Amauro's Football Weekend
Football 2014

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    Amauro "Amar" Austin is a headliner among our trusty observers. He is not to be confused with Ruben Amaro, the Phillies' general manager. Like "Huck" Palmer, Amauro is a West Catholic graduate. He will make reports on games he sees.
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    Twitter: @AA215.

NOV.  15
Franklin 36, Gratz 24

   Yes, folks, in my 15 years of covering "Pub" sports, this may well have been the best Football title game I can remember. And it's fitting being that this 4A (do any of the others really matter?!?!?) title tilt involved unlikely combatants in Norf (ha ha ha) Philly rivals Gratz and Franklin. The last time in recent memory the true Pub title didn't include one or both teams from the three-headed Boulevard Boys Monster (Frankford, Washington, Northeast)  was the '99 game in which the now-defunct Germantown ousted the also-out-of- business Bok Tech. The game was a classic as it included plenty of offense, including big plays and adjustments. The star, as he has been all season long, was Electron sr QB Kevin Caldwell (15-25, 305 3TD). On the season, the little general has 2,500+ yards with an eye-popping 35 TDs to just 2 INTs and just over 65% completion (At least 2 games remain). 1st Team All-City alert!!! The three scores were in order a 33-yard fade to jr. WR Javier Buffalo, an 18 yard catch & run to sr. slotback Rapheal "Macho" Rodriguez set up by Caldwell's 31-yard scramble on 3rd & 28 and then the cherry on top -- a 75 yard bomb to a streaking Rodriguez. Caldwell makes throws to every level and has the brain of a 10-year Pro vet. He compares VERY Favorably to former GW star Aaron Wilmer, who was viewed as a D1 prospect if he wanted to change positions but became a 1st magnitude star at D3 Del Val College as a two-time All American. Maybe and hopefully someone in Low to Mid D1 land won't make the same mistake with Caldwell. As for Rodriguez, he is clearly the City's most explosive player. He seems to get behind the fastest of the fast DBs each and every week. Here he caught 5 balls for 134 yards and ran for another score from 3 yards out. On the season, he's scored his 24 TDs in 5 different ways. 17 have come through the air. The other score was a 5 yard plunge by sr. RB Jymere Toney (14-75). Jr. WR Rasheem James caught 6 balls for 67 yards.  Sr. WR Michael Kane (6-4 200) made a huge stretch-out, 25-yard grab along the sideline to set up Toney's score. Jr. Kicker Ismaila Saka made 3 XPs and an important-as-heck, 20-yard field goal. Jr. DE Taj Clea (6-4 230) was a big boy on D with a TFL and a big sack among his 7 stops. His partner in crime, Keyon McCloud-Holman, was all over the place with 11 total tackles. The Bulldogs have nothing to hang their heads about as they truly had their opportunities to take this one late behind their ground and pound offense (266 total rushing yards) that gave them the ball for a total of 11:09 of the 12 minute 3rd quarter running mostly behind massive 6-4 320 jr guard Raquan Thomas, a Beast of epic proportions. Quick Jr. Tailback Luke White was the main beneficiary with 26 totes for 175 yards (also caught 2 balls for 40 yards) and a 30 yard score. Sr QB Musa Al-Sulaimani & sr slotback Shawn Williams also rushed for scores. Al-Sulaimani had a 2nd half he'd like to forget though going 0-12 passing and that may well have been the difference here. Jr. LB Shawn "Woozy" Jenkins (6-1 230) was his normal head-cracking self with 8 total stops with 2 behind the line. The latter of which was for a late safety that put the Bulldogs in position to drive for the win with momentum galore on their side. It just wasn't to be even after strong return by Williams put the Bulldogs on the Franklin 38. The drive went like this: 1st down: Long run by sr FB Chris Rhone shortened to 3 yards by a holding penalty. Repeat 1st down: Incomplete pass by MA-S. 2nd Down: MA-S misfires. 3rd Down: MA-S incomplete again this time batted down by Rodriquez. 4th down: MA-S is sacked by Clea. The Electrons took over and scored 3 plays later on the aforementioned bomb from Caldwell to Rodriguez. Ballgame . . .
  AAsNotes: I'll never forget going to a Franklin game a few years back in coach David Carter's first year at the helm and DC looked at me and said, "There's no place like home" while clicking his heals. Now a short time later his "little ol" Electrons are Pub Champs,  Wild man . . . Gratz' "RA" Thomas is a prospect and a half. It wouldn't shock me in the least if he pulled a Sharrif Floyd this off season as he possesses the same look coupled with the same brute strength and desire. The only issue I'd have as a college coach is if I'd use him as a guard, right tackle or defensive tackle because he could easily play and stand out at any of them . . . The Electrons' City Title matchup with SJ Prep next Saturday piques my interest immensely, especially if BF can get off early. The likely matchup between Rodriguez and Prep's all world corner John Reid (Penn State) could be epic... The Bulldogs may be even better in 2015 as most of their prominent performers, including the O & D lines, are juniors...

OCT. 3
King 50, Northeast 49 (OT)

  What a wild night in Mt Airy!!.. As I walked on the field during pregame warmups I noticed King's #2 walk off to the sideline where he started throwing up unmercifully in a trashcan. #2 just happens to be soph. QB Nasir Boykin, an athletic lefty wheeler and dealer who today went from being sick pregame to shattering a 16-year-old school record 3 hours later.. Boykin was the true star here as he passed for 384 yards (25-40) & 4 TDs (3 picks) while also rushing for 2 more scores en route to bringing the Cougars back from an early 3rd quarter deficit of 42-21. He made play after play after play many times slipping and avoiding the clutches of NE sack specialist sr. DE Gladimir Paul (Virginia commit) among others. The finale came in OT with King down by a score  Boykin plunged in from a yard out and then after the Cougars called for time to sort out what they'd do on on the conversion (as if they really had had a choice.. ha ha ha..), he rolled to his right, danced a little and hit jr. RB Paul Sanchez, who was flat on his back!!! WOW!! Boykin's main co-star here was sr handyman WR Dominque McNeil, who beat a school record of his own with 11 catches for 190 yards and 3 TD snags. He seemed to always be open. Sr. WR Jayni Harris (6-3 195, 5/63) caught the other TD and has the look of a late bloomer. Also Sanchez was steady throughout. He had a rushing TD and caught 3 balls for 44 yards. The defensive slalwart was sr. DT Dawayne Young (6-3 290, Temple) with 3 stops behind the line and much more in the way of disruption. Northeast has serious explaining to do as they flat out didn't tackle here and seemed to rest on their laurels after dominating the first 2 and a half quarters. Sr. RB Rushawn Grange led with 23 carriers for 124 yards and 4 scores (3, 4, 8, 48) but had a costly fumble going towards the end zone that breathed life into the wounded Cougars. Both sr. RB Rashaan Moore & soph. handyman Keith Moore also had rushing scores. Sr. slotback Travon Williams took a punt back for a score of 62 yards and had a pick on defense.. Srs Asa Manley & Teddy Fils Aime also had INTs.
  AAs Notes: The Vikings are somehow 1-5 this season, having lost 3 games by a combined 4 points.. NE played again without one of its main playmakers in sr WR Clayton Rush, who has been injured.. Also I'd like to see more out of Virginia commit Sr. DE Gladimir Paul.. Sure he made some plays but he took just as many plays off and this wasn't how he built his rep.. Last year he played as if his pants were on fire with a nonstop motor. When "Glad" plays like that he's one of the City's true game changers.. Next up for King is the always tough Salesianum out of Delaware.. Boykin broke the record of a first magnitude star Cougar Rasheim "Feets" Wright, who was one of the best pure athletes of my era. He was the Randall Cunningham of the Pub during those days and is still overseas today playing Pro Hoops. Brought back memories. I'm getting old, ha ha ha.. Everyone please follow me on Twitter @AA215 for in-game updates and all kinds of other cool stuff. I consider myself to be a Philly Sports historian, so both young and old are welcomed . . .