Ryan 27, Judge 20
This one had some slow moments, especially in the first half, but wound up being very entertaining. Ryan used a three-play, 73-yard drive with 6:56 left to take a 27-20 lead and then had to hang on, and did so splendidly, after star sr. WR Kyle Gallagher (4-87) allowed Judge sr. DB Paul Roken to steal the ball with 3:45 left. Judge wound up with first-and-10 at the Ryan 26. The sequence: soph DB Mike Pinto stopped jr. WR/part-time RB Carl Peterson for a 1-yard gain; jr. LB Sean Lucarini held jr. RB Joe Becht (20-119) for no gain on a draw; sr. DE Bill Lynch dropped sr. QB Mike Eaton for a 6-yard sack; and Eaton badly overthrew a receiver on fourth down under heavy pressure from jr. DE Dave Levan. Ryan's winning drive was preceded by a 17-yard KO return from freshman Joe Zeglinski. Then, DeLeo (7-for-17, 137) hit Gallagher for a 19-yard gain, "Ziggy" ripped off a 39-yard gain and DeLeo hit Gallagher for a 15-yard TD on a right-to-middle slant. Up by only five, 25-20, Ryan coach Glen Galeone opted to go for two. DeLeo was going to pass, then indicated he wanted to run up the middle. There was no room, so he dashed around the right side and scored standing up. It was a nice improvisation. Pinto and sr. DB Chris Bakos had interceptions for Ryan while Bakos and sr. OLB Jonmike McArdle blocked punts. By the way, McArdle is OUTSTANDING as a long-snapper. Big-time velocity. Sr. K Chris Weber booted field goals of 20 and 41 yards. Zeglinski finished with 102 yards and a TD on 17 carries. He also had a catch for 30 and two returns for 37. His 30-yard catch, to the left side, immediately followed a 16-yarder, to the right side, that would have been a TD if not for a holding call. For Judge, aside from Becht, Eaton went 9-for-21 for 120 yards and Peterson made six catches for 77 yards while jr. Mike Bergey did some yeoman blocking, even a significant distance downfield. Jr. Tim Wacker began the game with a 98-yard KO return for a TD. Wacker and Roken also had interceptions. Sr. Matt DeLong, in his first game as Judge's kicker, booted FGs of 20 and 32 yards. Jr. LB Anthony Rodriguez was in on nine tackles. After performing at halftime, Ryan's band packed up and left. Judge faced an interesting choice late in the first half. On a play where Wacker intercepted at the 1, holding was called on Ryan far behind the line. If Judge had accepted, the ball would have been moved back to Ryan's 45. That's a field position difference of 54 yards. Judge opted to let the interception stand. Eaton threw a pick on the seocnd play and Ryan scored four plays later on DeLeo's 8-yard pass to sr. TE Bill Freiling.
SJ Prep 49, La Salle 12
What is going ON here? Is The Prep this good, or are its opponents this bad? The Hawks frolicked and likely could have scored 60 or 70 if they'd been so inclined. The halftime score was 34-0 and I can say this without too much chance of being challenged: It was the Explorers' worst half of football in the modern era. La Salle has a veteran defense, but it was given no chance by the offense. Here are the results of each first-half possession: interception, lost fumble, 11-yard punt, 9-yard punt, lost fumble, interception, dropped snap on fourth down, 4-yard loss as time ran out. Those woes enabled Prep to take over at the 50, 36, 42, 36, 23, 6 and 34 (those last six numbers are in La Salle territory). Prep's leaders on offense were sr. RB Pat Kaiser (15-145) and the combination of sr. QB Matt Stefanski (6-for-15, 123) to soph WR Steve Quinn (3 catches, 96 yards, all for TDs). Kaiser also kicked five PAT and two FGs and sent five of his kickoffs into the end zone; through a strong crosswind, no less. The balls landed nine, nine, eight, seven and three yards deep. Amazing! Jr. Danny Jones was spectacular also. He had two interceptions, returning them for a total of 56 yards, and scored on a magnificent, bob-and-weave, 89-yard kickoff return. Jr. DB Greg Ambrogi and jr. DT Brandon Friday had fumble recoveries to set up scores. Friday was also in on two sacks. After Kaiser's TD provided a 40-0 lead early in the third quarter, Prep posted a two-point conversion. There was no intent to embarrass. The snap was bobbled by Stefanski, who then scrambled and did a nice job finding jr. Brian Tracz. La Salle mostly abandoned its running game early when the coaches acknowledged that the O-line could not handle Prep's D-line. The running game was hurt by the absence of jr. RB Max Mullineaux (high ankle sprain, maybe out for three more games). La Salle finally had a happy moment late in the third quarter when sr. Sean Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a score. Jr. L Kevin Donohoe made a crushing block. Eighty-seven seconds later, sr. QB Joe F. Winning whipped an 18-yard scoring pass to jr. TE Frank Jorfi right after sr. LB Rob Brassell recovered a fumble. La Salle kids at one point were yelling at Kaiser, "Ham and cheese! Ham and cheese!" That's what one would find in a Kaiser roll, right? Even before halftime, Prep's were chanting, "Start the buses! Start the buses!" Even though this was a daytime game, a great crowd was on hand.
Northeast 24, Germantown 6
Early-season games are always tough to predict because theres so little to go on. Though I figured this affair would be a goodie, it didnt come close. Northeast was not awesome, but G-town did very little right and that produced something of a yawner. The Vikes rushing leaders were srs. Stanley Ebron (11-75, TD) and Eric Clark (7-75, TD). Ebron had a strange play early in the game. On a run that should have been a 46-yard TD, he somehow stepped out of bounds even though no one was close by. The QB duties mostly were handled by jr. Marcellus Sammons, though jr. Andrew Lihotz was first on the field. Theyre both listed at 5-9, 160. Lihotz is a thrower. Sammons has good enough feet/instincts to run some option. NEs defensive leaders were jr. LB Warren Bartlett (nine tackles, most made with authority), sr. E Khalid Berry (good pursuit and the ability to fight off blockers) and Clark (tough against the run). Sr. Steve Sandberg went 3-for-3 on PAT, converted a 26-yard FG and sent three kickoffs (admittedly with a wind at his back) to the 1 or into the end zone. He averaged 27.7 yards on three punts; all were INTO the wind if I remember correctly. G-towns only truly positive performance, really, was turned in by jr. LB Omar McDonnaugh, who has become a regular doo-doo talker on Intelligent Thoughts. Guess what? He can PLAY. He made 11 tackles and three times, at least, met guys, picked them up and hammered them to the turf. Omar is something of a character, as noted by camera operator Dominic Davis. I think they found that boy in a hospital. Hes crazy, Davis cracked. For G-town, which never got untracked, jr. Marcus Walton rushed 10 times for 67 yards. Sr. Ryan Graves, a lefty, went much of the way at QB and wound up throwing a late, 22-yard TD pass to sr. WR Akil Stokes (2-49). But soph Brandon Cuff also received some time and he showed a very good presence and arm strength, even though he went 0-for-5. G-towns woes were illustrated when it lost fumbles on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. The second lost fumble (recovery by jr. DL Drew Lessa) came just after G-towns Raheem Lewis recovered the ball on the NE 10. On what turned out to be the last play of the game, NEs Fil Jakimoski showed nice persistence. He botched a recovery, then crawled about 5 yards to another spot and DID make a recovery.
King 13, Bok 8
The rainy, windy conditions, which caused all kinds of ballhandling and footing problems, made this one tough to enjoy. There was almost no chance that anyone was going to break a long run, and completed passes were only a rumor. King had two, fourth-quarter chances to win the game and succeeded the second time. Down by 8-7 with a shade over 5 minutes left, Mike Stanley, King's first-year coach, had soph Sammy Tranks, a left-footer, try a 22-yard field goal from the right hash mark. Veteran "Pub" watchers knew the deal: this attempt had no chance. It was too slippery and too much could go wrong. It is was nice that Stanley showed confidence in his kicker, but the ball was popped almost straight up and to the right. Back onto the field for Bok came sr. RB Akeem "Feathers" Green, who'd posted decent first-half numbers (and scored eight points on a TD and conversion run) but then sat down with a minor injury. Green lost the handle on his second carry and sr. DE Dallas Cummings (I liked this guy; very sturdy and aggressive) posted his second recovery at the Bok 12. Sr. QB Dion "Flea" Whittington made a great effort on fourth-and-5, sprinting to his left (as much as he could on the slick turf) and diving toward the pylon. He was ruled out about a foot from the goal line, then went into the end zone on his second sneak with 0:50 left. Whittington, a 6-2, 190-pound lefty, is quite talented, even though he could not show much in this one. He hopes to attend prep school for a year and then earn a D-I scholarship. He's a football athlete with a swagger and there's always room for them. Srs. Kevin Snyder and Roland Penn had a bit of success on rushes. Aside from Cummings, King's defensive leaders were Snyder (two tackles for losses) and Penn at LB. Counting his three late carries, Green rushed 14 times for 41 yards. Bok jr. QB Allen Major, a brassy, but very small kid, had all kinds of trouble holding onto the ball. Bok lost three fumbles, but had at least five more drops that resulted in losses. The Wildcats' top defenders were jr. DBs -- Marcelluas Barnes, Hakim Leach and Tarif Henry. All three were aggressive, making hard hits to keep some plays from becoming very productive. Four Stanleys were in the house: Jody helped his brother Mike; their father, Joe, is the PL FB chairman and King's athletic director; and Pete, Joe's brother, came down from NY to watch. I covered Pete 25 years ago when he played for Episcopal. Yikes!
SJ Prep 37, Ryan 14
"Uh, oh." That's one phrase people said while watching this one. A fellow reporter said, "The season's over. Just give Prep the championship right now. They're too good." Beforehand, everyone viewed this as a "barometer game." If Ryan could hang, there'd be hope for the others. If not . . . As the score mounted, Ryan coach Glen Galeone said, "Well, I guess the rest of the division better watch out." When the Raiders returned to the field from the halftime break, with the score at 30-0, assistant Rick Eife said, "They didn't score while we were in the locker room, did they?" Sr. RB-K-KR Pat Kaiser was Mr. Do-Much for Prep. He rushed 13 times for 142 yards and four TDs, caught one pass for 24 yards, booted four PAT and a field goal, had a 16-yard kickoff return, and sent three kickoffs into or beyond the end zone. It's hard to believe Prep could be this lucky, but Kaiser has many of the same running qualities that made Kyle Ambrogi such a star the last two years. He runs hard and harder and somehow is able to keep his feet against multiple tacklers. His 35-yard TD run with 7:01 left in the third quarter raised the score to 37-0 and caused the clock to run for the rest of the game. Prep's defensive line was also worthy of high praise. Sr. Es Matt Parkhurst and Mike Cappelletti, jr. T Brandon Friday and sr. T John Quinn lived in Ryan's backfield. Ryan runners/receivers were thrown for losses 11 times! This was my first look at the Raiders and sr. QB Joe DeLeo. He was on the run all night, but I liked his presence and how he handled the tough times. Admittedly, they came against second-teamers, but he had two excellent scrambles late in the game. One went for a TD and the other took the ball to the 1. On punt coverage, Prep jr. Greg Mendez and Ryan jr. Dave Levan got their facemasks tangled. Both took off their helmets and Mendez ran to Prep's sideline with Levan's helmet still attached to his! A moment later, Levan's helmet was returned to him. Prep jr. LB Brian Tracz, like he often does, had the best hit of the game. Two of them, in fact. DeLeo, meanwhile, uncorked a ferocious block. Ryan had a nice fan turnout, but there was no PA announcer and the referees had to scrounge around hard to find people to work the chains.
Roman 12, Bonner 7
This one produced no fireworks, but it was still totally watchable because both defenses turned in strong performances. Roman's headliner was sr. RB-DB Johnny Ortiz, who's one of those heart-and-soul little guys (5-8, 150). Using impressive, hunt-and-peck instincts out of Roman's wing-T offense, Ortiz gained 76 yards on 11 carries and posted gains of 11, 7 and 9 yards on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that was capped when soph RB Marc Patricelli (20-63) scored from the 2. Ortiz also made two interceptions deep in Roman territory (at the 15 and 6) and had a 43-yard return after one of them. Roman's line was not overwhelming, but definitely controled the line of scrimmage. The members: sr. C Tom Sugden, sr. G Jeff Grimmie, jr. G Frank Suplick, jr. T Lenny DeMalto and sr. T Ed Penna. Sr. Mike Rosanova and jr. Charron Fisher shared TE. Jr. QB Andre Sloan-El passed 6-for-11 for 70 yards and jr. WR Charlie Squitiere made four catches for 62 yards. He scored a TD on a 35-yard reception one play after Fisher recovered a fumble. In the last minute, Squitiere also uncorked a 48-yard punt that went about 25 to 30 yards in the air and bounced/rolled the rest of the way. The ball was tight to the sideline and only magic appeared to keep it in. Jr. DB Mike Gavin ended it with an interception two plays later. Roman's best defender was jr. LB Tom Bowen. He showed strength and quickness and was always around the ball. He made three tackles for losses. Sr. DT Matt Roakes also made a few plays in heavy traffic. Bonner had a great goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter. Roman had the ball at the 3. Sr. CB Dave Pasciolla dropped Patricelli for a 1-yard loss, Pasciolla and sr. DL Earl McNeil (6-3, 247) combined to hold Sloan-El to a 3-yard gain, then sr. DT Matt Blong dumped Sloan-El for a 2-yard loss. A field goal attempt then went awry. Bonner never quite clicked on offense. Sr. QB Frank Nunan got the start because sr. Drew Zagursky was out with a concussion. Frank is Mr. Brass, and he helps a team in all kinds of ways, but he struggled throwing. He went 2-for-12 with three picks. Just to find ways to get star WR Paul McNichol the ball, Bonner used three reverses. He responded with three carries for 55 yards and a 7-yard TD. Zagursky is due back next week and soph Andrew Case is said to have all kinds of potential. It'll be interesting to see how the situation plays out. Sr. Steve Jones gained 38 yards on eight carries and blocked a punt. Nunan had a 44-yard kickoff return. At times, the interior of Bonner's DL boasted 680 pounds, at least. Sr. John Wickersham (345) was next to sr. Jared Smith (335). Roman sr. K John "Byrd" Pendergast slammed a PAT right into the crossbar. The ball bounced back to the line of scrimmage, where sr. E Derek Dopkin jumped and tried to catch it. Zip. Right through his hands. "It wouldn't have counted anyway," he said, sheepishly.
Mastbaum 14, Roxborough 6
Someone please remind Mother Nature that it's not July anymore? It was extremely hot for this morning affair and the play was often lethargic. Yards were mostly hard to come by, which was probably caused by offensive shortcomings more than defensive greatness. Not until the fourth quarter did two successive plays produce gains of at least 10 yards. Mastbaum's talent and size levels are down a shade, but coach John Murphy still has some respectable players. The 'Baum had a sensational goal line stand late in the first quarter, stopping Roxborough for 1, 0, 0 and minus-2 on a series that began at the 2. Sr. LB Nate Nixon was involved in the tackles and second and third down. On fourth, sr. DT Jose Perez exploded across the line of scrimmage and dropped jr. QB Clinton Taylor. In the second quarter, sr. DE Will Martin and soph LB Jahlil Porter recorded a 5-yard sack and jr. DE Mark Brighter followed immediately with a 10-yarder. With 1:54 left in the game, Roxborough jr. LB Kenneth Anderson recovered a fumble (strip by sr. DL Robert Nock) and the Indians took over on their 43, still holding out hopes of getting a tie. Taylor threw a swing pass to jr. RB Kyle Earls. Nixon stripped him and Martin recovered, putting The 'Baum out of harm's way. 'Boro ran nine plays in the second half. Six lost yardage and one resulted in an interception (by jr. DB Jovan Pratt). Really, Roxborough's only highlight was an 84-yard KO return by sr. Tyree Wyche. He was tackled on the 3 by sr. Lawrence Calloway and Taylor went in two plays later. Earls, at OLB, had a strong performance. He showed excellent tackling skills, always getting in his licks below the waist. He had nine stops. Mastbaum's QB, sr. David Wilson, is very small (listed at 5-8, 155), but throws a decent ball. He finished 5-for-10 for 46 yards, as Pratt made four catches for 28 yards. The two main rushers were soph James Baptiste (10-48) and Nixon (9-44). I saw something I've never seen before. With Roxborough on Mastbaum's 1, the star RB asked to come out of the game because he needed a rest. It wasn't sr. Brandon Sutton, by the way. He's expected to be the headliner later, but he missed the game with a tender knee. Soph K David Pough hammered two PAT. Standing on his own 27 -- in other words, 33 yards from where the starting point -- Roxborough's Ed Fairfax was hit flush in the facemask by a kickoff. How does THAT happen??
Gtn. Academy 38, Central 30
Now this was a goodie. I love high-scoring games with plenty of stats and I went through about five pencils (just kidding). The teams combined for 1,059 yards, including returns, and 492 came in a 21-14 first quarter (GA led). GA's headliner turned out to be jr. QB Sean Grieve. The lefty passed 15-for-26 for 219 yards and five TDs. That's one short of the city record and at least ties GA's mark. In a spread offense, he hit five receivers and four of them got into the end zone. Sr. David Walsh (3-82) scored twice. Sr. WR-DB Justin Holiday (7-96), Peter Vernon and Greg Sih did so once. Holiday's performance got overlooked a shade, but he was productive all over the field. He added 93 yards on three returns, blocked a PAT, recovered a fumble for a touchback and made the tackle on the last play of the game. This was a doozy: With 7.6 seconds left, Walsh intercepted a pass on the 1 and his momentum carried him into the end zone. Not knowing the rule, he then sank to one knee and the refs had no choice but to call a safety. Sr. K-P Steve Bowers launched a free-kick punt from the 20. Central jr. WR-DB Jordan Anderson caught the ball on Central's 38 and returned it 19 yards before Holiday made the stop to end it. GA earlier had a 38-14 lead. The Patriots' line included jr. C Alex Kaplan, sr. Gs Matt Hess and Mike Techtmann, sr. T Dale Becker and jr. T Dave Zuk. Their blocking of course helped Grieve and also enabled soph Matt Brown to rush for 119 yards on 25 carries. GA ran 67 plays from scrimmage! Central, playing its opener (it was GA's third game), received a wonderful showing from sr. Chris Williams (5-10, 190, leg strength like crazy). He made a sensational shoetop reception and then used his hand to keep his balance before he turned and set sail for a 60-yard TD. Later, he went 83 yards for a kickoff-return TD. On both plays, he was running like he knew no one had a chance to get him, even though many did. You could just SEE his mental toughness. Very impressive! Jr. RB-LB Quindel "Milky" Ladson was used only part-time on defense (I guess because of the heat), but still had eight tackles. No offense to Central's coaches, but this kid cannot be off the field when Central's on defense. He's too good. Doles out too much punishment. That being said, sr. Masai Lord was excellent at inside LB. He made 11 tackles. Jr. QB Marcel Quarterman went 8-for-20 for 226 yards. Admittedly, 118 of those yards came in the fourth quarter, partially against GA's backups, but I still liked the way he handled himself. He showed pretty good poise and his footwork is good enough to run a decent option. Central's offense likely will be potent in time. Both teams were coached by sons of former city league coaches -- GA's Michael "Pup" Turner (Jack) and Central's Frank Conway Jr. (Frank Sr.). Jack coached at GA, Frank Sr. at Bartram. Some of the refs had night games elsewhere. The game started at 3:45 and went to about 6:30. The refs made a break for it right afterward and piled into a golf cart for a ride back to the main building. Dan Solis-Cohen, the line judge, worked Thursday's Frankford-Germantown game, so he saw 138 points in two games.
Olney 28, Southern 8
My DN story focused on Southern, which was returning to action after having to forfeit the last three games of last season due to insufficient numbers. Here we'll look more at Olney. Coach Hugh MacDonough is still mostly using that very tight formation on offense, but sr. QB Lyden Sanchez was given a little leeway and he responded nicely: 4-for-4 for 81 yards. Sr. WR Khalil Stroud had three of the catches for 70 yards and a score. Sr. RB Julius Belton had "only" 116 yards overall on eight carries, but most came on scoring runs of 34 and 75 yards. Sr. DE Perry Williams (two sacks) showed some promise (he's 6-3, 220, with a large frame) and sr. Ismael Rodriguez (5-8, 240) was gritty along the DL. Jr. P Troy Scott-Foster was tackled early for a safety, but later rebounded with efforts of 40 and 34 yards. He also had a sack at DL. A funny moment happened after one of Olney's TDs. About three guys ran to the line of scrimmage for the conversion and someone yelled from the huddle, "Come back, y'all. We didn't call the play yet!" I was a little disappointed that Olney, with a 20-8 lead in the last minute, chose to throw a bomb, getting the ball to the 1. Sr. RB Xavier Sanchez went in for the score and then L. Sanchez passed to Stroud for two points. MacDonough apologized to Southern's coaches, saying L. Sanchez had been ordered to kneel on the conversion. For Southern, returning to action after having to forfeit the final three games last season (low numbers), sr. Mark Lee ran 91 yards for a TD on a kickoff return (good block by jr. Gerald Terry) and punted three times for a 40.7-yard average. Also, he almost made a sensational catch after juggling and running for a good 10 yards. Sr. Justin Digby had a strong game at ILB. Southern's best sequence came in the third quarter when Digby (two) and sr. DT Chris Campo (one) made three consecutive tackles for losses. The Rams had 34 players in uniform. Stacey Lane, a first team All-City DL for Olney in '91, is helping MacDonough as a volunteer. Troy Kersey, a first team All-City wideout a year later for Dougherty, was among the spectators.
Conwell-Egan 34, North Catholic 14
Yes, I realize C-E won the game, but the night experienced by North sr. QB Brian Mitchell must receive first mention. North ran 67 plays and Mitchell threw or ran on 62 of them! Included were the last 42 in a row and all 40 in the second half! Overall, he passed 14-for-47 for 166 yards and carried 15 times for 85 yards. He also punted seven times for a 34-yard average (long of 50), attempted a 34-yard field goal, which was blocked, and kicked two PAT. Excluding plays on which penalties were called, he was directly involved on 72 of 77 snaps. (He also kicked off and spent much of the game on defense, too.) Mitchell's percentage was so low in part because the grass and ball were a shade slippery from pre-game rains (there was also a light shower deep in the second quarter) and because he was under constant pressure. I can only imagine how many times he was hit. A few passes were dropped, too. North's prime rusher, soph Shane McNamara, departed with a neck injury after his first carry midway through the first quarter. His replacement, soph Gene Zimmaro, carried four times before leaving just before halftime with leg miseries. As the Falcons came out for the second half, coach Tim Quinn said, "We're going into the shotgun and throwing the ball until the kingdom comes." He wasn't kidding. All of Mitchell's 10 second-half rushes came when he was forced out of the pocket and had to take off. He ran for one score and hit jr. WR Charlie Evans (2-48) for another. Dave Rodriguez made seven catches for 90 yards and was fearless on returns. Soph Chris Wenger showed some crispy moves on a 23-yard kickoff return. Jr. DE Ryan Nottis was in on four tackles worth 19 yards in losses. For C-E, like always, soph RB Steve Slaton was the show. He toyed with North's defense, honestly, rushing 19 times for 261 yards and four TDs. His longest scores covered 87 and 57 yards and I don't believe he was touched on either run. Interestingly, both runs were to his left. His line: sr. C Bill Jacobs, jr. G Brian Hrynczyszyn (say that fast once), sr. G Rich Casmirri, sr. Ts Evan Snydman and Matt Brazil and sr. TE Darin Lorady (jr. TE Anthony Caranci was injured early on the same play where McNamara got hurt). Slaton (5-11, 175) displayed the corner-turning burst and twice absolutely clocked two guys with FB-type strength. Sr. DB Dan Quinn scored on a 36-yard interception return and soph DB Jeff McClenton ended North's last possession with a pick. Brazil was in on two sacks. The game took 3 hours and North's coaches had an on-field, post-game pow-wow with the players that lasted 20 minutes.
La Salle 10, Gtn. Academy 3
Not the most sensational game ever, but it was watchable and featured a respectable finish. Trailing by 10-3, GA took command on its 9 after sr. WR-DB Justin Holiday blocked a field goal attempt and kept the ball for 15 plays. On fourth-and-1 from its 30, GA gambled and jr. QB Sean Grieve (11-for-19, 101) hit soph RB Matt Brown for a 23-yard gain. Later, the Patriots were in business with first-and-10 at the La Salle 28. The sequence: two incompletions, a 2-yard loss by Brown on a draw (tackle by jr. DT Kevin Donohoe and soph DE Christian Barrett) and an incomplete pass into the end zone at 0:56. Jr. LB Miles Miller had a strong performance for La Salle. He made two early sacks and had some of the harder hits. La Salle had a strange day offensively. Jr. RB Max Mullineaux posted just nine carries total (51 yards) and six came on the first series of the third quarter. After a holding call made it third-and-18 from the 23, sr. QB Joe F. Winning hit Mullineaux with a perfectly thrown TD pass into the left corner of the end zone. It was a hot day and Mullineaux appeared to be winded as he lined up to kick the PAT. He even slumped over. Coach Joe Colistra yelled, "Need a time out!?" Mullineaux waved it off and then proceeded to hammer the PAT to the rim of the track. Mullineaux earlier booted a 21-yard field goal. Winning went just 1-for-3. Sr. RB Brian Donohoe gained 74 yards on 16 carries. Aside from blocking the FG attempt, Holiday showed his athleticism with a spectacular catch on a short pass, reeling in the ball one-handed. Grieve, a lefty, had little time all day and La Salle's d-backs did an excellent job in coverage, so Grieve kept having to throw short. GA coach Michael "Pup" Turner played the angles in GA's last drive. After a lineman-downfield penalty was assessed on an incomplete screen pass, Turner said through his headset to an assistant, "I'm going to buy you some time here. Get the next call ready." He then demanded an explanation from head ref Tommy McClain. GA sr. lineman Dale Becker, who insists he's a big fan of the site, injured his trick left knee and went to the bench. His father, showing concern, came down out of the stands and got within a few feet when Dale stopped him dead in his tracks. "I'm fine. Go back up," he said, sternly. Dad turned around and did as told (smile). Incredibly, though the schools are rather close geographically (and were even close in their former locations; La Salle was at 20th and Olney, GA was at Greene Street and School House Lane), this was just their third meeting total and first since 1931! GA won that one, 6-0. La Salle won in 1924, 13-0.
West Catholic 32, Judge 29
Friday the 13th was certainly not unlucky for Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley. In the very same game, he joined two prestigious rushing clubs -- 300 yards in a game, 3,000 in a career. The speedy, shifty and oh-so-tough runner carried 24 times for 306 yards and two TDs, raising his career total to 3,024 yards in just 27 varsity games. He raced 57 yards on his first carry and later had another 57-yarder. West coach Brian Fluck at times made Brinkley line up as a wide receiver, just to provide a different look and spread out the defense. But on the Burrs' last series, as they were trying to protect the lead, Fluck employed a full-house "I" with two others directly in front of Brinkley. Boonah's main blocker was rock-hard fullback Chester Roebuck (6-2, 240), also a force at LB. The line: sr. C Will Grant, soph G Frank Pirrotta, sr. G Tyler Wims, sr. T Mike Cannon, jr. T Fran Enright and soph TE Derrell Hand. West received excellent efforts on two other TDs. With some moves and a burst of speed, sr. WR Jonathan Jackson turned a hitch pass from jr. QB Will Burke into a 30-yard score. Soph CB Chris Diaferio showed nice concentration on a tipped pass and wound up bobbing and weaving his way to a 68-yard interception return. Sr. DT Steven Williams, though "only" 6-foot, 205, made a big-time showing. He made 2 1/2 sacks and one other tackle for a loss, and was close to several other sacks. Jackson, at DB, broke up several passes. For Judge, which largely had to abandon the running game after falling into a 32-13 hole, sr. QB Mike Eaton passed 21-for-37 for 248 yards and one TD. He had completion streaks of six (early) and eight (late). He hit six receivers, with jr. WR Carl Peterson (7-110; he also had a 66-yard kickoff return), sr. RB John Rinehart (5-57) and sr. WR Russ Magyar (4-54) emerging as the leaders. The top Crusader overall, though, had to be jr. DB Tim Wacker. In his debut at K, he hit field goals of 32 and 20 yards and punt returns of 35 and 48 yards. That second one went for a TD and, when followed by Eaton's conversion pass to Rinehart, drew Judge within three with 3:40 left. Brinkley then gained 42 yards on six plays and the Crusaders regained possession at 0:20. Eaton's 24-yard hookup with Peterson moved the ball within a yard of midfield, then Brinkley got a pick to end it. Earlier, Brinkley also had the game's best hit, likely giving jr. DB-backup QB Dale Curry a concussion at the end of a 31-yard run from punt formation. Early in the second quarter, Curry, the holder, was just slightly long on a pass off a fake field goal to sr. Joe Leotta that could have been an 18-yard TD. The play was executed in perfect fashion otherwise by Curry and everyone else. West had 398 yards total offense and 43 on returns. Judge had 346 and 193. Considering the schools are hardly natural rivals, there was a decent crowd on hand.
St. Joe's Prep 21, Malvern Prep 7
If only all games could have an atmosphere like this one. The stands at Plymouth-Whitemarsh were packed on both sides and spectators ringed much of the track, three to four deep in some places. It was THIS Prep vs. THAT Prep. The Catholic League's premier program vs. the Inter-Ac League's premier program. Student (Prep coach Gil Brooks) vs. Teacher (Malvern coach Gaspare "Gamp" Pellegrini, who coached the Hawklets to the 1977 City Title before leaving to coach at Malvern). This one was won on two big plays, and featured a connection from sr. QB Matt Stefanski (8-for-16, 251) to soph WR Steve Quinn (4-184). On the verge of being sacked for a safety by sr. DE T.J. Cascio, Stefanski stepped up and lofted a bomb to Quinn. He caught the ball at roughly midfield, dragged a defender at ankle level for at least 5 yards and then broke away for a 95-yard TD! Their other TD hookup covered 74 yards as Quinn split a pair of defenders and took off virtually unchallenged. Quinn is the brother of sr. John Quinn, the squad's top lineman. When kidded that Steve, who also had some nice moments at LB, would be tough to live with now, John cracked, "He's good. He's a little more important than I am." Stefanski scored the other TD on a 2-yard keeper. Sr. RB Pat Kaiser posted 94 yards on 21 carries and the Prep posted 395 yards total offense. You'll almost never see Malvern scorched to that degree. Jr. LB Brian Tracz did some serious rocking to lead the defense. Jr. NT Brandon Friday twice made excellent plays on screen passes while also recovering a fumble. Especially early, sr. Nate Egner was a strong presence at safety. Malvern's lone score came on a 1-yard, second-effort sneak by sr. QB Dave Moore. Moore went only 10-for-28 for 91 yards and had location woes most of the evening. Cascio rushed 14 times for 46 yards and had the hit (recovery by sr. DT Stefan Niemczyk) that set up the score. Both schools' rooting sections were loud, but Prep's won this battle. I can't imagine too many students were NOT on hand. Prep soph Jim Bogan had the hit of the night while blocking on a punt return. It was nice to see the '77 team honored at halftime. I kind of hate to admit this, but I covered that team while working for the old Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. One of the stars and captains was John Gannon, brother of NFL QB Rich Gannon. I spoke with him briefly and also with star rusher Joe Rabuck, whose 43 carries in a playoff game are still a city record.
Penn Charter 20, O'Hara 7
This win for my alma mater must be accompanied by at least a partial asterisk because O'Hara's headliner, jr. RB Anthony Heygood (9-47), was limited to one half of action by a bruised knee. Nevertheless, PC played well and more than deserved the victory. The decisive sequence occurred early in the fourth quarter when O'Hara, trailing by 14-7, earned first-and-10 at the 18. Then, so. DL Colin Hitschler held sr. WR Bob McAndrews to a 2-yard gain on a rocket screen; sr. LB Rob Hitschler (Colin's brother) tackled sr. RB Anthony Lucidonio for no gain; C. Hitschler and sr. DE Mike Boles combined to drop sr. QB Craig Haywood for a 1-yard loss after flushing him out of the pocket; and Boles hit Haywood just as he was throwing on fourth down, forcing an incompletion. Two plays later, soph handyman Zack Zeglinski ripped off a 67-yard gain on a running play (he swept right, then cut back against the grain) and sr. QB Matt Ryan lofted an 11-yard scoring pass to jr. WR Sean Singletary. That was it, folks. Most eyes were on the 6-5, 205-pound Ryan, who is bound for Boston College. He was not completely sharp, but did have many "almosts." He finished 7-for-17 for 93 yards. He also had gains of 8, 13 (for a TD) and 26 yards on keepers. He is somewhat nimble, as some of you may know (he plays shortstop in baseball, along with basketball). Sr. RB Tony McDevitt (22-114) ran hard throughout and rarely was brought down by one tackler. Often, he showed the knack for picking up 2 or 3 more yards than he appeared to deserve, if you know what I mean. Zeglinski rushed for 96 yards and added 55 on receptions. On defense, E Jarrod Williams and T Chris "Chips" Johnson also had good moments, as did McDevitt at LB. Rarity: how often have you EVER seen this? Soph strong safety Ryan Nanni was wearing No. 50. Yes, 50. Sr. T Benjamin "Biff" Gottehrer picked up 2 yards while advancing a fumble by McDevitt. Biff, according to his dad, hates the name Benjamin and wants to legally change his first name to Biff. Cool, huh? I'm thinking of changing mine to "Knucklehead." Haywood finished 10-for-16 for 98 yards. He was mostly accurate, but his receivers were unable to add many yards after catches in part because PC's tacklers were always in the vicinity. Sr. WR Mark Greim made six catches for 71 yards. Soph LB Dennis Borcky was a terror early in the game, and was literally in on almost every tackle. He departed soon thereafter with a stinger, though. Sr. LB Corey Cannon also popped with authority. The game was played at Sun Valley. Lord only knows why it had to start at 10:15 a.m.
La Salle 37, McDevitt 0
Who would have predicted this? A blowout in a matchup featuring two quality programs. The loss was the worst for McDevitt since 1981 (38-0 to Judge), which was the year before current coach Pat Manzi took command. About 2,000 fans were on hand for the first game under the newly installed lights at Springfield Montco. The renovated facility looks great, by the way! The Man Most on a Mission was sr. RB-P Brian Donohoe. The former QB looks much more comfortable in his new spot and he tortured the Lancers, accumulating 155 yards of rushing (18-98), receiving (2-24) and passing (33 yards to jr. WR John Trainer.) He was juiced and that probably had something to do with what had happened a week earlier: two of his punts were blocked, resulting in TDs, in an 18-16 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh. Jr. RB Max Mullineaux, the son of Frankford coach Tom Mullineaux, added 52 yards and a TD on nine carries and hammered a 40-yard field goal. The other headliner was sr. DB-KR Matt McGurkin. He made a leaping interception to help set up a TD and then scored on a 63-yard, thing-of-beauty punt return. McGurkin caught the ball in the middle of the field and zoomed to the left, where La Salle had set up a textbook wall of blockers. When a McDevitt defender approached at maybe the 20 yard line, McGurkin switched directions, put on a move or two and wound up scoring back in the middle of the field. Sr. Sean Agnew also had two impressive punt returns, of 35 and 51 yards. McDevitt offered little resistance in its opener, honestly. It posted just two first downs until the late going (it added two more) and showed little emotion until after two-way sr. L Mike Haggerty suffered a rib injury in the middle of the third quarter. There was a 25-minute delay as officials awaited the arrival of an ambulance. There'd been a serious auto wreck nearby on Cheltenham Avenue, so the EMTs were quite busy. Sr. P Robert McHugh (6-3, 215) had to punt seven times. He averaged 34.6 yards. Sr. QB Robert Dougherty gave an uneven performance, not surprising considering he's a first-year starter. He committed one cardinal sin early, reaching out with the ball while trying to get a first down. It was batted away, jr. DT Kevin Donohoe recovered (yes, that's Brian's brother), and La Salle took the lead for good five plays later on Brian's 16-yard run. Sr. DE Andrew Kovach made some impressive plays for the Lancers and as the game wound down, I heard him "reminding" his teammates (not so gently, either) that they'd better hit the weight room come Monday. La Salle has two guys named Joe Winning. Joe F. (for Francis) is the sr. QB starter. Joe W. (for William) is a substitute soph LB. They're cousins.
Kennedy-Kenrick 28, Jenkintown 0
I was happy when this game was pushed up to Thursday. I hadn't seen much of K-K the past few seasons and this would be an opportunity, plus the chance for victory had to be pretty good. Jenkintown had only 26 players in uniform and suffered minor injuries all night. It was nice to see the Wolverines' players and coaches having fun. My DN story focused on sr. G-LB Joe Sobeck, whose father, Don, was K-K's baseball coach from 1995 until his death almost exactly five years ago. Joe goes just 5-6, 155 pounds, but he's tough and well respected (co-captain). K-K's offensive line of sr. C Eric Ondik, Sobeck, jr. G Rafael Calzadilla, soph Ts Jason Collins and Brian Kilmartin and sr. TE Ted Kavanagh fared very well. Soph QB Brian Gillin, who figured he'd be a RB this season (jr. Ricky McMinn is out with a broken ankle), has adapated in quick fashion to running option. He made the right decision almost every single time, and that was to keep. He finished with 12 carries for 114 yards and TDs of 3, 20 and 23 yards. On his 23-yarder, he ran to the short side of the field, away from the strength of an unbalanced line. The whole play was very impressive. Jr. FB Tyler Johnson (10-35) did some trucking and sr. RB C.J. Russo (4-24) set a first-play tempo with a 10-yard gain. Gillin wound up throwing just one pass, which was dropped. Jr. OLB Tom Sztubinski set up a score with an interception and jr. LB Mike Orman, listed at 280 pounds, DID score on a 42-yard pilfer return. What a sight this was!! Mike was taking about 57 steps for every 10 yards and his teammates were loving it. Obviously, the kid has at least some ability to run or he wouldn't be playing LB in the first place. I heard some of the K-K subs yelling, "Mike's got jets. He turned on the after-burners!" When I offhandedly asked Mike to describe his running style, he said, "Get where I'm going really quick before I get tackled." Makes sense, right? K-K had no roster available, but jr. DT Jared Couchara can't be taller than 5-6/5-7. He was tough and twice made tackles for losses. K-K's best stand came late in the half after Jenkintown managed first-and-goal at the 4. Orman was in on two tackles, Ondik on one. Then, on fourth down, pressure from soph DE Matt Pugliese forced a hurried incompletion. I don't know what will happen from here for the Wolverines, who entered the night with just four wins in their last 42 games, but in this one they enjoyed themselves immensely. Come to think of it, so did I.
Neumann 26, North Catholic 6
It must be said right away that North will likely experience a very challenging season as rookie coach Tim Quinn tries to establish his program. Nevertheless, Neumann did look impressive in Wildwood, N.J. The Pirates' offensive line takes HUGE to a new level: sr. C Tom McCarron (6-6, 310), soph. G Marques Slocum (6-5, 315), sr. G Kevin Harrigan (6-2, 240), sr. T Ed McDuffie (6-4, 312), jr. T Joe Sandefur (6-5, 300). Even the TE, sr. Al Meacham, is a big-un (6-4, 280). Those guys helped to produce 348 yards of total offense on a field that was slick from off-and-on, sometimes heavy drizzle/mist and had grass that looked nice, but was a shade too thick. Sr. FB Jimmy Porreca led the assault with 173 yards and three TDs on 21 carries. He had long gains of 53 and 40 yards (TD). The 53-yarder came late in the game and North sr. DB Phil Renninger showed great hustle by chasing and chasing and finally getting the tackle. Two speedsters with good instincts, jr. RBs Billy Canady (7-84) and Richard McMickens (8-62, TD) also aided the cause. The best hit of the young season was made by sr. LB Tim McGinn on a would-be North receiver. He arrived as the ball did and absolutely clocked the guy; the play was negated by a penalty. Jr. DB Larry White, who also spent a brief chunk of time at QB, packed a great wallop on one play, too. Sr. LB Dan Concannon showed good play-sniffing ability and was quick to fill gaps. Slocum, at DT, manhandled various blockers, making three tackles for losses and three others close to the line of scrimmage. McGinn and Canady had interceptions. North's most impressive defender was sr. LB Chris Stine. He displayed some of the same qualities as last year's star, Mike "Pio" Piotrowicz. On the last play of the first half, sr. LB Greg Buehler posted an interception and a 46-yard return. North's main RB was soph Shane McNamara (20-46). He did what he could against many defenders. I liked how he kept hitting up in there against long odds. He'll be OK. Sr. QB Brian Mitchell (5-18, 117) had some good late moments with the help of sr. WR Dave Rodriguez (3-94). One of Rodriguez's catches was spectacular. North's TD came on a nifty play. You've heard of a trips formation? The Falcons used a quads formation. Four guys way out right! Mitchell scrambled up the middle for an 11-yard TD. The game ended with head-scratching. With 13 and then 2 seconds left, North called timeouts as Neumann was running out the clock. Everyone groaned. Or worse.
Huck will do the report on Roman's win over West, which we both attended.
Neshaminy 45, Judge 28
The Crusaders are mostly short, slim and inexperienced on defense and they got roughed up, at times, by the defending PIAA Class AAAA state champs. Coach Tommy Coyle fielded just two starters on that side of the ball and one, sr. DT Sean McGerry, suffered what appeared to be a non-serious knee injury. The other, sr. strong safety Paul Roken, was a whirlwind and popped for keeps, too. He made a slew of solo tackles and hit very hard for someone listed at 167 pounds. On offense, Judge is giving sr. Mike Eaton and jr. Dale Curry a chance to compete for the QB job off what they do in games, not just practice. Curry looks to be the better overall athlete, but Eaton did have some nice moments last year when he had to replace the injured Greg Hennigar (already said to be third string at Penn State as a walk-on). Eaton went 8-for-14 for 75 yards. Curry went 3-for-8 for 65 yards and a TD to jr. WR George Flack, who made a nice juggling catch on his 14-yard score. Curry, also a star baseball catcher, definitely has the livelier body. This will be interesting to watch. Sr. TE Bernie Mullen made three catches for 63 yards. Jr. WR Carl Peterson made four for 51 and had the most impressive play of the night on a 58-yard kickoff return. Judge has little athleticism, so this kid could help. The running was handled by sr. John Rinehart (9-39) and jrs. Mike Bergey (9-43) and Joe Becht (15-35, three TDs). Becht had the most impressive run, milking an 8-yard gain from a play where he came very close to being stopped for a 6-yard loss. Jr. G Jim Alberts (6-1, 220) and sr. T P.J. Brennan (6-3, 315) were pivotal to the success of a late scoring drive. Sr. LB Dan Leonard and jr. DB Dan Hart recovered fumbles for Judge on defense. The legendary "Manager Mike" McCarthy is trying to scramble his way out of the doghouse after disappearing for much (all?) of training camp. The head manager, Jeff Smigelski, the sr. class president, has impressed everyone with his hustle and dedication. MM had better get a move on (smile) or he'll be forfeiting his legend status momentarily.