Where There's a Will
Willie McGonigle is a 2004 graduate of now defunct Our Lady of Charity Elementary School, in Brookhaven. After his days at Charity he attended Cardinal O'Hara, graduating in 2008. While at O'Hara he was manager of the football program, specializing in stats. He currently resides in Brookhaven and serves as stat man for Springfield Delco. You may reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neumann-Goretti 34, Sun Valley 21
Like the fearless leader of this website I to consider retiring full time from covering high school events. But like Ted I found it hard to walk away from something I enjoy doing. With that in mind I took short drive from my house in Brookhaven over to Aston and took in this tune up for Thanksgiving game between the visiting Neumann-Goretti Saints and hometown Sun Valley Vanguards. And folks let me tell you this was a fairly competitive game. The host Vanguards got on the board first following interception of Raymond Lenhart by Kijanna Gordon that gave SV possession at the NG 22. Two plays following the interception Sr. QB TJ Mancini connected with Bobby Koons for 19 yard gain that set them up at the 2 where Sr. Brandon Williams capped the drive on the next play with his plunge. The Vanguards boast two female place kickers in Alexa Evans and Madison Cristinziani. Evans added the game's first PAT to give the host the 7-0 lead after one. The guest wasted little time tying things up as on the second play of the second quarter Sihmare Morgan plunged in from a yard out. On the next Saints drive they got a glimpse of their future when Frosh Aamir Brown took a reverse and jetted down the Saints sideline for a 55 yard touchdown. Brown would add another score in the half off an interception of Mancini in which Brown showed his speed to quickly close a passing window and returned it 74 yards to put the guest up 21-7 at intermission. The Saints wasted little time adding to their lead in the second half as they took opening drive of the half down the field and capped it with a 5 yard plunge by Morgan. It appeared as if the Saints were just going run away with it then on the ensuing kickoff the ball found its way to the dangerous Ryan Riddle, who broke a few tackles and was off to the races to for 70 yard touchdown. Cristinziani added the PAT and we had ourselves a game at 27-14. The Saints appeared to put the game away again when Soph Khalil Roane danced his way in from 35 yards out. But again the Vanguards on the strength of Mancini arm battled back and to within 34-21 when he connected with Williams for the 30 yard score. Riddle came up with the ensuing onsides kick but they couldn’t convert a fourth and 13 from the Saints 38 that allow the Saints to run out the clock. For this game I took a seat in the press box where I was joined by close friend and the voice of the Vanguards Mr. Mancini and got to enjoy plenty of football conversation with while working with Daily Times Stringer Chuck Smith, who handled the offensive stats while I worked on the Defensive Stats. Jr. LB Michael DiFrancesco led the Saints with 9 tackles and Frosh Emil Moody was right behind him with 7 tackles. For the Vanguards Mancini led with 9 tackles while Williams(7) Lenny DeAngelo (5) Andrew Bernstein (4) along with a force fumble and fumble recovery followed up. I was impressed with the size of the Saints and they show a lot of promise playing several young players. The Vanguards are under the direction of former Cardinal Dougherty Head Man Jim Grugan, who's in his third season and appears on the upswing despite having a season in which the injury bug reared its ugly head. Grugan's staff has a Catholic League feel as former Cardinals stars Kellen “Bubba” Kemp and Vernard Abrams join longtime assistant Jim Whitehead. Both teams will enjoy a 13-day break before strapping on the pads again for their annual Thanksgiving affairs. For the Saints they will take on Southern while the Vanguards will host the Chichester Eagles