TE Derrell Hand (6'5 260). The FBs were Soph. Thomas "Tom-Tom" Vongarath (2/19) & Jr. Dave Fitzgerald (2/25). Jr. QB Will Burke didn't have too much to do in this one, but faired well in rushing  twice for 23 yards and passing 2-for-3 for 75 yards and a TD. His TD pass was a beautiful play action fake then deep ball to super-fast Sr. WR Jonathon Jackson (4.35/40) for 56 yards. Jackson made 1 publication's Preseason 1st Team All-State list at DB and was on another Publication's Top 20 Seniors in the state of PA. He has a pretty good list of schools recruiting him too. The Burr Defense was led by its two unsung heroes in Sr. DT Steven Williams (7 stops, 1 TFL) & Sr. DB Robert Ramsey (8 stops, 2 TFLs, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble & an INT with a 24 yard return). Roebuck's replacement on D was Freshman MLB Wayne Johnson. He did an admirable job with 3 tackles with 1 for a loss and a pass defended. Davis also caught an INT from his OLB position. Sr. DT Will Grant had a bear hug of a sack. The man with the AK-47's for arms is my favorite player on the team. He's definitely the cop of this group. I still can't get over his ridiculous 765 squat & 385 bench numbers in the weight room. The Cardinals had yet another tough day at the office. There was one bright spot in speedy, RB Dominic Rock (11 carries for 63 yards, 1 catch for 13 yards). He was the only Cardinal that seemed to play with spirit & juice all game long. He also made 5 stops and recovered a fumble on defense. The Cardinals other top defenders were LB Josh Guevara (9 Tackles with 1 for a loss) & LB Paul Bryant (8 Tackles). This game was played on West's practice field way back in the cut between 46th & 48th sts. off of Haverford & Market sts. There was a super student turnout and many parents stood on the sidelines. There hasn't been this much excitement in the Burr Community for West Football in some time. I have to give much credit to Coach Brian Fluck for turning a Program that was for years going nowhere fast to one that is now a dangerous contender. His hard work and effort must be commended. There are Big Time College Prospects here and there's a family atmosphere around the Football program. Case in point, the Burrs have arguably the City's Fastest (Jackson), Strongest (Grant) & Best (Brinkley) players. A special place like West deserves some happy times. Maybe the new Cardinal staff will follow his lead... The funny moment of the day must go to Fitzgerald. After his 21-yard stumbling rumble, he huffed and puffed to the sidelines saw his dad and immediately uttered, "Old man, if I wasn't crampin' up, I woulda took it to the house."

OCT. 25
Germantown 29, Simon Gratz 22
       This contest was easily the best game I've seen all season as bitter rival Bulldogs and Bears really got after it. Words can't express the excitement and passion this game brought, but I'll try to personify it the best way I can. If you wanted action, you should have been at Marcus Foster Stadium this Saturday morning. Well for one, I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how G'Town won this game. Gratz outgained them 295 to 218 and controlled the ball for the most part. With all due respect, they outplayed the Bears for most of the contest. However, sometimes that's not enough and that's what we'll get to right now. In my estimation, there were 3 pretty damn good reasons: 1. Gratz committed 4 vital turnovers. 2. The Bulldogs had 2 TD passes (one a beautiful reverse option by Sr. TE Robbie "Beeno" Spivey to the ultra-fast Jr. WR Eugene Wright for 70 yards) & 2 other long gains called back by penalties. 3. Simply Germantown Jr. FB/MLB Omar McDonnaugh (5'9 185) stole the show down the stretch. Mr. 4th Qtr. McDonnaugh (13 carries for 118 yards & a TD) absolutely took this game over in the final period. Omar was a warrior to say the least. It's ironic because I remember saying to myself early on that "O" was doing more talking than playing. It looked like it was written to go down like this. Whatever the case, the kid could play for me any day. On the game winning 88 yard drive, McDonnaugh ran 6 out of the 7 plays totaling 84 yards, capped off by a 3 yard TD and a conversion run. Very impressive. His longest run on the drive was the heart-taking 54 yard run right up the middle down to the Bulldog 7 yard line. Meanwhile the whole time this was going on "Mr. Trash Talk" himself had a classic dialogue going on with the Bulldog bench and fans. His best comment came to an alumnus who was on sideline after his TD. He yelled, "Big time players make big time plays." He also made 9 total stops on D with one TLF and a forced fumble. This was one of the season's best clutch performances. G'Town Sr. QB Ryan Graves (4-for-13, 91 yards) was gritty and tough as he ran for a short score and threw for 2 others. The latter of the two was a beautiful 65 yarder to talented/fleet WR Akil Stokes (2/93), on which the Dogs had a defensive breakdown (ill-advised blitz) causing Stokes to be wide open. I mean wide open, like nobody around him in any direction for 25 yards. On defense, Sr. DT Paul "PJ" Johnson (5'11 280) really stepped it up with 6 total stops including the game's first 3, Sr. CB Tyree Jones picked off two balls, returning the first for 67 yards setting up his 7 yard TD catch 4 plays later, he also defended another pass & recovered a fumble & Sr. DB David Roberson led the team with 11 total stops. This loss kind of sours an amazing performance by Gratz's stud Sr. RB Tyree Watson. Watson played on a tender and ankle and only played about half of the time on offense, but he still managed to rush for 200 yards on 18 carries with 2 TDs. His first TD was an all-timer of a 40 yard run in which the slithery Watson broke, by my count, 7 tackles. He jumped over the first diving would-be tackler, then cut outside on the second, then slipped inside on the sideline and caused three would-be tacklers to hit each other and finally eluded a diving McDonnaugh. He looked a lot like his cousin West Catholic superstar Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley, who was in attendance, on that scamper. It caused the Bulldog faithful to go nuts. It caused Watson to shout, "I'm a beast!"  He also posted 108 return yards. That's a total of 308 yards. What a game! However, I'm willing to bet he'd trade all of them to take back the 2 bad plays he made: the defensive breakdown when he blitzed and his man, Stokes went deep for the TD at the end of the 1st half and when he let Stokes get free again at the end of the game on third down when the Dogs were trying to get the ball back. Stokes got in behind Watson and made a 28 yard play. Then Watson got frustrated and was penalized 30 yards for a face-mask on the tackle and unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. This was still an amazing performance though. His understudy, Jr. Vondell Parson, rushed 11 times for 50 yards and a TD in the process, continuing to impress me. Spivey caught two balls for 17 yards. Today just wasn't Sr. FB Voncel Harrigan's day on O as on both of his carries, he fumbled and G'Town recovered. Both times the Dogs were in scoring position. He did make up for it on D leading all with 13 Tackles (7 Solos & 2 for losses). Spivey make 9 Solo Stops, but seemed to be nonexistent in the the 4th Qtr. Sr. CB Karl Johnson broke up two passes. Sr. DT David "Wolf Man" Williams (6'1 260) was in on 5 tackles and played an all-around good game. Sr. DT Kyle Hatch (6'2 275) had a sack and a fumble recovery. Better luck next year for the Dogs as it's been a while since they've beat the Bears in the Mason's Classic. This one was indeed a classic. The funny moment of the day came again from Coach Poole. When G'Town massive OT Dorian Brewer (6'4 ?375?) was called for a false start, Poole commented, "He too big for 'dem to miss. Das a big piece of bacon 'dere." That just about sums it up.

OCT. 25
Ben Franklin 12. Jules Mastbaum Tech 6 (OT)
       This has to be considered a huge upset as the Electrons shocked the previously undefeated Panthers on their home field in OT. The Electrons also put themselves in the driver seat for the playoff run as all they need to do now is win out and a spot is theirs. This was to be the first part of a three part challenge for Mastbaum with Bok & King to come. 'Baum failed miserably. The irony of it all is that the Electrons looked to be the weaker of the 3 teams as both King and Bok own victories over them. However, this group of Electrons when focused is a competitive group as they are tough, hard & physical. They were led again and as always by Sr. RB Jestin Brisbon (27 carries for 116 yards), who scored the momentum changing TD in the 3rd Qtr and set up the game winner with 2 solid runs in OT. Brisbon has been nursing a bad ankle all season and has played through it and his team has come up just short a few times this season. It felt good to see a good kid and a great competitor reap the benefits of his hard work. The game winner was scored by Sr. FB Dominic Bass (13 Carries for 43 yards). It was a great struggle from 2 yards out as all 22 guys on the field were involved in a great goal line struggle. I wish I had my camera to take a picture. That picture would have been priceless. On Defense, Sr. DE Bryant Jennings led with 6 hard stops (5 solo). Fleet, Jr. DB Darrell Fincher helped the cause with 7 total stops (5 Solo) and an INT with a 25 yard return. Sr. DT Edwin "Goose" Cruz (6'2 305) had 2 TFLs. The most important player may well have been strong, Jr. CB David Calloway (5'7 185) as he made things very hard for the Panthers' star Jr. Wide-out Jovan Pratt. Pratt did catch 5 balls for yards, but he had to work all game long for everything. Calloway defended 3 passes. He also is the starting QB & Punter. He looks to be a natural cover guy as he proclaimed himself afterwards as, "The best DB in the Pub." The Panthers were led by impressive Soph. QB Markies Tavares (5'11 170). He only went 8-for-21 for 102 yards with an INT and a TD, but that doesn't tell the whole story. He had many balls dropped because some of his receivers weren't adjusted to playing in the cold and he had to deal with a swarming Electron secondary that wasn't to be denied in this one. He also led the Panthers in rushing with 8 carries for 30 yards. The kid could be special in time. That was the main Panther problem -- getting something one on the ground. If they had, it would have opened things up even more for Tavares and Pratt, but they only totaled 47 yards rushing for the game. The TD was scored on a 6 yard fumble recovery by Sr. RB Nate Nixon. Nixon recovered Pratt's fumble as he made a great one-handed bobbling grab, raced down the field 36 yards, then was hit and fumbled. The Panther D was led by Pratt and his 12 stops with one a Sack & Soph. LB Perell Jones' 10 with 2 for losses. Sr. DE William Martin was in on 8 tackles ( 6 Solo, 2 losses, 1 a sack) & Jr. DE Mark Brighter with 2 TFLs, 1 a sack & a blocked extra point. There were no funny moments to report I'm sorry to say as this one was all business and the Electrons did a good job of handling theirs. That leaves the 'Baum having to win its last 2 games to get in on a playoff spot.

OCT. 24
Southern 14, University City 6
      This matchup of the have-nots had it moments. The Jags left very disappointed as they left an opportunity to taste victory wilt away behind timely mistakes and questionable play calling. The Jags actually outplayed the Rams for greater portions of this contest, but 2 big plays made the difference. A 72-yard TD run by speedy Sr. RB Mark Lee (9-105, 2 TD) & a 70 yard run right up the gut by Sr. FB Gerald Terry that set up Lee's other TD run. Southern's total yardage from the rest of the game added up to 38 yards on 29 plays. The best player on the field in this one, however, was U-City's Mr. Everything Sr. RB/FS/P Bruce Hill (6'0 185). Hill only rushed 15 times for 69 yards & a 40 yard TD, but he played with many injuries (mild separated shoulder) and many times had no blocking. He had a TD and a long PR called back by penalties as well in this one. His return yardage was still impressive with 3 for 64. He also did all of the Punting and didn't do a bad job considering the circumstances (4/104). Hill has excellent feet, better instincts and above average speed. The State Schools and maybe even the 1-AA's should take a peak as he's such a raw talent who's better days are ahead. I'll say it again: this kid would shine bright on a good team. At the next level, Hill could play anywhere from RB or WR to CB or FS. I look at him and see him as a natural wide-out. He just has that look. He's easily one of the Pub's 5 better backs though. Through the 3rd Qtr., I had Hill only coming off the field for a total of 4 plays. He was worn down in the 4th and couldn't perform on the Jags final drive and you could tell it ate away at him. I did like one UC line-man as a prospect. He was Jr. LT William "Central" Gray (6'3 310). I noted him for 2 pancakes. He may have had 8 more in the morning. On Defense, the Rams got a great effort from LB Justin Digby with 15 Total tackles (13 Solo, 3 for losses, 1 a sack). Digby (6'2 210) talked smack and backed it up all game long. He has a chance to play somewhere in college.  FS Akkeem Moore (6'4 210) also had a pretty good game with 4 solo stops & 3 passes defended. Terry made 6 tackles as well. For UC, I liked Freshman Sherron Hill (6'2 180), Bruce's brother. He started both ways and made 6 stops from his OLB post. One of those stops was a sack and he also forced a fumble. Soph. ILB Rafiq Bennett led the Jags with 8 tackles. Jr. DE Kayon Walton (6'3 210) made 6 stops. Jr. DE Antoine Williams had 2 TFLs, one a sack. Both teams combined for 6 turnovers. UC's 2 were much more costly as they came on back to back possessions in the 2nd Qtr. in which they were in scoring position. There were many funny moments of the day being on the Jag sideline and many came from colorful coach Lou Williams. The funniest came when one of the Chain boys, an Audenried kid, was lax getting down the field. Lou says, "You killing me son, I'll throw you off this field myself." Another came from fiery QB/RB/WR Waschonne "Da-Da" Savoy when Walton sat out a play with a cramp and didn't alert his relief causing the Jags to only have 10 guys on the field. Savoy said, "I'm sick of ya'll being hurt! I play all day hurt. Ya'll make me sick wit dat." Even funnier was when the Jag managers were late with getting the water on the field and one of the assistants went over to them and said, "Girls, they need water, ain't no camels out there." Its always fun seeing the have-nots have a little fun.

OCT. 20
Simon Gratz 38, Roxborough 12
     This one was as one-sided as it gets as Gratz jumped to a 38-0 lead after Jr. RB Randall Scott's 66 yard kickoff return at the start of the 3rd and then Coach Leonard Poole called off his dogs (literally). Scott, who is the brother of  former E&S star Guard Justin Scott, also had a 4 yard TD run. His main sport is track, which is where he excels. Many of these Bulldogs excel on the track. This is one of the Pub's fastest teams. When you mix this team's overall speed with the fact that Poole has them meaner than mean, you have one of the Pub's most dangerous teams. This team is getting better every week and next weekend's showdown with G-Town will loom large as the loser can just about forget the playoffs. This edition of Dogs reminds me alot of last year's pretty good West Philly Speedboy team that went 7-4, but failed to reach the playoffs. Just like that team, they play for keeps and always seem to leave their mark on the game. They are lead week in and week out by three stars: Sr. RB/CB Tyree Watson (5'11 170), Sr. TE/LB Robbie "Beeno" Spivey (6'2 200) & Sr. FB/LB Voncel Harrigan (5'11 210).  These three guys really get after it. In my estimation, the best Football player of the three is the deceptively fast/strong Spivey. "Beeno" was in on 16 bonecrushing, Tackles in this one. On 10 of them, he went solo. He may be projected as a SS in college and he'd be a damn good one too. He also caught a 58 yard TD on the game's most exciting play when Coach Poole called a timeout to set up a 3rd down play and called double Tight. In came lanky, Jr. TE Norman "Bird" Wilson (6'5 190). The ball was pitched to Watson who then dropped back for a long pass to the streaking Spivey, who was in front of two defenders and the rest is history. Watson ran 11 times for 78 yards and always covered well on pass plays. He probably has the most potential of the three. In light of his performances on this summer's Combine/Camp scene, the lively Watson is garnering much recruiting interest that extends to much of 1-AA and even a few of the big boys. He is said to be of legit 4.4/40 speed which will of course help at the next level. Spivey showed well as well this summer. Harrigan seems to be the balance of the other two. He is rock hard and he always has that demeanor. Harrigan went for 2 short (4 & 7) TD runs, both of which he carried several blockers with him. He also was in on 7 stops on Defense. Those three stars are givens, but there are another few Bulldogs waiting in the wings that I feel have much potential in Jr. RB Vondell Parson (5'9 170) & Jr. WR Eugene Wright (6'1 155). Parson started at RB last season before breaking his arm. He ran 7 times for 62 yards in this one. He may have better speed off of the line than Watson and I'm really impressed with the fact that he's put on about 15-20 pounds from last season. Wright is noted to be the team's fastest player. He only had one pass thrown his way and wasn't too happy about it, but his better days are to come. I liked 2 other Bulldogs on D in this one in Jr. OLB Stanley Sims (6'3 185) & Sr. DT Brian "Gooch" Simpkins (6'1 270). Both has 4 Solo tackles with one for a loss. The Dogs sacked Roxborough's QBs 4 times and their O-Line of Tackles: Srs. Kyle Hatch (6'2 275) & Simpkins, Guards: Sr. Dominic Bland  (6'0 280) & Jr. Sydney Millwood (5'8 240), Center: Soph. Lamont Lee-Edgefield (5'11 240) & Tight Ends: Wilson & Spivey did a great jop of protecting the QB and letting the runners get loose. Millwood was subbing for normal starter Sr. David Holmes (6'2 265), who was out for this week with a mild separated shoulder. He's expected to play next week. For the "Boro", I was impressed with a few players. The Indians main problem lied in the fact that this year's bunch has virtually no size whatsoever. Nevertheless, the future is bright as more than half of the skill players are Juniors. Jr. RB/LB Dante Bryant went for 87 yards on 11 Carries & 2 catches for 23 yards. He had both TDs, one rushing & one receiving. He even made 7 stops on defense, a team high.   He never gave up and played hard all game. Both Jr. QB Karon Hill (6'1 200) & Jr. Terrance Clark (6'1 180) have some college potential and are worth watching. Hill was knocked out of this one, but looked to be fine. The fleet Clark caught one ball for 41 yards. Tough Sr. OLB Brandon Sutton & Sr. DB Aquill Wilson both made 6 stops. Being on the Bulldog sideline always makes for some funny moments. Every Gratz player seems to have a nickname. Coach Poole always has some Football Coach comments for his guys like when Jr. QB Kyle Whiting called his own number on a conversion in the 2nd Qtr. and almost didn't make it. When he trotted to the sideline, Poole authoratively remarked, "Boy, you lucky you made it." "The Taskmaster" has spoken. I think he'll pick up right where Coach Ellerbee left off. All of Spivey's hits are ferocious. He is one of the City's hardest hitters. Many times when he clocked guys, the crowd and the sideline yelled, "Whooo! & Oooh." Sometimes even me...

OCT. 17
Martin L. King 20, Overbrook 18  (2 OTs)
                Once again I returned to Cougarland and once again it was an eventful trip. The Golden Cougars of ML King High School always seem to make things interesting when I'm in the house, and this one was no different. That's why Stenton & Haines is one of my favorite stops on the Gridiron trail. These Golden Cougars seem to be improving game by game and could be dangerous come playoff time. They've won three OT games already and there's much to say about that. They were once again led by Sr. QB Dion "Flea" Whittington (6'2 205). The funny thing is that if you look at the numbers you would have thought that he had a poor game. He rushed 11 times for 38 yards and the game winning score and he only went 3-for-12 for 7 yards with a TD and 2 INTs, but that doesn't tell half the story. All but one of the balls he threw should have been caught by his receivers and in my estimation, he could have easily racked up over 200 yards passing today. Not to mention 'Brook Sr. Weakside DE Lance Richardson (2 Sacks) seemed to be in the backfield chasing him down 3 out of every 4 plays. However, the tall, strong lefty made plays when they counted and got over the fact that he had a sure TD dropped in regulation and many other passes over the middle dropped. "Flea" really got after it in the OT periods and showed why he's one of the city's best as he just ran over and through would be tacklers for not-to-be- denied yardage. Very impressive was his shoulder to shoulder collision with brassy, Sr. OLB Omarr Clark in which it looked like "Flea" as playing defense because he laid a punishing hit on Clark that caused the spirited King crowd, many of which were amongst "Flea's Entourage," to go crazy. Dion didn't play defense for most of the game, but in the 4th Qtr. & OT periods he made 5 key stops. The Valley Forges of the world should be salivating over a kid like this. Today "Flea" was helped greatly by the play of Sr. RB Andre Wooden (8 rushes for 80 yards & a TD). Wooden was well on his way to over 100 yards before he sprained his ankle late in the 3rd. He didn't return. His best run was his 49 yard scamper to the house in the 1st Qtr. He really turned on the jets and outran the ultra-quick Panther secondary. The Cougar D was led by charasmatic wildman, Sr. MLB Kevin Snyder (5'10 220) who seemed to be inspired all game by a Pregame incident (More on that later).   Snyder, who first year Coach Mike Stanley says, "Calls my Defense and keeps them together," had 9 Solo Tackles, 11 Total & 2 Passes defended. The second pass he broke up was the game's biggest play as he stopped 'Brook's other nice prospect Sr. WR Robert Littlejohn's sure catch for a two point conversion that would have sent this one to a 3rd OT. Snyder also led block for Whittington's TD in which he had to let everybody know it was "Kevin Snyder blocking, Kevin Snyder blocking..." What a nut. Also stepping up for the Cougars on D was rock hard Sr. DT Carl Samuels (7 Total stops). Samuels could be a nice ILB at the next level. He is two things: Strong (6'0 240) & Crazy and both of those attributes pay dividends on the Football field.  I was once again impressed with Soph. DE
Deshan Lupton (2 TFLs). Lastly, probably the smallest Cougar stepped up the biggest as Sr. CB Kenneth Barnes, listed at 5'6 125, was in on 7 Tackles with 2 TFLs. Barnes was never afraid to throw his body around in there and made up on defense for his dropping on at least 4 catchable balls on O. The Panthers showed much progress in this one towards making strides. They hung tough all game long and had a chance to win in the end on the road against a quality opponent and you can't ask for much more than that. I was really impressed with Clark (6'1 180). He has become one of my favorites to watch in the city. He competes like crazy out there. He's one of the Pub's best Wide-outs. He made two, all-hands shoestring catches in this one; the latter was a huge 1-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone in OT. He had two other balls thrown his way and both were overthrown, but he gave maximun effort and dove after them. That was more impressive to me that the two he caught. This is a kid who is not in the least bit fast, but seems to slither his way to getting open every time. He just has great hands & feet so ofcourse that helps, but his instinct is tremendous. His spirit & intensity, better! I liked Sr. QB Neil Fisher. He is a menace to try to control in the backfield as he just scrambles and scrambles.  On one play, he literally ran circles around the defense for atleast 20 seconds. He also has a solid arm. Fisher ran 11 times for 64 yards and went 4-for-11 for 47 yards & 2 TDs on D. He did throw one INT. His other help came from Sr. RB Alan Tillman with 13 Carries for 68 yards and a TD & slight, Sr. WR Joseph Shedrick (2 catches, both in OT, for 24 yards & a TD). On D, FS Fisher caught an INT and returned it 37 yards & made 4 tackles. OLB Clark made 7 stops, all solo with one for a loss & OLB Littlejohn was one better with 8 Solo stops with one going for a loss. Littlejohn has possibilities as a Safety. He made plays all over the field. Now for the funny moment of the game and that brings me back to Snyder's inspired play. The Panther buses were late and when they walked into Ferber Field they strutted on by way of the King sideline. I began to think I was watching Washington for a moment, but there was no Blue & Gold. Snyder didn't take too kindly to this and had to be calmed down. The funny part about it was that he was calmed down by his just as crazy teammate Carl Samuels. Then a split second later, the 'Brook Cheerleaders walked across the field and Snyder's whole demeanor changed. He was all smiles then. This kid must be a Gemini to change speeds just like that, but I guess the ladies will do it to you if anything. Lastly, a special shout out must go to the King managers (Hashima Rahman - Head, Laren Armstrong, Erica Garrett, Ashley Holland & Jasmine Dandy) who were on point all game long. They were a big help.

OCT. 4
Thomas Edison 32, University City 12
                This one was a battle of two of the Pub's lesser lights. I must admit that it was kind of fun to watch. I was actually impressed with Edison last week in the Mud Bowl at Bartram. This week they were without top rusher Sr. Keith Powell, who was out with a strained lower back. However, his teammates definitely picked up the slack especially Sr. QB Keenan Nelson. Nelson played a great game as he just covered all bases. Nelson rushed 6 times for 28 yards and a TD, then he ran back an 80 yard kickoff for a TD. Last, he passed 2-of-7 for 54 yards both for TDs (47 yards to Sr. WR Devon Weston & 7 yards to Sr. WR Thomas Hoffman). Help also came from Jr. FB Jovan Acosta (5/48) & Soph. RB Dontae Williams (10/42, TD). On Defense, the Owls were led by 6'8 220-lb LB/DE Maurice "Wall" Williams (6 Total Stops). Williams made some man's plays and some key reads. Then he also fell asleep on many plays. If this kid ever put in the hard work and effort, he could be a stud. In Williams' defense he plays more MLB today than his more natural DE so he had to cover much more ground. I was also impressed with 3 other Owl defenders. They were DT Dave Eshun  (6'3 270) with 2 TFLs, Sr. OLB Thomas Hoffman with 6 Solo Tackles & Sr. DB Brad Parker with 8 Total Stops, a sack and an early spark that spread to the rest of his teammates. The Jags were led once again by Sr. RB Bruce Hill with 14 Carries for 167 Yards and 2 TDs. His 2 scores (64 & 43) were beautiful sweeps on which Hill got outside and was off to the races. Hill should be watched closely by the State Schools. He competes and competes week in and out, has good speed and he's a tough kid. He could really shine on a good team, I'm convinced. He also played well from his FS position. U-City had two prime defenders in Sr. OLB Washonne Savoy & Soph. DB Jamar Goss both with 5 Tackles. Things do look to be on the up and up for Coach Williams' bunch as there are 15 Sophs on the Roster and even 5 Freshmen. All of the Freshmen received ample playing time. I'm comfident that he'll make these guys into winners one day.

OCT. 3
Bok Tech 14, Ben Franklin 8
                This one was a Defensive battle between two of the Pub's middle of the packers. Franklin looked strong in their opening week performance against NE even in defeat. Bok took an L to King in the rain last week. Therefore, I came in looking for the Electrons to be the favorite. However, Coach DeFelice did a great job and for some odd reason Franklin came out asleep, Big mistake!.. The Wildcats were led in this one by tough Sr. RB Akeem "Feathers" Green (20-69, TD). Green was a receiver last season and looks to be ready to carry the load from behind the QB this season. Don't believe me? Well the soft spoken "Feathers" carried the ball 12 out of the 17 plays on the game winning 12:33 drive that set up a 1 yard TD run by Jr. FB Cedric Green. Props must go to the line (Sr. C Kenny Hartery, Gs Sr. Ethan Simmons & Jr. Archie Navarre (5'11 300), Ts Jr. Aaron Hayes (6'1 275) & Alex Montero (6'1 280) and Soph. TE Sean Jessup) as they seemed to get stronger as the game went on and especially on that drive. Bok had another weapon that wasn't used much today, but was easy to see that it would be used much over the course of the season and that was Jr. WR Hakim Leach (1 Rec for 55 yards). Yes, Hakim is related to the rest of the Leaches. He is Bartram's Bobby (01') & Bryant's (03') first cousin and he just a brassy, savvy & tough on the Football field as those two are on the Basketball field. This is a great Sports family as former Gratz star Guard Ronald "Bambi" Campbell (96') is also a cousin. This Leach made a man's play when he caught a 55-yard pass from Jr. QB Allen Major on a hook route. He showed great speed, hands and feet. He is definitely a prospect. He made the same play earlier in the game for 40 yards, but it was called back by a penalty. On D, Bok was led by another one of the League's top Juniors in FS/OLB/DE Marcelluas Barnes (6'4 210). Barnes is the spitting image of last year's star at West Philly Deshone "Stink" Cotton. He hits harder than hard and with much purpose. He's as mean as they come on the Football field and looks to have a bright future if he stays on course. For much of this one, he played DE, but in the nickel and dime packages he swung back out to his Safety position where he caught and INT and returned it 45 yards to put this game away. Barnes was also in on 6 total tackles. His future will probably be at OLB or SS, but I like the way Coach DeFelice uses him now. They also got strong performances from Sr. ILBs Vinny Trama (5'9 210) & Ethan Simmons (5'10 195). Both were in on 5 total stops. For Franklin, this was a disappointing effort overall. Their lone TD was scored on a fumble recovery and 4 yard run by Sr. Guard Jason Baldwin (5'8 245). Their other two points were scored on a Safety. Tough, Sr. FB Jestin Brisbon never got on track because of ankle woes throughout. That may have been the difference. He did rush 8 times for 47 yards, but in a game like this you just knew that Coach Rushing wanted to use him more. This was a miserable game for Jr. QB David Calloway. He went 3-for-8 for 36 yards and 3 INTs. On Defense, the Electrons were once again led by Sr. DE Bryant Jennings (6'3 235) with 8 Total tackles and the sack for the safety. He received help from Jr. DE Waverly Lane, Sr. DT Jerome Johnson & Sr. DB Tariq Sabree (All with 8 Total Tackles).  I look for Franklin to bounce back in the coming weeks and for Bok to get stronger as the season goes on as many of their players are inexperienced Juniors.

SEPT. 27
Mastbaum Tech 32, West Phila. 0
   Wow, I really thought this one would have been alot more competitive, but Mastbaum was intent on making a statement. They were making the statement that the Panthers still were top dogs despite the fact that they graduated 16 Srs (16 good ones) and lost 5 others from last year's team. Despite the fact that the Panthers only return 14 lettermen and 30 of the 40 players on the roster are underclassmen. Despite the fact that they went into this contest without their normal starter at QB, Sr. David Wilson. I guess some things just never change... The Panther leader is holdover Sr. RB/LB Nate Nixon (5'9 195). Nixon wore #40 today instead of his normal #30. Coach John Murphy told me that "Nixon's brother washed his White and Red Jerseys together and his white Jersey turned pink. I didn't want him to be a pink panther." Nevertheless, Nixon carried the ball 6 times for 50 yards and a TD strike of 25 yards on the first Panther possession. He didn't seem to be his normal active self on defense, which is where he projects in college, but there will be other/bigger games for him to do such. 'Baum's backup QB Soph. Markies Tavares seemed to be very comfortable. He only passed 6-for-7 for 202 yards and 3 TDs. He had a very easy time of it today. The Speedboy secondary didn't provide much resistence either. His main receiver was ultra-quick Jr. WR Jovan Pratt (5'10 160). Pratt went off for a career game/school record with 5 catches for 176 yards and 3 scores. His scores were of 73, 34 & 40 yards. The Panther Defense deserves a collective pat on the back. They combined to Sack West's QBs 7 times and held the the Speedboys to 110 yards of total offense. There were two guys that stuck out in Pratt from his CB post (7 Total Stops) & Jr. DE Mark Brighter (6'2 225) with a fumble recovery, 2 tackles for losses and 2 Sacks. Both are good looking young prospects and part of the reason that I see this good Mastbaum team being a dangerous factor by say November and a definite force to be reckoned with next season. There weren't any good stories to tell on the Westside, but its just tough when you graduate 15 contributing Srs and most of them are your starting skill players. There is no more Cotton or Roper or Greene or Cosby-Jones or Vanderhurst or Weaver... You get my drift, that's a lot ot lose. All of their speed, toughness & experience is gone. One bright spot was the fact that the much heralded Jr. RB Gerald Dove (5'11 175) made his debut and I was surely impressed. He played on a tender ankle, yet he was very effective and will only get better as the year goes on and he gains valued experience. Dove ran 10 times for 65 yards, caught one ball for 13 yards & threw a pass for 10 yards. The problem is that the Speedboys can't move the ball behind their two inexperienced, unsure QBs: Sr. Steve Pennycook (5'9 160) & Soph. Jalil Harris (5'9 165). They combined to throw 6-for-17 for 46 yards and 2 INTs, not good. The Speedboy line ought to be ashamed of themselves as they are big, strong & experienced, yet they were a nonfactor today. That said, on Defense Sr. DE Steve Fulton (6'3 275) made some nices plays. Fulton was in on 5 tackles and recovered a fumble. Mammoth, Sr. DT Darryl Watson (6'2 305) was also very good on Defense with 9 Total stops. Both are prospects on the Defensive side of the ball. Once again the refs were poor. I made an attempt to tip the refs off that whoever was on the clock was over there asleep a few times and they never even addressed it. One time the clock man ran the clock on an extra point. Nobody said or did anything about it. Sad, very sad...

SEPT. 27
John Bartram 18, Thomas Edison 0
   Rainy Day, Rainy Day, what would I have done without Tom "Hockey Puck" McKenna on this rainy day. Hock and I tagged teamed this sloppy affair from the Top row of Bartram field as I held the umbrella and he wrote the stats. Just picture that... This wasn't much of a game for judging either team's personnel, therefore I'd defintely like to see both teams again. However, I must say that the Fightin' Owls played well under the circumstances. If not for their turnovers and if they had used better clock management this could have been a game. Also in their Division C, they play some winnable games. Bartram, which lost almost all of its skill players from last season's final 4 squad, seems to have just reloaded. However, their most impressive performer was Sr. holdover FB/OLB Marvin Snipes (6'2 225). Snipes looks to have made much improvement over the summer. He ran 7 times for 77 yards and a TD in what Coach Frank "Roscoe" Natale said was "his first time running the ball." He did fumble twice, but we won't hold that against him. Snipes was also one of the Maroon Wave's best defenders with 6 total stops and an Interception for a 36 yard TD. Mr. Snipes also seems to have added on 10-15-lbs of muscle over the summer to his already impressive body. He is a definite prospect. Star Sr. RB Chironn "Goober" Davis (5'7 170) was pretty much held in check by the field conditions. He ran 13 times for 57 yards. He never fumbled though and that's impressive considering the circumstances and the fact that almost everybody else that ran the ball did. The other TD was a 4-yarder ran in by new QB Sr. Todd "Kojack" McCoy (6'2 190). He looks to have a chance to be a good football player. I meant to ask Coach Natale if this was his first year playing. McCoy could be a very important player in the Basketball Team this Winter. He was the 5th starter this summer. He never attempted a pass in this one, but he's strong, quick and very athletic. He could have a future in this game as an athlete. I'd love to see him on a dry field because the Wave has some quality deep threats in Sr. Alvin Tate (6'2 185), Sr. Randal Eggleton (6'3 185) & Sr. Larry Aikens (6'1 185). On Defense, the Marooners were led by Junior WLB Jeremy Welzcher with 9 Total stops and 1 Sack. This kid has a very bright future. He was everywhere on the field in this one. I'd like to see more of 6'5 265 Sr. OT/DE Richard Mink. He seemed to play better on O than he did on D in this contest. Last year I figured he's be more of a defensive player. For Edison, Sr. QB/S Keenan Nelson made plays all over the field on both sides of the ball. He looked good in the pocket in going 2-for-5 for 35 yards. He could rack up yards passing on a good day. On D, he made 8 Solo Tackles from his Safety position and he recovered a fumble. Edison's team leader and best prospect is Sr. WR/TE/DE Maurice "Wall" Williams (6'8 220). "The Wall" was not at his best in this one, but I still like him as a prospect. He really impressed me today in that he has taken control of this team. Last year, he seemed disinterested and reserved. He led them in the huddles and in the PreGame and Halftime stretches. Of course, there were funny moments working with "The Puck." I'll only give you one though. As the third quarter wound down to around 3 minutes, Puck said, "Man they must be doing this Quarter by plays not minutes. There are only 9 plays in this Quarter. I bet they only run three more." Hock was right as only 3 more plays were run and of course he had to let me know just how right he was. He said, "See I told you, put that on the Website. Hockey was right. Hockey was right." Another funny moment in the funny life of the Puck...

SEPT. 20
Northeast 17, Ben Franklin 14
   I came away with two thoughts after leaving this very bizarre affair: #1 This Franklin team is much better than I thought they'd be. #2 This isn't the same NE Team that they've been the past few seasons. Why did I feel this way? Well because Franklin actually outplayed the Vikes and probably deserved to win. If not for a few mental mistakes, victory would have been the Electrons' reward. Franklin actually came up 1 yard short of a huge upset. As NE ran the last play of the game with 7 seconds left -- a 4th down hand-off to Sr. FB Mark Pasley -- he ran into a pile and was stripped of the ball by Electron OLB Jestin Brisbon (5'10 195). Brisbon raced all the way down to the NE 1 yard line before being brought down by RB Stanley Ebron with triple zeros on the clock. This was a wild ending to say the least and it really through a scare into the Vikes and a bolt of the Big C into the Electrons. Its inevitable that this Electron squad will be a force in the wide open Division C. NE had many nagging injuries in their defense and went into this one without one of their Sr. Captains in T Vince Marino (6'0 275). Also brassy Sr. CB Eric Clark (6'1 180), arguably the best cover man in the Public League, went out early in the 3rd with bad leg cramps and never returned. NE looks to be having a QB controversy as they played each of their 5'9 160-lb Jr. QBs for a half. In the first half, they went with the more poised/stable Andrew Lihotz (3-for-5 for 80 yards & a TD). In the second, the Vikes went with the playmaker/athlete Marcellus Sammons (2-for-5 for 28 yards & an INT). I don't think anything will be settled from this one because both had their moments and both deserve another look. Problem is, NE has the tough G'Town Gang next week and that's not a game for experimentation. The O was led by Sr. RB Stanley Ebron (14 carries, 65 yards & a TD) & Sr. WB Kamil Harris (3 catches for 88 yards & a TD on a 68 yard play.). Neither are dominators. It just seems that NE could struggle a bit on Offense as there is no imposing force on this addition of the Vikes O. The Defense is still standard for the Vikes even though they lost much personnel. They were led by Sr. DE Joe Tizol with 9 total stops, Jr. MLB William Bartlett with 6 total stops (2 for L's) & Sr. OLB Larry Smith with 5 Total stops (2 for Ls). Clark made his presence known on D in the 2 Quarters he played with 5 tackles from his corner position. Also I was impressed with Jr. CB Benjamin "Slim Herc" Franklin's defense in this one against his namesake. He was in on many nice plays and looks to be a good prospect on Defense. The Electrons dominated the ball for most of the game behind the running of the much improved Brisbon (17 Carries for 133 yards and a TD). He was hard to control for the Vikes. He made for a nice 1-2 punch with track star/RB Jesse Edney (atleast 4.3/40 speed). Edney ran 10 times for 54 yards and a YD, but came close to breaking atleast half of those runs for long ones. I felt that the best Prospect on Defense was Sr. DE Bryant Jennings (6'3 230). He was in on 4 Tackles and 2 Sacks. He hits with serious purpose for sure. Sr. SS Tyrone Major (6'2 205) made 3 Solo Stops and picked off a pass. Brisbon, who will probably be a SS at the next level, also made many nice plays for the Electrons. All three of these S-As should garner some State School Interest. It'll be interesting to see how both of these squads respond over the course of the rest of the season.

SEPT. 19
Dobbins Tech 20, M.L King 6
   This contest was both interesting and entertaining. The 'Stangs jumped on the Golden Cougars early on and the heroics of their all-everything QB/FS Dion "Flee" Whittington just were not enough. The 'Stangs were led on O by their rushing tandem of Srs. RB Khalif Boldin (5'8 190) & FB Lateef Ferguson (6'1 225). It's early, but the Pub will be hard-pressed to find a better tandem behind the QB than these two. Both are All-City players and at least 1-AA caliber prospects. Boldin rushed 13 times for 80 yards & 2 TDs. While Ferguson rushed 7 times for 59 yards. These two will wreak havoc on the Pub for the next 3 months, Beware! Dobbins' new QB is Jr. Maurice Whitaker (4-of-10, 72 yards for a TD and an INT). He did a good job in this one. I'd still like to see him in a bigger game, like next week's nighter at NE to see how much weight his heart truly holds. Nevertheless, he made for the play of the day with a savvy play-action fake for a 40-yard TD Pass to Jr. WR Ariel Simmons (6'2 170) on his first series. On Defense, D-Tech was led by Ferguson, who put on a major league show from his MLB position. Sure he'll need to bulk up a little to play the position at the next level, but this kid makes plays all over the field and makes sure runners know who he is. The Pitts & West Virginias of the world should take a peek. In this one, 'Teef went for 12 Total Tackles (8 Solo, 4 for losses) and snagged an Interception. His main help came from another Mustang Prospect in Jr. OLB/S Greg Myers (5'10 185). He played much OLB in this one, but his future will be at SS. This kid hit harder than even Ferguson. He just crushed many King offenders. He'll be fun to watch over the next 2 years as he just means business out there. I was also impressed with Sr. DE/OLB Stevie Draper, who I could have sworn was a Sr. last year, but I guess I was wrong. He made many plays that didn't show in the stats. Another piece of intrigue for the Stangs was the fact that they started Sr. basketball WG DiSheem "Da-Da" Butler (6'2 170) at FS replacing last year's star Barren Grier. This was said to be Butler's first ever organized Football game and he looked like a prospect if he ever should decide to stick with it. Butler did give up the lone TD, but he made his share of plays as well. His speed, length, athleticism & leadership will definitely help. He also did an amirable job in returning two punts that gave the Stangs excellent field position. For King, it seemed to be "Flee against the world" as Whittington (6'2 205), a lefty, produced close to 70% of their total offense (8/48 Rushing & 49 yards passing w/ a TD) and was the man on Defense as well with 5 solo tackles. It's a shame because he just may be the best QB, RB & WR on the team. I wish they had someone else to throw the ball so that his athleticism would really show all over the rest of the field. This kid has D-1 ability as a SS, but will need a strong Prep School/Military Academy or Top Juco to get there. Whittington being the leader on D spells trouble because he is the back line. That said, the heart of the normally tough Cougar 5/3 Run-stopping Defense was Srs MLB Kevin Snyder (5'9 215), DT Carl Samuel (6'0 235) & DT Brandon Truesdale. All had their moments, but none would admit to playing one of their better games. In all fairness to Snyder, he was playing his new FB position in this one. I was impressed with two Cougars I didn't recognize in DEs Sr. Dallas Cummings (2 Sacks) & Soph. DeShan Lupton (4 tough tackles/all-around hard play). The Cougars will win their share and even possibly make the playoffs, but today just wasn't their day. The quote of the day goes to Dobbins' Sr. Captain and two-way Tackle Cedric McNear. He asked me, "Ain't you the whachacallam guy from the Internet. You are famous." I guess I am the whachacallam guy from the Internet. It's a good sign because we know the kids are reading.

SEPT. 14
Roman Catholic 37, St. John Neumann 14
   Finally I have made my return to the gridiron and what better contest to observe than the biggest rivalry in CL Hoops Roman-Neumann. Well this wasn't January, but the Cahillites dominated behind two constants in mobile/athletic Jr. QB Andre Sloan-El (6'3 185) on Offense & Jr. Weak-side LB/DE Charron Fisher (6'3 225) on Defense. The two Basketball stars ain't shabby on the field either. As a matter of fact, in my humble opinion both could be better in the long run in this particular sport. Sloan-El is a long, athletic lefty who just makes plays. In this one he was 7-for-11 for 160 yards and 2 TDs. He was perfectly accurate on all passes but one. He has promising possibilites for sure. His main target was Sr. WR Charlie Squitiere (4/86). One of his touchdown passes came on 4th and long on a lob to Fisher, who easily made the play. The Cahillites really dominated both sides of the ball in this one and rang up a total of 418 Total yards to Neumann's 214. I really thought it would have been more competitive. The Empire's main rushers were tough Soph. Matt Patricelli (14-94, TD) & Sr. Andy Amaro (10-66, 2TDs and a great name --smile). The defense was anchored by Fisher who just made effortless plays en route to being in on 4 Total Stops and 3 Sacks. For his last sack he chased Neumann's back-up QB for at least 15-20 yards in the backfield finally snagging him with one hand and slinging him to the ground for a big-boy sack. My TS.com colleague, Huck Palmer, immediately turned to me and said, "That was a Man's play." Indeed it was as he showed serious agility, good speed and the animalistic tendenancy it takes to be a fierce LB. For the Pirates, I was impressed with their running game. All three of their main backs are talented. Sr. FB Jimmy Porreca (11-56, TD) and Juniors AP-back Billy Canady (5/24) & Richard McMickens (7/102, TD). McMickens showed the most promise: he's speedy and elusive. All but 6 of his yards came in the 2nd & 3rd Quarters. The massive Pirate line seemed to wear down in the heat and humidity. It was well over 80 degrees on the field and the big guys seemed to tire and even get pushed around at times. Nevertheless, Sr. T Ed McDuffie (6'4 312) is very good. He always seemed to be in the middle of the action. I think he'll admit that this wasn't his best game though. Sr. TE Al Meacham (6'4 280) has great size and some huge mitts. He is a definite prospect. So. G Marques Slocum (6'5 315) has a chance to be a stud. In this one he struggled behind a few mental mistakes, but I still feel he's the Pirates' top prospect long range as he is meaner than mean, highly athletic and has great size. He could still be growing and by just looking at him, you could see that he's not at all fat. I'd like to see the Pirates again and will in the coming weeks. Canady led the way on D with 6 stops (5 solo). This was a productive way to begin my season. Next up with be the Pub wars that begin next week.