Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
the South Philly Thanksgiving Football Rivalry
. . . South Catholic/Neumann/N-G vs. Southern
teams met 81 times in all (1934-2021, with seven cancellations), and the series
resumed in 2021. The Catholic school has owned four names -- Southeast Catholic, Bishop
Neumann, St. John Neumann and Saints Neumann-Goretti. Southeast Catholic was commonly
known as South Catholic. The Public school is officially South Philadelphia High School, but has
long been called Southern.
SC/Neumann/N-G leads/won the series, 59-19-3. The cancellations took place in 2007, 2014
This page includes results, stories, special lists, boxscores for all games from 1978-2015 and
individual scoring for the earlier games.
Please speak up with missing first names and/or misspellings. Thanks!
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Neumann's Bob Smith makes one of his four TD catches in Neumann's 1970 win.
The South Philly
By Ted Silary
This story was
written in 2001, when low numbers forced Southern to halt its season
and interrupt the Thanksgiving series . . .
By Ted Silary
It was as if Anthony "Reds" Coletta were back in a leather helmet, the one without a facemask.
It was as if he were completing a run and, bam!, an opponent was delivering a forearm smash to the bridge of his nose.
Coletta, among the more celebrated players in Southern High's football history, was jarred Nov. 7 when he learned
low numbers/safety concerns had terminated the season with three games remaining.
Coletta knew what that meant, and it pained him deeply: Southern's Thanksgiving series with St. John Neumann
(nee South Catholic) would be interrupted after 67 years.
"What a sad thing," Coletta said, taking a break from raking leaves at his home in Pitman, N.J. "C'mon. No
Southern-Neumann game? Unbelievable. I never thought that would happen. Never."
For years - no, decades - the Rams mostly experienced emotions ranging from sadness to outright depression in the
neighborhood rivalry, claiming just six wins after 1949.
But when Coletta was playing, and just before and just after, oh, did the Rams have fun.
They swept all six games from 1942 to '47, and Coletta was a major factor in the biggest party of all, Southern's
44-12 frolic in '44.
Reds that morning put his team in the pink, collecting 25 points on four touchdowns and a PAT.
He was only a junior, and greater fame was still to come.
In 1945, in front of 54,000 at Franklin Field, off a fake field goal with 10 seconds remaining, halfback Coletta, the
would-be kicker, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Al Tulinsky, the would-be holder, to lift Southern
over West Catholic, 18-13, for the City Championship.
That game is widely considered the best in city history because the Rams overcame a 13-0 deficit in the final 7
minutes, 40 seconds. The highlights were shown worldwide in movie theaters by Paramount News, which dubbed
the classic "The Bobby Socks Bowl."
Long ago and far away . . .
When principal David Strolle wacked Southern's season, coach Bill Edger was routinely dressing 19 to 22 players.
Many were young, small and inexperienced. The Rams were 0-7 and had been outscored, 284-28.
"One thing this proves, things never stay the same," Coletta said, wistfully. "Every time I go back to South Philly,
people remember the good old days. Now? It's like a blow. It really hurts. Ever since, I've been talking to my
buddies. They can't get over it, either.
"That night, when one of the [TV] stations had something about it, and they talked about our era, my wife [June]
was kidding me. 'Now you're an antique. A relic. ' "
He laughed. "I know I'm up there. I'm in the fourth quarter. I just hope I have more than three timeouts left."
The second Wednesday of every month, Coletta and some of Southern's other "up there" star athletes, along with
friends, meet for lunch at Degenhardt's Restaurant, in Mount Ephraim, N.J., to swap stories and, as Coletta said
dryly, "listen to Bill Esher's corny jokes."
Esher, universally regarded as one of the all-time good guys, is a '46 Southern grad and the president of the
school's alumni association. He also owns an off-the-wall city record - most years between coaching - because he
guided Southern in '56 and '81 while filling in for others.
His primary desire these days is to make sure Southern- eumann is interrupted, not terminated. In other words,
he doesn't want the Rams' program to die.
Esher strongly believes Southern football will survive only if the school district allows it to add players from one
or more of the other public high schools in South Philly (Audenried, Furness, Girard Academic Music Program)
that do not offer football.
"We're not asking these kids to transfer to Southern," Esher said. "We're just asking for the chance to have
them on our football team.
"We're putting together a committee among people in our alumni association to see if we can push this issue. It's
not just us. Other schools could use the numbers help for football."
Strolle sees no need. Or maybe, more accurately, he sees no hope.
"That idea [combo teams] has been nixed so many times," he said, sounding weary.
"I think we've taken things for granted, a little," he added. "We need to rededicate ourselves. We're going to
push to build our numbers. Some of our kids need to quit profiling on the street corners and start participating in
"The kids were very angry when we shut down the season. If they had not been, I would have been
Southern's program indeed enjoyed glorious moments, producing five Public League championships from 1944
to '65. But after '73, when they fell to Frankford, 14-13, in the final, the Rams never had more than six wins in
a season until '97, when they stormed to the Division D title, posted a school-record six consecutive shutouts
and went 8-3 overall. Just the previous season, they had halted a city-record losing streak of 56 games.
Southern last enjoyed Thanksgiving in '89, when the rushing of Jeff Wilson (14 carries, 117 yards, two
touchdowns) and Thomas Gay (12-79, TD) highlighted a 26-6 victory. It was the first time Southern won in the
series by more than eight points since '46 (39-0).
Meanwhile, many Neumann wins were nth-degree blowouts.
Just last year, Pasquale "Pat" Narducci ran for four TDs as the Pirates pounded Southern, 61-6. In the 69-12
game of '93, Anthony Sheridan scored five times on rushes and once on a reception. In the 43-0 game of '87,
Daryl Nelson rushed for 337 yards. In the 40-22 game of '81, Larry Barretta threw for three scores and ran for
two more. (The family had mixed emotions. Larry's dad, Sebastian "Ben" Barretta, was a first-team
All-Public back for Southern in '47. )
In the early years, Esher said, the game was played at Municipal Stadium. "All of us downtown people
pronounced it mew-nee-CIP-al," he cracked. That later became Kennedy Stadium and is now the site of the
First Union Center. The game moved to nearby 11th and Bigler streets in the early '40s. The 50th game, in '83,
was played at Veterans Stadium. Neumann won, 25-13, as Len Nelson, Daryl's brother, rushed for 156 yards
and three TDs.
Will there be a 68th game? Will Southern again play football?
Something to ponder while tackling turkey. Perhaps with a tear in your eye.
This story was
written in 1987 after Neumann's Daryl Nelson scorched the Rams
for 337 yards . . .
By Ted Silary
As many times as coach Ray Gionta and his St. John Neumann football staff watched the videotape of yesterday's
43-0 victory over Southern, they never became bored by the subject matter.
The reason: Daryl Nelson , a 6-2, 180-pound wing-T fullback, fashioned one of the finer rushing performances in
Southeastern Pennsylvania history.
After checking and rechecking, and repeating the process, Gionta and Co. determined that Nelson, who scored two
touchdowns, carried 27 times for 337 yards. The effort gives him the No. 5 spot on the list for one-game rushing
Cardinal Dougherty's Lawrence Reid, who later played for Michigan, holds the city record, having rumbled for 379
ards in a 1975 game.
"After Daryl ran for a 72-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, I knew he was getting up there," Gionta said.
"Our guy on stats added up Daryl's numbers quick and came up with 287. I figured, 'Well, a couple more carries and
we'll get him over 300.'
"When he scored again (on a 34-yard run), I knew the number had become significant. When we got back to
school, we put the tape in the machine and went over every play. We made corrections if the yardage was wrong.
Some carries it was 6 yards instead of 4, say; others it was 2 instead of 3.
"Tonight, at his house, (assistant) Sal Intelisano went over the tape again. There was one play where we clipped
downfield and I made Sal aware of something I didn't know until after the game, that Daryl would get credit for
yardage to the point of the foul. It turned out to be 6 yards. Without the clip, he would have had 42 more yards on
that play. They got him at the 1."
Nelson concluded the season with 278 rushes for 1,458 yards and 13 TDs. In '83, his brother, Len, who also
played for the Buccos, set a city record for rushing TDs in a season, with 28 (and 29 overall). He carried 364 times
for 1,642 yards.
Yesterday, because he also made two receptions for 17 yards from sophomore quarterback Chris McCrosson and
returned two punts for 29 yards, Nelson ran for 383 all-purpose yards.
"My linemen were great," Daryl said, referring to center Jim O'Mara, guards Chuck McCrosson (Chris's brother)
and Jim Riddle, tackles Frank Caccuro and Frank Del Campo and messenger tight ends Bob Tropiano and Mike
Che. "They kept saying they wanted me to finish up strong. They were saying, 'As long as we keep blocking, you
keep running through the holes. '
"Coach Gionta said he wanted to see me go out in style, since I'd run the ball well for him all year. Last year I ran
mainly out of the halfback spot, but when coach Gionta said he was going to switch me to fullback, he said he was
doing it with the confidence that I'd be able to handle a heavy load."
Thus far, Nelson has received correspondence from Purdue, Temple, Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina,
Indiana and Rutgers. Purdue and Temple have made direct contact.
"I have about a 'B' average in school," Nelson said. "I took the boards (Scholastic Aptitude Test) on Nov. 7. I'm
waiting for the results."
Aside from Nelson, Neumann's heroes included Derrick Deburow, Joe Sheridan and Sean Keenan. Deburow,
a receiver, turned a reverse into a 45-yard TD, kicked a 29-yard field goal and had four extra points. Sheridan
scored twice (5-yard pass, 5-yard run) and Keenan had three of Neumann's five interceptions.
was written in 1993, when Anthony Sheridan's six TDs fueled
Neumann's 69-point explosion . . .
By Ted Silary
Anthony Sheridan expected little resistance yesterday.
He was not disappointed.
After buying 35 tickets for his closest friends and relatives, Sheridan scored six touchdowns as St. John Neumann
pasted Southern, 69-12.
Six touchdowns are a record for a Catholic League player.
Sixty-nine points are a record for a CL team.
Neumann , which leads the series, 38-19-3, has pounded Southern by a total score of 160-12 in the last three
years. The final was 43-0 in 1991 and 48-0 last year.
The Rams have dropped 32 consecutive games - two to end '90 and all 10 in each of the last three seasons.
They have been outscored in the streak, 1,076-110.
"We knew we would win easy," Sheridan said. "We knew Southern had a lot of trouble stopping people. We
didn't prepare too much for them. Really, we (the seniors) just prepared for our last game as Pirates."
Sheridan, a 5-11, 210-pound senior, rushed 13 times for 155 yards and five touchdowns. His scoring runs covered
4, 3, 23, 4 and 33 yards. He scored his other touchdown, his fifth overall, on a 26-yard screen pass from
quarterback Rocky Burns. A conversion run brought his point total for the day to 38.
Neumann 's other touchdowns were scored by Rick Lombardo (15-yard run, 78- yard kickoff return), Jason
Guerrera (7-yard run) and Pat Dio (5-yard run). Dio added seven extra points.
"We're beat up, but we're still alive," Southern coach Chuck Madison said. "Personally, I don't think they rolled it
up. It's an old rivalry, you've got neighborhood kids who know each other . . . You have to let them go a little.
They were playing second-teamers and probably third-teamers.
"As surprising as it is to me, we're getting worse each year instead of better. That's almost impossible, isn't it? But
we are. We've very inexperienced. We only had three seniors in the starting lineup - Doug Ralph, Earl Bostic and
Lou Camissa - and Earl went out early with an ankle injury."
Neumann led, 62-0, when Southern finally scored on a 65-yard run by Mark Cunningham out of punt formation.
Lombardo followed with his kickoff-return score, then Southern soph Sagda Haqq scampered 53 yards for the
game's 12th touchdown.
"This was the first time all year we scored two touchdowns," Madison said. "The kids were excited about that."
On visits to see his older brother, Joe, who lives near Second Street, Sheridan has become somewhat friendly
with Ralph. Next week, the two will again be opponents in a junior-senior CYO basketball league.
"I feel bad for Doug. For all of them, really," Sheridan said. "They have a couple guys with speed, but that's about
it. You could tell that Doug really cared and knew what he was doing out there. On every play, he was telling guys
where to line up. "
Sheridan finished the season with 201 carries for 1,096 yards and 18 touchdowns. He scored 19 touchdowns total.
In two seasons as Neumann 's primary ballcarrier, he ran 343 times for 1,896 yards and 26 touchdowns. He played
mostly defense as a sophomore.
In the next week, he is expecting to talk with recruiters from a pair of Division II schools, Shippensburg and
games from 1978-2015 . . .
Longest Scores, 1978-2015
. . .
for Games, 1934-76
Sou 26: Giantonio 12, Leonetti 8, Ferris 6.
SC 9: Tony Iannacone 6, Frank Moock 3.
Sou 7: Al Brancato 6, Bud Hutchinson 1.
Sou 33: Bob Sheppard 18, Bob Palumbo 6, Unavailable 9.
Sou 6: Tony Commorate 6.
SC 19: Bob Oristaglio 12, Hugh Jeffers 6, Simsonitis 1.
Sou 13: Bobby Meo 6, John Zerrillo 6, Dom Pendino 1.
Sou 13: Armand Gasparro 7, Pat Varallo 6.
Sou 44: Anthony Coletta 25, Dom Pendino 6, Joe Carlozo 6, Al Pizza 2.
SC 12: Jack Gault 6, Timinskis 6.
Sou 33: Joe Carlozo 12, Bob Steele 12, Al Petrone 6, Walt Goldy 1, DiBello 1, Grazione 1.
SC 6: Tom Morley.
Sou 39: John Phillips 24, Petrone 6, Piccone 6, Anthony Coletta 3.
Sou 14: Ed Altieri 6, Carmen Piccone 6, Ed Strouse 2.
SC 12: Harry Short 6, Joe Schultz 6.
SC 15: Joe Schultz 7, Bill Powers 6, Safety 2.
Sou 12: Ron Spahr 6, Stan Pryzjemski 6.
SC 7: Tony Latronica 6, John Butrus 1.
SC 39: Tony Latronica 12, Jack McDonnell 6, Frank Stoughton 6, Fran Powers 1, Lou Solari 1, Muzio 1.
SC 13: Jack McDonnell 6, Lou Solari 6, Howard Cooper 1.
Sou 6: Bob Magetti 6.
SC 25: Frank Squilla 18, Joe Moshinski 7.
SC 25: Joe Starr 12, Bill Boegly 7, Ray Norton 6.
SC 34: Bill Boegly 12, Jim Grazione 6, Tony DeSantis 6, Jim Tobin 6, Ray Lardani 4.
South Catholic Became Neumann in '55
Sou 14: Bob Raucci 13, Pat Esposito 1.
Neum 6: Nick Ciavardone 6.
Neum 25: Bob Capone 12, Pat Drass 7, Andy Terifay 6.
Neum 22: Dick Mattioli 18, Jim Grispino 4.
Neum 9: Earl Geissler 6, Ray Chiumento 3.
Neum 3: Earl Geissler 3.
Neum 12: Joe Laudadio 12.
Sou 9: Joe Briddell 6, Safety 2, Frank Petrella 1.
Neum 13: Joe Siderio 6, Joe Naselli 6, Dan Lanno 1.
Sou 6: Norm Johnson 6.
Neum 28: Joe Naselli 14, Bill Roberts 6, Wally Holman 6, Safety 2.
Sou 14: George Lattera 12, Andy Rosati 2.
Sou 8: Phil Trasatti 6, George Lattera 2.
Neum 6: Frank Abruzzese.
Neum 28: Harry Melton 18, Tom DiMuzio 6, Jim Gaynor 2, Bernie Guido 2.
Sou 16: Vince Constantine 8, Tom Fluellen 6, Tony Carlini 2.
Neum 35: Don Renzi 18, Gordsanite 6, Tony Malerba 6, Tom Abaldo 3, Darigo 2.
Neum 12: Randy Dezii 6, Pat Kerr 6.
Sou 8: Rich Wright 6, Willie Jones 2.
Neum 20: Tony Malerba 12, Steve Dezii 8.
Sou 6: Ray Burke 6.
Neum 21: John Itri 12, Ed Lamb 6, Jim Cattalo 3.
Sou 6: Gerald Scott 6.
Neum 35: Bob Smith 24, Ed Moloney 6, Jim Cattalo 5.
Sou 6: Rich Plummer 6.
Sou 14: Andrew Whittington 12, Roy Malandro 2.
Neum 6: Ken Anthony 6.
Neum 10: Joe Esposito 6, Safeties 4.
Neum 12: Henry Sirolli 6, Bob Lacontora 6.
Neum 12: Bob Lacontora 6, Amaradio 6.
Neum 24: Bob Lacontora 12, Mike DeLuca 6, Gerry Smith 6.
Sou: Bufus Outlaw 6.
Neum 8: Gerry Smith 6, Safety 2.
Sou 6: Rory Lewis 6.
Neum 9: Frank Taylor 6, Safety 2, Ernie Cimadamore 1.
Sou 7: Bufus Outlaw 6, R. DiCicco 1.
|TOP 10 PERFORMANCES, 1982-2015|