On the Trail
|Longest School Records for Avoiding a Shutout|
|#-has now scored in 74 in a row|
La Salle and North Penn are high-enrollment football powers stationed about 13 miles apart in Montgomery County, so the annual let's-see-where-things-stand opener makes all kinds of sense. The series began in 2010. When it did, I doubt anyone would have predicted that La Salle would win eight of the first 10 meetings, counting two playoffs, and outscore the Knights by almost 100 points (251-156). The score last night was 41-28 and, like pretty much always, La Salle's quarterback was a headliner. Senior Isaiah Jones, who missed all of last season due to a training camp knee injury, passed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 105 yards and one score. Almost exclusively for a long time, La Salle's QBs have been pass-only guys. But Jones is a classic dual-threater. His first high school was Germantown Academy and his first position was running back. As a freshman in 2014, he carried 169 times for 1,010 yards and nine TDs. He did make one QB start in that season and passed 5-for-9 for 121 yards and a score in a 35-34 loss to SCH Academy. . . Anyway, La Salle's QBs have averaged 202.7 passing yards in the 10 games with North Penn. Kyle Shurmur is the kingpin, thanks to a 345-yard, four-TD outburst in 2014. In 2010, as Matt Magarity nursed an injury, star receiver Kevin Forster played QB in a game vs. Judge and rushed for 103 yards. The last time a "regular" La Salle QB rushed for as many as 100 yards was 2004, when Mike Lynch racked up 143 vs. Judge. Seventy-four of those yards were gained on one play, a keeper around the end.
|La Salle's Passing Performances vs. North Penn|
|2010||W, 27-14||Matt Magarity||206||3|
|W, 38-35||Matt Magarity||180||2|
|2011||W, 44-27||Matt Magarity||225||4|
|L, 21-14||Matt Magarity||184||2|
|2012||W, 20-7||Chris Kane||286||2|
|2013||W, 34-7||Kyle Shurmur||181||2|
|2014||W, 29-7||Kyle Shurmur||345||4|
|2015||W, 24-12||Chris Ferguson||136||1|
|2016||L, 33-24||Tom LaMorte||147||0|
|2017||W, 41-28||Isaiah Jones||137||2|
The beginning of a football notes column from 2006 . . .
OCT. 31, 2006
Part of my report from a game in 2006; details a crazy sequence. . .
OCT. 27, 2006
Penn Charter 23, Malvern 19
. . . How many times do you think THIS has happened in football history: Two TDs and two safeties being slapped onto the scoreboard in a period of 1 minute, 36 seconds? Crazy, right? This version of fun began 28 seconds before halftime when sr. RB Sean McNally ran 3 yards for a score, thus capping an eight-play, 48-yard drive and giving PC a surprising 21-7 lead. Malvern was guilty of a 15-yard penalty as sr. Eric Muller hammered the PAT and it was assessed on the kickoff, allowing Muller to reach the very back of the end zone. Jr. Ryan Nassib (serious arm strength; 9-for-14, 111) passed incomplete on first down, and then the next snap was faulty. The ball bounced and was batted backward (Malvern was lucky that PC did not recover for a TD) and finally squirted out of the end zone for a safety at 11.2. OK, on to the second half. PC jr. Kashif Smith returned the kickoff five yards to the 6, then holding and procedure calls pushed the ball back to the 3. Soph QB John Ryan, brother of Boston College’s Matt and excellent overall in his first start (9-for-13, 91), bobbled the snap and was tackled for a safety at 11:11 by sr. DE Paul Ostick and sr. DT Mike Lynch. Muller kicked off from the 20. Sr. Matt Dolente zoomed his way to a 64-yard return to the PC 10 and Nassib followed immediately with a TD pass to ever-impressive sr. WR Joe Hoban at 10:52. So, there you have it. Two TDs and two safeties in 1:36, not to mention that the times for the respective sequences were 17 and 19 seconds. I repeat. Crazy, right? . . .
The day Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley became the city's all-time leading rusher . . .
OCT. 25, 2003
West Catholic 41, North Catholic 13
Coming into the contest the Burrs franchise, sr. RB Curtis “Boonah” Brinkley needed 171 yards to eclipse the all-time city rushing mark held by 1998 Frankford grad Eddie Gaskins. On the Burrs first offensive play, Brinkley was stuffed for a short 1-yard gain. The Falcons sideline erupted and had that, they’ll be no record-setting performance today attitude. Umm, not so fast. Brinkley unleashed a 26-yard run on the very next play and never looked back. In one of the greatest single-game performances our city has ever seen, the determined and talented back torched the Falcons to the tone of 399 yards on 30 carries. He scored five touchdowns on the day (32, 40, 17, 80 & 7). Brinkley attained the record on the last play of the first half. After a Burr timeout with :05 seconds left, Brinkley ripped-off a 19-yard gain to close out the half. Ted’s Monday Daily News story will have more details covering the celebration that took place. A celebration that included an emotional moment between Brinkley and his family, as well as a sideline meeting between Brinkley and former record holder Gaskins. Brinkley finished the half with 189 yards. I immediately directed my attention to another possible record. The single-game rushing record held by Cardinal Dougherty’s Lawrence Reid, who attained 379 yards in a game in 1976. I said to Ted, he’s halfway to the record. He replied, “Next stop, Reidsville.” He accomplished the record on an 8-yard run, and did it on a drive in which he carried the ball nine consecutive times that covered 80 yards. I’m sure Ted will get into these events a little more. I’ll just do game stuff from this point on. Sr. FB/DE David Fitzgerald (5-11, 270) was a beast all afternoon. He only rushed four times for 28 yards, but boy did he block, and block, and block. His lead blocking the last two weeks has been magnificent. He’s shown the attitude that a bruising fullback needs to show: get out of my way, I’m taking no prisoners. He looks like he enjoys slamming into linebackers and has packed a wallop in doing so. Also deserving credit was the Burrs O-line, who seem to be getting into a grove. The line includes jr. C Thomas Davis, G’s jr. Frank Pirrotta and sr. Fran Enright, T’s jr. Robert Grant (6-3, 320) and jr. Matt DeMarco (6-2, 295), and jr. TE Derrell Hand (6-4. 285). Did somebody say line up the steak dinners? The Burrs' other offensive touchdown came on a way-to-easy 36-yard pass from sr. QB Will Burke to sr. WR Evan Polk. Though Burke just attempted just seven passes, completing two. He did look good in doing so. At least three of his passes were dropped and could have gone for scores. He showed good presence in the pocket and threw some beautiful balls. This is a good sign for the Burrs, as they’ll need some semblance of a passing game in their upcoming important games with Carroll and Wood. Defensively, the Burrs racked up four sacks (Fitzgerald, Hand, soph LB Wayne Donahue and frosh DE Isaiah Edmond). Donahue and Fitzgerald were tackling leaders with seven and six respectfully. Sr. DB Thomas Fontaine added five stops and an interception. Jr. RB/KR Carl Graham added 101 yards in returns. He had an exhilarating 88-yard kickoff return called back. This kid is shifty and very quick. For the Falcons, jr. RB Shane McNamara ran hard throughout. He toughed-out 120 yards on 23 carries. Jr. QB Joe Waclawski had some decent moments. He scored the Falcons first TD on a 1-yard keeper. He passed 9-for-20, for 124 yards and score. His main receiving targets were sr. Sammy Ladd (3-56, TD) and sr. TE Ryan Nottis (4-36). Ladd’s touchdown came on the game’s last play, as Waclawski hurled a 37-yard bomb that floated over a West defender and into the waiting arms of Ladd. Soph FB Rasuel Thomas looks to have some promise. I would have liked to see him get a few more touches, he did look impressive on an early 11-yard run that set-up the first North score. Defensively, LB Thomas and jr. DT Hector Guzman registered sacks. Tackling leaders were, jr. DB Matt Sharkey (8), jr. DB Dwight Williams (9) and jr. LB Dom Fardella (7). Some notes to pass along: With his five touchdowns Brinkley has now entered the end zone an impressive 71 times during his career. Burr backs sure do like playing in Frankford’s stadium. In 2000, Abdul Sesay amassed 262 yards in a game against the Falcons. Combine that with Brinkley’s 399 yards, and Burr tailbacks have tallied 661 yards. Brinkley family members had a pair of nice looking banners. One read, “Curtis Brinkley, Simply the Best.” The other had the numbers, “6,123”, which of course was the new record. North’s Waclawski punted five times for a 36.6 average. He boomed punts of 57& 47 yards in the second half. After Brinkley’s final carry of the game, Gaskins noted, “Now that’s how you feed a guy the ball.” The Burrs produced 586 yards in the game (counting returns). Early in the game, after a nifty 16-yard punt return by Brinkley. Sr. DB Kevin Gardner blurted, “Huck, he’s in one of those moods.” Boy, was he ever!!!
My report on a CL Red regular season goodie from 2005 . . .
NOV. 6, 2005
Roman 26, La Salle 23 (two OTs)
I could have watched this one deep into the night, baby. Think about it. How often do football games truly come down to the last play? This one did. Several times. How can you not love that?! The teams played hard and mostly in clean fashion and there were very few mistakes. The team had to do wonders for Roman's confidence level for two gigantic reasons. No. 1, the Cahillites won on the road. No. 2, they triumphed on a field goal after having a FG blocked on the final play of regulation. Where to begin? Hmm. Let's go to the end of regulation and proceed from there. With the score tied at 16-16, Roman drove from its 40 and got a first down at the 6 on a 2-yard sneak by sr. QB Cory Jackson. Sr. RB Sean Woods was no stopped for no gain by sr. LB Dom Baker and sr. DL Greg Crone and Roman coach Jim Murphy told the refs to halt the clock at 0:03 for a timeout. Soph Chris Fiovaranti came out to try a 21-yard FG. La Salle iced Fiovaranti with back-to-back timeouts and then, finally, with jr. RB Ricky Nau snapping and Jackson holding, Fiovaranti tried his kick. Blocked! By jr. DB Jack Forster! Who came in right to left! We go to OT! From there: On third down, Jackson snuck in from the 1 and Fiovaranti kicked. La Salle's possession, frankly, was a circus due to three big calls. On first down, soph QB John Harrison threw a 10-yard TD pass to jr. RB Chris Ashley, but the play was nullified by offensive interference away from the ball. With the ball back at the 25, Harrison's incompletion was negated by roughing the passer and the penalty took the ball to the 12. Harrison threw low, then completed a 7-yarder to sr. TE Drew Wilkins. Guess what? This one didn't stand, either. Defensive interference was called and La Salle accepted the half-the-distance penalty because it meant an automatic first down at the 6. Sr. DE/OLB Rockeed McCarter deflected Harrison's next pass, but the next snap brought a TD as Harrison sent a swing pass to sr. FB Mike Padgeon. Jr. K Ryan Cain added the PAT. On to OT No. 2! An encroachment call put the ball on the 5, then Ashley picked up a yard. On third down, jr. S Dom "I Like When the Girls Call Me Dominique" Joseph made an end zone interception. Phew, back to a Roman possession. Jackson kept left for 2 yards. Soph Aaron Duncan picked up 5 yards on a sweep. Jackson threw just a shade long to Duncan and then, after two more timeouts, Fiovaranti hit his game-winner. The Cahillites rushed onto the field and Murphy kept pumping his fist while yelling, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" In the postgame huddle, during which he praised his squad's intestinal fortitude, Murphy said he was "35 going on 67" and later added through tears, "I'm a mess . . . Let's do the prayer." A quick recap on regulation: Roman scored an early safety when a punt-snap sailed over Forster's head out of the end zone; the Cahillies' TDs came on passes from Jackson to Joseph (8-yard fade; great leap!) and Duncan (on rollout; tremendous block by McCarter). La Salle scored on a 1-yard run by Ashley, a 4-yard pass from Harrison to sr. TE Drew Wilkins and a 26-yard FG by Cain (set up by sr. Kevin Ulrich's fumble recovery when Jackson dropped a punt; hit by Forster). Hockey Puck was in attendance and kept track of tackles from upstairs. OK, now let me find the paper in this avalanche (smile). Ah, here it is. For La Salle, he had jr. LB Sean Saverio (also the baseball catcher) with eight tackles (2 sacks), jr. LB Greg Frantz with 9, sr. LB George Hudson with 12 (2 for losses), sr. LB Joe Tubolino with 9, and Forster with 12. He checked and checked again, but said no one from Roman had more than 4 stops. "That gonna look bad," he moaned. McCarter did have an early 13-yard sack. Throughout the game, Roman went with a no-huddle approach. Murphy would call out a formation and then the players would stand in position, waiting for the actual play call. At times, many would be looking at wristbands with the info under plastic. When a Roman player went down with an injury, Murphy yelled, "Get his wristband!" When Roman was called for a personal foul at one point, Murphy wondered quite loudly what the offending player had done. One of the Cahillites yelled back from the field, "He kneed him in the (gonads)."
Website report by Amauro "Amar" Austin on a classic Pub final from 2008 . . .
NOV. 8, 2008
PUBLIC LEAGUE AAAA FINAL
Washington 41, Northeast 34 (3OT)
In a word: WOW! This game had so many subplots and so many heroes that I truly have no clue where to start and furthermore hope that I can do this event justice with my portrayal. This was indeed Pub FB at its highest level! Anyway, all year long, I told anyone who would listen that Northeast had the most talented team in the league and that if they were to ever put it all together, the Vikes could indeed win the could thing. Well, it looked as if that was going to happen in the early going as aside from a 42-yard fumble return by sr. DL Waverly Harris (hit by freshman DB/LB Nate Smith -- one of the game's truest heroes), NE dominated by reeling off 17 straight and taking a 17-6 lead late in the 1st half. At one time, the Vikings had run 38 plays from scrimmage to GWs 8! Finally, just before halftime, the Eagles got into the game as crafty jr. QB Aaron Wilmer threw a 22-yard strike to jr. RB Kesson Christopher. The second half was a battle of wills with GW finally plunging ahead with 4:44 left in the 4th with a 1-yard sneak by Wilmer, 20-17. Was that too much time to leave the dangerous Viking O? Why yes, I'll answer, as sr. K Tim Freiling booted a 45-yarder that would have been good probably from 7-8 yards further with :56.8 to tie the score at 20. Now this was when the fun started: NE kicked long to sr. return specialist Jamal Williams (another of the game's heroes -- 5 returns for 97 yards, 8 hard stops on defense) who took it 15 yards to his own 30. The Vikings called their final timeout with :48 left. Out of the break, Wilmer took the snap and dropped back only to be clobbered by jr. DL Jemeil "Florida" Murphy, who also slapped the ball out to cause a mad scramble for the loose pigskin. Finally, it was picked up at :38 by NE sr. DB Darius Mosee at the Eagle 14. Should Freiling come straight on the field to try another or should the Vikes run one play, either taking a shot at the end zone or trying to get in the middle of the field for their ace kicker? Well, they chose option two and it turned into a disaster when jr. QB Malik Stokes (22-for-42, 243 yards) had no one open and through an errant pass to Smith, who returned 25 yards. The Eagles wisely then took a knee and chose to go to OT. Phew! It only got better from here as NE won the toss and chose to play defense first. GW responded with a 5-yard TD strike from Wilmer to jr. TE James Fowler on 3rd down. NE then scored on a 3rd down pass play of their own, a 15-yarder from M. Stokes to his All-American brother Je'Ron (9/86, 2TDS, INT on D -- big game performance, did it all and left it all on the field). NE started the 2nd session with the ball and again scored on 3rd down this time on an 8-yard TD strike from M. Stokes to sr. WR Steve Pinckney (8/65). The Eagles faced 4th down on their drive and Wilmer again went to security-blanket Fowler, who was covered but still came down with the grab from 6 yards out. Washington started the 3rd OT with the ball and scored on 2nd down on a 1-yard sneak by Wilmer. Finally, 2nd down would be the end of the Vikes on their drive as sr. CB Lorenzo Adams (3 other defended passes) stepped in front of Je'Ron Stokes to make a Championship pick that will be remembered forever... All and all, the Vikes probably outplayed the Eagles (the numbers don't lie...), but GWs will to win was not to be outdone and that's why they came out on top. The Eagle D was led by jr. DT Sharrif Floyd, in his first extensive defensive action of the season with a sack and 2 other TFL and jr. LB Vernon Dupree (7 stops). NE got steady running on O from sr. RB James "Country" Rosseau (22-72, TD), tough defense from sr. LB James McRae (10 tackles and an INT) & great special teams play from WDE/ST gunner Marcus Leslie (8 tackles). In truth, I don't feel this one really had a loser, Washington just outlasted Northeast. With a little tweaking, this one may still be going on right now. That's how much both of these clubs wanted to win.
AA's Notes: This was the best FB game I've seen in some time at any level, maybe the best ever in high school, an instant classic to say the least... The Eagles stand a great chance to get a win against either La Salle or Judge, who'll vie next week for the spot in the City Title game. Remember NE dumped the very good Crusaders earlier in a NL tilt and Judge was one of the only clubs all year to handle La Salle. One thing's for certain, though, and that's that in either case, the Eagles MUST do a better job at utilizing their most dangerous offensive weapon, soph. WR Joe Clayborne (6-5 190). He always commands attention just with his presence as he's a match-up nightmare especially at this level... One of the more interesting subplots was the matching of the minds between Eagle boss Ron Cohen and his former assistant Doug Gunther, now at NE. Gunther spotted half of the first quarter from the roof of the home press box. Cohen went nuts, demanding the referees make him get down from there. Gunther even went back up there after being forced to come down and Cohen really sizzled then yelling to former NE principal and current School District athletic czar Kelly Barton, "Kelly! I'm not putting up with that! Get him down from there!" Can somebody say bad blood... Finally, Malik Stokes was a wreck afterward. He still had enough class to go over teary-eyed and all and give props/encouragement to the GW players and coaches after being too broken up to shake hands. Being a great player is one thing, but being a great person is unmatched in this game called life. That act may have been the most impressive thing that I saw all day and that's truly sayin' something. Way to go, young man!
Website report by Ed "Huck" Palmer on a classic CL Red quarterfinal from 2006 . . .
NOV. 10, 2006
CL RED QUARTERFINAL
La Salle 39, O’Hara 38 (OT)
If you’re thinking the Explorers and Lions raced up and down the field all night in a frantic pace, then you would only be half right. Believe or not, but this game for an entire half had a serious defensive tone to it. The Lions led 9-7 when the teams trotted into the locker rooms. They had given themselves this lead with 2:35 remaining when jr. LB Mike Grunde tackled sr. RB Chris Ashley about two yards deep in the end zone for a safety. Jr. DB Kevin Ward did a great job of downing sr. P/LB Joe Colleluori’s punt at the two to set up the play. Earlier, the Explorers grabbed a quick 7-0 lead when jr. LB Andrew Wood scooped up a fumble by sr. RB John Dempsey and scooted in from 12 yards out to end O’Hara’s first series. He actually recovered two fumbles on the play, as he pounced on his own fumble in the end zone. The Lions would even the score after Dempsey picked off a pass by soph. QB Mike Donohoe. Five plays later, soph. QB Tom Savage fired a pass to soph. RB Billy Morgan for an 18-yard touchdown. Wait a minute; let’s back-up a sentence. Who’s quarterbacking for LaSalle? Mike Donohoe? Yep! Passing demon, jr. QB John Harrison was in uniform, but could only watch up until the latter moments of the second quarter. He didn’t make the start because of a bum throwing shoulder that kept him from practicing all week. The youngster Donohoe was a modest 4-for-5, for 22 yards prior to Harrison entering the game. However, it was very apparent that the La Salle offense was missing their field general. I would hardly blame Donohoe, though; as he only attempted one pass this season before this tilt. So, experience was certainly not on his side. Harrison ended up only trying one pass in the first half and misfired. Before the second half started if you asked me to list which possible paths this game could go down. Then, I be damned if I would have chosen the combined 61 points in the second half path. Yes, the teams exploded for an array of action that allowed all in attendance to witness one of the more exciting halves of high school football two teams could possibly produce. I guess by now you have figured it out that Harrison did return, and all he did was bring the energy and precision to his team’s offense that was missing in the early stages. After a spirited three-and-out by the Explorer defense, all the offense needed were four plays, all Harrison completions, to ignite the scoreboard. Doing the honors was sr. WR/DB Jack Forster with a tough, tackle-breaking 18-yard reception. Next, LaSalle would once again be in business. This time they were the recipients of a questionable call on the ensuing kickoff. Sr. K. Ryan Cain’s kick glanced off an O’Hara up-man and sr. DE Scott Waters recovered. However, it looked like he never had complete control and an O’Hara player pounced. Still, the referee on the far side of the field ruled that Waters held possession long enough. Lion Head Coach Dan Algeo was irate and eventually found himself on the middle of the field disputing the call. He was later joined by La Salle head man Drew Gordon. The call stood and LaSalle took over at the O’Hara 44-yard line. To be fair, the play was a good distance from my vantage point. So, on we go and on to more passing exploits by Harrison we’ll go. After an incomplete pass he neatly hit Forster for a 25-yard pick-up. On the next play, he found jr. WR Joe Migliarese wide open for a 9-yard touchdown. Just like that, the Explorers expanded their lead to 21-9 with 8:18 left in the third. The two scores came in an ultra-quick 25 seconds between one another. Considering the tough season the Lions have had, this would be as good a time as any to fold up the tent. However, to their credit the fought right back and thanks to a beautiful 57-yard heave by Savage to jr. WR/DB Chris Smith they found themselves at the LaSalle one-yard line. Two plays later, soph. FB Evan Higgins strolled in to make the score 21-16. Early in the fourth the Lions would regain the lead 24-21 on a 21-yard fade pass from Savage to 6’7” jr. TE Mark Wedderburn. This duo also connected on the two-point attempt to push the lead to three points. The Explorers and Harrison responded with a 12-play, 62 yard drive that ended with a 20-yard field goal by Cain to tie the score. All but two plays on this drive were passes, and the biggest of them all was a 30-yarder to Forster on a fourth down play. O’Hara’s next offensive possession would end miserably, in form of a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown by jr. DB Matt Day. This gave the Explorers a 31-24 lead with 7:27 remaining. Would the Lions quit now? Not for a second, as on their first play of the next series, impressive freshman RB Corey Brown unleashed a 30-yard jaunt to put the ball at the La Salle thirty. A 15-yard Savage-to-Smith hook-up converted a third-down and put the ball at the sixteen. Then, Brown raced 9 and 7 yards respectively for the score. Jr. K Tom DuBois PAT tied the game at 31-31. The Explorers would take over with 4:36 left and held the ball for ten plays. They traveled as far as the O’Hara twenty-five, but failed to convert a fourth down play with under a minute to play. The Lions took over and ran one play before time expired and overtime was forced. In OT, O’Hara went on offense first. Savage started the series with an incomplete pass. Then, the Lions were whistled for a procedure call. The next play was a handoff to Brown who did some early weaving and then found open space around the left corner. He received a hard, touchdown-ensuring block from Smith at around the eight. Tremendous block, better run! For La Salle, their turn started ominously with a ten-yard holding penalty. Then, Harrison hit Migliarese for nine yards and Forster on two laterals for nine more and then no gain. Faced with fourth down, the Explorers burned not one, but two timeouts. The play-call, a simple curl route by Migliarese about two yards into the end zone. Harrison made an easy toss and without much resistance Migs made the grab. Initially, the Explorers brought the kicking team onto the field, but after an O’Hara timeout they had a change of heart and brought back the offense. They called a fade to Migliarese, and he somehow made a leaping grab with multiple Lions in the area. The play took place on the far side, but it looked real close to being out-of-bounds. Of course, I couldn’t tell, but I was informed after the game by an O’Hara assistant that the referee ruled that Migliarese was pushed out by a defender before he could land. Interesting! This led to a wild celebration by the Explorers, who will live to play another week. They’ll face Roman, a team they fell to in double-OT just a week ago in a game that decided second place. I’m not sure how much pain Harrison was in, but I have to assume that it was considerable considering he didn’t make an appearance until late in the second quarter. He finished 17-for-29 (All but 1 attempt in 2nd half), for 174 yards and three TDs. He now has 25 touchdown passes for the season. Again, his favorite targets were Forster (8-111-1) and Migliarese (8-54-2). Forster now has made an incredible 65 catches this year, while Migliarese has an even 50. Two receivers with 50+ snags is quite an accomplishment. Ashley (17-56) had a couple of timely runs. The Explorers accumulated 197 of their 261 yards in the second half. On defense, they were led by the bullish play of sr. DT John McBurnie (5 tackles), who forced the fumble on Wood’s touchdown and also notched two sacks amongst his stops. Other sacks were had by sr. DT Zach Gilbert and Wood. Sr. DB Sean Saverio seemed to be everywhere in the second half and ended with 8 tackles (7 solos), including three that went for losses. Sr. DB Rob Saraceni hustled for six stops, while Waters and sr. LB JB Campanella evenly split ten. O’Hara might have lost the game, but they received solid contributions from some of their younger offensive players. Savage threw a handful of beautiful balls and really demonstrated solid skills throughout. He finished the game 9-for-18, for 180 yards and two TD’s. His main target today was the fleet-footed Smith, who made four grabs for 117 yards. Brown showed a running prowess that was beyond impressive for a freshman against a good defensive club. He churned out 118 yards on 14 carries, displaying quick feet and solid vision. Dempsey (11-25) injured his shoulder just before half and didn’t play from this point on. Defensively, soph. LB Anthony McCloskey was continually around the ball and made a game-high 11 tackles. Colleluori (6 tackles) made a third quarter sack that forced a fumble. Grunde also made six tackles and recovered a fumble. Sr. DE Joe Goldschmidt played strong along the line of scrimmage and ended the game with seven stops. Ward hustled for nine total tackles, while jr. DE Billy McMonigle added five. I covered the game with Mr. Thomas “Puck” McKenna. We had planned to cross-check our stats at halftime, but once again he proved that he is far from reliable, the Puckster was a no-show. Where was he you might ask? In the stands, yucking it up with players from North and Roman. I already informed Ted, and he’ll be docked!
Website report by Jon "Duck" Gray on a 30-minute Public League game from 2007 . . .
SEPT. 21, 2007
Imhotep 21, FitzSimons 14
This was a game to remember . . . Please, I’m serious this time. I need the DVD. The best game I've seen this year was 30 minutes long. Here is the background: I got to the field at 2:03 pm. By 2:35, it was clear that Fitz was not going to make it on time. Imhotep coach Marc Wilson, in an extremely classy move, sent his school’s bus to pick up FitzSimons. (FitzSimons has a new administration since last year, so nobody called for a bus.) A lot of observers commented before Fitz arrived that this game should be played on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. When Fitz finally did arrive it was 3:52, and I was already exhausted after a long time talking to the really nice officials, clock operator Steve Kupsov and Franklin assistant Al Hill about everything: from baseball to 1970s Public League track to fencing to why I hate the sport of crew (anorexia, bulimia, body-type specific sport.) Fitz Coach Irv Sigler runs off the bus and onto the field. District 12 chairman Robert Coleman, head official James Capprezzio (I think I got that right), Wilson and Sigler are engaged in a discussion, so I poke my head in. Citing the National rules, the game is shortened. So at 4:02 the captains are at the 50 and by 4:08 kickoff. What a game that followed; lots of speed and athletes. FitzSimons looked like they were going to score first when talented tailback Kevin Coston burst along the sideline for a 16-yard yard gain. But in a game where holding onto the football was a problem, a costly center snap fumble results in a 66-yard scoring return for Saladine Walker. The Rams responded when Kwame Robinson recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The Panthers turned the bulk of their offense over to star rusher Gerald Bowman. Bowman is the real deal. Do not think because he plays in 3A he cannot play with the big boys. He has nice lateral cuts and runs through tackles. He still has to work on holding onto the ball, but he sure is fun to watch. Following a safety, Bowman added a 2-yard touchdown run. The Panthers were seemingly in control with the score 15-6. Most observers thought the Rams would crumble. Not in the least. Coston took a burst up the middle and was gone to the house and nobody could catch him (The kid has to be in the 4.4 range). But lo and behold with Coston at the 2-yard line, and in need of no blocks, a teammate clips at the 15 and negates what would have been a 75-yard touchdown run. The Rams then turned the ball over and Imhotep capitalized with a Julius Legg touchdown pass to impressive senior receiver Andreas Roberts on a fourth down play. Legg, who is listed at 6’5 275 (let's just chuckle about that weight) shook off four tackles and hit Roberts with a strike. What a play from the big quarterback when his team needed him most. The third quarter began with only 5:00 on the clock. Fitz quarterback James Robinson (9-11 121 yards) airs it out to Sam Polk, who outleaps the Imhotep secondary and pulls down the ball for a beautiful 69-yard score. Remember, only five minute quarters in the second half. Fitz stops Imhotep, and then starts to mount a drive late but cannot score or pick up the first down with only 8 seconds remaining. That was it, folks, a game to remember and an overall experience that will stay with me forever.
Sidenotes- Fitz could be pretty good in time… Beautiful day for football... Imhotep's Derrick Butts had a nice interception.
My website report on a Catholic Red regular season game from 2003 . . .
SEPT. 20, 2003
Ryan 44, Judge 41
Is it OK to put away the pencils? Are these teams really finished chalking up the yardage and points? Wow! This one featured 780 yards from scrimmage and 310 on returns for 1,090 total. It's a safe bet that no one who played in this tilt will be our Catholic League defensive player of the week. Up and down. Up and down. The teams were flyin' all night! The most interesting performance was turned in by Judge sr. QB Dale Curry. He was involved in 37 plays, passing 14-for-29 for 277 yards and rushing eight times for 48 yards. He was also responsible for five "air TDs" -- three to teammates and two to Raiders. For Ryan, soph DB Joe Zeglinski returned a pick 77 yards and sr. DB Rick Ferraiolo returned one 64 yards. Curry is a star catcher in baseball and catchers aren't supposed to be able to run. Guess what? On Zeglinski's interception return, Curry ran him down and made contact while almost hanging on for the tackle! Curry's TD tosses went to sr. WR Carl Peterson (3-53), sr. RB Tim Wacker (5-99) and sr. WR George Flack (3-100). The Crusaders' best rusher was sr. Sean Everitt, who again and again rushed for more yards than the holes should have dictated. He hustled for 86 yards and three scores on 16 carries. Zeglinski finished with 158 rushing yards and 109 on returns. He really knows how to "tempo" run, for lack of a better phrase. His moves and speed seem to perfectly match situations. Jr. FB Ron James added 66 yards and two scores on 11 rushes. Ferraiolo had an interesting night as well. Aside from his interception TD, he caught a 76-yard pass that took Ryan to the 3. So, he ran 140 total yards in a shade under 3 minutes. After Everitt ran 2 yards for a TD with 1:38 left, drawing Judge within 44-41, Ferraiolo recovered an onside kick to remove the suspense. As it turned out, the margin of victory was provided by the right instep of jr. K Tom Ferry. He kicked a 33-yard FG in the first quarter. Zeglinski made a wicked hit to upend Judge jr. WR Shawn Kelly. Kelly landed awkwardly on his head-shoulder and there was momentary concern. Both bands were in attendance. Neither played the National Anthem.
My website report on a Catholic Blue semifinal from 2002 . . .
NOV. 15, 2002
CATHOLIC BLUE SEMIFINAL
West Catholic 55, Neumann 48
Yes, that score line is correct. The final was indeed 55-48. The 103 points are the most ever scored in any game involving city teams, surpassing the 99 rung up this year when Germantown Academy, of the Inter-Ac, took a 55-44, non-league decision over Hun, of Princeton, N.J. **Note: Some more outrageous scores from WAY back involving Penn Charter were discovered in later years.** The teams combined for 788 yards from scrimmage and 264 on returns (1,052). The total at halftime was exactly 600! I can appreciate a classic defensive struggle, but I much prefer offense and this one was a flat-out dream game. When I got back to the office, my pulse was racing just typing the boxscore into the computer system. Fifteen TDs! Can heaven be any better? (Not that I'll ever get to find out.) West soph Chris Diaferio took the opening kickoff 67 yards for a score and the ch-ch-ch-chinging was on! The Burrs -- surprise, surprise -- were led by sr. RB Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley, who carried 26 times for 240 yards and four TDs. Sr. FB Chester Roebuck added 54 yards and a TD on eight carries while sr. WR Jonathan Jackson even got into the rushing-TD act with a 25-yarder. My DN story focused on sr. Matt Rodia, who starts at cornerback and had to play QB in this one because the starter was removed from the team for school-related reasons. He turned his one carry into a TD, added a conversion run and completed a 33-yard pass to Jackson during a drive. Best of all, Rodia took the snaps uneventfully and showed team-leader body language. For West's defense -- yes, some D was actually played -- sr. CB Robert Ramsey had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery and broke up three passes and Jackson had 10 stops. Freshman LB Wayne Donahue had a sack and TFL among five stops. For Neumann, sr. FB Jimmy Porreca ran 24 times for 159 yards and three TDs and caught a 10-yard pass from jr. QB Jon Brady (15-for-29, 236) for a fourth. Brady’s other two TD tosses went to sr. WR Jack Hatty (6-99). Hatty's 7-yard TD catch with 2:50 left moved Neumann within 49-41. The PAT by soph Kenny Brown was good, but the refs ruled that West encroached right before the snap. Neumann used its last timeout while planning to go for two (a cruciual development) and Porreca's run failed. Brinkley’s 55-yard burst with 1 minute, 24 seconds left gave West a 55-41 lead, but the Pirates stormed downfield on Brady’s passing and Porreca scored from the 2 at 0:30. Porreca’s onside kick was recovered by Dave Fitzgerald. Brinkley this season has rushed for 2,514 yards and 26 TDs. A little inside-the-newspaper story: My plan was to write stories about both playoffs. But at 9:05, with the game still in the third quarter, I phoned the office on a cell phone and said it would be flat-out impossible. Luckily, Bob Cooney said he'd be glad to help out. He took game details from Tom "Hockey Puck" McKenna and wound up interviewing Prep wideout Steve Quinn over the phone. Ed Barkowitz took the boxscore and stats from Puck, also over the phone, and somehow it all came together. You might have seen Bob and Ed on Daily News Live. I thank them a million times for the hustle. They really stepped up! (They both hate that phrase -- smile.)
Check out what happened in the final moments of a game from 2005 . . .
OCT. 10, 2005
Carroll 28, Kennedy-Kenrick 20
If you attended this game and left in the waning moments, you missed two touchdowns and one caused something that never seems to be far away when these squads meet in any sport -- controversy. As the final seconds ticked away, Carroll had the ball on K-K's 15 and K-K was out of timeouts. It was only third down, so the Wolverines, down 21-14 at the time, had no chance of getting the ball back. Carroll opted to run a regular play and K-K failed to tackle sr. RB Josh Halladay, and there he was in the end zone at 0:09. An angry K-K assistant immediately yelled over to Carroll coach Dan Bielli, "Dan, you take a knee there!" And head coach Mike McTamney said he was "hissed" and that he indeed would have told his QB to execute a kneel-down. Anyway, on the ensuing kickoff, sr. RB Troy Taylor caught the ball on the 27 and went 73 yards for the score. Or maybe he went 71 or 72. Hockey Puck said he was positive that Taylor did not make it into the end zone, and that even some K-K folks were saying that. They were speculating, Puck said, that the referees "gave" Taylor the TD in recognition of the fact Carroll had been guilty of poor sportsmanship. Can't say for sure.
Neumann-Goretti certainly knows how to provide football entertainment. Last season the Saints had to shut down their season quite early because of low numbers. Now N-G is going to own the Catholic League record for most consecutive years with different coaches -- five. The new boss is West Catholic grad Albie Crosby, the former head man at Imhotep Charter, of the Public League. He follows C.J. Szydlik, Chalie Szydlik (son and father, respectively), Dan Concannon and Lincoln Townsend Jr. The former mark (four) belonged to Roman Catholic and St. Thomas More (located at 47th & Wyalusing, it closed in 1975) in the early 1940s.
|Lincoln Townsend Jr.||2016||0-8|
|Rev. Joseph Dougherty||1940||1-6-2|
|Joseph "Goldie" Graham||1943||6-4|
|ST. THOMAS MORE||Year||Record|
|Joseph "Tubby" Walker||1941||0-7-1|
|Hugh "Wink" Gallagher||1942||0-9|
The just-completed Summer Project highlighted playoff games that were WON by Catholic League teams. This one from 2010 was not . . .
CLASS AAA SEMIFINAL
Allentown CC 49, Wood 27
Let’s be clear about something right away: In 40 years of covering high school sports, this ranks as the best performance I’ve seen in any sport. ACC quarterback Brendan Nosovitch accounted for 602 yards and all seven touchdowns. Yes, you that read that correctly – 602 yards. Just a junior, he already boasts two seasons with 2,000 passing AND 1,000 rushing yards and Gatorade recently named him Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year. Through the years I’ve seen a gal and guy score 100 and 86 points, respectively, in basketball games. And a ballcarrier rack up six TDs. And a slugger hit four homers. And no-hitters. All impressive, no doubt. But you know how it usually goes. Outrageous numbers are almost always rung up against inferior opponents. This was a state semifinal, folks. ACC’s opponent boasted a perfect record. I’m still stunned. Sometime around midnight, after submitting my DN story (more on THAT circus later), I was talking with Huck about the game. He’d spoken with several others and had listened to part of havenfootball.net's stream. He asked me whether this game had shown signs of Enjoy the Show, a reference to West Catholic’s wildly prolific offense in '08. My answer: “More like 'Enjoy MY Show.' " Yes, Nosovitch had help in the form of blockers and talented receivers. But out of a shotgun spread offense, with sometimes FOUR receivers to one side and one to the other, which left no one near him, this kid ran or passed on 49 of ACC’s 52 plays. Think about that. Forty-nine plays with DIRECT involvement. He passed 17-for-28 for 419 yards and five scores and ran 21 times for 183 and two more tallies. Just one of those accomplishments would be impressive. By the way, the city record for passing yards in a game is 409 and that came in a 60-3 Thanksgiving blowout (Central over Northeast) back in 1986. ACC’s other three plays were runs for zero and minus-3 and an incomplete pass off a trick play. So, this kid outgained his team, 602-599! After having given this extensive thought, I’ve decided Nosovitch was a cross between Brett Gordon (La Salle ’98) for throwing and Curtis Drake (WC ’09) for running. Is he like that all the time? Who knows? But he was tonight. Almost all of his passes were right THERE, and he displayed touch and velocity. And on his draws and flush-outs, he was quick and elusive and able to shake off multiple tacklers. After one of Nosovitch’s long runs, a Wood assistant muttered, “Three guys HAD him.” Almost. The tip came very early. After Wood failed to produce on its first possession, ACC took over at its 5. Nosovitch immediately turned a draw into a 25-yard gain, even though defensive coordinator Mike Carey was predicting exactly that play at high volume, and then these Vikings (also Wood’s nickname, of course) turned a short slant into a 75-yard score. Uh, oh. A very entertaining first half ended 21-21. Out of the third-quarter chute, Wood had reason for strong hope. After a 48-yard pass and 9-yard run by you-know-who placed the ball at the 3, ACC opted for a handoff to Colin McDermott. Jr.LB Jon Vicari broke through and dumped him for a 3-yard loss. There was great early pressure on the next play and Nosovitch immediately scampered to his left. Sr. LB James Messina was havin’ none of it, and he dumped Nosovitch for a 12-yard loss. Jr. DB Kyle Adkins then broke up a fourth-down pass. Well, at least from the other sideline, it appeared as if Kyle’s back did. He was blanketing the receiver. Two three-and-outs for Wood then sandwiched one for ACC and hey, what do you know, the game was featuring some normalcy. But ACC then churned 75 yards in six plays – big ones: a 29-yard run and 39-yard pass – and those Vikings were up, 28-21. Wood went backward 7 yards on its next possession and ACC unveiled the dagger. First play. A TD pass of 64 yards. Wood’s next two opportunities were thwarted by a lost fumble and interception and, yes, ACC converted both chances. To its everlasting credit, Wood kept trying and wound up finishing strong. The final possession produced a score on the game’s very last play as jr. QB Joey Monaghan hit Adkins for 19 yards. By rule, there was no PAT attempt. Oh, Monaghan ran or passed on 42 plays. The QBs combined for 91 plays! Incredible! He passed 14-for-24 for 138 yards (also an 8-yard TD to jr. TE Colin Thompson) and carried 18 times for 56 yards and one score. Jr. RB Brandon Peoples turned 23 carries into 157 yards and one TD, a 47-yarder. That play was noteworthy. As he went into the line, Brandon was lifted and/or semi-jumped and momentarily appeared to be suspended at shoulder level. Then he was back on the ground and zooming downfield. Congrats to Wood and coach Steve Devlin on a sensational season. There will be another in 2011 due to the fact that so many of this year’s headliners were juniors . . . As for the circus. The field caretaker chased everyone out of the press box at maybe 10:50, saying he’d only be getting paid for work done up until 10 o’clock. Our deadline for the first full edition is 11:15 (roughly, there can be some flexibility) and I was maybe 60 percent through the story. Panic set in. Now what? I hopped in the car and headed maybe a mile back toward the downtown area, figuring something had to be open. A restaurant. Even a bar. Somebody would let me set up shop somewhere. Then I noticed the Bethlehem Hotel. Here we go, baby. Parked the car. Hustled inside. A large Christmas party was taking place in lounge areas that take up the lobby/first floor. Off to the side, under a decent amount of light, was a table with a white cloth on it. Earlier, maybe finger food had been on it? Or holiday plants? Who knows? But it was empty now and that became my work area. Nearby, people were talking at very loud volume, snapping pictures, etc. I finished the story and hit the send button at roughly 11:30. It made the last edition. Not sure about the next-to-last. But I sure know what Brendan Nosovitch did: Made a lasting impression.
My report on an interesting game from the 2002 season . . .
OCT. 11, 2002
Penn Charter 21, Malvern 14
I was surprised PC didn't want to postpone this one, considering the monsoon-like rains that fell Thursday night and made the field quite messy; also because it rained pretty much all day today. But both teams were coming off open weeks and as PC coach Brian McCloskey said, "We gotta play this or we'll all go nuts." Boston College-bound sr. QB Matt Ryan, with rare exception, looked like he was operating under sunny skies on a dry field. His passes were crisp and accurate. He finished 10-for-16 for 134 yards; jr. WR Sean Singletary (3-33) and sr. WR John Samuel (2-25) had several impressive catches; the kind usually not made on bad days. Singletary had an 84-yard kickoff return for a TD; he then slipped and was the last man responsible on a 60-yard TD catch by sr. RB Duke McKeeta. My DN story focused on sr. RB-LB Tony McDevitt, who had "the look" in his eyes all day. He rushed 22 times for 88 yards and made four catches for 62. He also posted seven tackles (two for losses) and made a huge fumble recovery to set up his own winning TD. It happened at the Malvern 19 (PC was hit with a dead-ball foul for 15 yards) right after Samuel missed a 25-yard field goal attempt. McDevitt did not give his teammates a chance to hang their heads. He immediately dashed for 26 yards, then scored two plays later. Samuel, at OLB, had six tackles and broke up three passes. Sr. DE Mike Boles made two consecutive tackles (one was a sack) on the first of Malvern's two "last" drives. He earlier had a fumble recovery to set up McDevitt's first TD. Frosh DB Kamal Marrel then broke up a pass. Malvern had three timeouts remaining and PC was forced to punt. Marrel (two) and Samuel (one) had breakups on that series, which began at the PC 39. Another pass was overthrown. Malvern was a shade lifeless in the first half, but very juiced thereafter. Sr. Dave Moore hit some passes -- his first TD went to sr. WR Rob McGarrigle -- and McKeeta did some hard, tough-guy running. The all-sr. D-line of Es T.J. Cascio and Kevin Lilly and Ts Michael Meehan and Tom Coyne let PC have just one rushing play of more than 4 yards in the second half. When Malvern's team came onto the field before the game, sr. T Stefan Niemczyk was maybe 15 yards ahead of the other guys. He turned and yelled, "You guys want the championship?" Everyone growled. Niemczyk then added, "Come and get it right now!" This was the opener, but, like always, PC and Malvern are the favorites. PC's team includes a frosh named Sam Biddle. He's 5-1, 95 pounds, and has all kinds of heart, I'm told.
My report on a crazy game from the 2013 season . . .
NOV. 1, 2013
Malvern 49, Episcopal 21
As the first half wound down, Episcopal stormed downfield -- 81 yards in seven plays -- and created a 14-14 tie with 0:51 left as jr. QB Ryan Whayland scored on a busted play that had the look of a QB draw and turned into a 1-yard TD. Soon, the clock reached 0:00 and an Episcopal assistant yelled, excitedly, "Let's sprint to the locker room!!!" That, the Churchmen did . . . while the Friars walked slowly across the field in extra glum fashion. Right about now, you might be deciding you should take another look at the score line while saying, "Wait, I thought Malvern won this game?" That, the Friars did. Thanks to an incredible performance by sr. RB Troy Gallen! The Delaware commit was pretty darn good in the first half, turning 14 carries into 118 yards and a 23-yard TD. He then went major berserk in the second half, adding four more rushing TDs along with outrageous chunks of real estate. In all, Gallen ran 25 times for 372 yards and the five scores, and he came within one yard of a sixth. Those 372 yards represent the No. 5 outburst in city history (Carroll's Austin Tilghman had 374 just last week vs. McDevitt) and they eclipsed the school record -- 308 by Chris Downs in 1997 -- by a wide margin. On his 23-yarder, Gallen set sail on a sweep right, then used his ever-impressive vision and instincts to cut up along the hash marks, basically. His next TD, a 59-yarder off a left-side sweep, came on the first play of the third quarter. Soon, sr. DB Jordan Majors was making a leaping interception pretty far downfield and Gallen was scampering for a 32-yard score up the middle. On that one, he pulled a Fred Astaire at roughly the 10 and guys are still picking up their jocks. A three-and-out followed and a personal foul on Episcopal placed the ball 40 yards from the end zone. See ya! Gallen decided to visit. As sr. FB Hunter Paulus came off the field, he roared, "He's makin' my job real easy!" Gallen motored for a 70-yard TD on the third play of the fourth quarter, as he jetted and jetted some more. That made it 42-14. Three snaps later, sr. DE John Nassib retreated about a dozen yards and used his right hand to make a claw-like interception; that was his SIXTH pick of the year. As Nassib reeled in the ball, about 25 people on Malvern's sideline exclaimed simultaneously, "Oh, my God! I can't believe it! He did it again!" On the third play, starting from EA's 28, Gallen took off AGAIN! But this time, he stepped out at the 1. He took a handoff on the following snap, but, to its credit, EA's defense dug in hard and limited Gallen to no gain. The Churchdudes also managed to make Gallen's helmet pop off, so he had to leave the field for one play. Jr. QB Alex Hornibrook then scored the Friars' final TD on a sneak. That occurred with 7:37 left, raised the score to 49-14 and started the mercy rule process. What a sequence. At halftime, the Friars looked dead to the world and then, here they were 19 1/2 minutes (of game clock) later, enjoying a rout. Malvern's grunts were sr. C John Monday, sr. G Kevin McKnight, jr. G Michael McCarthy, jr. T Jacob Rebisz and jr. T Hayden Mahoney. As the night wore on, they knew the deal: Get Gallen even a sliver of nightlight and he'll be outta here. Before the game, coach Kevin Pellegrini and his dad, Gamp, both mentioned they'd attempt to get Gallen more touches in this one. Not a bad plan, right? Smile. For the evening, Gallen also made two receptions for 17 yards and one return for 25. So, his full-blown yardage total was 414. Wow! Defensively, Malvern notched an early interception (by jr. DB James Keating) while overall strong nights were enjoyed by Majors, jr. OLB Trevor Morris and sr. LB Jake Anderson (two TFLs; other stops in no-gain territory). For EA, Whayland finished 14-for-30 for 237 yards. He notched 138 prior to intermission and the rest after the spread reached three TDs. Sr. WR John McDermott showed great concentration to notch a 15-yard catch for a score with 1:13 left; sr. DB Zachary O'Neill had tipped the ball. A very large crowd was on hand -- bleachers were filled, lots of standees -- and the second half was played through a very strange fog. Unlike the Eagles-Bears Fog Bowl back in the day, play was not affected. But the fog was definitely prominent. MP and EA are now tied at 3-1 with one game left. The Friars, who have scored at least 41 points in four of their last five games, play SCH Academy and the Churchpeeps meet Haverford School. Malvern's student rooters stormed the field after the game, creating quite a stir. Episcopal's seniors, meanwhile, had to hang around for Senior Night festivities, posing with parents for pictures. That could NOT have been easy on the heels of such a crushing defeat.
My report on a crazy development from the 2003 season . . .
AUG. 30, 2003
Neumann 30, North Catholic 6
The first game in Catholic League history played before Labor Day turned out to be the first three quarters of a game. With the mother of all thunderstorms moments away, ref Nick Raimo halted the proceedings and sent everyone home. The sky was incredibly dark and lightning was crackling big-time not far away. Then . . . kaboom! The storm rolled in as I was driving home on the Garden State Parkway. For the hell of it, I listened to AM radio and it was virtually impossible with all of the lightning-induced static. Unbelievable! This was a no-contest, pretty much. North did next to nothing on offense and scored only on a 81-yard punt return by jr. Shane McNamara. It was a nice effort; McNamara caught the ball on one bounce and made several shifty moves. Neumann showed a nice blend of speed, savvy and strength. The headliner was sr. RB-DB-KR Billy Canady, who scored twice on rushes, posted one interception and had 73 yards on three returns. Meanwhile, though it's still August, we might have already seen the season's best effort by a receiver. Jr. WR Antoine Stout, on a long pass from sr. QB Jon Brady (5-for-12, 119), tipped the ball, tipped it again, finally gathered it in despite the best efforts of a defender at about the 20. Then, a shade inside the 10, he was caught and fought and fought and dragged the guy into the end zone. What a great sequence!! Sr. Frank Baldino also had a strong day. He made some of the game's hardest hits at LB and did some tough running from his newly added FB spot. Jr. DE Michael Evans scored on a 3-yard interception return when he sniffed out a screen and easily caught the ball. Later, he was even more impressive while playing TE. Coach Bubby DiCamillo was yelling at another player about a missed assignment at the beginning of a timeout and Evans piped right up. "No, it was ME, coach!" How many kids would do that? Impressive. Like always, Neumann has some gigantic linemen. Next to each other are sr. T Joe Sandefur (6-4, 315) and jr. G Marques Slocum (6-5, 305). Aside from McNamara's return, North's best moment came when sr. DB Dan Dempsey made tackles for losses on back-to-back plays.
My report on a crazy game from the 2009 season . . .
NOV. 12, 2009
University City 40, Overbrook 34 (4 OTs)
If Friday the 13th is unlucky, Thursday the 12th must be the opposite. Because I got to see an all-timer today. Plus, the rain stopped at some point in the fourth quarter -- hey, no more droplets on the press box window; none getting blown every so often onto my clipboard through the slightly open portion -- so when OT did come, down to the field I scurried and then stood right next to the base of the goalpost for all of the OT action. By the way, it was played at the north end of Germantown’s stadium. There were some tremendous plays in OT, and they had to be clutch because the game’s conclusion was right on the doorstep. Here’s what happened:
First OT: Overbrook jr. David McCants (10-54, three TDs) ran 10 yards on the first play, then was stopped on the conversion. On third down for UC, sr. RB Tyriuq “Pop Tart” Gordon was stopped for no gain at the 4 but a facemask flag moved the ball to the 2. He then powered into the end zone and his conversion run was thwarted.
Second OT: Sr. RB Keenan Clark went 5 yards for ‘Brook, then McCants did likewise. Sr. WR Rodney Hall, handling emergency QB duty after an injury to jr. Ehramis Chism (he formerly attended UC), raced to the right corner on the conversion and made it. UC’s first play was 10-yard, alley-oop, left-corner pass from sr. QB Michael Adens to jr. WR Martez Lyles, a basketball player. Gordon then ran for the two.
Third OT: Clark raced 9 yards for a score on a right-to-left jet sweep. However, he was so excited about scoring, he spiked the ball and the Panthers had to set up conversion shop on the 18. Uh, oh. No problem! Hall made a terrific throw to the right corner and sr. TE Erik Staley beat Lyles to make the catch. After an incompletion, Adens and Lyles again did the left-corner fade thing successfully. Out of unbalanced line set, Gordon again kept the game going by getting into the end zone for two. I was lovin’ this!
Fourth OT: Two runs, a pass and a keeper by Hall netted just three total yards for ‘Brook. Sr. John Fields, jr. Martin Monroe and sr. Parrish Shoatz all combined for the last stop. Gordon went 3 yards up the middle. Was stopped for no gain on a pitch to the right. Then, here it came AGAIN. A left-corner fade to Lyles. TOUCHDOWN! (The game lasted 2:56. The lights were turned on with 2:03 left in regulation. On a regular field with no lights, no way the game could have lasted this long.)
Four OTs ties a city record and I was kind of hoping we’d see a fifth and sixth and seventh . . . Even a dozen, baby. Ha, ha, ha. If the teams had been failing left and right in boring fashion, that would have been one thing. But as mentioned, some clutch plays were being made and it was all so much fun to watch (and capture). Lyles entered the OTs with two catches on the season. And came out of it with the city record for most TD receptions in OT. Adens had logged just two TD passes all season. Lyles said his heroics were just like going for a rebound and added, “First you have to box out.” He did a great job of shielding the ball from assorted defenders. Gordon, a four-year varsity performer (two at ‘Brook, these last two with Uni), was the primary recipient of DN ink. All he did was accumulate 251 all-purpose yards. He opened the scoring with a beautiful punt return of 78 yards, uncorked an interception return of 30 yards, caught one pass for 15 (Adens was just 1-for-10 through regulation) and rushed 21 times for 128 and TDs of 36 and two yards. His career has produced 2,982 yards of rushing (2,365) and receiving (617) along with 24 and four TDs in those categories, respectively. This was his first return six-pointer and I found that very surprising, considering his talent and instincts. Anyway, after catching the ball in the middle, Gordon eased to his right, cut back to his left and raced down that sideline. “Pop” said Pitt has asked for game tapes and a transcript and that D-II schools are also pursuing him. He’s also a force on defense, at LB, and he provided great inspiration in the fourth OT – yes, even though he was exhausted – by slamming Clark to the turf after lifting him about a foot. Overbrook is to be commended for climbing back from the 12-0 deficit and getting the game to OT. A gigantic yardage swing prevented a regulation win. Late in the third quarter, sr. RB Kirk Wright carried to the 1. But a chop block pushed the ball back to the 26 and on fourth down Chism was tackled (and hurt) for an 18-yard loss by sr. Isaiah “Zeke” Walker. Overall, UC’s most passionate defender was sr. LB Sam Bracy. He was bringin’ it. Meanwhile, when Gordon played at ‘Brook, the roster always showed his name as Tyriuq. That changed at UC to Tariq and coach Lou Williams insisted last year that was correct. I cross-checked with Gordon during our interview – most of it was done by cell phone about an hour after the game – and he said Tyriuq IS correct. No idea why he or a family member never spoke up these last two seasons. Oh well. At least it’s right now. Two-way lineman Jerome Evans, a recent arrival from Glen Mills, was impressive for 'Brook. He's a D-I prospect with off-the-charts leg strength. Williams was not on hand when the game began. He and maybe a half-dozen players, along with the cheerleaders, were on the Jaguars' second bus. All key players were on the first bus.
My report on a crazy game from the 2010 season . . .
NOV. 18, 2010
Fels 56, Franklin 46
(Resumption of Game Halted by Darkness on 11/12 With 3:21 Left; at 48-46)
This one ended with what almost became the all-time development. After 102 points had been scored and almost no defense had been played (smile), Fels sr. LB John Counts intercepted a pass on his team’s 1, on the game’s FINAL play, and came oh-so-close to rumbling 99 yards for a TD! Those six points would have lifted the total to 108, of course, and enabled this game to become the highest-scoring in city history, surpassing 103 by West Catholic-Neumann in a 2002 Catholic League playoff (West won, 55-48). The primary tackler on Counts’ return was sr. QB Anwar “Huddy” Mathis (with late help from soph RB Crusito Cruz) and Mathis, who doesn’t play defense, said the stop was just his SECOND of the season. The other had come, he said, in Week Three vs. Dobbins star Terrance Stafford. (Those teams will meet again on Thanksgiving.) I was looking forward to this one with so much nervous anticipation. The clocked dragged big-time today and I wound up arriving so early, no one else was even in 29th Street Stadium. It’s hard to be sure on something like this, but it might have been the first football game in city history to be continued after a stoppage (six days earlier due to darkness). Thanks to Pub sports czar Robert Coleman for agreeing with my assertion that the kids deserved a chance to finish this one. If the score had been outrageously one-sided, OK, no sweat, let it ride. But there was only a two-point difference and all kinds of records were available for smashing/tying. Fels sr. QB Tyree “Bam” Rucker had already thrown for 324 yards and six TDs, most in Pub history. After Fels got the kickoff (the first go-‘round had ended with a TD run by Mathis and unsuccessful conversion run by sr. handyman Willie Battle), would coach Bill Harrigan allow Rucker to fire away? Noooooo. How dare this guy! He wanted to win more than go for records??!! (smile) All things considered, Harrigan’s approach made lots of sense. He stuck with runs and milked the clock, knowing Franklin entered today’s portion of the proceedings with only one timeout remaining. Counts, a sr. FB, ran for eight yards on his first carry in the game. Sr. Terry “Dark” Brown (tackle by jr. DL Demetrius Town) and Rucker (tackle by sr. DL Richard Underwood) were held to one and no yards, respectively, and Franklin coach Desmin Daniels used his last timeout at 1:35. Would Fels punt? Nooooo. The call was a dive right for Brown. And he wound up rumbling 61 yards for a TD! Howevvvvver, there was a holding call at roughly the 20. Didn’t matter. Knowing his team’s only hope was to get the ball back, Daniels declined the penalty and hoped like crazy his squad could D it up on the conversion, keeping the deficit at eight points and leaving the door open for a tie and then OT. Brown also got the call on the two-pointer, on a run to the left. One guy, and then two guys, had decent, even great, opportunities to stop him, but that didn’t happen and he frolicked into the corner of the end zone (at the 29th Street end). Cruz’s 21-yard kickoff return put the ball on Franklin’s 41. All nine plays were passes. Three produced completions. The first two to jr. WR Jonathan Parker for 15 yards and other to WR Michael Edwards (must be new; not sure what grade he’s in) for 14. That placed the ball on the 15. The sequence thereafter: incomplete, incomplete, offsides on Fels, holding on Fels, delay on Franklin, incomplete to the right corner (Parker did make a great catch in the right corner, but was beyond the sideline), and Counts’ interception. With 99 today, the teams finished with 962 yards from scrimmage! Fels won that battle, 576-386. Fels jr. WR Nijah Kelly (4-143) and Parker (6-135) caught three TDs apiece; the city record in that category is four. Rucker accounted for 428 yards of passing/rushing and seven TDs, counting a 3-yard run. Mathis passed for four and ran for two. I can’t imagine there has ever been a city game where the QBs combined to account for 13 scores (there were 15). Those not involving the QBs in some fashion were sr. Evander Barkley’s early 68-yard kickoff return for Franklin and Brown’s run today for Fels. Amazing. Earlier today, with fun in mind, I decided to take two Player of the Week T-shirts to the game and give them to the first guy on each team to make a tackle. Franklin’s went to sr. KO man Charlie Mills while Fels’ went to Kelly. Fels sr. LB Misael Perez indeed made a decent pop on that play (18-yard completion to Parker; Cruz had merely stepped out on his kickoff return), but Parker wound up a few yards away and it was Kelly who put him down (over Perez’ mild protests – ha ha). So now, we know for sure that each of the three major sports has experienced a resumption. Instances that immediately come to mind: The 2004 Catholic League baseball final was played over two days due to rain and last winter, in Pub basketball, Frankford and Northeast began playing Feb. 4 at Frankford and finished playing Feb. 18 at Northeast; there’d been a broken rim at halftime at Frankford. Each team also played another opponent before the resumption. The Pioneers rolled past University City, 70-54, at Frankford and then, after changing their jerseys from white to red, they piled into relatives' vehicles and hightailed it to Northeast, where the Vikings were waiting after falling to Southern, 77-51. Gotta love that, right? And you REALLY gotta love this. When today’s game concluded, Fels and Franklin had a scrimmage! Franklin simulated Frankford for Fels and Fels pretended to be Dobbins for Franklin. Those teams will meet on Thanksgiving. At the east end of the field, going through a no-pads practice in anticipation of Saturday’s AAA City Title, was none other than . . . Dobbins! The Mustangs watched the conclusion beforehand. What a fun afternoon!
The 61st Big 33 Football Classic, featuring a Pennsylvania vs. Maryland format, will be played Saturday, June 17, 7 p.m., at Landis Field, 4600 Locust Lane, Lower Paxton Township, PA, 17109. Below is the Pennsy roster, as provided by Russell Fleming, the game's marketing director. Thanks! Nine players from Catholic/Inter-Ac/Public schools are on the roster.
|Yellow -- Starting Offense . . . Blue -- Starting Defense . . . Bold Type: Captains|
|No.||Pos.||Ht||Wt||First Name||Last Name||High School||College|
|2||DB||5'10"||170||Jeremy||Jennings||Downingtown East||Temple University|
|3||DB||6'1"||195||Saeed||Holt||Woodland Hills||University of Toledo|
|4||DB||6'1"||190||Mike||Crawford||Imhotep||University of New Hampshire|
|5||WR||6'2"||185||Darian||Street||Liberty||University of Pittsburgh|
|6||WR||5'11"||192||Ryan||Lezzer||Clearfield||Western Michigan University|
|7||QB||6'4"||190||Reece||Udinski||North Penn||Virginia Military Institute|
|9||DL||6'3"||255||Shane||Hogarth||Downingtown East||University of Delaware|
|10||LB||6'3"||220||Tim||Terry||Pittsburgh Central Cath.||University at Buffalo|
|11||WR||5'11"||182||Terrance||Greene||St. Joe's Prep||Monmouth University|
|13||DL||6'4"||248||Damion||Barber||Harrisburg||Penn State University|
|15||H-BA.||6'3"||210||Jack||Crossed||St. Joe's Prep||Elon University|
|18||QB||6'1"||195||Grant||Breneman||Cedar Cliff||Colgate University|
|20||ATH||5'9"||180||Joel||Davis||Harrisburg||East Stroudsburg University|
|21||K||6'2"||210||Carson||Landis||Emmaus||Penn State University|
|23||LB||6'1"||215||Audley||Isaacs||Valley Forge MA||Temple University|
|24||WR||5'8"||175||Justice||Evans||Pittsburgh Central Cath.||Indiana University of PA|
|26||DB||5'8"||175||Ricky||Goodson||St. Joe's Prep||Amherst College|
|*32||LB||6'3"||225||Brian||Snow||Episcopal Academy||Dickinson College|
|33||LB||6'2"||232||Jerry||Roberts||Cathedral Prep||Bowling Green State|
|38||DL||6'0"||220||Brandon||Hickerson-Rooks||Central Dauphin East||Iowa Central Comm. Coll.|
|44||RB||5'11"||190||Jaelen||Thompson||Middletown Area||Towson University|
|52||DL||6'3"||300||Curtis||Harper||McKeesport Area||Syracuse University|
|55||OL||6'6"||270||Gabe||Houy||Upper St. Clair||University of Pittsburgh|
|59||OL||6'4"||280||Jake||Trautman||Pittsburgh Central Catholic||Fordham University|
|68||OL||6'5"||285||Khalique||Washington||Lebanon||Dodge City Junior College|
|75||OL||6'6"||320||Desmond||Holmes||Cardinal O'Hara||Penn State University|
|77||OL||6'7"||280||Mason||Cholewa||Montour||University of Central Florida|
|87||TE||6'3"||260||Griffin||Sestili||North Allegheny||Temple University|
|95||DL||6'3"||307||Dominick||Covatto||Cathedral Prep||University of Delaware|
A few times through the years, we've mentioned the Persons and referred to them as the First Family of City Football. Reason: All six of the brothers wound up playing Division 1 football with Andy, Chris, Dan and Joe at Navy, Brian at Penn and Fran at South Carolina. Imagine, how many brother six-packs have played D-1 football? Can't be too many, even across the country. Now ask this question . . . How many members of D-1 football six-packs also played high school basketball? Go ahead, Person bros. Respond in unison, at full volume. "All of us!" (smile). Plus, all were starters or key subs. All six brothers graduated from Episcopal Academy, though Chris first attended Haverford School and the years he played there are noted with asterisks on the list below. Andy was a key sub for EA's Inter-Ac champs in 1990 and '91 while Chris was a first team All-Inter-Ac honoree in 1993. In all, the brothers combined to score 876 points in Inter-Ac play. There's one sister in the crew. Anne Marie also graduated from EA (in '05) and wound up playing lacrosse at American University. Like her brothers, she played hoops in high school. Here's hoping she scored at least 124 points in league play to give the family 1,000. . . Click here for a website page from 2006.
|Inter-Ac League Basketball Points Scored by the Person Brothers (876 Total)|
As you likely know by now, I love it when guys play multiple sports and have strong faith in both the short-term and long-range benefits. With that in mind . . . Here are basketball scoring numbers in regular season league play (1950 on up) for Catholic League guys who advanced to the NFL. Check out the No. 1 guy on the list. Good, ol' Marvin Harrison, who last summer was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No. 4 is John Cappelletti, who won the Heisman Trophy. In 2013, I posted an updated list of the best NFL-AFL players from high schools in Philadelphia's three city leagues (Public, Catholic, Inter-Ac). Five guys listed below -- Harrison, Jim Cooper, Frank Wycheck, Jim Katcavage and Rich Gannon -- were first-teamers and three others -- Anthony Becht, Cappelletti and Frank Gallagher -- were included on the Best of the Rest list. Not all players stayed with hoops through their senior year. GS means games in which the player scored.
|CL Basketball Points Scored by NFL Players, 1950-|
|Carmen Cavalli||ST More||1955||2||28||265|
|Andy Nacrelli||St. James||1951||2||23||158|
|Frank Gallagher||St. James||1961||2||26||141|
|*LaMar Campbell||St. James||1993||1||2||7|
|Rich Gannon||SJ Prep||1982||1||1||2|
|*-St. James closed in '93; attended Strath Haven as a senior|
In Saturday's 43rd annual City All-Star Football Game, Mike "Neeko" Hnatkowsky became the ninth Penn Charter player to throw a pass (eight QBs, one guy on a trick play) and the fifth to connect for a TD. In all, the PC guys are 29-for-55 (52.7 percent) for 582 yards and eight scores and their teams are 7-2 with a 169-95 scoring advantage. In the first game, played in 1975, PC's Jack Maley hit North Catholic's Mike Morrin for the first TD, a 41-yarder. John Loughery Sr. is Matt Ryan's uncle. Brian McCloskey was PC's head coach (80-44 over two stints) and now assists Tommy Coyle.
|Stats for Penn Charter Passers in City All-Star Game|
|John Loughery Sr.||1978||3-4||72||2||Won||26-8|
|John Loughery Jr.||2011||4-7||132||2||Lost||20-30|
It would have been impossible for the 2017 NFL draft to match the 2016 version from the excitement-for-"Our-Guys" standpoint. After all, last year five products of Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac schools were selected and that was the most since 1974, when there were many more rounds. Kutztown offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, who attended Parkway Northwest (no football team) and played for now-closed Germantown via a cooperative sponsorship, was nabbed yesterday by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round (No. 147). Jordan was a total neophyte when he joined the G-town Bears and didn't see loads of action. He blossomed little by little with the Kutztown Bears and, obviously, turned himself into a pro prospect. Now he's with the NFL Bears and someone at the Elias Sports Bureau or http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ needs to do some research -- Has any NFL player experienced that three-teams/same-nicknames trifecta? Especially with his first team? Ha, ha. Anyway, the list below shows "Our Guys" draftees, back to 1974, who were selected within the first 150 picks. Congrats and best of luck to Jordan!
|Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac NFL Draftees Within the Top 150, 1974-2017|
|1990||Blair Thomas||Frankford||Penn St.||NY Jets||1||2||RB|
|2008||Matt Ryan||Penn Charter||Boston College||Atlanta||1||3||QB|
|1989||Burt Grossman||Carroll||Pitt||San Diego||1||8||DE|
|1974||John Cappelletti||Bonner||Penn St.||Los Angeles||1||11||RB|
|2016||Will Fuller||Roman||Notre Dame||Houston||1||21||WR|
|2000||Anthony Becht||Bonner||West Virginia||NY Jets||1||27||TE|
|2004||Kevin Jones||O'Hara||Virginia Tech||Detroit||1||30||RB|
|2003||Victor Hobson||SJ Prep||Michigan||NY Jets||2||53||LB|
|2016||Carl Nassib||Malvern||Penn State||Cleveland||3||65||DE|
|2015||Jaelen Strong||West Catholic||Arizona St.||Houston||3||70||WR|
|1991||Erik Williams||Bartram||Central St.||Dallas||3||70||OL|
|2016||Daryl Worley||Penn Charter||West Virginia||Carolina||3||77||DB|
|1992||James Brown||Mastbaum||Virginia St.||Dallas||3||82||OL|
|1983||Mike McCloskey||Judge||Penn St.||Houston||4||88||TE|
|2008||Steve Slaton||Conwell-Egan||West Virginia||Houston||3||89||RB|
|2006||Maurice Stovall||Carroll||Notre Dame||Tampa Bay||3||90||WR|
|1987||Rich Gannon||SJ Prep||Delaware||New England||4||98||QB|
|1974||Don Clune||O'Hara||Penn||NY Giants||5||107||WR|
|2006||Jahri Evans||Frankford||Bloomsburg||New Orleans||4||108||OL|
|1985||Gerard Phelan||Carroll||Boston College||New England||4||108||WR|
|2013||Ryan Nassib||Malvern||Syracuse||NY Giants||6||110||QB|
|2015||Ibraheim Campbell||Chestnut Hill||Northwestern||Cleveland||4||115||DB|
|2013||Earl Watford||Gratz||James Madison||Arizona||6||116||OL|
|1987||Chris Conlin||McDevitt||Penn St.||Miami||5||132||OL|
|1977||Joe Klecko||St. James||Temple||NY Jets||6||144||DL|
|*-attended Parkway Northwest; played for Germantown via a cooperative sponsorship|
Dave Gueriera, named this week as Malvern's new football coach, is a Cardinal O'Hara grad. He's the sixth former Catholic League player to guide an Inter-Ac program since the early 1980s. Bill Gallagher coached at two schools (and even at Chestnut Hill when it was not an I-A member for football). Gueriera attended Malvern for two years of middle school before transferring to O'Hara for high school. Good luck, Dave!
|Tommy Coyle||Judge||Penn Charter||2013-16|
|Matt Dence||Judge||Germantown Academy||2012-16|
|Bill Gallagher||Judge||Penn Charter||1981-91, 1993-94|
|*Mike Mayock Sr.||SJ Prep||Haverford School||1983-87|
|Gamp Pellegrini||St. Thomas More||Malvern||1978-2008|
|*-also coached previously at HS (1970-76) and Malvern (1956-62)|
In the first half of what became a 44-21 win over Green Bay in the conference championship game, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan passed 22-for-32 for 271 yards. That yardage total was WAY higher than his top effort for Penn Charter, as were his numbers for completions and attempts. Matt was a three-year starter for Clam Chowder (as my kids used to call it when they were very little -- ha ha) and rushing plays were mostly favored. But Matt did pass for 944 yards as a soph, 992 as a junior and 1,048 as a senior. He also passed for 22 TDs with 12 coming as a senior. His highs: 198 yards vs. Episcopal in '02, 14 completions vs. Peddie (NJ) in '01 and 26 attempts vs. Germantown Academy in '00. In the spring of '03, "Matty Ice" also led Non-Public over Public, 20-3, in the City All-Star Game. In that one he passed 8-for-16 for 128 yards and one TD. Matt and PC classmate Tony McDevitt were Non-Public captains. Click here for a pic. He deserved major props for participating. He'd already locked up his scholarship to Boston College AND he was a key contributor to PC's baseball team (first team All-Inter-Ac infielder).
|Matt Ryan's Top Passing Efforts at PC|
|Pius X (Bangor)||8-16||155||2000|
The Maxwell Club has announced that Matt Ryan, a Penn Charter product (Class of 2003) and the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback, has been named the organization's Pro Football Player of the Year. He's the third "Our Guy" to win that honor, joining QB Rich Gannon (St. Joseph's Prep, Oakland Raiders) in 2002 and RB Leroy Kelly (Simon Gratz, Cleveland Browns) in 1968. Through the years, the MC has also honored two "Our Guys" as the College Football Player of the Year -- RB John Cappelletti (Monsignor Bonner, Penn State ) in 1973 and TB Francis "Reds" Bagnell (West Catholic/postgrad year at Germantown Academy, Penn) in 1950. The pertinent season stats for the five players are in the chart below, but the spotlight will shine on Bagnell for the rest of this nugget and something tells me you're gonna love it. In that 1950 season, Penn used a single wing attack and Bagnell was the tailback, which meant he was the BIG focus of the offense and did a lot of passing and running. On Oct. 14 at Franklin Field, he led Penn to a 42-26 win over Dartmouth and set an NCAA record by racking up 490 scrimmage yards. He passed 20-for-29 for 276 yards and one TD and ran 18 times for 214 yards and three TDs. In that same game, he completed 14 consecutive passes and threw no interceptions. In fact, over time, he set another NCAA mark by avoiding an interception over 88 consecutive passes. That record is now up to 444! Meanwhile, the scrimmage yardage mark is 819! It was set this past season (Oct. 22) by Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes in a loss to Oklahoma. He passed 52-for-88 (geeeeeeezus!!) for 734 yards while rushing for 85 more.
|"Our Guys" Winners of Major Maxwell Club Awards|
|Bert Bell Award, Pro Player of the Year|
|2016||Matt Ryan||Penn Charter||Atlanta Falcons||QB|
|Passed 373-for-534 for 4,944 yards and 38 TDs. Averaged 309 YPG.|
|2002||Rich Gannon||St. Joseph's Prep||Oakland Raiders||QB|
|Passed 418-for-618 for 4,689 yards and 26 TDs. Averaged 293.1 YPG.|
|1968||Leroy Kelly||Simon Gratz||Cleveland Browns||RB|
|Rushed 248 times for 1,239 yards and 16 TDs. Caught 22 passes for 297 yards and four TDs.|
|Maxwell Award, National College Player of the Year|
|1973||John Cappelletti||Monsignor Bonner||Penn State||RB|
|Rushed 286 times for 1,522 yards and 17 TDs. Averaged 138.4 YPG.|
|1950||Francis "Reds' Bagnell||*West Catholic||Univ. of Pennsylvania||TB|
|Rushed 157 times for 672 yards and 9 TDs. Passed 63-for-125 for 931 yards and 7 TDs.|
|*-also spent a post-grad year at Germantown Academy|
By far, Rich Gannon (Class of 1983, St. Joseph's Prep) and Matt Ryan (Class of 2003, Penn Charter) have been the most accomplished NFL quarterbacks produced by Catholic/Inter-Ac/Public schools. Rich played for 17 seasons (1987-93, 1995-2004), passing for 28,743 yards and 180 touchdowns in regular season action while achieving a passer rating of 84.7. Matt recently completed his ninth regular season (2008-16) and his career numbers in the same categories are 37,701, 240 and 93.6. He has been the QB starter in all 142 of his games while Rich, now an analyst on NFL telecasts, made 132 starts in 157 appearances. OK, all that stuff is out of the way. Let's move on to the juicy stuff. How have they performed in the postseason? I decided to list the Top 5 performances based on passer rating and the battle is pretty darn cool. Rich owns three of the Top 5 bests while Matt can be found in spots No. 2 and No. 3. Matt racked up his top effort yesterday in a win over the Seattle Seahawks, so he'll play at least one more game this season. Let the competition continue! . . . An extra Rich nugget: In his senior year at the Prep, he earned first team Daily News All-City honors as the quarterback and punter. Though he threw righthanded, he punted leftfooted. . . An extra Matt nugget: In the 2002-03 school year, he started for a basketball team that included four future pros while earning second team All-Inter-Ac honors (11.4 ppg). The others: Junior starters Sean Singletary and Rob Kurz advanced to the NBA while senior Tony McDevitt, the sixth man, played pro lacrosse. One of the other starters was soph Zack Zeglinski. His brother, Joe, is now Ryan's hoops coach.
UPDATE: Matt Ryan claimed the No. 1 spot with his performance vs. Green Bay in the conference championship vs. Green Bay. The numbers are below.
SECOND UPDATE: Matt Ryan topped his No. 1 performance in the OT Super Bowl loss to New England. His 144.1 rating ranks No. 4 in SB history.
|Rich Gannon vs. Matt Ryan in Playoff Performances|
|Matt Ryan||2016||Atlanta||New Engl.||L, 34-28||17-23||284||2||0||144.1|
|Matt Ryan||2016||Atlanta||Green Bay||W, 44-21||27-38||392||4||0||139.4|
|Rich Gannon||2001||Oakland||NY Jets||W, 38-24||23-29||294||2||0||131.9|
|Matt Ryan||2016||Atlanta||Seattle||W, 36-20||26-37||338||3||0||125.7|
|Matt Ryan||2012||Atlanta||San Fran.||L, 28-24||30-42||396||3||1||114.8|
|Rich Gannon||2002||Oakland||Tennessee||W, 41-24||29-41||286||3||0||114.5|
|Rich Gannon||2000||Oakland||Miami||W, 27-0||12-18||143||1||0||109.3|
Through the years, many organizations -- newspapers, news services, magazines, TV networks, etc. -- have picked all-star teams of NFL players. But in the view of most observers, the All-Pro teams selected by the Associated Press and United Press International have carried the most weight. Since the mid-1950s, 10 products of Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac schools have earned first team honors from one or both organizations. This week, the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (Penn Charter) became the first Inter-Ac representative and second quarterback to make the cut. Herb Adderley (Northeast, back in the school's 8th and Lehigh days) and Jahri Evans (Frankford) are the lone four-timers. . . If I missed someone, PLEASE speak up. firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
|"Our Guys" Who've Earned AP and/or UPI First Team All-Pro Honors|
|Frank "Bucko" Kilroy||North Catholic||Philadelphia Eagles||DL||1954|
|Jim Katcavage||Roman Catholic||New York Giants||DE||1961, 1962, 1963|
|Herb Adderley||Northeast||Green Bay Packers||DB||1962, 1963, 1965, 1966|
|Leroy Kelly||Gratz||Cleveland Browns||RB||1966, 1967, 1968|
|Joe Klecko||St. James||New York Jets||DL||1981, 1985|
|Erik Williams||Bartram||Dallas Cowboys||OL||1993, 1996|
|Marvin Harrison||Roman||Indianapolis Colts||WR||1999, 2002, 2006|
|Rich Gannon||SJ Prep||Oakland Raiders||QB||2000, 2002|
|Jahri Evans||Frankford||New Orleans Saints||OL||2009, 2010, 2011, 2012|
|Matt Ryan||Penn Charter||Atlanta Falcons||QB||2016|
The NFL's regular season is over and I'm thinking a record was set: Most "Our Guys" to make appearances in at least one game. Seventeen products of Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac schools saw action. Wonderful! An 18th player, Malvern product Ryan Nassib, was on the New York Giants' roster as the backup quarterback, but he did not make it into a game and was recently placed on injured reserve. He DID play in previous seasons. Philly was always considered a basketball city. Looks like things have changed. . . If I missed someone, PLEASE speak up. email@example.com. Thanks!
|"Our Guys" Who Saw Game Action in the NFL This Season|
|Zaire "Bam" Anderson||Frankford||Denver Broncos||LB|
|Jahri Evans||Frankford||New Orleans Saints||OL|
|Sharrif Floyd||Washington||Minnesota Vikings||DL|
|Brent Grimes||Northeast||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||DB|
|Will Parks||Germantown||Denver Broncos||DB|
|Al-Hajj Shabazz||Bartram||Pittsburgh Steelers||DB|
|Jihad Ward||Bok||Oakland Raiders||DL|
|Earl Watford||Gratz||Arizona Cardinals||OL|
|Corey Brown||O'Hara||Carolina Panthers||WR|
|Will Fuller||Roman||Houston Texans||WR|
|Nick Moody||Roman||Washington Redskins||LB|
|Tom Savage||O'Hara||Houston Texans||QB|
|Jaelen Strong||West Catholic||Houston Texans||WR|
|Ibraheim Campbell||Chestnut Hill||Cleveland Browns||DB|
|Carl Nassib||Malvern||Cleveland Browns||DL|
|Matt Ryan||Penn Charter||Atlanta Falcons||QB|
|Daryl Worley||Penn Charter||Carolina Panthers||DB|
Below are Top 20 YPG averages for all Catholic League receivers over the last nine seasons that have led their teams to at least the quarterfinal round in the playoffs. Due to injuries, not every guy played in every game. Included are league playoffs, City Titles and all varieties of state playoffs, including subregionals.
|Top Performances by CL Receivers Whose Teams Have Reached at Least State Quarters|
|Sean Coleman||La Salle||AAAA||2012||5||339||67.8|
|Craig Jones||W. Catholic||AA||2015||6||404||67.3|
|Connor Hoffman||La Salle||AAAA||*2009||6||378||63.0|
|Jaelen Strong-Rankin||W. Catholic||AA||*2010||6||374||62.3|
|Terrance Greene||SJ Prep||AAAAAA||*2016||6||360||60.0|
|Bruce Mapp||W. Catholic||AA||2011||5||285||57.0|
|Quran Kent||W. Catholic||AA||2009||7||385||55.0|
|Eric Young||W. Catholic||AA||2008||8||427||53.4|
|Amadou Barry||W. Catholic||AA||2015||6||318||53.0|
|Sean Coleman||La Salle||AAAA||2011||5||264||52.8|
|Darryle Simmons||SJ Prep||AAAAAA||*2016||6||305||50.8|
|Nick Rinella||La Salle||AAAA||2015||4||194||48.5|
|John Reid||SJ Prep||AAAA||2014||3||144||48.0|
|Jameer Bryson||W. Catholic||AA||2015||6||268||44.7|
|John Reid||SJ Prep||AAAA||*2013||6||250||41.7|
Below are Top 20 YPG averages for all Catholic League rushers over the last nine seasons that have led their teams to at least the quarterfinal round in the playoffs. Due to injuries, not every guy played in every game. Included are league playoffs, City Titles and all varieties of state playoffs, including subregionals.
|Top Performances by CL Rushers Whose Teams Have Reached at Least State Quarters|
|D'Andre Swift||SJ Prep||AAAAAA||*2016||6||1082||180.3|
|David Williams||W. Catholic||AA||2011||5||767||153.4|
|Brandon Hollomon||W. Catholic||AA||*2010||6||862||143.7|
|Rob Hollomon||W. Catholic||AA||2008||8||1103||137.9|
|Tim Wade||La Salle||AAAA||2011||5||629||125.8|
|Syaire Madden||La Salle||AAAA||2015||4||499||124.8|
|Brandon Hollomon||W. Catholic||AA||2009||7||851||121.6|
|Jamal Abdur-Rahman||La Salle||AAAA||2010||6||636||106.0|
|Olamide Zaccheaus||SJ Prep||AAAA||*2013||6||473||78.8|
|Jamal Abdur-Rahman||La Salle||AAAA||*2009||6||463||77.2|
|James Bell||SJ Prep||AAAA||2014||5||339||67.8|
Below are Top 20 YPG passing averages for all Catholic League quarterbacks over the last nine seasons that have led their teams to at least the quarterfinal round in the playoffs. Due to injuries, not every guy played in every game. Included are league playoffs, City Titles and all varieties of state playoffs, including subregionals.
|Top Performances by CL Passers Whose Teams Have Reached at Least State Quarters|
|Joshua Evans||W. Catholic||AA||2015||6||1213||202.2|
|Chris Kane||La Salle||AAAA||2012||5||995||199.0|
|Chris Martin||SJ Prep||AAAA||*2013||5||992||198.4|
|Drew Loughery||La Salle||AAAA||*2009||6||865||160.8|
|Marquez McCray||SJ Prep||AAAAAA||*2016||6||906||151.0|
|Chris Ferguson||La Salle||AAAA||2015||4||572||143.0|
|Matt Magarity||La Salle||AAAA||2011||5||703||140.6|
|Jarred Evans||W. Catholic||AA||2009||7||881||125.9|
|Jack Clements||SJ Prep||AAAA||2014||5||614||122.8|
|Anthony Reid||W. Catholic||AA||*2010||6||628||104.7|
|Matt Magarity||La Salle||AAAA||2010||5||511||102.2|
|Curtis Drake||W. Catholic||AA||2008||8||769||96.1|
|Jaleel Reed||W. Catholic||AA||2011||5||479||95.8|
La Salle ('09), West Catholic ('10) and St. Joseph's Prep ('13, '14, '16) have combined for five state championships over the last eight seasons and those squads have featured numerous stars. Here's one man's opinion of the overall best based on the spots they claimed on Daily News All-City squads. Aaron "Ace" Carter picked the 2013, '14 and '16 squads. I did so in '09 and '10. As with yesterday's Wood team, no punter is listed.
|ALL-STAR TEAM OF STATE CHAMP PLAYERS FROM LA SALLE ('09), W. CATHOLIC ('10) AND SJ PREP ('13-'14, '16)|
|L||Jon Daniel Runyan||SJ Prep||2013-14||1st/1st|
|L||Jackson Evans||SJ Prep||2016||1st|
|L||Mark Ehrlich||SJ Prep||2014||2nd|
|L||Steven Robinson||SJ Prep||2013||2nd|
|L||Ed Mooney||SJ Prep||2014||3rd|
|Rec.||Sam Feleccia||La Salle||2009||1st|
|QB||Drew Loughery||La Salle||2009||1st|
|RB||*D'Andre Swift||SJ Prep||2013/'16||3rd/1st|
|RB||Jamal Abdur-Rahman||La Salle||2009||2nd|
|K||Mike Bennett||La Salle||2009||1st|
|*-also 1st team MP in '14.|
|L||Jake Strain||SJ Prep||2013-14||1st/1st|
|L||Ryan Bryce||SJ Prep||2016||1st|
|L||Steve Szostak||La Salle||2009||1st|
|L||Steve Sinnott||La Salle||2009||1st|
|LB||Ryan McNulty||SJ Prep||2013||1st|
|LB||Shane Brady||La Salle||2009||1st|
|B||John Reid||SJ Prep||2013-14||1st/1st|
|B||Dillon DeIuliis||SJ Prep||2014||2nd|
|B||Richard Carr||SJ Prep||2016||2nd|
|B||Kevin Forster||La Salle||2009||3rd|
Archbishop Wood has won four state championships over the last six seasons and those squads have featured numerous stars. Here's one man's opinion of the overall best based on the spots they claimed on Daily News All-City squads. Aaron "Ace" Carter picked the 2013, '14 and '16 squads. I did so in '11. As you'll see, no punter is listed. Did the Vikings even get to fourth down in those four seasons? (smile).
|WOOD'S ALL-STAR TEAM OF STATE CHAMP PLAYERS|
|L||Ryan Bates||2013-14||1st/1st||L||Colin Thompson||2011||1st|
|L||Frank Taylor||2011||1st||L||Devon Cobb||2013-14||2nd/2nd|
|L||Brandon Arcidiacono||2011||1st||L||Chris Gary||2013||3rd|
|L||Anthony Diodato||2016||1st||L||Christian Lohin||2014||3rd|
|L||Ryan Neher||2013-14||3rd/2nd||LB||Jake Cooper||2013-14||1st/1st|
|Rec.||Mark Webb||2016||1st||LB||Justin Rubin||2014||1st|
|Rec.||Kyle Pitts||2016||3rd||LB||Kyle Adkins||2011||2nd|
|QB||Joey Monaghan||2011||2nd||LB||Matt Palmer||2016||3rd|
|RB||Jarrett McClenton||2013-14||1st/1st||B||Nate Smith||2011||1st|
|RB||Desmon Peoples||2011||1st||B||Kendall Singleton||2013||2nd|
|RB||Shawn Thompson||2016||2nd||B||Nasir Peoples||2016||3rd|
In the waning moments of last night's game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Bucs, play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had posted the NFL's all-time No. 2 passing percentage for guys with at least 30 attempts in a game. Prescott threw no more passes and finished 32-for-36 (88.9 percent) for 279 yards and a TD. Michaels also noted that the No. 1 spot was held by Rich Gannon, who'd gone 34-for-38 (89.5 percent) in the 500th regular season Monday Night Football game in 2002. Thanks for the Tedbit fodder, Mr. Michaels! Gannon starred for St. Joseph's Prep (class of 1983) and earned first team All-City honors at TWO positions -- QB and punter. Believe it or not, he punted left-footed (non-stop boomers!) even though he threw right-handed. Gannon played for Oakland in that 11/11/2002 game and the opponent was Denver. Those 34 completions yielded 352 yards and three TDs. In the Prep's '82 season, Gannon passed 109-for-248 (44.0 percent) for 1,567 yards and eight TDs. He also ran for four scores. Maybe you're wondering, did he have any games with very impressive completion percentages? Yes, two. His best was 64 percent (16-for-25) in game No. 5, a 21-7 win over long-closed St. James, in Chester. He passed for two scores and ran for one. Second best was 61.1 percent (11-for-18) and that was posted in the opener, a 14-13 win over Lower Merion. The yield was 173 yards and one score. In his 17-year NFL career, counting playoffs, Gannon passed 2,687-for-4,446 (60.4 percent) for 30,434 yards (17.3 miles) and 191 TDs.
Pat McLoone, sniping wing guard for La Salle High in 1977, is not only the managing editor of the good, ol' Philadelphia Daily News and the father of four boys who were students/athletes at Monsignor Bonner/Bonner-Prendie. He has a good sense of humor and it was the inspiration for this Tedbit. In a showcase event Friday night, B-P beat Beaver Falls, 52-49, on a buzzer-beating trey by Tymir Cooper and Pat sent me a text that began with "John Cappelletti over Joe Namath." Ha, ha, ha. All people of a certain age get the reference and, hey, who knows, maybe some young bucks also understand. Cappelletti, a 1970 Bonner grad, won the Heisman Trophy in 1973 thanks to his rushing exploits for Penn State. He then played nine seasons in the NFL. Namath, a 1961 Beaver Falls grad (that town is about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh), played quarterback in the pros for 13 seasons and is most famous for having led the New York Jets (AFL) past the Baltimore Colts (NFL) in Super Bowl III. After "guaranteeing" that the huge upset would happen. I knew that Cappelletti -- we're almost the same age -- had played basketball for Bonner and had even earned first team All-Catholic honors in the Southern Division in 1970. But what about Namath? Had he played hoops at Beaver Falls? . . . First some nuggets about Cappelletti. As a junior at Bonner, he hardly played for the varsity and settled for four CL points on a field goal and two free throws. As a senior he scored 198 points in 16 division games for a 12.4 average. He had five points in a quarterfinal win over St. Joseph's Prep, played on a Sunday, but injured his foot or ankle (reports vary) at practice four days later and was unavailable for Sunday's semifinal loss to North Catholic. Both games were played at the Palestra . . . Now for Namath. He was a star in the three major sports at BF -- some expected him to sign a baseball contract out of high school; this was the before-the-draft era -- but did not make it through his senior basketball campaign. Here's why: He got kicked off the team! On January 21, in the New Castle (Pa.) News, sports editor Bob Vosburg included this short (but telling?) nugget in a notes column: "Though he's no angel, Joe Namath, Beaver Falls' fine athlete, isn't the dead-end kid some stories make him out to be, either." Just a few days earlier, Namath had scored 19 points to lift Beaver Falls to a 75-68 win over New Castle. In that story, Vosburg noted Namath had "walked onto the court carrying a basketball palm-down in one hand as if it were an orange." Numerous stories through the years made note of Namath's huge hands (he was only 6-2) and how he could palm a basketball as early as tenth grade. Anyway, then there was this in the Feb. 7 New Castle paper: Namath and Bennie Singleton, the team's top scorer, had been dismissed from the team because of their actions during a game vs. visiting Farrell. BF was getting swamped when coach Nate Lippe substituted for the two players. "Instead of retiring to the bench, the two went directly to the locker room to shower without Lippe's permission," Vosburg wrote. He added, "A story behind the story has it that there was dissension on the club because of the feelings in some quarters that Namath and Singleton were hogging the shots." There was lots of uproar about the decision but Lippe, a first-year coach, stood his ground. Namath and Singleton played no more (though both were given honorable mention on the all-league team). While conducting research for this nugget, I found something else concerning Namath and his, um. nutty ways. In a story published years later after Namath had become quite famous, one newspaper ran this quote from a Beaver Falls athletic director. "Right after Joe's Beaver Falls High won the league (football) title, Joe climbed on the roof of the Sahli Chevrolet building on Seventh Avenue and shinnied up the flag pole. He wanted to tie an orange balloon on the top, advertising Beaver Falls' championship. Well, a crowd started to gather and the police were called and Joe, as usual, got in a helluva mess." Gotta love it! Thanks for the text, Pat.
In the previous two seasons, 19 players earned first team Daily News All-City honors for a second time (or third time, in the case of 2015 SJ Prep grad John Reid). From 2007 through '13 (seven seasons), only 18 had done so and this year only two have done so -- SJ Prep's D'Andre Swift (three times) and Wood's Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear (twice). Last year's squad, also selected by Aaron "Ace" Carter, included just three underclassmen. The other guy, Malvern RB O'Shaan Allison, suffered a serious injury and missed much of the season. The total for multiple first-teamers from 2000 through '06 was 21. Below are the names/details for all multi-first-teamers in this century. Most guys earned honors at the same position. If not, a guy's position for his first year on the team is listed to the left, followed by the second. It'll be cool to see some (many?) of these other guys advance to the NFL.
|Multiple First Team All-City Honorees in This Century|
|*-advanced to NFL|
|SENIORS IN 2000|
|Rec.-DB||Steve Holmes||Germantown Academy||1999-00|
|Rec.||Ramon Mills||Edward Bok||1999-00|
|RB||*Kevin Jones||Cardinal O'Hara||1999-00|
|MP||Joe McCourt||Roman Catholic||1999-00|
|K||Marty Higgins||Archbishop Carroll||1999-00|
|DL||Jeff Vanak||Archbishop Carroll||1999-00|
|SENIORS IN 2001|
|L||John Connors||SJ Prep||2000-01|
|L||Mike "Tuna" Bucella||Cardinal O'Hara||2000-01|
|RB||Kyle Ambrogi||SJ Prep||2000-01|
|P-K||Brendan Carney||Malvern Prep||2000-01|
|LB||Maurice Bennett||George Washington||2000-01|
|SENIORS IN 2002|
|SENIORS IN 2002-03|
|RB||*Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley||West Catholic||2002-03|
|LB||Brian Tracz||SJ Prep||2002-03|
|SENIORS IN 2003-04|
|L||Matt Lowry||Cardinal O'Hara||2003-04|
|DL-L||Marques Slocum||Neumann/West Catholic||2003-04|
|SENIORS IN 2005|
|DB||John Maddox||West Catholic||2004-05|
|SENIORS IN 2006|
|QB||Chris Whitney||SJ Prep||2005-06|
|P||Eric Muller||Penn Charter||2005-06|
|DL-L||Paul Ostick||Malvern Prep||2005-06|
|SENIORS IN 2007|
|RB||Rashad Campbell||Chestnut Hill||2006-07|
|DL||Jewhan Edwards||Roman Catholic||2006-07|
|SENIORS IN 2008|
|MP-RB||Rob Hollomon||West Catholic||2007-08|
|SENIORS IN 2009|
|L-DL||*Sharrif Floyd||George Washington||2008-09|
|L||Seth Betancourt||SJ Prep||2008-09|
|QB||Drew Loughery||La Salle||2008-09|
|RB||*Ibraheim Campbell||Chestnut Hill||2008-09|
|SENIORS IN 2010|
|SENIORS IN 2011|
|L||Frank Taylor||Archbishop Wood||2010-11|
|L-DL||Connor Mahoney||Malvern Prep||2010-11|
|RB||Desmon Peoples||Archbishop Wood||2010-11|
|SENIORS IN 2012|
|L||Mike McGlinchey||Penn Charter||2011-12|
|Rec||*William Fuller||Roman Catholic||
|RB||David Williams||West Catholic/Imhotep||2011-12|
|K||Nick Visco||Archbishop Wood||2011-12|
|DL||Justin Moody||George Washington||2011-12|
|LB||Matt Galambos||Haverford School||2011-12|
|SENIORS IN 2013|
|LB||Zaire Franklin||La Salle||2012-13|
|DB||Deandre Scott||Imhotep Charter||2012-13|
|SENIORS IN 2014|
|L||Ryan Bates||Archbishop Wood||2013-14|
|L||Jon Daniel Runyan||SJ Prep||2013-14|
|L||Jacob Rebisz||Malvern Prep||2013-14|
|Rec.||Jimmy Herron||La Salle||2013-14|
|RB||Jarrett McClenton||Archbishop Wood||2013-14|
|RB||Samir Bullock||Archbishop Ryan||2013-14|
|DL||Jake Strain||SJ Prep||2013-14|
|LB||Jake Cooper||Archbishop Wood||2013-14|
|DB||John Reid||SJ Prep||2012-13-14|
|SENIORS IN 2015|
|MP||D’Andre Swift||SJ Prep||2014-15|