On the Trail With Ted
Football 2011

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 Observations, notes, etc., on games I've seen during the 2011 season . . .

Photo by The Wife


SEPT. 30
PUBLIC AA
Bok 40, Del-Val 0
  Slim pickings on the Pub trail today. The four other games produced scores of 33-0, 36-8, 36-0 and 27-0, so, as it turned out I chose the least competitive. I knew D-V had lost a number of quality players from 2010’s squad, but the offense is almost completely green and the linemen mostly got roughed up, especially as the game wore on and it became apparent that there was no chance to make things interesting. DN ink went to sr. RB Shaquil Sammons, who posted 173 yards and TDs of 49, 12 and 42 yards on 15 carries. He only touched the ball four times in the second half and, frankly, it says here he should not have been out there for his 42-yarder. Bok already led, 33-0, and things were getting chippy with constant stoppages for minor injuries and/or brief flare-ups. Plus, it didn’t look good when that last drive was given birth by the recovery of a kickoff that traveled only 20 yards. Jr. DB Antoine Whitney did the pounce-on-it honors and coach Frank “Roscoe” Natale insisted the Wildcats were not trying to do an onside kick. Sr. QB Marquise Brown burrowed for two short scores and passed eight yards to sr. TE Wayne Fioravanti for another. That came with 6:22 left, right before Whitney’s recovery. Whitney had also made that drive possible with a leaping interception. Meanwhile, when Fioravanti made his TD catch, sr. WR Jihad Ward blurted out, “White men CAN jump.” Bok’s grunts included jr. C Tahree Snead, sr. Gs Ramir Jones and Marqui Alfriend, sr. T Eric Thompson and jr. T Marcus Owens. Jr. FB Vittorio “Vito” Goggins was also important and sr. Robert Kralle also spent some time in the backfield on plays where extra blocking was deemed to be necessary. Thirteeen of D-V’s plays lost yardage. Soph LB Terrell Miles had 2.5 sacks while Goggins had a pair of TFLs. Alfriend set a nice tone with a TFL worth four yards on the Warriors’ second play. Fumble recoveries went to sr. DB Omar Bashir and  Kralle while interceptions went to sr. DB John Richardson and Whitney. Soph DB Solomon Fitchett had an early pick for D-V. Admittedly against second team defenders, sr. RB Rob Davis caused a late-game stir by turning four carries into 48 yards. He was the guy who last year set a city record by rushing for 10 points in a two-game period despite gaining zero yards. Say what?!?! In those two games, he had just one official carry for no yards. Ah, but he also ran for two conversions the first week and then three the next. (Stats accumulated on conversions do not count. But the points surely do!) Jr. DL Saeed Sheard had some good moments for D-V’s defense.

SEPT. 29
PUBLIC AAAA SILVER
Furness 24, Mastbaum 17
  When your franchise player gets dumped twice for safeties while you’re falling into a 17-6 halftime hole, it’s probably not a good idea to expect victory. But Pub football works in mysterious (and crazy, nutty, head-scratching) ways, so the fact that the Falcons stormed back to win this one did not surprise this dude. In fact, I mostly anticipated it. Reasons: Mastbaum is still very young and prone to making mistakes and sr. RB-QB-FS Sharif Smith is the kind of guy who makes a difference when all other variables are equal. So many things happened in the second half, I’d have to keep typing and typing and typing until, oh, maybe Monday to list them all. But here’s the short version: Mastbaum had the ball eight times in the second half and experienced disaster every . . . single . . . time. In order: interception (by sr. DB Dante Barkley), lost fumble (hit by sr. LB John Fischer, recovery by sr. DB Xavier Swift), lost fumble (hit by sr. DE Daquan Means, recovery by jr. LB Andre "Student" Council), blocked punt (by jr. LB Kyle Goldsmith), lost fumble (recovery by Goldsmith), interception (by Smith), interception (by Swift), lost fumble (hit by Smith, recovery by jr. DE Tyriek Gilliard). Wow! Is it any wonder Mastbaum lost? Furness posted three TDs in the last quarter: a 28-yard, left-corner fade from Smith to Barkley, a 4-yard run by Smith and an 86-yard interception return by Swift (pass batted into his arms by Gilliard). Let’s backtrack for a moment. Smith’s leaping pick came at 3:40, but he had to briefly leave the game after landing on his tailbone. On third down, soph QB Khaliq Shuler dropped the ball and sr. T-DT Davidson Okrafo-Smart, who’d done a great job of trying to keep the Panthers’ spirits elevated through the bleak period, recovered on Furness’ 8 at 2:40. All Mastbaum had to do was power ahead while milking some clock. Instead, a pass play was immediately called. Soph QB Joseph Walker rolled to his left and and the bat it-fly downfield sequence involving Gilliard/Swift followed. Soph Andre Bryant uncorked a 33-yard return of the kickoff, getting the Panthers to Furness’ 48, and then Walker completed an 11-yarder to sr. FB Alan “A-Train” King (listed at 245, appears much heavier, should have been given more opportunities) and a 14-yarder to soph TE Kamau Taylor, who had some excellent moments at DE. One problem. Smith absolutely leveled Taylor and the ball popped loose, with Gilliard making the recovery. Ballgame. Smith, who’s receiving I-A and I-AA interest (Rutgers, Wisconsin, Villanova, VMI and Stony Brook), and will receive even more once his SAT score is lifted slightly, turned 23 carries into 102 yards and a touchdown. He also completed four passes for 79 yards and two more scores. Plus, he recovered a first quarter fumble, made the fourth quarter interception and forced the late fumble. All in a day’s work. Smith is a four-year mainstay and his career rushing totals show 630 carries for 3,664 yards and 43 TDs. He has also passed 25-for-72 for 648 yards and nine scores while adding 11 catches for 101 yards (no TDs). The interception was his 12th. In the first half, he whipped a 17-yard TD pass to sr. WR Malakiah "Max" Hunter on a trick play. He is playing everything from tailback to quarterback to WildFalcon snap-taker. Early this season, Smith was having trouble freeing himself behind a young, inexperienced line. But coach Anthony Pastore made some changes after Week Two and things are improving. The current grunts are soph C Vincent Caramana, soph G Abraham Toussaint, jr. G Nick Guatieri, soph T Eric Drains (6-3, 295) and sr. T John Fischer. Mastbaum’s highlight, and it was definitely a goodie, came in the first half as Walker and sr. WR Terrence Davis (5-6, 130) hooked up for a 72-yard TD. Davis made the snag at Furness’ 37 and used fancy footwork to avoid two defenders in that very same locale. Then, as a third guy arrived, he stepped back a yard or two to give him the slip and hightailed it for the left corner. Great play! The tackles on the safeties went to Taylor and sr. CB Patrick Knight. With only two coaches on the sideline, Mastbaum had major organizational difficulties. It was constantly one man short or one man long and timeouts had to be burned. After being called for a penalty for having 12 men on the field, the next play was about to start and, ugh, AGAIN there were 12 guys on the field. Showing compassion, head ref Terry Moore yelled a couple times, “Count 'em up! Count 'em up!” The hint was processed and a player trotted off to avoid another flag. Though the game was played in mostly sunny weather, things were butt ugly beforehand. Just as Furness was preparing to warm up, at 2:03, there was lightning in the distance and the Falcons had to shut things down for the required half hour; Mastbaum had not yet arrived. Also, it rained like CRAZY for maybe 12-15 minutes. Luckily, everything cleared out for the game. Due to injuries, 'Baum was missing the Quiles brothers, WR Frank and K Rickie. In place of Rickie, soph Jim-Elkins Borfay hit a PAT.

SEPT. 24
NON-LEAGUE
Ryan 42, Carroll 20
  As the Ryan Raiders returned from intermission, coach Frank McArdle was informed that the offense had rolled to 269 yards in the first 24 minutes. McArdle thought for a second, then quipped, "That might be more yards than we had my whole first season." Yes, things were extremely difficult for the Raiders in 2009 (1-10) and even '10 was far from picnicish (2-9). But here we are, through Week Four, and Ryan owns its first three-game winning streak, within the same season, since at least 1999! And they could be 4-0 if not for a late-game stumble vs. O'Hara in the season opener in Ocean City, N.J. Hard to believe, especially for veteran CL watchers, who remember the school's tremendous success through the early '90s -- four straight championships, a 38-0-2 record against league opposition, 21 shutouts in those games and an average defensive yield of just 3.6 points! In the 2000s, however, you might have said the Raiders were often in a fog (no season with a winning record; the last one was in '98). And they were again tonight in this game played at Radnor High. But so were the Patriots. The outrageous humidity cast a fog over the field for much of the game and when the players took breaths while awaiting the start of each play, it looked like Lambeau Field on an outrageously frigid wintertime day. Or that maybe the players had been told to smoke cigarettes. Very strange sight, especially for late September. Anyway, Ryan established rather early command and did so with relative ease. Even though the first series did not produce points, the ball was moved and the players had a chance to feel good. Then, on series No. 2, a third-down pass from sr. QB Mike Anusky to sr. WR Nick Le Van went for a 48-yard TD; Le Van sped past the defense and Anusky hit him in stride. Two plays later, jr. DB Sam Dumond made a leaping interception and returned the ball 18 yards to Carroll's 30. Bingo! On the very first play, Anusky went up the middle for a score, and executed a nice spin move to break away from two tacklers at about the 12. A three-and-out was followed by another score and this drive covered 54 yards. Runs of 11 and six yards by jr. RB Dylan Rowan were followed by another rather easy fly/streak right down the middle for 37 yards to Le Van. There'd be two more TDs before halftime: a 1-yard run for sr. RB Kevin Newell and a 16-yard pass to Rowan (on a left-side screen where he appeared to have no business getting that much yardage; great effort along the sideline). Carroll's lone first-half score was posted on a 65-yard, first-play, left-side, caught-in-stride pass from jr. QB Sal Bello to sr. WR Teron Dobbs. That happened right after Le Van's 37-yarder. Ryan took the conservative approach in the second half, throwing no passes on its two series. Anusky's 1-yard sneak with 7:18 showing in the third quarter kicked the mercy rule into effect. By the way, Anusky was pushed into the end zone, big time, by sr. FB Joe Sullivan, but when was the last time you saw aiding the runner actually called? (smile) Anusky finished 8-for-11 for 162 and the three TDs while Rowan (12-107) and Anusky (6-47) paced the rushers. Le Van had four snags for 97. The grunts were jr. C Ed Bier, sr. G Alvin Allen, jr. G Brian Robbins, sr. T Chris McMonagle and jr. T Bruce Phares. Defensively, soph LB Connor Golden and sr. LB Lamar Richardson (on a blitz) made important TFLs in the early portion and sr. LB Keith Okolo forced a fumble on the final play of the half (recovery by soph Sean Boylan). There was a cool, then disturbing sequence as the second half started. Sr. K Matt Martinez, brand new to the team, pummeled the ball to the 1 yard line, then made the tackle on jr. RB-KR Eric Massenburg at exactly midfield, likely preventing a TD. Two plays later, Massenburg embarked on a left-side sweep and just flat-out dropped the ball without being hit. Reason: his left knee had given out on him. He screamed out in pain (the recovery went to soph DB Jesse Wireman) and he had to be helped from the field. He WAS allowing that leg to touch the ground a little, however, so we'll hope for the best. Good luck, Eric. (His dad, Eric, was working the chains and the sequence happened right in front of him. Very difficult for Dad to see that, no doubt. He soon was replaced by another chain-holder so he could head over to Carroll's sideline to be with his son.) Carroll was able to rebound with a pair of fourth quarter TDs on 11- and four-yard runs by jr. RB Mark Collins (9-80). Like last season, Carroll has an odd football look: Very few guys with size (and we're talking height and weight). And the Patriots were rocked at the start of the season when sr. QB Jalal Timmons suffered an injury. It's great to see coach Joe Powel back in the CL and, just after pulling into the parking lot well before gametime, I had a nice chat with former official Frank Dunn, who happened to park two spots away. Frank is recovering from a health issue and for this one he sat in the press box and operated the scoreboard clock. All the best, Frank!

SEPT. 24
NON-LEAGUE
Judge 45, Penn Charter 14
 
When the first play of the game results in a 90-yard touchdown, it's impossible not to think (at least for yours truly) that a pointfest is in the offing. And there was! Rather lopsided, though, and it went in favor of the team that did NOT score first. Because PC jr. QB Kevin Murphy is still getting his feet underneath him following the John Loughery Era, the Quakers are now spotting star jr. WR Daryl Worley at RB just to make sure he can still make an impact. Well, on the aforementioned first play, he took a left-side toss to the house. It would be a stretch to say PC did nothing thereafter on offense, but it would not be inaccurate to say the Quakers rarely stirred and that this one turned into a one-sided affair. PC is missing several key players due to injury and Judge boasts a well-balanced attack that often thrives behind motivated grunts. The 'Saders managed just a field goal (30 yards by soph Connor Foley) on their first series as jr. DE Mike "Manchild" McGlinchey (stop for no gain; batted down pass) made a couple of big plays to assure a touchdown would not be posted. But the next series found payturf and so did the first four of the second half, and there was a defensive score mixed in. Sr. RB Matt Smalley finished with 13 carries for 201 yards and scores of 11, 49 and 86 yards. Sr. RB-FB Raul Quinones added 94 yards on 15 totes in addition to a 52-yard pick six. Also, jr. QB Rob Daniels, a lefty, was in pinpoint mode pretty much throughout -- 9-for-14, 128 yards. His score, a 38-yarder, went to sr. WR John Landis, who was specifically targeted because Judge's coaches noticed the PC defender assigned to cover him was limping for several minutes beforehand. The last TD, in whoa-that-was-easy fashion, went to soph Marquis Seamon on a 63-yard scamper. Early in the fourth quarter, Judge racked up 200 actual yards in a four-play span. A hold negated a 51-yard completion to Landis, then Smalley immediately raced for his 86-yard score. Next time, Seamon was stopped for no gain and then hightailed it 63 yards for his TD. Oddly, PC's other's TD came on a one-play drive -- a 69-yard jaunt right up the middle by sr. RB Eric Neefe (16-111). Quinones had the lone INT for Judge while sr. DL Stan Jones and sr. DE Anthony Walker made several tackles at or behind the line. For PC, sr. DT Tyler Mercer joined McGlinchey in having an impact along the DL. PC grad and website contributor "Special" Ed Morrone was in attendance, covering the game for the Northeast Times. As was Judge student Matt Wyszynski, who has dabbled in website endeavors, as well. Meanwhile, what's with helmets and/or their chinstraps this season. Coming into this game, I'd seen helmets pop off players' heads nine-10 times this season. And in this game alone it happened FIVE times (plus three more at night at Ryan-Carroll). What's the deal? Can't be coincidence, right?

SEPT. 22
PUBLIC AAA
Franklin 6, Roxborough 0 (two OTs)
  In Weeks Five and Six of the 2009 season, Roxborough played back-to-back games that finished 0-0 in regulation. The Indians fell to Dobbins in the first, 26-20, in four extra sessions, then managed to beat Penn, 14-8, in two. We bring that up because this one also showed no points on the scoreboard through four quarters and, like the others, it went extra OTs. Unlike the others, there was no scoring in the first OT. As No. 2 began, jr. RB Crusito Cruz (20-106) powered six yards to the 4 on a left-side sweep. Then, out of Franklin’s shotgun offense, sr. QB Anwar “Huddy” Mathis eased right up the middle and stretched his skinny self into the end zone for a score. There was going to be a kick, but the snap was bad and sr. holder Jonathan Parker got buried. Roxborough’s series went like this: incomplete pass (a drop, actually), a 3-yard run by sr. RB Tymere Blue (tackle by Parker, at safety), another 3-yard run by sr. QB Nick Butts (he slipped and fell, just as he was making a burst toward the right corner), and a minus-21 for sr. RB Dre’von Williams (after Butts dropped the snap and tossed it to him). The Electrons were pretty darn happy, which was understandable since they’d entered the game at 0-3 (to Roxborough’s 3-0). There was drizzle for much of the game and the rain came down quite hard toward the end. Nevertheless, the Indians’ field held up pretty well and there was minimal slipping/sliding. Except for Cruz, offense was mostly a rumor and the game was often hard on the eyes. There were 11 turnovers (two on one play) and 18 penalties and 27 plays went backward. Also, there were as many interceptions (six) as completions. Mathis, who had some wonderful passing moments in ’10, went just 5-for-24 for 24 yards and was picked off four times. Sr. CB DeAndre Hariot did Mathis dirty three times and almost posted a fourth pick to tie a city record. The other CB, Williams, also notched a pilfer and his was simply spectacular, as he soared way up there in a jump-ball situation. Franklin’s interceptions went to jr. CB Tyreik Coaxum and Parker, the free safety and the recipient of DN ink. Franklin came closest to scoring in regulation as Parker picked up a fumble (hit by sr. LB Chris Sullivan) and sped 41 yards to the 4. A procedure penalty hurt the Electrons’ cause and, ultimately, Sullivan was stopped on the 1 after gathering in a fourth-down pass. The tackler was made by jr. DB Isiah King. Franklin played excellent defense and dumped the Indians for losses 17 times. Sr. LB Jeff Brown made four stops behind the line for 21 yards and knocked down a pass in OT. Sr. DT Demetrius Town recovered a pair of fumbles and jr. LB Amir Crippin made three tackles for losses. Shortly after the game ended, defensive coordinator David Carter walked over and saw that I was holding my tape recorder. He leaned over and roared, “That’s what the way Franklin does defense!” The recorder wasn’t turned on yet, but the point was made (smile). Roxborough’s hardest hitter, again and again, was sr. LB Josh Anderson. He made 14 tackles! In the first half, Carter was a good 6-8 yards from the sideline when the head linesman told him, “Coach, you have to get off the field, or I’ll have to give you a helmet soon.” Oh, man. David, who played at West Virginia after starring at Franklin, would have LOVED that. Late in regulation, Sullivan complained to a nearby official after being jostled while running a pattern and interference was flagged. Standing nearby on the sideline, Roxborough principal Stephen Brandt hollered at Sullivan, “Good call, No. 80!” Williams heard that and yelled over to Brandt, “You’re our principal and you’re rooting for them?! That’s not right.” Brandt said to someone nearby, “That was sarcasm. I’ll explain it to him later.” Roxborough has some VERY large kids. The biggest, sr. T Makis McCombs, is listed at 6-5, 280. There’s also Kevin Fabien, a 6-2, 350-pound soph.

SEPT. 22
PUBLIC AAAA SILVER
Lincoln 28, Southern 2
  The Pub's new coolest player is Rene "Wee-Wee" Barrios, a senior butterball who serves Lincoln as a backup defensive tackle. He made it onto the field for the final couple series and created a large sensation along the Railsplitters’ sideline. After he left the field one time, an excited teammate told him, “You were a half-step away from making a tackle!” Another guy told everyone, “They were doing a double-team on him!” And assistant Joe DiGrazio was yelling in to Barrios, “Wee-Wee, start growling! Get them scared of you in there!” This kid appears to be a true character, so it was nice to see his teammates make such a fuss over him. Meanwhile, DN ink went to sr. TE-DE Rodney Hawkins, and, likewise, his teammates were very happy when coach Ed McGettigan flipped him the game ball (he said it was the first of his life). Hawkins, not the heaviest TE ever (165 pounds on a 6-1 frame), made four catches for 72 yards and an 18-yard score – on a mid-play checkoff by jr. QB Miguel Sanchez (6-for-8, 98) – was among them. Sr. RB Joshua McClam managed just 26 yards on eight carries, but did post TDs of 6 yards and 1. He appeared to have one two plays before his 1-yarder, but the back judge – not the line judge, who was several feet away – ruled him down at the 1. My pic shows the ball was slightly in the air while his body was almost fully stretched out on the ground, but when do you ever, ever see that called? Sr. FB Marquise “Marty” McFarland (6-41) had the other score on a 3-yard run. Jr. K Amir Albarouki hammered two PAT pretty forcefully, but a third was blocked by sr. RB-LB Nate Robinson. Lincoln’s best offensive play might have followed Hawkins’ TD. Sr. holder Sincere Merced gained control of a very high snap and tossed a conversion pass to sr. WR James Baldere. Also, Merced uncorked a great punt return for a TD (serious zigs and zags), but it was erased by a meaningless penalty far behind the ball (ugh). Lincoln had size at T in srs. Damien Chin-Rose (6-3, 285) and Miguel Torres (6-foot, 250). Like every week so far, Southern had major difficulty moving the ball. The Rams are short on experience and savvy and it just hasn’t come together, folks. Robinson and jr. RB-LB Wayne Brunson do get after it, but they need some help, quickly, or this season will seem to drag on for years, not two more months. First-year coach Scott Pitzner has greatly improved the team’s numbers. Now he has to hope to turn some of these neophytes into players. Southern enjoyed Brunson's nine-tackle performance while jr. DEs Ricky Brown (sr.) and Joe Pizzo (jr.)  caused a third-quarter stir with a sack and TFL on consecutive plays. The two points, of course, came on a safety and could be traced to an accident. A snap sailed far over the head of Sanchez, the punter, and he wound up recovering the ball barely into the end zone. Jr. DB Giovanni Johnson had an interception for Lincoln while soph LB Robert Williams burst across the line for an impressive TFL. Two former Lincoln head coaches were in attendance. Gene Kelly made it down to the field. Lou Grandizio watched from the top of the stairs that lead back to the locker room. Lincoln has a very large kid, 6-6, 265-pound sr. Jonathan Berrette, on the D-line. Can’t say I noticed him making any spectacular plays, but that’s a helluva frame to work with, so his progress should at least be monitored. Former Lincoln website reporter Tyreek Wanamaker was in attendance and worked with the chain gang. Great to see ‘Reek! He said he might file some reports. Would love to have them!

SEPT. 17
NON-LEAGUE
Bonner 54, Lansdale Catholic 22
  A glance at the trusty cellphone showed the time to be exactly 10:00. Seemed more like midnight. While hitting McDonald's on the way home, I almost expected to have to order breakfast. This baby took exactly three hours. There were 118 plays (76 for LC, oddly) and lots of stoppages for penalties and even late in the first quarter, folks could tell that something strange was occurring. In fact, in LC's student rooting section, a kid yelled out, "Is this quarter ever going to end?!" (He was part of the group that held up a sign reading "End the Strike.") Part of what pushed things back was very nice. At halftime, a ceremony was held to honor the memory of former LC star Noell Maerz ('90), who perished in the 9/11 tragedy. His old No. 11 jersey, encased in glass, was displayed on an easel at midfield and roughly 20 teammates were introduced, one by one. Upon being introduced, each guy (O'Hara coach Danny Algeo, son of LC coach Jim Algeo, was among them; he went last) walked, trotted or semi-sprinted from the north goalpost to midfield, where LC's cheerleaders stood in a wide semi-circle, as his bio was read. Included was a favorite memory of Noell. One guy even came in from California. Again, very nice tribute. Also involved was an injury to jr. RB Kevin Sabo on the second play of the fourth quarter. He got hurt (concussion? stinger?) in a scramble for an errant pitchout and wound up leaving the field on a gurney. Medical personnel took all precautions, but Kevin, a small, feisty guy, was moving all extremities and the situation did not appear to be serious. Best of luck, Kevin! Bonner had little trouble seizing command of this game. It scored three minutes in on a 78-yard punt return by sr. handyman Abraham Jaward, then tallied again five minutes later on an 8-yard draw by jr. QB Jim Haley (off a fake speed sweep). By midway through the second, it was 27-0 thanks to a pair of one-play "drives" -- runs of 72 yards by soph RB Kyle Dawson and 45 by Haley (another draw; out of a trips formation). Just when LC slapped together some offensive effectiveness (two consecutive first downs), there was a fumble on an exchange and jr. DE Dominic Tony recovered for Bonner. This drive covered 63 yards and required eight plays. Again, Haley was impressive and the capper was a 15-yard score to sr. WR Eric Womack. Haley finished 8-for-15 for 149 yards and two TDs (the other went to Jaward on a 28-yard, right-side screen). He was efficient and paid great attention to detail and I loved how he constantly looked around the field, never giving early indications of where the ball would be headed. Of course, great blocking is needed to keep that plan in effect and Bonner got it from a group with a notable size advantage. The grunts were sr. C Dom DiGalbo, sr. G Tyler Ramirez, jr. G Josh LaMarra, sr. T Tom Murtha and jr. T Angelo Masorli. The tight end was sr. Joe Haley, one of Jim's 28 siblings (something like that -- smile). To its credit, LC eventually enjoyed some offensive fun, though much of it, admittedly, came with its first-teamers burning Bonner's backups. The Crusaders racked up 426 yards! Rushing TDs went to jr. FB Tyler Smith (13-56) and Sabo (15-113) while jr. WR Tom Gibbons caught a pass from sr. QB Pat Schoenberger (16-for-31, 255). Jr. James Ward (6-131) and soph Mike Iacono (5-76) wound up being his most productive receivers. Meanwhile, Bonner's outburst, and its accompanying ease, was likely semi-surprising to the coaching staff because star sr. rusher Ismir Gibson was still out with an injury. Jaward went 8-106 and second-teamer Malik Jones, a soph, zipped for a 61-yard score. Maybe three steps into Jones' carry, an assistant began bellowing, "Later! Later! Later!" As in, he knew Malik would turn the corner and zoom all the way to the end zone. Bonner's late-game QB was frosh Colin DiGalbo, Dom's brother, and the two got to work together. When a drive stalled, Jim Haley was informed he'd still be the punter. He laughed and said, "I'm cold, man. This punt's gonna go about 10 yards." He trotted onto the field, stretched his legs a little and managed a 30-yarder. (It WAS cold tonight. Not overall, of course, but definitely when compared to the temperatures we'd been experiencing seemingly forever.) Oh, and here's what happened at the end. Soph DB Michael Ockimey (twin brother of Josh, budding baseball star at Neumann-Goretti), made what would have been his second interception. However, roughing the passer was called and the ball moved from the 6 to 3. On a run, Iacono slipped before he had a chance to get started and that was that. Ballgame. 

SEPT. 17
NON-LEAGUE
Roman 32, Chestnut Hill 7
  William Fuller started and ended his afternoon with serious bangs. He also provided a whole lot of noise in between. The 6-1, 160-pound junior wideout/slot receiver at Roman now owns the city record for receiving yards in a game and, man, did he ever claim it in impressive fashion. The old mark of 252 yards, set for O'Hara by future Penn star and NFLer Don Clune, had been hanging around since 1969. Fuller emphatically erased it, turning 10 catches into 276 yards (and two TDs). On the game's very first play, Fuller ran a streak, gathered in the perfectly thrown ball from classmate Michael Keir and sped to an 85-yard TD. His last catch, on a quick out that turned into quite the adventure, covered 74 yards all the way to the 1. Yes, the 1. The clock showed 5:55 remaining in the fourth quarter and sr. RB Marcus Kelly scored two plays later. In order, Fuller's catches netted 85, 9, 27, 3, 24, 18, 28, 1, 7 and 74 yards. Of course, there was a mix of plays from fades to streaks to comebacks, etc. He soared. He stretched. He snatched. He everythinged. The 1-yarder was a left-corner fade on the final play of the first half, and it produced a touchdown. By now you're likely muttering “Hmm. If Fuller had 276 yards, what was Keir's final total?" Good question. Keir (shown here with Fuller) finished a nearly perfect 15-for-19 for 332 yards, and that number broke the school record of 288, set by Jim McGeehan in 1988. Roman's other scores went to Kelly (19-62) on a trio of 1-yard runs. The starting grunts were soph C Michael Joyce, jr. G Collin Shields, sr. G Roberto Harris-Barron and sr. Ts Tyrone Brown and Steven Noel. When Brown had to depart with a ding, sr. Gaetano Podagrosi replaced him. As halftime ended with Roman way on top, at 26-0, it appeared things might get borderline ugly. But the Blue Devils regrouped and played well enough to cause coach Joe McCourt to admonish his players in Roman’s post-game get-together. When he was finished ranting -- not at high volume, but pointedly -- McCourt flashed a hint of a smile and told everybody, "On a lighter note, Will Fuller broke the city record." Roman had just the one first down (on Fuller's record-breaker) in the second half. CHA responded with seven while establishing some semblance of ball control. The opposite would have been understandable, considering the fact jr. QB Michael Hayes suffered an injury (left ankle/foot) on the first play of the third quarter. His replacement was frosh Paul Dooley, who's no relation to the school's basketball Bills (coach and son). Sr. RB Cedric Madden entered halftime with four yards on four carries. Ouch. He finished with 115 on 28 and his TD, on a left-side toss, covered six yards. Early, Brown (at T), LB Jack Schanz and jr. DE Jon Upchurch were Roman's most disruptive defenders. Later, sr. LB Kenneth English was faring the best. Thirteen of CHA's plays lost yardage and those three guys were involved in most of them. On the series right after Fuller first lit up the gloomy skies at Roxborough, a pass play from Hayes to jr. TE  Bobby Keyes ate up 53 yards, placing the ball at the 22. Three straight plays lost yardage, however (Schanz shared every tackle) and the drive's end result was a punt. CHA sr. Jamie Young showed serious hustle by blocking a pair of PATs. I mentioned to him after the game that he did a  pretty good imitation of 2011 grad Brian Dones, who was a master of extra-point penetration, complete with full layouts in attempts to block the ball. Young shot back, "He drove me to school every day, and taught me all this.” Out in full force were the family members of each team’s No. 55 – sr. L-DL Chris Howard for CHA (he’s a captain) and soph backup lineman Payden Howard for Roman. Special T-shirts were printed for all and emotions were flowing, especially for the boys’ mother, Gretchen. After the photo was snapped, she hugged a visitor and cut loose with some tears while saying, “That made me lose it.” Mom’s brothers, Pete (Central) and Steve Stolzer (Roman), were first team all-league linemen.

SEPT. 16
PUBLIC AA
Bok 24, Imhotep 6
 
While it's nice that decent games are scattered throughout the season, the AA regular season race is pretty much over. Unlike last fall, when Del-Val had some impressive moments, no other team appears capable of making this a three-team race and since Bok now owns the head-to-head victory over Imhotep, it would have to stumble twice to cause itself some problems. Imhotep is starting a freshman quarterback, Andre Dreuitt, and through the years he'll undoubtedly experience some, even many, wonderful moments. But he was picked off three times (all in the first half) and his replacement, sr. Jamal Johnson, suffered the same fate once and, well, it's hard for a squad to overcome such jolts. Bok hardly ran away and hid, but it was control throughout the second half and the foot was taken off the pedal in the fourth quarter as sr. RB Shaquil Sammons (31 carries, 196 yards, 63-yard TD dash) was offered no more chances. DN ink went to sr. SE-DE Jihad Ward, who goes 6-6, 250 and is a major college prospect. So far, his sincere interest has come only from I-AAs. Very strange. This kid also plays basketball and, in his younger Bok days, he even lined up at free safety. Talk about athletic! Ward made some impactful downfield blocks and helped the D-line pressure Imhotep's QBs into the pics. Also, he notched 1.5 sacks en route to three stops behind the line. Sr. E Vittorio "Vito" Goggins, sr. T Marqui Alfriend and soph T Mark Webb, as part of a four-man line (Bok has almost always used a five-man alignment!), also had impressive moments. The picks went to jr. DB Antoine Whitney (two) and sr. DBs John Richardson and Christen Lilly (one apiece). Whitney, the proud owner of SERIOUS hops, also made an eye-popping reception that was erased by a motion penalty. That moment shared the spotlight with a 44-yard TD pass from sr. QB Marquise Brown to sr. handyman Omar Bashir. The play was a quickie to Bok's sideline and it appeared 5,743 guys (slight exaggeration) had chances to push Bashir out of bounds. Didn't happen. What a tightroper! At the end, Bashir front-flipped his way into the end zone. What a hot dog! (smile) Bok's other TD was posted by Brown, on a 4-yard sneak, to start the fourth quarter. The Wildcats' one fumble recovery went to Webb, though after the game Kralle was kinda begging to be given credit for it (ha ha). Maybe he had it originally, then Webb wrested it away? Who knows? Imhotep's only truly electric moment was a 97-yard TD run by jr. Eerin Young 5:39 before halftime. On the conversion, Webb stopped soph RB Sloane Thomas to keep Bok in front, 8-6. Bok's ensuing possession produced Bashir's stirring heroics. Defensively, sometimes it appeared Imhotep's only factor was sr. E/OLB Byron Cooper. He showed speed, quickness and the ever-necessary junkyard dog mentality while ringing up 12 tackles; four were made behind the line. While walking along Imhotep's sideline in the first half, I heard a loud ah-choooo! A player then said, (at least this is what I think I heard), "Wow, that's the first time I ever sneezed in a football uniform." (It might have been punter Armani Fuller, a soph. Maybe we'll throw a note in Tuesday's paper. Was it you, Armani, or someone else?)

SEPT. 15
PUBLIC AAAA SILVER
Mastbaum 27, Olney 0
  As mentioned in my Daily News story, Mastbaum’s squad should forget about mouthpieces and go with pacifiers. The roster handed out today by coach Ernest Diggs included 30 players and 10 were sophs. Then, many of those young boahs played partial-to-prominent roles in what turned out to be a very easy victory. Every single point was scored by a soph. Frank Quiles (8-77) ran for a TD and a conversion. Andre Bryant and Haywood Mantieo also ran for scores while Donnell Shields, the third QB, passed for a late score to TE Kevin Hart. The one successful PAT went to Rickie Quiles, who’s 15 months younger than his brother though they’re in the same grade. Frank did the long-snapping on Rickie’s PAT as his parents, Samantha and Frank, beamed in the press box (and listened to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of interesting stories from the new clock man at Northeast’s stadium, Rich Krug – smile). DN ink went to sr. TE-DE Christopher Fortson-Linton, who’s one of maybe 10 Panthers who attends Bodine. He said the Bodine guys were excused from school a shade after 11 and traveled to Mastbaum on a SEPTA bus. Not a bad gig, if you can get it, right? F-L had two sacks and recovered a late fumble recovery (errant lateral) that he almost returned for a score. Alas, he was inadvertently tripped by teammate Ahharan Barksdale, a soph (what else?) LB. Olney had major difficulties. It lost SEVEN fumbles and six of those coughups occurred after halftime. Nineteen of the Trojans’ running plays, sacks included, went backward. Only passes of 28 and 12 yards from jr. QB Quadir Schley to sr. TEs Layquan McCracken and Markques Jones, respectively, kept the total offense number from being much worse than minus-four. The shutout gave Mastbaum two in a row for the first time since the first two games of the 2003 season. Sr. DB Patrick Knight recovered two of the fumbles while sr. DB Johnzell Martin forced one and pounced on another. Sr. LB Alan King had the recovery that set up TD No. 3 (and thanks to sr. T-DT Davidson Okrafo-Smart, a co-captain with Fortson-Linton . . . gotta love hyphens! . . . for helping me untangle that play). Sr. DB Tyrell Samuels had a leaping interception for Olney and jr. DE Dave Pondexter made two stops behind the line. Olney likely set a city record for biggest weight differential between kicker and punter. Kicking off for the Trojans was soph Dontae Angus, who said he goes 6-4 ½, 310 pounds. The punter was Valsky Auguste, who said he stands 5-2 and weighs 135. That’s a difference of 175 pounds, folks! Click here for a pregame pic. As the first quarter wound down, it began to rain very hard. See ya! I headed up to the press box and took long-range pics for the rest of the game. Though the rain didn't last too long, I didn't want to head back down and chance it.

SEPT. 10
NON-LEAGUE
Wood 28, West Catholic 0
 
In his other sporting life, sr. QB Joey Monaghan, a lefty, does some pitching for the Vikings' baseball team. Next season, even if someone places the mound only 10 feet from the plate on the days he pitches, it's doubtful he'll be any more accurate than he was tonight. Talk about pinpoint. As the Vikings returned to their ol' home field at William Tennent High, down Street Road a piece from Wood, Monaghan finished 8-for-10 for a whopping 279 yards and two TDs, mostly on streaks and fades. His major partner was sr. WR Nate Smith, a transfer from George Washington. All Smith did was turn five catches into 218 yards, bettering the school record (199) set by Tom Hall in 1999. Each play was pretty much the same from the execution standpoint: Nate zoomed and Joey hit him RIGHT in the hands. While Nate showed perfect concentration. Those gains covered 37, 33, 31, 52 (TD) and 65 (TD) yards and the last one was accomplished against double coverage pretty much straight down the field. It was simply a beautiful play. With sr. RB Desmon Peoples (Rutgers) unavailable due to a high ankle sprain -- he suffered it early last week against Pittsburgh Central Catholic, but toughed things out -- the expectation was that his cousin, sr. FB Brandon Peoples (Temple), would sparkle in the rushing department. Instead, the two ground TDs went to sr. backup RB Ryan McMullin, who finished with 55 yards on eight carries. Brandon settled for 8-25 math. Wood's grunts were sr. C Brandon Arcidiacono (also Rutgers), jr. Gs Chris O'Connor (6-6, 285) and Nick Arcidiacono, sr. T Frank Taylor (Boston College) and jr. T Fran Walsh. The defense? Can't do any better than a shutout. This was the first time the Burrs were blanked since the final game of the 2004 season, when Wood likewise did the honors, 29-0, in the Blue Division championship. And before that, you have to go back to the final game of 2001 (47-0 to Penn Wood on Thanksgiving). So, that's just two blankings in 10-plus seasons. As tabulated by Huck, sr. DB Kyle Adkins led the way with eight tackles (six solos). Jr. LB Andrew Guckin (five solos) and sr. Jonathan Vicari halved 14 stops while sr. LB Michael Kosich and Monaghan, the safety, were next with six apiece. Monaghan also forced a fumble (recovery to jr. DB Anthony Roakes) while Nick "Arch" notched two sacks. When a team doesn't manage to dent the scoreboard, the prevailing thought is usually, "Guess no one posted respectable stats." But check this out: jr. RB David Williams, who already boasts an offer from Notre Dame, among others, turned 33 carries into 206 yards. His best burst, a 50-yarder, placed the ball on Wood's 27 midway through the second quarter with the score at 7-0. But the fumble (not by Williams) occurred five plays later and Roakes recovered at the 7. West also had a great chance to score shortly into the third quarter after sr. LB Marquise Gordon recovered a fumble (strip by sr. LB T-J Waters) at Wood's 32. Williams immediately zipped for pickups of eight and 16 yards and things were looking quite promising. Kosich and Monaghan combined to hold Williams to no gain, Kosich and sr. DT Colin Thompson (Florida) did likewise to sack sr. QB Jaleel Reed for six yards, Reed threw too long to the left corner, then a trick play -- Williams TO Reed -- also was unsuccessful. West again sniffed six early in the fourth as a face-mask penalty placed the ball on the 14. Nick "Arch" again was a sackmaster, dumping Reed for a 14-yard loss on third down. The fourth down fade to Williams fell harmlessly to the turf and Wood's second-team offense rode things out from there, even slapping together a solid drive though West's defense still included a sprinkling of starters. Frosh RB Jake Cooper had six rushes for 49 yards after soph Kendall Singleton got things rolling with an 11-yard frolic. The Vikings likely would have scored again, but coach Steve Devlin went the kneeldown route over the final 1:30. Reed went 4-for-9 for 15 yards while struggling with touch/accuracy. One of his "rushes" was actually a wildly zipped lateral that sailed out of bounds. Williams had some impressive moments in terms of making sure that two-three guys would be needed to bring him down. But there were also times when I thought a well-placed thigh pad to a shoulder or helmet could have yielded many more yards. Sometimes it seems as if his feet are a shade too close together and that he'd benefit greatly from a wider base. Again, he's already terrific. I just sense he could even be "terrific-er" with a slight adjustment. Sr. LB Kevin Malone (six) and sr. DB Blaise Schieler combined for 11 solos while Waters had five total stops and forced a fumble. Also, Schieler had a recovery (hit by sr. LB Avery Davis). Now 0-2, West has another toughie next week in La Salle. Even the games in Weeks Four-Five (Haverford School and Ryan) won't be easy before AA play begins in Six vs. McDevitt.

SEPT. 10
NON-LEAGUE
Malvern 17, Roman 0
 
The Friars' passing game was mostly a Rumer. Who would have thought? When these teams met last year at West Chester Henderson, then-jr. QB Tommy Rumer broke the school record for passing yards in a game with 317. Alas, Malvern lost, 34-21. Today, in the first varsity game played on the new turf field at the so-wonderfully-named Pellegrini Athletic Complex (JV and varsity games involving local grade schools went first), Rumer tossed just eight passes and the four completions went for 49 yards. However, despite the absence of sr. star Shawn Wilson (tender ankle), the rushing game was consistently respectable and the defense made a number of big plays while almost turning this one into a yawner. The first points on the new field went to sr. K Chris Tiberi, who wears No. 73 and goes 6-5, 250. With 2:19 showing in the first quarter, he drilled a 22-yard field goal. The Friars' next possession also produced a score and this one went to Rumer on a 6-yard, mad-scramble to the left corner after the original play -- he said later he'd intended to pass to jr. RB Eric Purnell out of the backfield -- fell apart. Sr. RB P.J. Finley contributed two big plays, a catch for 12 yards and a 26-yard burst on a tremendously executed fake counter. We had to wait a while for TD No. 2 -- it came 2:50 before game's end as Purnell sped 17 yards to the left corner. Otherwise, the heroics were provided by Malvern's defense. Though Roman jr. QB Michael Keir threw for a great percentage, going 14-for-20, the yardage yield was only 110 and he suffered picks by sr. FS Blake Gunther, who in Week One had tied the city record for longest TD return with a blocked field goal (87 yards), and sr. LB Ed Morris. Just one of the completions went for as many as 15 yards and that was a great accomplishment because Roman has an assortment of guys with big-play potential. THE sequence of the game occurred at the very end of the third quarter. And we do mean very end. After sr. RB Marcus Kelly (15-112) zipped for a gain of 24 yards to Malvern's 22, the clock read 0:00. However, the refs said two seconds remained and the one extra play resulted in a lost fumble (recovery by sr. DT John Bradford). One second the thought was, "Maybe Roman will score and we'll have a ballgame." The next it was, "Poof! So much for that." In the first half, Keir six times was dropped for losses. Jr. DE Dan Riordan and sr. DT Shannan Green combined to get him early. Sr. DE Connor Mahoney (Northwestern commit) then was involved in three straight goodies -- a regular sack, a tackle that followed a bobbled snap, and a blow-up that didn't quite become a tackle but was followed up nicely by Riordan. Later sacks went to sr. LB Joe Nilan and Green. Late in the third quarter, Green made what might have been the play of the day, hustling 24 yards downfield -- along the sideline, no less -- to bring down Kelly. Also, jr. CB Joe Carlini recovered a fumble (off a botched attempt at a punt return) to set up the last score. Malvern committed just one turnover. Meanwhile, I just LOVE the fact Malvern has named its outdoor complex after long-time coach Gamp Pellegrini. Too often these moves are made when the person is no longer around. Gamp's son, Kevin, is the current coach and Gamp is still around to provide guidance/encouragement. Finally, it was great to see all the legendary members of both schools' coaching staffs. You know who you are (smile).

SEPT. 9
PUBLIC AAA
West Phila. 14, Dobbins 6
  So, where were you in 1988? If you’re in high school or even college, perhaps you’re saying, “Yo, wake up, old head. I wasn’t even alive in 1988.” We bring up 1988 because, before today, that was the last time West Philly started a season 2-0 (en route to 5-0). Hard to believe, right? A week ago, the Speedboys bested Bartram despite finishing with negative yardage on the ground. And that almost happened in this one! In the midway portion of the fourth quarter, it owned minus-32 on the ground before jr. QB Ricardo Streams turned a keeper into a 15-yard gain and sr. FB Desmond Sams bulled for 21. Unfortunately, Sams was driven hard to the ground from behind and it’s possible he suffered a broken wrist. That play carried to the 35 and, after the injury delay, a flip to sr. WR William Monaghan produced a 9-yard gain. Sr. RB Markel Faulk ran for five yards, then Streams lofted an easy-as-pie, 21-yard TD pass to sr. WR Eric “T.O.” Leslie, who last year broke the Pub’s season-yardage receiving record with 861 on an incredible 29.7 YPC (also 10 TDs). The score broke a 6-6 tie and deserved the easy-as-pie description because Leslie lined up at tight end and slipped downfield unnoticed. Before the ball arrived, he could have wolfed down a Tastykake. He’d finished the first half with no catches, but this one finalized his totals at 5-52. The TD was followed by turnovers, a fumble recovery by West jr. DE Erikson Tarlue (strip by sr. DE Jesse Thomas) and a soaring interception by Dobbins jr. DB Kevin Norris, but there’d be no late-game drama. The Mustangs’ final possession only as far as midfield before sr. LB Joseph Southern and soph DE Brian Davis combined for a fourth-down sack at 33.3. Now, if West’s first-year coach, Paul Noon, wants to retire, he can tie a city record (smile). Last year, Dennis Ginenthal, a Pub assistant, assumed command at Olney after then-coach Barry Strube eased into an administrative leave and steered the Trojans to two wins. Then, he retired from coaching (and teaching). By the way, Strube is West’s new athletic director and was in attendance today. The Speedboys were consistently effective on defense. Some of their pops could be heard out on 29th Street and there was a lot of gang-tackling. The most notable down linemen were srs. Mohammed Tall and Tajah Brooks. The ILBs were sr. Leander "Lee" Berry and soph Elijah “Smash” Hardy while OLB/maybe CB? Julius Hester involved himself in three plays behind the line. Truthfully, not much happened in the first half, save a leaping interception by Dobbins jr. DB Dishon Solomon; he’s the guy who last week tied a city actual-yardage record with a 109-yard pick-six vs. Lincoln. Then, out of nowhere, there was a quick TD exchange two-thirds of the way through the third quarter as Sams, thanks to some serious bobbing and weaving, went 55 yards with a punt and jr. Sharquill Farmer took the kickoff 77 yards to the house. For Dobbins, For Dobbins, jr. DL Kareem Jefferson made four backfield tackles while sr. DB Jameel Davis likely had the day’s most resounding pop. Just yesterday, Franklin had to stand on the visiting sideline because a giant-sized lake on the south side. Today, there wasn’t a drop of water to be found and the playing surface itself was perfect. Amazing. Stosh Tunney, former head coach at Southern, is now an assistant under Dobbins’ new boss, John Sullivan. As the visit was winding down, I headed back across the field to get a head shot of Leslie. Larry Bledsoe, the offensive coordinator, was walking along with T.O. and the two posed together. T.O., who resembles Terrell Owens facially, was carrying an old fashioned lunch bucket with, assumedly, tape and Band-aids, etc., inside. He held it up for the pic and, lo and behold, the words “dedication” and “discipline” were on the container in Speedboy orange with one gigantic D starting both. They describe T.O. to a T.

SEPT. 8
PUBLIC AAA
Boys’ Latin 14, Franklin 0
  Al Hill was a first team All-Public lineman for Edison in 1961, and he has assisted assorted coaches forever at Franklin, so you can imagine how many days he has spent on the field at what’s now called 29th Street Stadium. He’d never seen anything like it. Not even close. Water, water and more water on the south (home) sideline. So much liquid, in fact, that Franklin’s players and coaches wound up standing on the visiting sideline during the game, down from BL’s. “Franklin Lake” extended from beyond the west end zone all the way down to the east end zone, pretty much exactly from the sideline for about 10 yards back toward the stands. It was three to five inches deep for about 70 yards and thinned out slightly toward the 29th Street end zone. With photo opportunities very much in mind (ha ha), I watched the game from the home side and hoped like crazy there’d be multiple splashdowns. Didn’t happen. In fact, there was only one, and it happened with 4:43 left in the third quarter when Franklin sr. Michael Dixon, pressed into service because star sr. passer Anwar “Huddy” Mathis is resolving a school issue, embarked on a lake-side scramble. Splash!!!! He was double-tackled by jr. LB Chris Hudson and soph LB Mark Bowser and all three bodies landed right where I was hoping they would. Click here for a large version of the pic, which likely will wind up (smaller) in the Daily News. Luckily, the field was in good shape (no one practices on it), so mud, amazingly, was pretty much a non-issue. Luckily, Part II, it never rained hard during the game and sometimes the drizzle even disappeared. Man, were we fortunate. DN ink went to sr. CB Doug Osborne, who made a pairing of leaping interceptions deep in BL’s territory (the 3- and 5-yard lines). They were the first picks of his career. Meanwhile, Osborne’s brother, sr. LB Sam Drummond, jumped on a screen, snatched the pass and motored 39 yards for the first pick-six in BL’s two-year grid history. Since their surnames are different, I had no way of knowing about the brother thing, but Doug dropped that one during the interview and motioned for Sam to come over for a quick comment. No sweat. Drummond’s score occurred in the second quarter, shortly after jr. RB Ben Coulibaly turned a rather simple up-the-middle play into a 75-yard TD. He semi-trucked a defender about 12 yards downfield and had things rather easy from there. His other 21 carries yielded just 50 yards, but he’s a tough kid with improved strength and he’ll have a lot of success this season. Sr. QB Erik Lark went just 2-for-13 for 13 yards with the slippery-as-hell pigskin. While BL posted just two plays of more than 10 yards, Franklin had four and the distances were decent, too – 19, 33, 24 and 28. The turnovers were killers, though, and the Electrons also were guilty of numerous procedure/offside penalties. Momentum was never sustained. Plus, five plays resulted in losses of at least 10 yards. Soph DL Malik Spencer, sr. DL James Powell and sr. DE James Norris made two tackles apiece behind the line, enjoying a mixture of sacks and regular TFLs. For Franklin, sr. DT manchild Demetrius Town (6-3, 310) several times engulfed blockers to make plays right at the line and his best came on the last play of the first half. BL needed 2 yards for a TD. Town held Coulibaly to no gain. Franklin all-timer David Carter, who played in college at West Virginia, is the Electrons' defensive coordinator under coach Desmin Daniels. Franklin should make some offensive noise when Mathis returns, as srs. Jonathan Parker and Chris Sullivan are quality receivers. I’ll be back at 29th Street tomorrow for West Philly-Dobbins and here’s hoping there won’t be a need for a lifejacket (smile).

SEPT. 3
NON-LEAGUE
La Salle 44, North Penn 27

  Time to coin a new catch phrase, folks . . . "Only in the Pub/Cath Combo." So, why's it necessary? The trail offered a doubleheader today with Frankford/Hatboro-Horsham at 11 and this one at 6. At Frankford, as halftime arrived, Pioneer sr. WR Savoy Martin owned three TD catches and seemed to be a sure bet to not only tie the city record of four, but perhaps even smithereen it. Didn't happen. Frankford's point total stayed at 26 and H-H roared back with 27 to win. Tonight, before a HUGE, overflow crowd at Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Explorer sr. WR Colin Buckley (6-3, 190) headed into intermission with no scores and just one catch for eight yards. Yup, you know what's coming. HE tied the city record! Working in what was pretty much perfect harmony with sr. QB Matt Magarity, who'd been yanked in the second quarter for ignoring a directive, Buckley turned eight more snags into four scores and 160 yards (making his total 9-168). The TDs came on identical fades for nine yards, a slant for one and a streak for 64. (The order was nine, 64, one and nine.) And get this: Buckley eeeeaaaasily could have posted six TD catches. Late in the third quarter, he made a leaping snag at the back right corner of the end zone on an 11-yarder, but the refs ruled that his foot landed out of bounds. Magarity threw a pick two plays later. Then, as the game wound down, La Salle had the ball at NP's 5. The call went to sr. RB Tim Wade, who powered into the end zone. (Quick aside: Joe Wade, Tim's uncle, is La Salle's new offensive coordinator. He succeeds Brett Gordon, son of coach Drew Gordon and former QB all-timer at La Salle and Villanova. When the play was called for what turned out to be Buckley's 1-yarder, I wonder if Tim thought to himself, "Yo, the ball's on the 1 and my uncle won't give me the rock?" Smile.) What a night for the Explorers, who now own three wins over NP in one calendar year plus one day. Early, due to Magarity's struggles and some shoddy tackling (NP's guys seemed to be always breaking free from first hits), La Salle had the look of a team that would not only lose, but even get waxed. But over the last 19 minutes, it roared to a 34-6 edge and the final 28 points came in succession. The defense regrouped big time. The surge began when sr. LB John Palermo caused a fumble and sr. SS Mike Piscopo recovered at NP's 22. Magarity, reinserted at that juncture, rolled right and hit Buckley for 16 yards. After a misconnection on the snap caused a loss of three yards, Magarity hit Buckley in the right corner for the pair's first TD. Though the Knights answered immediately (uh, oh), so did La Salle on the second-play 64-yarder. Jr. SS Mike Eife made two big plays on NP's next series and jr. DL Andrew Carlone did likewise to assure NP's followup bid to regroup would be unproductive. Sr. PR Casey Eidenshink steamed 36 yards with the punt return, down to NP's 10, and again the Explorers hit payturf (the 1-yarder to Buckley). There'd be two more fumble recoveries: by jr. DL Tom Spiteri at NP's 30 and by jr. DB Dad Poquie at the 18 (on a kickoff return). Those led to the final two scores on the second 9-yarder to Buckley and Wade's 5-yard run. Though it didn't wind up producing points, La Salle also forced a turnover right before the outburst as Piscopo made the hit and jr. DL Andrew Eidenshink performed recovery duties. Later, Andrew noted along the sideline, "I should have scooped and scored." Magarity finished 13-for-21 for 225 yards and the four TDs. In his absence, jr. FB Chris Kane moved under center and went 1-for-5 for 12. Jr. K-P Ryan Winslow contributed eight points with five PAT and a field goal. One of his EPs landed on the cherry-picker camera deck high above the north end zone. This game was shown on Comcast and must have made for great viewing. Meanwhile, I can't imagine North Penn has dropped three consecutive outings to the same opponent too often in modern school history. Anyone know? . . . Kyle Berger, who broadcasts high school football games for WNPV (1440-AM), reports that this is the first time a Dick Beck-coached team has dropped three consecutive games to the same foe. This is his 10th season. In '02, the Knights fell to Neshaminy for the third year in a row, but those first two losses were incurred by the previous coach, Mike Pettine Jr., now the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. Thanks for the hustle, Kyle.

SEPT. 3
NON-LEAGUE
Hatboro-Horsham 27, Frankford 26

  One way or another, this game will likely serve as a defining moment. If the Pioneers go downhill from here, this will be the one that started the slide. If they recover and do great things, every player and coach will wind up saying, "We learned so much from that devastating loss to Hatboro-Horsham. It made us tougher." So, how devastating? The Pioneers blew a 26-0 halftime lead. Yes, you read that right. They were leading, 26-0, as they headed for their locker room. Ouch! What the heck happened? Well, the Pioneers committed four turnovers over the final 24 minutes and each one led to a score. Plus, the Hatters played with much more resolve and Frankford's defense seemed to tire; not surprising when you consider how much time it spent on the field. H-H drew within 26-21 with 5:55 left as sr. QB Aaron Channing, on a broken play caused by a flush-out, made a simple right-side toss that became a 90-yard TD to sr. RB Dom DeFazio. That play immediately followed a fumble by jr. QB Tim DiGiorgio, who was blindsided as he looked for receivers. On the Pioneers' next play, DiGiorgio dropped a shotgun snap and H-H's Matt Schuck recovered at Frankford's 9. Channing scored on a 1-yard, fourth-down sneak to give the Hatters the lead. Frankford's final series wound up inches short of producing a first down and H-H wasted the clock. All the while down the stretch, fans yelled from across the way, "We got OUR swagger back!!! . . . Go find your swagger NEXT week!!!" Those chants were in response to a Frankford fan, who'd bellowed again and again through the very impressive first half that the Pioneers had found their swagger. As those 24 minutes ended, sr. WR Savoy Martin needed just one TD reception to tie the city's one-game record of four. That's right. He had three: 79 yards, nine and 21. He came within five yards of another in the fourth quarter, making a leaping sideline catch at H-H's 5. The fumble-sack that spelled the beginning of the end occurred on the very next play. In all, Martin turned six catches into 175 yards (breaking the listed school record) and the three scores. DiGiorgio, a lefty, finished 14-for-22 for 273 (also a school record) out of the Pioneers' newly installed spread. He was picked off three times. He showed a great touch and accuracy on the sideline patterns, but had some difficulties over the middle. Hey, it was his first game as a varsity player. Plus, the Pioneers' attack was hurt when sr. TE Aaron Allison suffered a sprain to his right elbow late in the first half and had to depart. Meanwhile, you could make the argument that Frankford was helped immensely by curious, if not dumb, coaching decisions by the H-H folks in the second quarter. Twice the Hatters decided not to punt deep in their own territory, and strong defensive plays allowed Frankford to take over at the 24 (incomplete pass) and 29 (tackle by jr. DL Devon Moore). Jr. OLB Renz "Rodeo" Compton had some electric moments for Frankford's defense, especially early while sr. DE Kashif Townsend notched a pair of TFLs and recovered a fumble (loose backward pass, actually). Late in the third quarter, sr. RB-KR Kelly Johnson dropped a punt after signaling for a fair catch and H-H turned that miscue into a score. I liked that Frankford's coaches went right back to him on the next series. I didn't like that he got the call on fourth-and-inches near the very end. Nothing personal. The kid has heart. But that situation screamed for a sneak or forward rumble by a heavyweight. As always at weekend Frankford games, lots of former players were in attendance. The most notable: all-time RB Eddie Gaskins (class of 1998), who owned the city's career rushing record until yielding to West Catholic's Curtis "Boonah" Brinkley in the early 2000s. Also, ex-Frankford coach Mike Capriotti has taken his talents upstairs. Nah, not to heaven. Cap is now the PA announcer. His relatives, Dom and Ed Doyle, are still on the staff (under new boss Will Doggett).

SEPT. 2
NON-LEAGUE
Imhotep 28, Central 12

  After detailing “Only in the Pub” moments all summer, I was comforted to see one on Opening Day for 2011 (smile). One, two, three, four . . . that was how many times Central sr. QB-K Ryan Dydak needed to kick off early in the second quarter to post one that stood. Central was offside on the first one. The next two were pulled out of bounds along the Lancers’ sideline. Finally, he hammered a squibber that managed to stay on the field of play and was returned for seven yards by sr. Dajuan Mack. The sequence followed a 79-yard kickoff return by Central soph Walt Pegues and that means, of course, Imhotep had just posted a six-spot (on a three-yard run by soph Sloane Thomas). The very decent crowd on hand, especially on Imhotep’s side, likely thought things would heat up and produce a shootout.  Wasn’t to be. Things were just too sloppy due to penalties and/or shaky synchronization. The most interesting moment, one that led to DN ink, occurred at the very start of the third quarter. Imhotep sr. WR Shakur Nesmith, a 6-5 former basketball player whose switch to football has produced a Temple scholarship, lined up to the right, drew only single coverage by a defender 11 inches shorter, and turned in a play-action fade from frosh QB Andre Dreuitt into a 60-yard TD. Thinking he was being caught, Nesmith slowed up slightly around Central’s 10 and then uncorked a fancy-footwork move to dodge two guys and make it into the end zone. The play was Nesmith’s first of the day because he’d neglected to resolve a paperwork issue; the penalty was two quarters of inactivity. Nesmith, who has posted a 4.39 40, will be a major factor all season. Even if the Panthers don’t throw to him again and again, he’ll need to be watched and his presence will benefit the running game. Thomas finished with nine carries for 73 yards and two short TDs, and he added two conversions as well. The other score went to sr. LB Eric Richardson, who lined up at FB and burrowed one yard. Jr. Najee Goode and sr. Nasheed Parker posted picks as part of an impressive defensive backfield that flashed to the ball and uncorked some rock-‘em, sock-‘em hits; the best was one by sr. Zamir Bell. Soph LB Steven Denby and sr. LB-DB Kedusta Pierre-Paul recovered early fumbles. Pierre-Paul spent a lot of time covering Central’s main threat, sr. WR Richard Drayton (his dad, Rich, is the Lancers’ head coach), and he fared very well. Drayton was held to three catches for 15 yards. Early during plays, Dydak was unable to find open receivers due to Imhotep’s lock-down skills. Then, his pocket would invariably crumble. Though he was dumped just once (by sr. DL Najee Jones), he experienced no comfort all afternoon. Pegues managed to provide Central’s other highlight with 4:00 left in the game, as he scored on a 46-yard run. (I have a strong suspicion he’s the son of mid-1980s Mastbaum athlete Walter Pegues. I mean, how many guys named Walter Pegues can there be? . . . Update: My suspicion was correct.) Though Imhotep’s line was much bigger than Central’s, it did experience breakdowns. Dreuitt and the QB starter, sr. Jamal Johnson, were sacked two times apiece. The sacks went to jr. LB Dominique Jones, to sr. DL Dave Rosario/soph LB Carlos Lanier, to Jones again and to soph DL Samuel Reid/sr. LB Joe Kasztelan. The yardlines were 10 yards apart, instead of five. Deep into the week, I was told, there was doubt about whether the game would be played at Central because it appeared the field’s caretaker was facing a layoff. Lastly, there are some issues with Central’s posted roster and we’ll resolve them as the weekend proceeds. Thanks for your patience. Week One is always nuts.