Philadelphia High School Football
A Look at
the Archbishop Ryan vs. George
Washington Thanksgiving Football Rivalry
schools, located in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia, have met 42 times
on or near
Thanksgiving from 1975 through 2018. Ryan leads the series, 32-9-1. (There were non-holiday
meetings in 1973 and 1974. Ryan also won those -- 35-13 and 28-15).
This page includes results, stories, special lists, boxscores/scoring for all holiday games from 1975-2018.
Return to TedSilary.com Home Page
Ryan's Frank Wycheck scored five total TDs in the 1987 and '88 games. He played in the NFL for 11 seasons.
The Far Northeast
By Ted Silary
"I wasn't thinking, 'If they score, it's over,'
but I was expecting a one-touchdown game,' " said Wade, who ranks in
the top 15 percent of his class academically and is receiving Division II and III interest. "I knew we had to hold them."
The next good opportunity came right before halftime. Defensive holding, Fritz's 10-yard run and a personal foul
elped move the ball from Washington 's 47 to Ryan 's 18. But at 0:00, Ray Savage's pass to Terrell Jones was broken
up in the end zone by Ken Liszewski.
Then, with 7:14 left, punter Jim McCaffery overthrew Mike Barnett (13 carries, 74 yards) on fourth-and-8 and
Washington took over at its 36.
Mixing completions and keepers, Savage needed only five plays to reach Washington 's 15. But on third down from
the 14, when Savage again rolled left, his flip to Doug Tuley was picked off by McCaffery.
"I didn't notice him," Savage said of McCaffery. "A couple times I hit Malik with passes when he was covered, so I
thought maybe this one would get in there, too."
Said Wade: "Everybody was panicking in the huddle. We were yelling. I thought they'd get it a little closer, that it
would come down to another goal-line stand."
In the Thanksgiving portion of the series, Ryan had won by scores averaging 25-5.
"All the other years, we beat them," Wade said. "People will say to us, 'You tied them. ' That's better than losing."
Said Washington 's Ray McGettigan, a center-linebacker who once attended Ryan : "We won here today. How so?
The odds are against us all the time. We shut them down."
Said Savage: "I'm happy we broke the losing streak, but we should have come out winners. "
Cohen, meanwhile, had trouble sorting out his feelings.
One minute he was telling a reporter, "How can we be satisfied with a tie? " The next he was telling his team to
"cherish the feeling" of being the first Washington team not to lose to Ryan.
Twenty years from now . . .
"It was a great game," people will say. "Up and down the field. The snow had no effect. Finished 40-40, I believe.
You should have seen it."
This story was written after Washington, in shocking fashion, claimed its
win in the series . . .
By Ted Silary
Don't count your turkeys before they hatch.
On Thanksgiving Day 1991, that time-honored maxim - with the appropriate change in birds, of course - was
hammered forcefully into the spinning heads and aching hearts of Archbishop Ryan 's football coaches and players.
The unthinkable happened yesterday at Bustleton and Verree.
After earning 16 wins and a tie in the 17-year Battle of the Far Northeast, Ryan not only lost to George
Washington. It was stunned, 28-24, after holding a 21-0 halftime lead and a 24-22 fourth-quarter lead.
As the final seconds melted away, the overflow crowd of 7,500 reacted in two diverse manners.
Washington's fans, many of whom stormed the field, were as joyous as humanly possible. They yelped, ran
around in circles, exchanged hugs or back- slaps with anybody and everybody, and released in some cases a stream
Ryan's fans mostly stayed pat. Some yelled from the stands at their counterparts, not wanting to allow the
Eagles' followers one sliver of glee. But most were respectful. They merely stood and watched in disbelieving
silence, soaked it all in. It was like they were thinking, "The way you won this game, you deserve to be happy.
Go ahead. Have some fun. We can only imagine what it must have been like."
On one sideline, Lee Marvel, Ryan's defensive coordinator, whose charges had allowed just 29 points in their
last nine games, was shaking his head in amazement.
"I can't believe," he said, "that they moved the ball that well on us. But they sure did."
Glen Galeone, Ryan's head coach, was admitting that he had placed the game in the win column at halftime.
"I did," he said. "If we could just control the ball a little . . . "
On the other side, surrounded by a sea of well-wishers, Washington coach Ron Cohen fought a losing battle
to maintain his composure.
"We weren't playing for ourselves," he said, in a cracking voice. "We were playing for everybody who ever
played for Washington."
How did it happen?
A newspaper article never could do the story line full justice.
By halftime, Ryan had reaped three rushing touchdowns, including two by star back Mike Erbrick (32 carries,
123 yards overall), and Washington had been limited to no first downs and 11 yards total offense. Already, in
anticipation of the Dec. 7 Catholic League title game with St. James, the Raiders had begun to pull players
with slight injuries.
But as the Eagles, who will play Frankford for the Public League title, also on Dec. 7, headed for their locker
room, Cohen knew exactly what he was going to talk about - the previous game.
In that one, a Public League semifinal, Washington had rolled to a 28-0 halftime lead over Murrell Dobbins
Tech only to see Dobbins score the first 24 points of the second half. The Eagles regrouped and won, 40-24.
"We had our heads down," star fullback-linebacker Orlando Currie admitted. "The coaches talked about
Dobbins, brought us back up."
Said Cohen: "We said, 'If Dobbins had that kind of pride, we certainly can muster it. ' We told the kids they
were playing not just for themselves, but for their families and everyone who ever wore an Eagles jersey. We
brought in some guys from our (1989) championship team. They spoke to the kids, too."
Ryan's defense had been weakness-free since mid-September. But at the end of the second quarter, and
again in the third, a crack developed. John McAneney, Washington's offensive coordinator, called for passes
in the flat to Currie. Lo and behold, he was wide open.
A 12-yard pickup put the ball on Ryan's 20 nine plays into the third quarter. Zoom! Halfback Kevin Averette
ran into the end zone and the Raiders had allowed a rushing touchdown for the first time since the Sept. 6
season-opening loss at Downingtown.
Next possession: Erbrick fumbles, Rick Woertz recovers at the Ryan 44. Currie starts the drive with
receptions of 19 and 6 yards. Four plays later, quarterback Apollo Wright goes in from the 1. He then passes
to Jason Killich for the two-point conversion.
Next possession: Ryan goes nowhere. Sean Taggart punts. Jamar Griffin catches the ball on Washington's
18, gets a great block on Taggart from end Porfirio Barrera and runs 82 yards for a score. Dan Ben-Tal's
kick makes it 22-21.
Next possession: Brian Hamill kicks a 28-yard field goal to put Ryan ahead, 24-22.
"I thought we had the game," Galeone said, "with the way we can play defense."
Hamill's kick sails to the Washington 6. Griffin heads straight up the middle, breaks to the outside, receives
key blocks from Currie and Michael Williams, shakes one final tackler and scores a 94-yard touchdown.
Three touchdowns in 5 minutes, 54 seconds. Four touchdowns in 12:04.
"It's such a great feeling," Griffin said. "To run all that way. To hear all that noise. To have all the players
run down and grab you."
Griffin, a 6-foot, 165-pound senior, was a starter at quarterback and safety until breaking his wrist in game
No. 2, a 17-0 win over King. He returned, just at safety, in game No. 7, a 10-7 win over Northeast.
"Since I got hurt," Griffin said, "I figured Apollo should keep the (quarterback) spot until the coaches felt
there was a need to take him out. He's doing a good job. I'm better off where I am now, at safety."
In proving that point, Griffin made a leaping interception to terminate the Raiders' final possession, which
began on their 17 with 1:39 left.
"Hopefully," Cohen said, "this will take the monkey off our back."
And a giant-sized monkey it was.
This story was written in 2001 after
Ryan's Dave Quaintance picked a
great time to score his first varsity TD . . .
By Ted Silary
There are times when athletes, desperately trying to prevent negative situations, must take matters into their
Make the acquaintance of Dave Quaintance , a 6-5, 275-pound senior at Archbishop Ryan High.
Next year, he'll play football as a defensive lineman for the University of Maryland. But in his final
scholastic game yesterday, he used his big mitts to protect himself from hours, days, weeks, months or even
years of teasing, making a big play to help Ryan beat George Washington, 18-13.
Things were bad enough earlier this season when Father Judge, attended by Quaintance 's father, Dave, and
other relatives, twice rocked Ryan by shutout.
Washington is where his mother, Sallie, and sisters, Kasi and Nicole, went to school.
"This makes my day. This makes my season," Quaintance said, laughing. "I'm going to have a good
"It was hard enough dealing with my father's side of the family. If we'd lost one . . . I had to make sure I'd
at least have something positive to talk about."
Quaintance 's big moment came with 7 minutes, 35 seconds remaining, when he turned a 10-yard toss from
Joe DeLeo into his first-ever varsity touchdown.
The Raiders sealed their lead when Matt Kilrain and freshman Chris Smith made interceptions in the final
Ryan finished 4-7. Washington will play Northeast in eight days for the Public League title.
Ryan leads on Thanksgiving, 21-5-1, and 23-5-1 overall.
The Raiders' decisive drive covered 51 yards in six plays after Quaintance 's key block sprang Chris Bakos
for a 36-yard kickoff return.
Quaintance was the secondary receiver on his TD catch.
"Joe throws to me a lot when we run that play in practice," he said. "But in that situation, in game conditions,
I wasn't expecting to get it. He made a great read, because I slipped in behind the linebackers and was wide
open. I had to walk maybe 1 yard into the end zone.
"I was a tight end in my other years, then this year, coach [Glen] Galeone said we needed help on the line
and he'd have to move me to guard. I wore No. 69 because that was my dad's number. Then coach Galeone
said we had to go to more of a power look and he put me back at tight end. No problem. Back to No. 88. "
Quaintance made an oral commitment to Maryland before the season, and yesterday's game offered an
James Franklin, a Terps aide, watched the game on Ryan's sideline. On the other side were three Washington
products starting for Maryland - running back Bruce Perry, receiver Jafar Williams and defensive end Scott
An A-minus student with a 1,000 SAT score, Quaintance intends to major in kinesiology. He opted for
Maryland because he liked the coaches and campus, and the fact it's not outrageously far from home.
"My father hasn't missed one of my games since I started playing at age 5," he said. "He'll be able to come to
all the home games."
This story was written in 2004 about
gigantic family with ties to each
school . . .
By Ted Silary
There were five possible places to look and, yes, the McFillins were everywhere.
Along both sidelines. In both sets of stands. And on the field, of course.
It's hard to imagine a holiday football game between George Washington High and Archbishop Ryan without
a strong presence by the McFillin family. For a while still, no one will have to.
Matt and Joe were linemen for Ryan. Rich , just last year, was Washington 's quarterback. And then came
Thanksgiving Eve, when the Far Northeast rivals met under portable lights at Bustleton and Verree to give
Washington an extra 15 hours of rest for tomorrow's PIAA Class AAAA Eastern semifinal vs. Easton, to be
played at 7 p.m. at Northeast.
Aligned with Washington were John, a two-way senior end, and Colin, a junior manager. Aligned with Ryan
were Joe and father Frank, assistant coaches, and Will , an eighth-grade ballboy. Sitting in Washington's stands
were Rich , mom Anne and younger sisters Maria and Hilary. Sitting in Ryan's stands were Matt and older
sisters Margaret, Deirdre and Katherine.
If you're keeping score at home, that's a football team's worth of children.
"I like it a lot," John McFillin said, referring to his family's hugeness. "It's a lot of fun. It's really fun in a
game like this because you appreciate how much support you're getting.
"I didn't know where everyone was sitting, but I knew they were up there somewhere."
What'd they see overall? A 21-12 win for Washington , which cut its deficit in the series to 23-8-1 overall
and 21-8-1 on (or a few hours before) Thanksgiving.
What'd they see from the 6-4, 240-pound John, No. 7 of 11? Seven tackles, highlighted by 1 1/2 sacks, and
the kind of blocking that enabled Lawson Draper, filling in for franchise halfback Jerry Butler (held out), to
post 169 yards and two touchdowns (of 40 and 85 yards) on just eight carries.
"Rich was kind of teasing my dad this week about the game," John said. "He wasn't saying bad things about
Ryan. Just good things about Washington . What'd I say? I stayed out of it. That's how I am.
"I did tell my dad at dinner [Tuesday] that Jerry wouldn't be playing. He believed me. It didn't seem to
surprise him. He expected it, probably. Mr. Cohen [Ron, Washington 's coach] was kidding with me this
week. He said I should try to listen to my dad when he was sleeping, to see if he'd be calling out any plays."
Though Butler sat, Washington otherwise went full blast. It did not begin to sprinkle in subs until midway
through the fourth quarter and some starters were still on the field as the game wound down. There was a
scary moment, too, when star lineman Dave Gonser was chop-blocked while pass-rushing. He appeared to
be OK, though quite angry. (Cohen and Ryan's coaches were also livid at the player, who said he slipped.)
Anyway . . .
"We weren't sure how long the starters were going to play," said McFillin , who hopes to play Division
I-AA football and would prefer tight end. "But Mr. Cohen did talk beforehand about this game's strong
tradition and how we had to keep it going with a full effort. I know Mr. Mac [John McAneney, offensive
coordinator] wanted to win, too. He says losing can be contagious and he didn't want us going into the
Easton game off a loss."
Also starring for Washington were Chuck Hughes (three interceptions at safety, 1-yard TD run), Gonser
(1 1/2 sacks, another tackle for loss) and Dominique Curry (one sack, one tackle for loss). Ryan scored on
Mike Pinto's 40-yard interception return and Charles McGinn's 11-yard pass to Ron James. Joe Zeglinski
ran 22 times for 119 yards before dinging his left ankle with 7 minutes, 21 seconds remaining.
Meanwhile, Will McFillin has a decision to make. Washington or Ryan? Ryan or Washington?
"I haven't decided yet," he said.
"I'm not trying to talk him into anything," John said. "It's better to let him make his own decision."
Boxscores for games, 1975-2014
Longest scores . . .
Individual scoring, 2015-18
|TOP 10 PERFORMANCES, 1982-2018|
|Mike Van Allen||Wash||84||2001|