Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
Ron Cohen's 30-Year Coaching
Career (1985-2014) at George Washington High
page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in
games and the names of All-Public/All-City honorees during Coach Cohen's 30 seasons.
. . . To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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Ron Cohen coached George Washington High's football team for 30 seasons (1985-2014), winning 261 games and 13 championships (12 Public, one City). In 2008, the Eagles gave Ron his 10th PL crown with a three-OT win over Northeast. One hero was a second-generation "Cohener." Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
James Fowler is not the only member of his family who comes through in
SEASON BY SEASON
story was written in 2008 after Ron and the Eagles continued their classic
postseason run by shocking La Salle for the Class 4A City Title . . .
By Ted Silary
AT 6-4, 300 POUNDS, Sharrif Floyd is not easily worn down.
Physically, that is.
But in the middle of what has become a glorious football season for George Washington High, Floyd's spirit dipped to
broken and finally, in a playful manner, he decided to keep his lips zipped.
"I kept asking the coaches when they were going to let me play defense," he said. "They kept saying, 'Next week will be
your turn. '
"It kept not happening and I reached the point . . . Didn't make sense to ask anymore. I still kept hoping, though."
Saturday, in biting weather at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, Washington captured the first City Title
available since 1979, by surprising to even shocking La Salle, 23-14, and Floyd . . . You know what's coming, right?
Yes, the junior stud, who also played guard, was one of the defensive heroes.
Floyd imposed his game-long will as a down lineman, recording three tackles behind the line (two sacks included) for 13
yards and helping to harass passer supreme Drew Loughery into three interceptions and just 12 completions in 33 attempts.
And then, with 3 minutes, 16 seconds remaining, he made The Block Heard 'Round the City Football World, batting Mike
Donohoe's punt through the back of the end zone for a safety that made it a two-score game.
Before long, the Eagles were celebrating in passionate fashion and most were yelling, often multiple times, "Nobody
thought we could do this! 'Cept us! " Oh, and they might have added a combined, say, 3,000 times, "We shocked the
Was that how Floyd saw it?
"We took the fact people saw us as underdogs into consideration," he said. "If La Salle wanted it, they were going to have
to take it. No way we were laying down.
"All we needed was for our coaches and staff and most of the students to be behind us. Those kids who said we'd lose,
we blocked them out. "
Of his punt-snuff, Floyd said, "I came close to one before. I just was saying, 'I'm gonna get this. ' I swim-moved the
up-back trying to block me, put my arms up and there it was."
The start was Floyd's second on defense. He finally had been green-lighted in practice leading up to the Public AAAA
final vs. Northeast, in which the Eagles earned a 41-34, triple-overtime triumph. His contributions to that one included a
sack and other tackles-for-loss.
"The coaches said they wanted me to wait until I was really needed on defense," Floyd said. "I was happy when my
number was called.
"On defense you're more hyper, but on offense you still have to be aggressive when you're doing your blocking. I love
pass-rushing, and I knew I just had to keep getting in the quarterback's face."
A crucial moment, as it turned out, occurred before the game when La Salle won the toss. Coach Drew Gordon, like
always, chose to receive, placing the usual confidence in his potent offense. Washington coach Ron Cohen, of course,
chose to kick with the strong wind behind Will McFillin's back.
By the third play of the second quarter, the Eagles owned a 21-7 lead thanks to runs of 22 and 6 yards by Kyle Glenn
that sandwiched a 48-yard pass from Aaron Wilmer to Omar Hunter. Interceptions by Jamal Williams and Nate Smith
set up two of those scores.
"I didn't expect the aftermath [of the take-the-ball decision]," Gordon said.
"They thought they'd move it down our throats," Cohen said.
The game's only other TD came on an 81-yard pass from Loughery to Sam Feleccia with 1:22 left in the third quarter.
Laughs were numerous after McFillin's popup punt hit lineman James Luckey smack on the top of his helmet with 2:40
left, but a return to business was quickly needed. Loughery was going to try to move his team quickly downfield.
Didn't happen. The Explorers had to settle for little-by-little and the thrust ended with Lorenzo Adams' leaping pick
Loughery, who was sacked six times for 36 yards, finished his season with 2,628 passing yards, just 19 short of the city
record set by Brett Gordon, Drew's son and offensive coordinator, for La Salle in 1997. That season, Drew was Joe
Meanwhile, Floyd is one who got away . . . from Frankford.
He lives near Cheltenham and Tackawanna and attended one of Frankford's prime feeders, Harding Middle School. He
said he was talked into attending Washington by a Harding gym teacher who at that time was a Washington assistant
(but now works with Northeast).
In late December, Floyd will head for San Antonio to participate in a underclass combine connected with the U.S.
Army All-American Bowl.
Funds for travel/lodging are being raised each Wednesday at Washington, when Floyd bakes brownies that are sold to
students. Gooooood brownies, too. Floyd's dad, Anthony, is a chef.
"I don't cook that much," Sharrif said. "But I can make a lot of stuff. My best is fried chicken."
A national profile. Pretty heady stuff.
"I have to keep it where it's at. Or even kick it higher," he said. "This feels great. I'm looking forward to the trip. I've
never been any further than Pittsburgh."
This story was written in 1989 after
Ron won his (and the school's) first
PL crown . . .
By Ted Silary
Terrell Jones is a young man of varied talents.
Not only can he help a football team win a championship. He also can secure a site for the victory party.
Last Saturday, Jones, a 5-8, 165-pound junior, carried 12 times for 108 yards and the first two touchdowns as
George Washington melted Martin Luther King, 28-0, at Northeast to capture the school's first football title in 26
years of Public League membership.
Jones then placed a call to his boss at Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Restaurant, on Roosevelt Boulevard.
"The manager said sure, he'll put together something for us," said Jones, who works weekends, mostly preparing
pizzas. "We'll go over someday after school."
Hey, guys, remember to hoist a soda to Jones.
No. 1, he became the first Eagle to top the 100-yard mark all season. The previous best effort had been 93 yards,
by Jones, against Northeast. No. 2, his 38-yard, second-quarter touchdown run was Washington's longest of 1989,
by 18 yards. Incredibly, the average distance on the team's 31 rushing touchdowns this season was 6.6 yards. Even
the four passing touchdowns averaged just 12.8 yards.
Jones led the team this season with 87 carries for 517 yards. Malik Pettus (82, 370), junior Dennis Rivers (65,
324), junior Brian White (65, 306) and Michael Fritz (74, 265) also received significant backfield playing time.
"I like running the ball, trying to avoid tacklers, getting touchdowns," Jones said. "But in our system, nobody gets
the ball a lot. Coach Mac (offensive coordinator John McAneney) went by what plays he thought would work, not
so much by what guys were running them. I did pretty well early (242 yards in the first three games), but then I was
mostly a blocker. Coach Mac was on me to do that better.
"When I wasn't getting the ball much, I just let it go. I'm not one to complain. I just played harder on defense
cornerback) to help make up for it."
Jones's first touchdown resulted from a "25 belly," out of an unbalanced line formation.
"We've been using the 'end over' more and more lately," Jones said. "As I neared the opposite end, (tight end)
Louis Rawls made a great block. He held it a long time, enabled me to make a good cut."
The title was not Jones's first at Washington. In 1988, as a freshman, he competed in the floor exercise and vault
for a Public League gymnastics champion.
"I started gymnastics in elementary school, just on my own," Jones said. ''It was a thing where a friend of mine
named Ronald was doing flips, then everybody want to imitate him. I stayed with it through middle school. We
used to give shows in the auditorium for the other classes. It's good for balance. It probably helped me with
football. I didn't do gymnastics last year because I hurt my toe right at the beginning. This year? I might go out
for basketball. "
Defensively, coach Ron Cohen's Eagles (10-0-1) were led by Terry Dillon (10 tackles, two sacks), Pat Whittle
(five, two), Doug Tuley (eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery) and Ray McGettigan (fumble recovery).
King franchise Jimmy Harris was limited to 32 yards on 12 carries, which meant he finished his career with 498
carries for 3,310 yards and 31 touchdowns (statistics for an '87 game against Olney are unavailable). The yardage
total leaves him third in Public League history behind Frankford's Blair Thomas (3,941) and Lincoln's Charlie
King (8-2), a 14-year league member, was making its first final appearance.
This story was written in 2005 after Ron
claimed the Public League record
for career wins . . .
By Ted Silary
AS MUCH TO himself as anyone else, Ron Cohen said in amazement, "That kid can throw, can't he?"
Yes he can, coach. And so can those kids behind you.
Splish, splash. Cohen was takin' a bath.
Though Chris Bennett had just launched a bomb to Maurice Sullivan for an 80-yard touchdown and 54 seconds
still remained, there was no longer any doubt - not that there was beforehand - about which team yesterday would
in a Public Red game between George Washington and visiting Jules Mastbaum Tech.
There was also no mistaking the significance.
All kinds of TV cameras don't show up for a regular Pub game projected to be a blowout. And you can't spot
people wearing suits along the sidelines. And the School District does not make arrangements to have the action
broadcast over the Internet.
Yes, it was a special day. Luckily, the weather was not cold, so the doused Cohen he did not have to utter his
postgame comments through chat-chat-chattering teeth.
With the former recordholder, Al Angelo, in attendance and carrying himself in a manner that had everyone saying,
"What a class act," Cohen became the winningest coach in Pub football history as the Eagles soared to victory,
Angelo, who now lives in Seaville, N.J., went 184-39-5 in 21 seasons at Frankford (1965-84, '87). This is also
Cohen's 21st, all straight through, and he is 185-48-2.
With water still dripping off his baseball cap, Cohen was handed the game ball by head referee Andy Hafele as
the clock hit 0:00. Then there were handshakes by all and the Eagles, joined by dignitaries, students, family
members, etc., grouped on the field.
Cohen, then a lowly junior-varsity aide, noted that Angelo, already approaching legend status, had been the first
to befriend him long ago at a coaching clinic in Atlantic City. He also mentioned that Angelo had reminded him that
records are made to be broken, and then he added, "I hope and pray that the man who breaks this record,
whoever that may be, has as much fun as I do."
Cohen was presented a white football by the principal, Alan E. Liebowitz, and a plaque with the date already
inscribed (told you this was a gimme) by longtime assistant John McAneney. Ron's mother, Ethel, even made some
remarks while his wife, Mimi, and daughters, Jamie and Elyssa, stood beaming nearby.
The Eagles then raised their helmets and screeched out the fight song. No nearby windows cracked.
There's a neat story line here. Angelo and McAneney attended West Chester and were captains of the track team
in consecutive years. McAneney coached Frankford in the 2 years when Angelo was "retired," and he happened to
be the victim in '85 when Washington, with Cohen in charge as a rookie, posted its first-ever win over Frankford.
By '88, Johnny Mac was assisting Cohen (his assistant stints came at Abraham Lincoln, Roxborough and Simon
Gratz, in addition to Washington), and he has been around for all eight Pub titles.
Before the game, Cohen introduced Angelo to the Eagles and said about him: "This man is a living legend and a
gentleman. A true gentleman." Speaking of Cohen and McAneney and another longtime assistant, former Temple
All-America, Bill "Skip" Singletary, Angelo told the players, "You're the luckiest guys in the world to be playing
for these coaches."
The game itself? The headliner was senior quarterback Thomas Wilmer, who passed 4-for-6 for 114 yards and
one touchdown apiece to Cecil Wise (also a rushing score), Albert Odusanya and Brandon Bynum.
Angelo said afterward: "I had to be here. This is so nice. It's beautiful to see Ron do this. He does a terrific job
with these kids and it doesn't end on the field. He makes sure they graduate. Gets them into colleges."
And to think, the Cohen Era almost never started.
Chris Roulhac, who moved on to college assisting, relinquished the Washington job in the summer of 1985 and
two guys next in line, varsity assistant Al Oriold and JV head coach Glenn Simpson, had no interest in taking over.
Did Cohen? He wasn't sure.
Already by that point, in addition to teaching-coaching, he was something of a real estate mogul and some of
the properties he was renting/having constructed were in, gulp, Vermont.
"Forty weekends a year I was driving up there," he said. "As a head coach, you have to put in a lot of extra time.
I didn't know if I wanted to make that big of a commitment.
"One day on the beach, I had a talk with a friend of mine, Steve Gratz, who I'd taught with at, well, Gratz. He
said, 'You've always wanted to be a head coach. This is a chance. Might not come again. You should do it. ' So
I put in for it."
Approval was not immediate. In fact, as he waited, Cohen directed practices on a volunteer basis.
When he was finally appointed, he fielded a never-forget-it "request" from the then-principal.
"She said she wanted me to beat Frankford, win the Public League championship and beat Archbishop Ryan on
Thanksgiving," he said, laughing.
The trifecta was accomplished by '91. And along the way, excellence has been the norm. Cohen, who has never
endured a losing season, 11 times has posted double-digit wins.
"No way could I have done this myself," he said. "I've had such good players and assistant coaches."
When asked how long he intends to keep coaching, he shot back: "As long as they'll have me. I don't see myself
going anywhere for a while. This is fun."
Below are the players who earned first team Coaches' All-Public honors during Ron Cohen's 30
seasons as the coach at George Washington.
|L||Rich Andreoni||1985||QB||Andy Wrigley||1996||L||Sharrif Floyd||2007|
|L||Tony Iorio||1985||L-DL||Kwesi Solomon||1996||Rec||Andrew Goodman||2007|
|QB||Keith Singleton||1985||L||Dan Brunwasser||1996||QB||Clinton "Juice" Granger||2007|
|RB||Anthony Bellmon||1985||L-DL||Eli Johnson||1996||RB||James Johnson||2007|
|K||Rick Pohl||1985||RB-DB||Reuben White||1997||K||Will McFillin||2007|
|LB||Sean McAleer||1985||L-DL||Charles Woodall||1997||L||Lawrence Williams||2007|
|RB||Rich Sago||1986||L-DL||Sidney Stewart||1997||L||Damien Wilmer||2007|
|RB||Cleon Jones||1986||L-DL||Mahmood Ibrahim||1997||LB||Brett Sommerer||2007|
|LB||M.L. Jackson||1986||Rec.-DB||Jafar Williams||1998||B||Devon Wallace||2007|
|B||Scott Rosen||1986||RB-DB||Bruce Perry||1998||L||James Luckey||2008|
|Rec.||Charles Crippen||1987||QB||Edvard Jean||1998||L||Sharrif Floyd||2008|
|RB||Bobby Davis||1987||L-DL||Scott Smith||1998||E||James Fowler||2008|
|L||Gary Downing||1987||RB-LB||Joseph Holley||1998||QB||Aaron Wilmer||2008|
|LB||Ed Neeld||1987||L||Sean Thomas||1998||RB||Kessan Christopher||2008|
|B||Tavis Anderson||1988||RB||Harry Mims||1999||K||Will McFillin||2008|
|B||Jim Wark||1988||RB||Sayyid Williams||1999||L||Bryant Davis||2008|
|B||Calvin Shakoor||1988||DL||James Freeman||1999||L||Waverly Harris||2008|
|L||Eric Green||1988||RB||Cory Sutton||1999||LB||Martin Haynes||2008|
|L||Greg Carlisle||1988||DE||George Truitt||1999||B||Jamal Williams||2008|
|L||Pat Whittle||1989||L||Darryl Alexander||2000||QB||Aaron Wilmer||2009|
|L||Ray McGettigan||1989||QB||Ivan Kosty||2000||RB||Vernon Dupree||2009|
|DL||Todd Dawson||1989||L||Anthony Nunn||2000||E||Nate Smith||2009|
|DL||Louis Rawls||1989||K-P||Roger Price||2000||L||James Fowler||2009|
|LB||Mike Fritz||1989||L||Chris Whittle||2000||L||Abdel Kanan||2009|
|DB||Brian Howard||1989||RB||Terrance Young||2000||L||Sharrif Floyd||2009|
|L||Phillip Simmons||1990||DB||Kyle Bell||2001||L||Brandon Chudnoff||2009|
|Rec.||Doug Tuley||1990||RB||Ryan Gore||2001||LB||Martin Haynes||2009|
|QB||Ray Savage||1990||Rec.||Mike Van Allen||2001||QB||Tony Smith||2010|
|RB||Brian White||1990||L||Jason Bermudez||2001||RB||English Peay||2010|
|RB||Dennis Rivers||1990||LB||Maurice Bennett||2001||WR||Daquan Cooper||2010|
|DB||Rick Hite||1990||L-LB||Jameel McClain||2002||L||Brandon Chudnoff||2010|
|DL||Dan Ben-Tal||1991||QB-DB||Marcus Kennedy||2002||L||Claudy Mathieu||2010|
|LB||Kevin Averette||1991||RB-DB||Larry Turner||2002||B||Donovan Morris||2010|
|LB||Orlando Currie||1991||Rec.-DL||Randy Brooks||2002||L||Melvin McLeod||2011|
|L||Dion Kinard||1991||RB-DB||Andre Odom||2002||L||Tyrone Smith||2011|
|QB||Jamar Griffin||1991||DB||Ricardo Rivera||2003||RB||Hakeem Sillman||2011|
|DL||Rick Woertz||1991||QB||Rich McFillin||2003||K||Jake Wright||2011|
|RB||Ryan Barksdale||1992||DB||Marcus Banks||2003||E||Justin Moody||2011|
|Rec.||Porfirio Barrera||1992||LB||Zimier McCloud||2003||T||Kevin White||2011|
|QB||Apollo Wright||1992||L||Andres Velasquez||2003||LB||Miguel Caban||2011|
|L||Gene Wigfield||1992||RB||Jerry Butler||2004||WR||Shaquon Allen||2012|
|L||Aaron Goodman||1992||DL||Dave Gonser||2004||K||Jake Wright||2012|
|Rec.||Jason Killich||1992||QB||Chuck Hughes||2004||E||Justin Moody||2012|
|DB||Sulaiman Rahman||1992||LB||Stefan Ruff||2004||B||Rene Villafane||2012|
|RB-DL||Irv Sigler||1993||DL||John McFillin||2004||B||Marquis Edwards||2012|
|RB-DB||William Potter||1993||DL||Dominique Curry||2004||L||Zaire Hollerway||2013|
|QB||Mike Curry||1993||L||Aaron Murray||2005||WR||Rasheed Black||2013|
|L-LB||Jordan Nicgorski||1993||L||Chris Clanton||2005||RB||Akinyeli Everage||2013|
|L-DL||Lydell Davis||1993||L||Demitrius Wilson||2005||K||Chris Schlegel||2013|
|L||Roman O'Neill||1994||B||Thomas Wilmer||2005||LB||Tyrone McNeil||2013|
|RB-DB||Julian Jones||1994||L||Chris Clanton||2006||B||Hassan Brockman||2013|
|LB||Kerwyn Hackett||1994||L||Mike Kelly||2006||
|LB||Ron "Butch" Crawley||1994||RB||Fateen Brown||2006||DE||Shareef Miller||2014|
|DE||Steve Smith||1994||L||Aaron Murrey||2006||RB||Qadir Cobbs||2014|
|L-DL||Joe O'Reilly||1995||LB||Aaron Hampton||2006||CB||Terry Hall||2014|
|RB-LB||Sam Bookard||1995||B||Oliver Wallace||2006||WR||Tavious Morgan||2014|
|Rec.-DB||Ramel Tiggett||1995||B||Brian Carter||2006||L-DL||Brandon Brown||2014|
|RB-DB||Curtis Callands||1995||K||Chris Schlegel||2014|
Recaps of Wins in Public League
Recap of Win in City Title