CYO All-Star FB Game, 2008

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By Gene Williams

The Fourteenth Annual Knights of Columbus CYO All Star Charity Football Game, sponsored by DeLaSalle Council #590 in Springfield, was played on April 26 at Widener University. Eighth-grade players from CYO programs in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties were selected to participate.

The Blue squad consisted of players from St. Joseph (Collingdale), St. Dorothy, St. Cyril, St. Margaret, St. Denis, Holy Cross, St. Laurence, St. Francis (Springfield), St. Bernadette, Sacred Heart, Annunciation, St. Charles, St. Andrew, St. Gabriel, and Our Lady of Fatima.

Representing the Gold squad were St. Pius, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Katherine, Our Lady of Charity, St. Anastasia, St. Agnes, Assumption BVM, St. Joseph (Downingtown), SS. Simon and Jude, SS. Philip and James, St. Thomas, St. Patrick, St. Aloysius, Mother of Divine Providence, and Chesmont Catholic.

Proceeds support the Al Consalvi Charity Fund (pediatric medical research) and the James J. Costello (“Coz”) Tuition Grant Program. To-date, over $250,000 has been raised to support these children’s charities.

Played before a near-capacity crowd on a cool, fall-like spring evening, this year’s Gold Team won, 30–12, for the first time in five years since the Game was expanded to pit teams from Chester County and Western Delco (Gold) versus traditional football powerhouses from Eastern Delco (Blue).

Defense was dominant early on, as both offenses took time to warm up. The Blue’s Joe Nilan (St. Francis) was a force to be reckoned with at nose guard and inside line backer. Nilan recorded five tackles for the game, including his play on special teams. LB Ed Morris (St. Anastasia) and DL Shannan Green (St. Katherine), both of whom recorded four tackles, led the Gold defensive effort.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Gold signal caller Tommy Rumer (SS. Philip and James) raced 69 yards around the right side for a touchdown to start the second quarter. The versatile Rumer carried five times for 86 yards, and was two-of-four for 36 passing yards. The PAT, a two-point kick, was converted by Scott Nulty (St. Patrick). MDP’s Teron Dobbs added an 11-yard touchdown run later in the quarter to put Gold on top, 16 – 0, following Nulty’s second PAT.

A swarming Gold defense kept the explosive Blue team scoreless in the first half. Blue QB Matt Broomall (Holy Cross) challenged the Gold defense with his passing and running abilities. Only an impregnable, “11-player-to-the-ball” mentality kept the Blue’s running game in check, while DB Joe Brugger (St. Joseph) skied high for an interception to end a Blue scoring opportunity. DB Ryan Schollenberger (St. Anastasia) also defended well against the Blue aerial attack.

Ismir Gibson (St. Cyril) (43 rushing yards) electrified the crowd with a 70-yard kickoff return to give the fired-up Blues excellent field position at the start of the second half. Primarily behind the blocking Pete Della Port (St. Denis) and Lou Moeller (Holy Cross), both of whom played well over the course of the evening, Gibson scored on a seven-yard run on the ensuing series to cut into the Gold lead, 16 – 6. Along with Gibson, RB David Kennedy (OLF) brought a great deal of energy and hard running to the Blue offense, especially after intermission.

That energy was contagious, and the Blue defense feasted off it. Leading the charge were DB Mike Gentile (Annunciation), who recorded four tackles and broke up a pass play; LB Mike Deuber (St. Margaret), whose quickness allowed him to move effortlessly to the ball for five tackles; and  DL Tyler Ramirez (St Laurence), who applied a great deal of pressure up the middle and registered four tackles.

  With the game seemingly up for grabs and facing the red-hot Blues, Gold took possession deep in its own territory. Gene Williams (St. Anastasia) took over at the helm and wasted little time on the ensuing series in leading Gold on a momentum-changing scoring drive. Solid in the trenches for Gold were rotating OL John Bradford (St. Agnes), Sean Ridinger (St. Anastasia), Tommy Tomlin (St. Maximillian), Chris Civera (OLC), Shane Malenfant (St. Katherine), Joe Ravert (St. Pius), Shane Galante (ABVM), Tim Haines (St. Thomas), and Kevin McHale (St. Aloysius). Especially on this drive, they provided key run support for Williams and playmaking cohorts Steve Perpiglia (St. Anastasia), Breon Bruton (OLC), and Jim Hurley (St. Katherine), all of whom were featured prominently. A well-executed play-action pass covering the drive’s final 20 yards from Williams to Hurley surprised the stacked Blue defense and resulted in a touchdown to regain the Gold’s two-touchdown lead at 22 – 6.

Bruton’s bruising one-yard TD run later in the quarter, followed by Nulty’s third PAT kick of the evening, closed out the Gold scoring at 30 – 6.

Despite a 10-yard touchdown run by the Blue’s Myles Brooker (St. Margaret) in the fourth quarter, the Gold defense was stout to the end in denying the Blues any hope of getting back into the game. LB T.J. White (St. Agnes) and DL Hunter Knighton (St. Joseph) each wrecked havoc along the line of scrimmage and finished with two tackles apiece. DL Ryan Singley (ABVM) recorded a tackle for a loss, while DL Brendan Nucifora (St. Aloysius) recovered a fumble.      

Players on both teams are to be congratulated for a fine display of talent, execution, and sportsmanship. And in the end, it didn’t really matter who won the game. Because when the Blue and Gold meet, it’s the resulting “green” raised by kids helping other kids that matters most.