Philadelphia High School Sports

Let the Joy Begin!! . . .
The End of Bad Streaks
In Football/Basketball

These stories were written by Ted Silary for the Philadelphia Daily News

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These two stories were written in 1982 after Edison's football team not only ended a 27-game scoreless streak, but defeated University City, 20-18 . . .

Thomas Edison had experienced all kinds of trouble attempting to score football points during the last four-plus years, when it established a national high school record by laying 27 consecutive goose eggs.
  Yesterday, though, by the finish of a cross-division game with University City that didn't count in the Public League standings, observers had experienced all kinds of trouble believing their eyes.
  The Inventors, who had been waiting not so patiently since Oct. 12, 1978, when they played Simon Gratz to a 6-6 tie, were not satisfied to end the streak with six measly points.
  They instead went borderline berserk, using fourth-period touchdown runs of three and seven yards by quarterback Harry Jefferson - and Tim Sherfield's conversion run after Jefferson's first score - to fashion a 20-18 win.
  "I didn't want this to end," Jefferson said. " We would have scored and scored, then scored some more. It was easy once we got rolling. Give us credit. We do know how to break a streak. "
  By the end of the first half, which ended 12-0 in University City's favor, the Inventors had permitted 689 consecutive points. Their last win, 18-0 over Gratz on Oct. 14, 1977, was followed by 34 losses, including 31 shutouts, and the '78 tie with Gratz.
  Then it happened.
  Thomas Edison had experienced all kinds of trouble attempting to score football points during the last four-plus years, when it established a national high school record by laying 27 consecutive goose eggs.
  Yesterday, though, by the finish of a cross-division game with University City that didn't count in the Public League standings, observers had experienced all kinds of trouble believing their eyes.
  The Inventors, who had been waiting not so patiently since Oct. 12, 1978, when they played Simon Gratz to a 6-6 tie, were not satisfied to end the streak with six measly points.
  continued right below . . .  

  This picture was taken in the parking lot behind the Daily News. Our photographer left before the streak was broken and coach Roger Jann granted permission to drive these guys to the paper so the feat could receive proper recognition. The pic appeared on the front page!
  They instead went borderline berserk, using fourth-period touchdown runs of three and seven yards by quarterback Harry Jefferson - and Tim Sherfield's conversion run after Jefferson's first score - to fashion a 20-18 win.
  "I didn't want this to end," Jefferson said. " We would have scored and scored, then scored some more. It was easy once we got rolling. Give us credit. We do know how to break a streak. "
  By the end of the first half, which ended 12-0 in University City's favor, the Inventors had permitted 689 consecutive points. Their last win, 18-0 over Gratz on Oct. 14, 1977, was followed by 34 losses, including 31 shutouts, and the '78 tie with Gratz.
  Then it happened.
  Franklin Jones punted from U. City's 46 to Edison's 41. Nick Stinson picked up the ball and zoomed 59 yards along the left sideline for a touchdown, before disappearing under a sea of humanity that featured players and fans.
The time remaining was 5:29 in the quarter. Assumedly, the number will receive heavy play today in the lottery, at least in North Philly.
  Stinson made a rather quick escape, though, all things considered. He has been bothered with a painful hip-pointer and made first-half appearances only to snap for punts. His fast halftime talking convinced the coaches to re- insert him into the backfield.
  "I was happy to score and all that," he said, " but I sure didn't want all that weight coming down on my hip. Even a healthy guy could have gotten hurt. "
  Ironically, Coach Roger Jann and assistant Larry Oliver were imploring Stinson not to touch the punted ball as a U. City player, maybe a second away from downing it, approached quickly. Even more ironically, Jann did not see the score.
  "Larry and I were both hollering, 'Leave it be. Leave it be,' " Jann said. " It was almost a bad choice on Nick's part. When the defense is coming down hard, a ball like that is meant to get away from.
  "But he picked it up and started to run and I could see a clear sideline. Then I saw the punter ( Jones ) running right behind him and I thought, 'He'll probably catch him, but we'll have good field position. '
  "At that point, some spectators blocked my view and, by the time I got back in position to see what was happening, the ref had his hands upraised and Nick was halfway into the end zone. "
  "I was thinking to pick the ball up from the time it stopped bouncing around," Stinson said. " Then I saw the opening along the sideline and I knew I had to. Only the punter had a chance and he wasn't quite fast enough to catch me.
  "The whole run, I was saying to myself, 'Touchdown, touchdown, gotta make me a touchdown. ' I was getting tired of all the talk about our streak. We had to put an end to it. "
  You want more irony? It was Stinson who fumbled on the 3 in Edison's first game of the season - a 22-0 loss to Abraham Lincoln - while heading for a possible score with a pass reception. Lincoln recovered for a touchback.
  The word at the time was that Stinson had fumbled for no reason. Yesterday, he offered his own version.
  "A defender was coming at me on the side where I had the ball," Nick noted. " I fumbled when I tried to switch it to my opposite hand. I got hit after that and my one leg went out from under me. I couldn't get my balance to chase after the ball.
  "I felt really bad right then. Later, I told myself to forget it, that I would just come back and try harder. "
  U. City ran four plays and punted following Stinson's score and Edison marched 48 yards to the 13 before Stinson flipped a flea-flicker pass to Jefferson that was intercepted by Phil McDonald on the 12.
  McDonald was quickly cornered, however, and tried to pitch back to a teammate. The ball squirted free and Jefferson recovered on the 17. Jefferson then passed for 8 yards to Myron Malloy and for 6 to Darien Grady before sneaking 3 for the score.
  Sherfield (12 carries, 77 yards) swept right on the conversion and got a great block from Stinson, making the end zone with a half-yard to spare.
  So much for the euphoria attached to taking a lead. U. City's Jerry Adams took the kickoff and zig-zagged 80 yards to the Edison 1, before he was overtaken by Stinson. Adams, the quarterback, scored on the next play.
  "Losing the lead did not get us down," Stinson said. " There was still a lot of time left ( 8:15 ) and we remembered our overall plan for the day.
  "Sure, we wanted to score. But we also wanted to win. We figured U. City ( 1-1-1 going in ) was a team we could do it against. "
  The winning drive was a microcosm in reverse. Every mistake Edison made during the past four years wasn't made this time. The big plays were an 18- yard run by Sherfield and a 26- yard pass from Jefferson to Grady.
  In the previous 27 games, the Inventors had hardly ever gained that many yards on two plays in the same drive. Probably never. And, if they did gain that many on one play, they would invariably fumble or throw an interception or proceed illegally.
  You could set your watch by Edison screw-ups.
  Jefferson barely broke the end-zone plane on his sneak, which came from the 7, but he stretched his body forward, the refs' hands soared up once again and the score was final 2:08 later.
  Rodney Jennings intercepted to thwart one semi-serious drive during that span. He also recovered a fumble after punting from his 12 on the next-to-last play.
  "Winning the game was exciting and I'm glad it happened, but my biggest thrill came when we scored the first touchdown. For once to see an Edison player going toward the goal. For once to not see him stopped. Or watch him fumble. Or watch us commit a penalty.
  "It was like a dark cloud was suddenly lifted. "
  That was Roger Jann's reaction.
  "They will probably give us off from school for the rest of the century. "
  That was a fan's reaction.

  As of late Thursday afternoon, fullback-linebacker Nick Stinson was no longer a member of Thomas Edison's football team.
  As of yesterday afternoon, with 5:29 left in the third quarter of a non- league game that Edison would take, 20-18, over University City, ending both a 27-game scoreless streak and a 35-game winless streak, Stinson was the most important member of the team.
  It was Nick's 59-yard punt return that gave the Inventors their first score in 111 quarters, since William Marshall dashed 17 yards for a touchdown in Quarter No. 3 of a 6-6 tie with Simon Gratz on Oct. 12, 1978.
  Stinson, an emotional sort and the youngest of five brothers to play sports at Edison, had recently been bothered by a hip-pointer. Near the end of Thursday's practice, his emotions bubbled over.
  "Nick wanted us to score and win so bad and he was becoming more frustrated as each day passed," said Edison Coach Roger Jann. " He could not go very hard in some practices, then he missed one altogether.
  "When he came to practice yesterday, I told Nick he had been demoted to second team and he wouldn't be allowed to lead the exercises, which he'd done all last year and this year. I could tell he was upset about that. Really upset.
  "He came to me at the end of practice and said he couldn't take it anymore. It was too much for him. All I said to him was, 'I will not let you quit, at least not without sleeping on it first for a night. Come to see me in the morning and we'll talk about it then. ' "
  When Stinson, who lives three blocks from Edison, got home, he decided to bend his girlfriend's ear about the problem.
  "She didn't want me to quit," Nick said. " She said, 'You've been playing three years. You know how much you're dying to end the streak. Why give it up now? It wouldn't make sense. '
  "I told her, 'OK, when we get to school tomorrow, I'll ask for my uniform. ' "
  Back in good graces or not, Stinson was in for only two first-half plays. Both times, the ex-punter was employed to snap the ball to new punter Rodney " Magic" Jennings.
  "It wasn't that I wasn't punting OK," Nick said. " We didn't have anyone to get the ball back to me very well. They told me I'd help us more by snapping. "
  At halftime, Stinson convinced the coaches that he could play.
  "The first half was tough," Nick said. " Almost every play this team's involved in, I'm right in the middle of the action. But there we were down by 12-0 and I had to stand and watch. "
  Quarterback Harry Jefferson, meanwhile, was more heavily involved than ever in deciding Edison's fate. He called almost all of Edison's plays and ordered nary a bad one. Blocking by center Kurt Smalls, guards Ron Willis and Vernon Stones, and tackles Vincent Johnson and Dexter Dennis, among other things, helped yield 181 yards total offense, including 77 for Tim Sherfield on 12 carries.
  "I didn't know until today that I'd be calling the plays," Jefferson said. " He (Jann) let me do it in practice the other day and I did pretty good. He said my head was more into the game.
  "As soon as the other team scores, we usually fade away. But they scored twice on us today and we still battled back.
  "I thought I was in a dream world when Nick scored. Then, I got my two TDs and I knew I was in a dream world."


  This story was written in 1996 after Southern's football team ended a 56-game losing streak by beating Ovebrook, 12-0 . . .

  Southern High's overjoyed football players said they wanted to wear their jerseys to school Monday and be treated to a full-scale pep rally.
  To which coach Lou D'Alonzo responded, laughing heartily, ``Jerseys? Pep rally? For one win? You kidding me? Forget it. ''
  The Rams indeed won just one football game yesterday. But what a momentous game it was.
  Sparked in part by the Bradley brothers, senior Brian and junior Jason, and the Conaway brothers, senior Joe and sophomore Bill, Southern blanked Overbrook, 12-0, in a non-league game at West Philadelphia to terminate a city-record, 56-game losing streak that had stretched over seven seasons.
  As the final seconds melted away, the players exchanged hugs and high-fives, tossed their helmets in the air, doused D'Alonzo with a bucket of water and ran across the field to the restraining fence to celebrate with the dozen Southern fans in attendance.
  ``When the fourth quarter started with us up, 12-0, I was still thinking, `Something bad might happen,' '' Brian Bradley said. ``But when I looked at the clock and saw 3:05 left, I knew we had it. My heart was going so fast. I tried to stay calm and collected and keep everybody focused, so we wouldn't act like it was over. ''
  Added Joe Conaway: ``I really couldn't believe we were winning. To look at that scoreboard and see us up over somebody that late in the game . . . ''
  One person D'Alonzo spoke with on the phone last night was Tulsa Wills. Her son, lineman Keyiron Edwards, inspiring all who knew him, played briefly for Southern last season after receiving a heart transplant. Awaiting a second transplant, he died last February.
  Before the Rams donned their uniforms yesterday, D'Alonzo affixed newly arrived stickers - No. 72, in black - to the backs of the helmets. In a postgame huddle, D'Alonzo talked about Edwards, and some of the players cried.
  ``We put on the stickers, then we won,'' said D'Alonzo, who is in his second season. ``It does make you wonder, did we have a 12th player out there with us? ''
  When Wills was told of Southern's win, she nearly jumped through the phone.
  ``Yes! Yes!'' she shrieked. ``They have an angel with them now!
  ``Know what? Tonight's lottery number was 872, Keyiron's month of birth and jersey number. Tell me he's not with us. ''
  The Rams' last win came against Overbrook, 30-24, on Nov. 8, 1990. They lost two to finish '90, 10 each in '91, '92 and '93, 11 each in '94 and '95 and two to start this season. They were outscored in the losses, 1,819-301 (an average of 32-5). Also, they suffered 27 shutouts and 14 times scored no more than eight points.
  Before Southern stumbled its way to infamy, the record for consecutive losses had belonged to Thomas Edison High, which lost 51 from '84 to '91. Edison still owns the city record for the longest winless streak - 58 games (0-56-2), set in that same time frame.
  Southern's touchdowns, both in the second quarter, were scored by Brian Bradley on a 15-yard run and by Terrance Gardner on a 36-yard pass from Kenneth Marshall (on fourth-and-17). In the first quarter, Gardner lost an 89-yard interception return score to clipping.
  The Rams sparkled on defense. Jason Bradley (two), Brian Bradley, Yusef Turner and Gardner made interceptions, and Joe Conaway recovered a fumble. Bill Conaway (two), Joe Conaway, Thomas Terry, Shelron White and Kyron Allen registered sacks.
  The defense featured ends Terry and Joe Conaway, tackles White, Anthony Neroni and Kenneth Koon (the latter two rotated), nose guard Bill Conaway, linebackers Allen, Turner and Jarrard Jones, cornerbacks Jason Bradley and Gardner and safety Brian Bradley.
  Jason Bradley was playing his first game for the Rams. Bill Conaway also is new to the program this season.
  ``Jason always played for neighborhood teams,'' Brian said. ``He always said he wanted to play with us, but he never did it. I kept talking to him. He finally made the commitment. It helped me having him out there. You're always close with your teammates, but when one is your brother, that means even more. ''
  The Conaways formerly attended schools that don't offer football. Joe transferred from Horace Furness to Southern last year. Bill switched from Parkway this year. Their parents, Joe and Fran, and brother, Jim, were among the spectators.
  ``We went to Southern because we just wanted to play football,'' Joe said, simply. ``When I went over, people were saying, `You're crazy. Big mistake. They never win. ' It wasn't easy losing every game last year. We were getting some stuff done, but everything wasn't there. This season, we have more people who know how to play. ''
  Southern's first two games this season yielded losses to Roxborough, 31-22, and Edison, 34-22.
  ``You could see some bright spots,'' D'Alonzo said. ``It was coming. This should do wonders. Now the kids can believe what we've been telling them. ''
  For Joe Conaway and Brian Bradley, some of their thoughts were with players who endured one, two, three or even four consecutive years of losing.
  ``Four years. What was that like for those kids? '' Conaway asked. ``Probably the worst experience they ever had. ''
  Added Bradley: ``When those ex-players pick up the paper, I know they'll be happy. They'll be saying, `All right! Finally! ' We won this for a lot of people. Some guys worked hard for four years and never got to enjoy one of these. ''
  Did someone say enjoy?
  `A gigantic boulder has been lifted from these kids' shoulders. They were so happy. So proud,'' D'Alonzo said. ``But what I'm worried about is where we go from here. We've got Ben Franklin coming up next Friday. What's that old line, you're only as good as your next game? I told the kids, `Enjoy your weekend. Back to business Monday.' '


  This story was written in 2006 after Kennedy-Kenrick's basketball team ended a 53-game Catholic South losing streak by beating Archbishop Carroll, 49-48 . . .

  Years from now, Courtney Stanley won't have to exaggerate.
  When he's old and gray and chubby, he'll be able to say, without blinking or fear of someone sniffing him out as a liar, "Man, I spilled blood to help us end that streak. "
  OK, there was not quite enough red stuff to form a river. But the gash on the back of Stanley's left elbow did require some bandaging, and did force him to momentarily leave the game, and did force him to change his jersey.
Twice the number. Slightly more than twice the production.
  As he switched from No. 15 to 30, Courtney owned five points and Kennedy-Kenrick High, which last night was hosting nearby rival Archbishop Carroll, appeared headed to yet another loss in Catholic South play.
  Then it happened. Stanley, a 6-1, 165-pound sophomore point guard, buried a deep three-pointer. He wasn't finished. In fact, his fourth quarter heroics were just beginning.
  With the crowd - vocal, but admittedly not large - getting louder and more animated as the suspense built, Stanley buried two more treys, converted a double-bonus with 47 seconds left and soon thereafter got to celebrate as K-K prevailed, 49-48.
  Your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, this was a Catholic South game. Yes, the Wolverines were the winner.
  Let's count'em up . . . 53 consecutive league losses, an all-time CL record. Seven to finish the '02 season, all 14 in '03, '04 and '05 and the first four this campaign.
  When it was over, the excited Wolverines trotted on air toward their locker room. As they then scrambled down the steps, coach Mike Fink could be heard saying to no one in particular, "When was the last one? Six years ago? "
  In the room, he then named the senior veterans one by one and kept shouting, "A Catholic League win! How's that feel?! . . . A Catholic League win! How's that feel?! "
  Please offer an answer, guard Andrew Schell.
  "This is so big. It's overwhelming," he said, beaming. "I was about to break into tears, but I held it together.
"It's especially big for the 4-year members of this team like me and Zach Molyneaux and Rob Panish. We've been through it all. The younger guys, I'm not sure they realize everything this means. But we sure do. "
  Schell contributed six points and two steals. Molyneaux grabbed six rebounds. Panish, in a brief appearance accompanied by enthusiastic fan support, snagged two boards.
  But the overall hero was Stanley, a transfer from Roxborough. His 11-point fourth quarter outburst gave him 16 points for the game; he also contributed five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blood-stained jersey.
"I've been wearing No. 15 my whole career, but I might have to go with No. 30 now," Stanley said. "Nah, I guess I'll stick with 15.
  "When I dive for loose balls, I keep scraping that same elbow. Just had to get it fixed and rush back in there. "
Stanley's free throws made it 49-48. Carroll's Pat Filippelli hit a right-wing trey on a pass from Ellis Rogers at 0:30 and Rogers, while covering Stanley, forced a 5-second call at 14.5.
  Darrell Floyd (15 points) got the ball at the foul line and drove along the right portion of the lane. His layup rimmed out and after a wild, arms-flailing-everywhere scramble, Floyd and K-K's Scott Marston wound up with dual possession at 3.1. The arrow favored K-K.
  Rogers made a leaping interception of a three-quarter-court inbound pass, but was whistled for walking as he returned to K-K's brand new wood floor. Only seven-10ths of a second remained.
  The fans chanted: "We beat Carroll! We beat Carroll! "
  Yo, troops, this would have better fit the occasion: "The streak is over! The streak is over! "
  The other members of K-K's nine-man rotation were Dwayne Davis, Tim Bowman (13 points), Arlen Canard and Kasheef Festus.
  Fink, in his second year as coach, sensed his younger players - and there are many - were a shade clueless about the significance.
  "But this is a huge win for the program and the kids," he said. "I'm tremendously proud of how we didn't quit. We were down by 12 at halftime (23-11), but they showed tremendous resilience and confidence in each other. And played with great intensity.
  "Courtney has been struggling with his jumpshot. But he came here determined to win this game. He showed the leadership and helped us get it done. "
  Said Stanley: "I knew we were going to win this game. We're hungry. We're ready to get fed."
  The Wolverines went 9-2 against outside competition before falling to 0-4 in South play and that development stirred memories of the '01 season (0-14, 8-17 overall).
  "When the guys who played on all those winless teams hear about this, I hope they're happy," Stanley said. "We're not thinking about this being a one-time thing. We're still thinking about making it to the playoffs. "
  "I knew this was the year we'd break the streak," Schell added. "Absolutely. I had faith in my team the whole year. There was an aura around everybody. In the locker room. On the practice floor. We wanted it. "


  This story was written in 1991 after Thomas Edison's football team ended a 58-game winless streak by beating Simon Gratz, 22-20 . .

  Some football players are walk-ons. Others are beg-ons.
  OK, so coach Larry Oliver did not quite beg Robert Selby to play football this season at Thomas Edison High. But he did drop numerous hints. And he did place a late-summer phone call.
  "When I'd run laps around our track last spring," Selby said, "coach Oliver would talk to me. He'd say, 'We sure could use a guy like you on the football team. ' He'd say, 'It's a shame you're not out there. '
  "Then, about a week before practice began, he called my house. He talked to me about coming out for the team. I wasn't sure what he had in mind. He said he wanted me to play end. I said, 'That's fine. Just throw me the ball and I'll catch it. ' "
  Yesterday, Selby, a 5-11, 165-pound senior and honor roll student, twice made late-game touchdown receptions as Edison edged visiting Simon Gratz, 22-20, to halt a 58-game winless streak that covered parts of eight seasons, began with 51 losses and featured ties in games No. 52 (6-6 with Martin Luther King) and 57 (0-0 with West Philadelphia).
  The first touchdown reception did not count, however.
  With 1:12 left and Edison trailing, 20-14, a downfield clipping call canceled a 23-yard scoring pass hauled in by Selby from senior quarterback Jose Montanez.
  No problem. One incompletion later, Montanez again looked for Selby. The pair again connected and the result was a 29-yard touchdown to the right corner of the end zone.
  After nixing a timeout, Oliver opted for a "38 quick pitch" to fullback Frank Granger. The play went to the right, Granger scored untouched and Edison had its first victory since defeating University City, 6-0, in the next-to- last game of the 1984 season.
  On Nov. 2, 1986, Edison briefly had a 10-8 win over Gratz. But the next day in school, Oliver discovered that two-way end Tony Garcia, whose fourth- quarter tackle had produced a tiebreaking safety, was in his fifth year of high school and thus ineligible.
  For Oliver, yesterday's postgame feelings were strange.
  "I honestly couldn't remember," he said, "what it felt like to get a game ball from the referees or get doused with water by the players. We stayed on the field, kept celebrating and celebrating.
  "We let the players go home in their uniforms. We never let them do that. We just thought they should be able to walk through the streets. Let people see happy Edison football players. "
  With 9:02 left, Edison fell into a 20-8 hole as Gratz sophomore James Hill threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Terrel Johnson. But Granger responded by returning the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and Gratz's next possession resulted in a punt to its 46. Granger ran for 9 yards on fourth-and-8 to the 35, then followed with a 12-yard run to the 23.
  "We could feel it," said Edison tailback-linebacker Edwin Solivan. ''Frank was talking to us in the huddle. He was pumping up our hearts. 'Don't get down. Keep your focus. Concentrate. '
  "All this time. Always feeling low because people were walking over us. Sometimes I felt like giving up more than giving it all I had. But whenever I had that urge to quit, I fought it off. I'd say, 'It might take until the last game, but we're going to win this year. ' It happened. "
  As soon as Selby's touchdown was scored, Oliver mulled what to do on the conversion.
  "I didn't want to call time," he said. "I remembered what happened against King (when Edison failed to break a late-game tie on first-and-goal from the 2). I called a timeout and the kids got to thinking. They got too caught up in the emotions of trying to score.
  "I gave some thought to letting Frank Jimenez kick. But Jose Montanez wanted the pitch and Frank Granger wanted the pitch and when I asked (assistant) Calvin Jones, he said the pitch looked good to him, too.
  "Three yards! We got it. "
  You might be wondering, meanwhile, how Larry Oliver happened to have Robert Selby's phone number. Well, in ninth grade, Selby had lasted for a week of training camp before quitting. Oliver still had his information card on file.
  "I'm persistent," Oliver said. "But it's not too often I'll actually call a kid. I was surprised when Robert said yes. I was wondering if he'd really come out. But he did seem to have a good attitude about it. "
  Said Selby: "If coach Oliver sees that a kid has potential, he'll stay after him. If he thinks a kid would just come out here and play around, he'll leave him alone.
  "After all he's been through, we feel real good for him. And we know he's proud of us."


  This story was written in 2006 after Cardinal Dougherty's football team ended a 37-game losing streak in Catholic League regular season games by beating Kennedy-Kenrick, 43-6 . . .

  The first three words out of Bryan Williams' mouth were "O-line, O-line, O-line. "
  On a night when the spotlight shone mostly on him, he was in a generous mood and realized full well, all kinds of people were deserving of credit.
  Cardinal Dougherty High still owns the longest regular-season losing streak in Catholic League history. Here's the great part, though, for Williams and his teammates and coaches: The number is no longer climbing upward, and they left the bad memories behind in butt-kickin' fashion.
  With Williams, a 5-8, 150-pound senior halfback, churning for 203 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries, the Cardinals pounded Kennedy-Kenrick, 43-6, on the muddy sod at Garthwaite Field in Conshohocken.
  They had dropped five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 . . . 37 consecutive Blue Division games since besting the same opponent, 23-12, on Oct. 12, 2001.
  "Thirty-seven in a row. That's crazy," Williams said. "That's hard to fight through.
  "We knew we could do it tonight, though. On the bus ride, everybody was relaxed and ready to do what had to be done. Usually, guys are tense before a game. Maybe even snapping at each other. Not tonight. We were calm.
  "The players and coaches were talking about this all week. So, yes, we knew what was at stake. And before the game in the locker room, coach Riley [Chris, in his first season] was asking us, 'What do you want to be, 0-38 or 1-0 with a chance to be in the playoff race? ' We got pretty hyped. "
  The Cardinals rolled to 364 yards total offense, all on the ground, as quarterback Phil Baxter's one pass fell incomplete. Fullback Shawn Williams (no relation, but a good buddy) totaled 87 yards and 10 carries while Baxter scored on runs of 1 and 19 yards.
  There was even some late-game chippiness. Holder Sean Kidd, after handling a perfect snap, tallied the final points on a conversion run. Just moments earlier, a K-K player had been ejected for punching Baxter after making a tackle beyond the sideline.
  If you pay close attention to CL football, perhaps a thought is bouncing around in your head. Wait, didn't Dougherty beat K-K last year?
  Indeed, by a 27-26 count. But that game was played on Thanksgiving and did not count in the Blue standings.
In the lengthy Blue drought, the Cardinals fell by an average of 27.4 points and were blanked 11 times. Just thrice did they fall by fewer than 10 points, and 17 times they were spanked by 33-plus.
  The way-intense Riley, formerly an assistant at several schools, mostly in the Public League, said of his squad: "I work with 44 really nice kids. They're starting to come together and see the big picture. We're improving each game. "
  Dougherty's grunts included center Thaddeus Desmond, guards Matthew Bryant and Jesus Godoy and tackles Wrenton Wright and Paul Howard.
  "They did a great job," B. Williams gushed. "Gave me all the room I needed.
  "We were all so tired of losing. We gave the team effort we knew it would take. It's great to have coaches who actually believe in you. All it took was focus. Like they said, we had to stop taking one step forward, then two steps back. "
  Bryan Williams was hardly a one-way force. At cornerback, he blocked a PAT while adding an interception and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Quinten White hustled for 11 tackles.
  Though Williams has attended Dougherty since the ninth grade, this is only his second year in the program. He played through the 10th grade for the Mount Airy Bantams, where one of his buddies (and mentors, especially in the area of footwork and properly receiving handoffs) was star quarterback John Kennedy, of Central.
  "Everybody was asking me to come out for the team, so I did," Williams said, simply.
  Williams, who lives in West Oak Lane and hopes to major in kinesiology, had no big postgame plans.
  "Rest, ice up and get some sleep," he said. "I have to get up at 6. "
  The reason: He's heading to Madison Square Garden to listen to presentations by some of the nation's historically black colleges and universities. For now, his preferred destinations are Maryland and East Stroudsburg.
  Who knows? In 2 weeks, he and his teammates might be headed for the playoffs. And that's darn far from a 37-game losing streak.


  This story was written in 2004 after William Bodine's basketball team ended a 69-game Public League losing streak by beating Alvin Swenson, 79-76 . . .

By Ted Silary
  There's no crying in basketball! Or is there?
  Care to be a member of our panel of judges?
  Here's the situation: Jawaan Montgomery, a 5-11, 180-pound wing guard at William Bodine High, is smiling and laughing and talking and nodding at kids nearby to acknowledge their presence, and it's obvious his emotions are swirling inside.
  He then says, "I could cry right now. "
  Someone says to him: "Go ahead. You're allowed. "
  He says, "Nah, I'm a man. "
  But as Montgomery is uttering those words, he's turning his head to the side. And when he looks back, voila!, there's significant moisture in and under his eyes.
  Your verdict is in: He was crying.
  With great reason, too. In his fourth year of varsity play, Montgomery yesterday finally was able to experience a fully satisfying experience.
  Bodine ended a six-season, 69-game Public League losing streak with its 79-76 victory over Alvin Swenson at Northern Liberties Recreation Center.
  At the buzzer, almost all of the 80-odd student spectators rushed onto the floor to mob their long-downtrodden heroes.
  There were hugs and back-slaps and hooting and hollering, and ice water spilled all over the floor. Many of the players and fans were in elementary school the last time Bodine won a PL game.
  Bodine, on 4th Street below Girard Avenue, is a magnet school for students with an interest in international affairs. It has about 450 students, but only one-third are boys. This is the Ambassadors' 20th season as a Public League member.
  Bodine lost three PL games to finish the 1998-99 season, then 13, 15, 13, 13, and 12 this season. Its previous league win was Feb. 2, 1999, vs. Girard Academic Music Program. The Ambassadors actually doubled up GAMP in that one, 82-41.
  Back on Dec. 12, coach Paul Kolakowski's club carved out a 55-54, non-league win at William Penn to end a 75-game overall skid. The Lions, because of illness and grade miseries, had only six players in uniform.
  Montgomery, for one, never lost the spirit.
  "I think a win in every game is possible, if we try hard enough," he said, after posting a triple double (24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 steals; he also had two apiece of assists and blocks).
  This time, it was. Not that everyone was an automatic believer.
  The atmosphere was strange. Even when Bodine held a 72-63 lead with 3 minutes, 27 seconds remaining, there was little electricity. The fans were having only mild reactions to baskets.
  "Yeah, I was wondering what was up with that," said another star senior guard, Eric Pendleton.
  But as the clock melted down below 40 seconds, and it became obvious that Bodine truly was going to win, two or three kids stood and began going wild, then 10 or 15 more did likewise, then almost all the rest joined in and the noise level became downright amazing.
  Perhaps their thoughts, at least to a large degree, mirrored Pendleton's.
  "When did I think we had it? When I heard the final buzzer sound," he cracked. "Too many times, we had games with that 'look' and then found ways to mess it up. "
  He thought for a moment, then added, "I guess I knew we'd win it when Jawaan made that free throw" to provide a five-point lead with 15 seconds left.
  So did Jawaan.
  "You saw what I did with my hand, right?" he asked. Yes, he held it up high for a long time, savoring the moment. "I knew it was over. "
  He added: "It's a much better feeling to win this one. It was our last home game and us seniors had never won here. It was also a league game, which is much better than winning a non-league game. And because it was home, we got to share it with family and friends.
  "We had to do this. Can you imagine going off to college without ever getting a high school win in your home gym? "
  Said Pendleton, who posted 25 points and seven assists: "With the season almost over [it ends today at Julia Masterman], it's kind of sad that we won't have a chance to build to this. At least we're going out on a good note. "
  Montgomery and Pendleton received plenty of help. Jamil Wilson collected 18 points, four assists and three blocks, and Justin Rollins mixed seven rebounds with 10 points. Kaiem Frink (four rebounds) and Loc Tang (two blocks) had some inside success.
  Swenson, a first-year PL school that just earned its first win Monday, by 70-67 over GAMP, was led by Vincent Tucker-Hall (29 points), Richard Crawford (27) and Robert "Beefy" Berkley (13 rebounds).
  Montgomery is one of Bodine's jewels. The product of 22nd and Susquehanna carries a 3.8 grade-point average and ranks among the top 30 in his class. His SAT score is 1,020 and he hopes to attend Elizabeth City (N.C.) State.
  The 5-10, 155-pound Pendleton is also a quality kid. He owns a B-minus average and 950 SAT score and is mulling an offer from Cabrini. He is rare for a Bodine student in that he arrived by transfer (from Germantown as a junior).
"My mom made me come here for the better academics," he said. "The basketball part isn't easy, but we always work hard. "
  Said Montgomery: "Coach K [Kolakowski] always stays positive with us. Before every game, he says we can do it. And my man Eric deserves a lot of credit, too. He keeps us working in the weight room. "
  Lift weights. End the wait for a PL win.
  Hey, there are worse mantras.


  This story was written in 2009 after Kennedy-Kenrick's basketball team ended a 42-game losing streak in Catholic League regular season play by beating Bishop McDevitt, 46-41 . . .

  Cold's for drinking, warm's for soaking.
  That latter variety of water was what Kevin Shemar needed most after helping to spark Kennedy-Kenrick High to a monumental basketball victory.
  While some guys spend their post-game moments checking their stats, Shemar counts the purple splotches on various parts of his body. Rare is the occasion when the total doesn't reach double figures.
  "I have bruises all over the place. In too many places for me to name," Shemar said, smiling.
  The 5-9, 160-pound senior wing guard spoke those words yesterday after visiting K-K topped Bishop McDevitt, 46-41, before roughly 50 spectators in a Catholic Blue game.
  Shemar's eyes were red and there was still a hint of a crack in his voice. No wonder. The triumph broke the Wolverines' four-season, 42-game CL losing streak and, shortly beforehand, Shemar had exchanged an emotional hug with third-year coach Jack Flanagan in a hallway outside a classroom that served as a locker room. Both were in tears.
  Inside that room, Flanagan at first spoke to his players in a normal voice. His volume then increased, little by little, and before long he was bellowing, "This is about us!! " He then chanted, "Us! . . . Us! . . . Us!" and encouraged everyone in the room, players and coaches alike, to join in.
  The "Us" total reached 22, by someone's unofficial count.
  The CL win was Flanagan's first. K-K had dropped seven to finish the 2005-06 season, all 14 in '07 and '08 and the first seven to start this campaign.
  Extended hoops misery was nothing new for this school. On Jan. 17, 2006, a 49-48 win over Archbishop Carroll snapped a 53-game CL skid. The Wolverines went loss-win in their next two games and then embarked on the 42-gamer. So now they're 3-for-their-last-99.
  All six rotation members made contributions.
  Shemar totaled eight points, six rebounds, one assist and two steals. Rob Griffith had eight points and three assists. Brad Miller collected nine points and eight boards. Dave Tornetta mixed seven boards, three assists and two steals. Alex Byrne had seven points and five rebounds.
  And then there was sophomore Billy Malescio, who packed all 12 of his points into a 27-18 fourth quarter.
  It was hard to argue that Shemar best exemplified the Wolverines' spirit. Again and again he hit the floor in pursuit of loose balls and once he even hopped up onto the stage, mostly to avoid crashing into it after using a behind-the-back flip to execute a save. "I take beatings," he said. "Anything to get the ball and help my team, I'll do it. "
  Shemar's other sport is golf, and in that one he earned first team All-Catholic and All-Area honors while solidifying his handicap at 6. While it hasn't been easy to mostly get pummeled game after game through three varsity basketball seasons, Shemar has no complaints.
  "We work as hard as anyone else in the Catholic League," he said. "To finally get this win feels great . . . We're always there for one another. And we always will be.
  "The school's great to us. We never get teased. We have a great fan base, really. The kids come to any home or away game they can possibly make it to. "
  Yesterday's was not among them, understandably. The Eagles and Giants were on TV and every so often, during quiet foul-shot moments, the game could be heard on a spectator's transistor radio.
  The Birds were no happier than the Wolverines. Believe that.
  "It was neat to watch [Flanagan's flowing emotions]," said Shemar, who lives in Norristown, boasts a 3.7 GPA and intends to pursue a career in criminal justice. "After helping us for 3 years. he was so relieved to get his first Catholic League win. I knew it was going to be real emotional in there. "
  "What we have going on every day in our practices, and in our locker room, is what high school athletics are all about," Flanagan said. "Maybe we're not successful by other people's standards, but we are by the standards that I can live with. "
  He was referring to the fact that K-K is an area team, including the coaches. He's a product of the old Bishop Kenrick while his four assistants - fraternal twins Dan and Mike Rafferty, Dan Neeld and Ryan Dougherty - all played for K-K in the early part of this decade.
  K-K trailed, 23-19, after three quarters, but immediately jumped ahead on a pair of three-point plays - new school (Griffith's trey on a pass from Tornetta) and old school (Malescio's bucket off a steal, and free throw).
  There was some concern after Miller picked up his fourth foul with 5 minutes, 33 seconds left. No need for it. Byrne, Shemar, Malescio (another tacked-on free throw) and Malescio again posted consecutive buckets and the lead reached 10 points, at 35-25.
  Though McDevitt, which received 10 points and nine rebounds from Courtney Havens-Dobbs, rallied to within 39-36 at 1:08, K-K was kompletely klutch from there.
  The day would end with a special moment, Flanagan reported.
  Back at K-K, the Wolverines cut down a net.
  "I ordered four for the season," he said. "For our first league win. For our fourth league win, which would be our most [as K-K]. For clinching a playoff spot. And then for winning the championship.
  "I know that sounds crazy. Just like people thought I was crazy for wanting this job 3 years ago. I know people are going to read that and say, 'Catholic League championship? They have trouble winning a game. ' You have to set your goals high. "
  Just like Kevin Shemar's post-game water temperature.


  This story was written in December 2003 after William Bodine's basketball team ended a 75-game overall losing streak by beating William Penn, 55-54 . . .

  Season after season after season it dragged on and then, poof! it was over.
  In a non-league basketball game yesterday, visiting William Bodine High edged William Penn, 55-54, to snap a 75-game losing streak that covered parts of six seasons.
  "You would have thought we'd won the NBA championship," said Paul Kolakowski, who's in his third season as the Ambassadors' coach. "Just after the buzzer, there was a mob scene at midcourt.
  "We'd been practicing on how to act after getting a win. I was even telling the kids, 'When you watch games on TV, check how the winning players act.' Well, all of that went right out the window. "
  Bodine, on 4th Street a shade below Girard Avenue, is a magnet school for students with an interest in International Affairs. It has about 450 students, but only one-third are boys. This is the Ambassadors' 20th season as a Public League member.
  Bodine lost three games to finish the 1998-99 season, and three to open this season. In between, in order, it lost everything (18, 18, 16, 17) in four consecutive seasons.
  Jawaan Montgomery (14) and Eric Pendleton (13) led in scoring.
  "The kids are finally understanding, they all have roles to play," Kolakowski said. "To see them come together and leave the court as winners was such a gratifying experience.
  "We have a lot of seniors and, of course, they'd never been part of a winning game in high school. They were so hungry to get one. "
  Kolakowski said Bodine held a four-point lead in the waning moments.
  "I told the kids that the game was ours to win," he said. "All we had to do was make sure not to foul. Penn threw in a three, but it didn't really matter. "
  Penn, under first-year coach Brian Mulholland, had only six players in uniform. Seven are academically ineligible, at least momentarily, and the best player, forward Jason Hall, missed the game due to illness.