Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
Tom DeFelice's 18-Year
Career (1993-2010) at Edward Bok Tech
page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in
games and the names of All-Public/All-City honorees during Coach DeFelice's 18 seasons.
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In 2004, in preparation for the Public
League's first appearance in a PIAA playoff, Bok held a night practice
Tom DeFelice coached Edward Bok Tech's football team for 18 seasons (1993-2010), winning 129 games and three Public League classification championships. His teams won a record 43 consecutive PL regular season games. This story was written after the streak ended . . .
By Ted Silary
Streak? What streak?
This story was
written in 2007 after Tom guided Bok to a two-OT win for the Public
League AAA Division championship . . .
By Ted Silary
LUKE LASSITER'S heart was nearly in his throat. And if the beat had been any stronger, it would have registered on the
Again and again one thought kept bouncing around in his mind . . .
"I didn't win this 3 years to lose it in my senior year. "
By "this," he meant the Division AAA title in Public League football and what happened yesterday before 500 spirited
spectators at 29th and Chalmers was what happened in 2004, '05 and '06. Well, it was and it wasn't.
Yes, Edward Bok Tech is again the champion and again will participate in roughly a month in the PIAA state playoffs as
the District 12 representative. But this win against its major nemesis throughout the span, Ben Franklin, required the
expenditure of much more effort and the overall circumstances were incredibly memorable.
Not only were the Wildcats forced to rally from a 14-0 deficit merely to assure the game would go into overtime. They then
triumphed, 30-28, in two extra sessions!
"I've never been through something like that. Never," Lassiter said. "When it was over, I was just so happy. Tears were
coming out of my eyes."
He wasn't alone.
As a desperation, off-balance pop-up conversion pass by Franklin's Tajidin McGough fell incomplete in a tangle of bodies
at roughly the line of scrimmage, the Wildcats exploded in joy. Assorted Electrons could be spotted with hands on their helmets,
their facemasks buried into the ground.
"I don't feel too much sympathy for them. That's how it goes," Lassiter said. "But as I told my teammates, we have to
give them big respect. They gave us everything. Just the fact that it went to double OT tells you that. "
The 5-8, 160-pound Lassiter finished with 25 carries for 162 yards despite suffering a ding to his left knee in the first
"It was hurting, but not that bad," he said. "I just had to keep telling myself to keep playing through it."
He scored a touchdown, on an 8-yard run, with 1:25 left that rallied Bok into a 14-14 tie. On that conversion, he was
stopped by Chris Sturgis and Jamel "Redz" Haggins.
In the first OT, Franklin scored immediately on a 10-yard run by Sturgis (21-86) and the same guy added the two-pointer
in surprisingly simple fashion. Darnell Goddard answered with a 1-yard sneak on third down and Lassiter made it 22-22.
Second OT: Lassiter collected eight more points on a 3-yard burst - stretching the ball over the goal line - and another
easy-as-pie untouched dash to the left corner.
Franklin managed six-eighths of an answer in the form of a 1-yard, third-down sneak.
Just before the conversion, with the noise reaching incredible levels and many Franklin fans pressed against police barricades
at the back edge of the sideline, Bok coach Tom DeFelice and defensive coordinator Vince Trombetta, Franklin's head coach
in an earlier lifetime, waved onto the field Temple recruit Ryan Murray, a 6-6, 330-pounder who to this point of the game
had played only offense.
McGough was unable to cleanly handle the snap. As McGough recovered, Murray was powering his way through the
middle. From the ground, he grabbed McGough around his legs and forced the aforementioned pass that really had no chance.
Lassiter was watching from the sideline.
"Ryan did just what the coaches hoped he would," he said. "He's just so big. It's so hard to stop him."
Afterward, the words came gushing out of DeFelice.
"What a great day for the Public League!" he said. "Our kids were great and Franklin's were right there with them. True
sportsmen. True warriors.
"How about Luke? Wasn't he tremendous? I told our kids at halftime to remain calm, that I thought we could move the ball.
Then Luke was great. He showed his character."
Murray and guard Jamar Chase formed the left side of Bok's line and, like almost always, most of the plays went in that
direction. The tying TD in regulation was a notable exception. Guard Anthony Rivers and tackle Leland Sledge made that
ne possible, with help (as earlier) from center Jeff Smith. Along with the element of surprise.
Franklin was sittin' pretty early, causing non-stop jubilation for a guy holding a sign that read, "The Bok Stops Here! Go
Tyron Carlton caught a punt and zoomed 87 yards for a TD just 3:45 into the game and 5:14 before halftime Sturgis raced
33 yards for a score. Much of the yardage-gobbling on that 12-play, 95-yard drive was done by Duane "Bam" Burrell (9-63).
But in the third quarter, Burrell and star lineman Lydell Boanes departed for Temple Hospital in the back of the same
ambulance with what were feared to be broken left ankles.
Bok's first score came with 4:06 left in that session on Goddard's 1-yard burrow. The drive had to cover just 35 yards after
Kendall Johnson partially smothered a punt. Lassiter immediately took care of the first 34 yards.
Though his play, of course, spoke volumes, this was not the first time yesterday that Lassiter represented Bok in fine fashion.
His day began at 8:30 in his former elementary school - Fell, at 9th and Oregon. Lassiter, DeFelice and two other Fell grads,
defensive mainstays Terry Lee and Khaleem Williams, made an assembly appearance to talk up Bok to seventh- and
"Coach did all the talking. I kept thinking about the game," Lassiter said, laughing. "It was nice to be part of that, though.
I went to Fell from third to eighth grade. Good memories. I was talking to some of the kids afterward. I told them, 'I used to
sit in the same seats you guys are in.' "
Yesterday, Lassiter saw his seat as being hot.
"I kept thinking how the game would be on my shoulders," he said. "If something goes wrong, you're thinking you're going
to be the one to blame.
"Everybody was telling me to just stay calm. At school. In our locker room. On the bus ride. On the field before we got
started . . . "
Afterward, he heard no such instruction.
All guys wearing blue and white were too busy expressing unabashed joy.
This story was
written in 2004 as Tom and Bok prepared to become the first Public
League team to participate in a PIAA playoff . . .
By Ted Silary
It wasn't the first time Joe "Pepe" DeSalis wolfed down a cheesesteak at Geno's.
It was, however, the first time he did so with 50 friends and acquaintances, 40 of whom were decked out in game-day
DeSalis is the 5-10, 170-pound senior quarterback for Edward Bok Tech, which Friday night will become the first Public
League/District 12 football team to compete in a PIAA state playoff.
The opponent and site: Great Valley High, in Malvern. The occasion: a Class AAA District 1-12 subregional semifinal.
The way to prepare: with a practice under the lights.
"They wanted us to go to Northeast High," coach Tom DeFelice said, referring to PL bigwigs. "I told them I didn't want to
go there. Bok is a South Philly school and there are plenty of good facilities down here.
"I happened to drive past here one day last week and a bulb went off. I'm always thinking. My wife, Grace, says I think
too much. Anyway, Bok's a South Philly tradition. The cheesesteak places are a South Philly tradition. I figured this would
be a great idea. No offense to Pat's, but we chose Geno's."
Pause. "It just so happens that our quarterback's father works there."
It was a wonderful 3 hours. At 4:30, the Wildcats boarded a bus at their clubhouse, at 11th and Bigler, for the short trek
to Capitolo Playground, directly across from the bright lights and thousands of photos at Geno's.
They practiced for close to 90 minutes in their impressive blue-and-white uniforms with the names on the back, then
staged a hungry-man occupation of the tables lining the sidewalk along 9th Street. Cheese and ketchup were oozing like
crazy. The last part of the evening was the bus ride back to deep South Philly.
DeFelice, as always, was Mr. Energy during the workout. Trotting from spot to spot and yelling instructions and
encouragement, always in duplicate.
"Atta baby! Atta baby! . . . Get rid of it it faster! Get rid of it faster! . . . No mistakes! No mistakes! . . . Way to be! Way
to be! . . . Good hustle! Good hustle!"
At one point, a man walking past the playground looked at the Wildcats and commented, "That's a beautiful sight." When
told the practice would be followed with Geno's cheesesteaks, the man quipped, "Breakfast of champions."
A state championship is way too much to expect. And even Great Valley will likely be a tough-to-conquer foe. But the
Wildcats, who opted out of the PL playoffs to follow this path, are nothing if not excited and hopeful.
"This means a lot to the school. No one ever did this before," DeSalis said. "At first, we didn't even know something like
this was possible. But when the coaches mentioned it to the captains and other seniors, and said we could compete in the
Triple A category for a state championship, we all said, 'Yeah, let's go for it!'
"A lot of people are confident around the school we can win. Just like we are."
DeSalis lives near 10th and Porter.
"I played all my peewee football games in this playground," he said. "So, I thought it was a great idea to have our practice
here. And to know we'd be walking across the street to eat together. This is all so new to us. A practice at night. Then a
game at night. It's cool to be part of it."
Bok's offensive starters aside from DeSalis are center Chris Cotton, guards Rasheed Fleming and Gregory Thomas,
tackles Joe Campagna and Bryant Whitney, tight end Sean Jessup, split end Nafis Edwards, flanker Maurice Goodwin,
halfback Cory Moultrie and fullback Cossim Turner.
The defensive lineup: Ends Turner and Jessup, tackles Dahson Exum and Shon Thompkins, nose guard Campagna,
linebackers Thomas and Cortez McLaughlin, rotating cornerbacks Maurice Brockington, Amir Nuriddin and Maurice
Goodwin, and safeties Moultrie and Edwards.
The original noseguard, the highly productive Nick Perrone, is out with a broken leg. He's having surgery today, but was in
attendance last night to offer support and add emotion.
The assistants on hand were Frank "Roscoe" Natale, Lloyd Jenkins and Vince Trombetta. Along with the current
principal, Al Sorchetti, and the man who will soon succeed him, Larry Melton.
DeFelice, a star quarterback at West Catholic and Temple, is in his 36th year at Bok. He loves the school and it loves
"I'm happy for the teachers and coaches at Bok, especially the ones that were around when I came to the school," he
said. "The school took a lot of abuse. The teams in every sport were Public League doormats. I was so charged up to help
try and change it.
"My dad always told me, 'Change is a process, not an event. ' Since the early '80s, there's been a lot of positive change
at Bok. "
DeFelice then mentioned he'd received a phone call from a former teacher-coach named Sara Tucker, who's long retired.
"She's so charged up for us," he said. "The things she said brought tears to my eyes. Fact, they're bringing tears now . . .
"Anyway, here we are, little, ol' Bok, the smallest Pub school with a football team all these years, and we're going to be
the first to represent the city in a PIAA playoff. I feel great for our kids, our coaches, our teachers, our administrators and
our fans. We're going into this game 100 percent confident that we'll do a good job."
Raise a cheesesteak to that.
Below are the players who earned Coaches' All-Public honors during Tom
seasons as the coach at Edward Bok Tech.
|Tawan Miller||RB||1993||Nafis Edwards||Rec.||2004|
|Ronald Kindle||DL||1993||Cory Moultrie||RB||2004|
|Daminon Owens||LB||1993||Gregory Thomas||L||2004|
|Albert Thomas||QB||1993||Nick Perrone||DL||2004|
|Tariq Ceasar||L-DL||1993||Cortez McLaughlin||LB||2004|
|Michael Gales||RB||1993||Sean Jessup||DL||2004|
|Mark Lowman||DB||1994||Keith Williams||RB||2005|
|Michael Gales||RB||1994||Nick Perrone||L||2005|
|Tariq Ceasar||DL||1994||Shon Thompkins||L||2005|
|Ronald Kindle||LB||1994||Bryant Whitney||L||2005|
|Donald Medley||L||1994||Anthony Gales||L||2005|
|Pondossa Butler||DB||1994||Dahson Exum||L||2005|
|Michael Gales||RB-LB||1995||James Jones||QB||2005|
|Terrence Woodstock||Rec.-DE||1995||Dante Quarterman||MP||2005|
|Jared Anderson||L-LB||1995||Stephen Brantley||L||2005|
|Rodrigus Williams||L-DL||1995||Ryan Murray||L||2006|
|Omar Sabir||L-DL||1996||Maurice "Rookie" Goodwin||WR||2006|
|Horace Stewart||L-DL||1996||Anthony Brickle||L||2006|
|Bruce Morton||RB-LB||1996||Leland Sledge||L||2006|
|Will Gadson||QB||1996||Mike Nelson||QB||2006|
|William Warfield||L-DL||1997||Luke Lassiter||RB||2006|
|Bruce Morton||RB-LB||1997||Akeem Clarke||L||2006|
|Eddie Turner||RB-LB||1998||Jeremy Morris||LB||2006|
|Charles Kennedy||L-DL||1998||Daquon Johnson||LB||2006|
|Will Gadson||QB||1998||Ryan Murray||L||2007|
|Nevelle Bonaparte||Rec.-DE||1998||Luke Lassiter||RB||2007|
|Tyron Ellerbe||L-LB||1998||Ackeem Clarke||L||2007|
|Charles Kennedy||L-DL||1999||Leland Sledge||L||2007|
|Ramon Mills||Rec.-LB||1999||Anthony Rivers||L||2007|
|Ralph Sheridan||L-DL||1999||Terry Lee||L||2007|
|Ed Brumskill||Rec.-DB||1999||Daquon Johnson||LB||2007|
|Rodney McCarter||Rec.-DB||1999||Ray Tucker||RB||2008|
|Rodney Ray||RB-LB||1999||Brahkim Poole||WR/DB||2008|
|Kyle Lark||Rec.-DB||1999||Troy Martin||WR/DB||2008|
|Ramon Mills||Rec.||2000||Kevin Bryan||FB/NG||2008|
|Ed Brumskill||DB||2000||Ramar Bridges||L||2008|
|Rodney McCarter||RB||2000||Monteze Guions||L||2008|
|Wayne Stith||L||2000||Jasaan Thomas||L/DT||2008|
|Nick DiPietro||LB||2000||Naeem Nunnally||LB||2009|
|Shawn Jeter||LB||2000||Kevin Thompson||NG||2009|
|Shawn Jeter||L-LB||2001||Andre Frazier||QB||2009|
|Akeem "Feathers" Green||Rec.-DB||2001||Khalil Neal||FB||2009|
|Will McCall||RB-DB||2001||Josh Garnett||L||2009|
|Tyrique Johnson||L-DL||2001||Khasiem Sledge||L||2009|
|Cedric Green||RB||2002||Robert Quarterman||DB||2009|
|Akeem "Feathers" Green||RB||2002||Jacqual Dobbs||E||2009|
|Marcelluas Barnes||DL||2002||Khalil Neal||LB||2010|
|Ethan Simmons||LB||2002||Jihad Ward||E||2010|
|Alex Montero||DL||2002||Shaquil Sammons||RB||2010|
|Vinny Trama||LB||2002||Maurice T-Toe||NG||2010|
|Aaron Hayes||L||2003||Marqui Alfriend||T||2010|
Recaps of Wins in Public League