Wilson, a junior running back, was named the Most Valuable Player of the 118th Radnor-Lower Merion football game, which the Red Raiders won, 34-0, Nov. 8. He scored two touchdowns, one of them on a 66 yard punt return. He carried the ball seven times for 45 yards, and caught two passes for 14 yards. An All-Main Line lacrosse selection last spring, Wilson has verbally committed to the University of Maryland to play lacrosse.
Q: What play from Saturday's Radnor-Lower Merion game is most memorable to you - can you tell us a little about that play, and your role in it?
A: The most memorable play in the game would have to be the [66 yard] punt return. The wall was set up perfectly and everyone put a body on a LM jersey. I just took the ball off the bounce and followed my blockers.
Q: Who is your favorite football player? Is there a player whose game you try to pattern your own after?
A: LeSean McCoy, no doubt. What I try to take from his game is his explosiveness and the way he can change the momentum of game with in seconds.
Q: You're also the kicker for the Radnor football team. Can you share with us how that got started?
A: I've actually have been a soccer player my whole life, all the way up to eighth grade. When the coach asked if anyone could kick, I simply raised my hand and got the job.
Q: You wear No. 3 — is there a particular reason you picked that number — does it have any special significance for you?
A: There is no particular reason why I wear number 3 I just thought it would be a cool number to wear and I just stuck with it.
Q: Who have been your top football mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: The whole coaching staff at Radnor. The most important thing they have taught me is that nothing is giving to you and that you have to go out and take it.
Q: You've made a verbal commitment to the University of Maryland to play lacrosse. What attracted you to Maryland? What do you think you'd like to major in? Is there a career path that currently interests you?
A: I have not yet decided what I will major in yet, but I am leaning towards engineering or business. What attracted me to Maryland were the beautiful campus, great coaching staff, excellent academics and a great lacrosse program.
Q: What (to you) has been the highlight of your lacrosse career at Radnor High School (to date)? Can you share with us your most vivid memory of that event?
A: It's hard to pick out what has been the highlight of my lacrosse career at Radnor but if I had to pick it would have to be my first varsity game ever against Malvern. The coaches just threw me out on the field and I ended up scoring two goals, and after that, I worked my way into being a solid contributor to Radnor.
Jack Wilson's favorites
Book: The Great Gatsby.
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald.
TV show: The League.
Athlete: Allen Iverson.
Team: Philadelphia Eagles.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
LOWER MERION — The shouting came from the Radnor sideline as a punt by Lower Merion's Jake Weinberg bounced inside the Aces' 40-yard line early in the second quarter of the Central League game at Arnold Field Saturday afternoon.
"Poison, poison, poison,' were the cries of the Red Raiders' coaches as they tried to warn their players not to pick up the football.
"I did hear them,' junior Jack Wilson said.
The fact that he ignored what his coaches were saying didn't turn out to mean a whole lot after Wilson dashed 66 yards down the sideline in front of his team's bench for one of his two touchdowns, which helped visiting Radnor (4-7, 2-7) snap a six-game losing streak and earn a 34-0 decision over Lower Merion (2-9, 1-8) in the 118th renewal of one of the oldest high school rivalries in the country.
The win was the third in a row in the series for the Raiders, who have beaten Lower Merion 51 times. The Aces have come out on top in the game on 56 occasions, and 11 games have ended in a tie.
After the game — which this year was a part of the Great American Rivalry Series — Wilson, who was named most valuable player in the contest, was clutching his award as tightly as he held the football on his scoring return, his seven rushes, which accounted for 45 yards, and his two receptions (14 yards).
"I just wanted to do whatever I could to stop (Lower Merion's) momentum,' Wilson said. "That's why I grabbed the ball and just took off.
"I knew winning this game meant everything for our seniors. Each weekend that we play is important, but this is the biggest weekend of the season.'
Senior quarterback Chris Leighton made the most of his final game in a football uniform, completing seven passes for 63 yards, including scoring strikes to junior Justin DiCarlo (19 yards in the first quarter) and senior Brian McKeon (five yards) in the fourth quarter.
Leighton also chipped in with 80 yards on 11 carries, and dashed across the goal line to complete a 10-yard run with 1:14 left in the third quarter. Senior Mike Thompson contributed 15 carries and 78 yards for the Raiders.
"Our line had a great game,' Leighton said, giving seniors Alex Anderson, John Lord and Jake Schug credit for helping the Raiders to 206 yards rushing on 36 carries, a 5.7 average.
Leighton and Wilson had back-to-back 26-yard runs on the first two plays from scrimmage of the second half, with Wilson's going for a touchdown after he got a solid downfield block from McKeon. When Leighton turned right end for his scoring run, it was McKeon who took out an Aces defender to give the quarterback a clear path to the end zone.
"McKeon had a good game,' said winning coach Tom Ryan, who survived an ice-bucket dousing from his players late in the fourth quarter. "I'm really happy for every one of our 14 seniors.
"To win a game like we did, you have to have everyone working together, and that's what we did.'
Lord was one of the linebackers who helped hold down Lower Merion's running game, which got 59 yards on 29 rushes.
"There's at least 10 of us who have been together since seventh grade,' Lord said. "The coaches had been talking about getting a (shutout) when we came here. There were a few times when (Lower Merion) did things we weren't ready for, but we reacted and came back to stop them.
"That stand we had in the fourth quarter when they drove (to the Radnor 17) meant a lot.'
RADNOR — Senior Anthony Myers scorched Radnor's defense for 245 yards rushing and all four Strath Haven touchdowns, leading the Panthers to a 26-13 win over the Raiders at Prevost Field.
Strath Haven's offensive line, led by senior left tackle Justin Fremont, opened holes for Myers all night against a talented Radnor defensive line.
"This week we worked real hard, our coaches told us that they have a good line,' Fremont said. "But we have a better one, We're not going to stop until the whistle blows and the ball's on the ground.'
Fremont said he made a pledge to Myers before the game that he was going to help make this night special for his running back. Obviously, Fremont and his teammates in the trenches delivered.
"I told him before the game that this was going to be his night,' the 6-foot-3, 285 pounder said. "I told him I was feeling it, and I was going to block until he got all his touchdowns.'
Myers confirmed that his offensive line wanted him to have a big night and let him know about it.
"These guys told me before the game, they told me they were going to block for me and lay it all on the table,' Myers said. "This was our last regular season game and we wanted to play well.'
Strath Haven's Alex Bratsis also was productive, rushing 12 times for 89 yards.
Even with Myers' performance, Radnor was poised to put itself in position for the win halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Raiders took the opening drive of the second half and went 70 yards on 12 plays, mostly behind the running of quarterback Chris Leighton and blocking of center Alex Andersen, and scored on a three-yard plunge by Leighton.
The touchdown brought the Raiders within five points, 19-13.
Radnor's defense looked like it had found a way to slow down Myers, who scored three first half touchdowns. The Raiders stopped Strath Haven's first drive of the second half, taking over on downs at the their own 37-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter.
Leighton then led his team to the Strath Haven 29-yard line. He and the Raiders looked confident.
But Leighton's second-down pass over the middle was tipped at about the 20-yard line and landed in the hands of Panthers defensive back Colin Waitzman. Five plays later, Myers broke free for a back-breaking 65-yard touchdown run at the 5:59 mark that effectively sealed the outcome.
Strath Haven coach Kevin Clancy said the interception changed what could have been a different outcome.
"It could have been a whole different thing,' Clancy said. "But Paul Somaru gets a piece of it and Waitzman — who is a backup player — made a great reception. He is a senior, it was a senior play and a team win.'
Leighton rushed 20 times for 84 yards and a touchdown to lead Radnor.
He also threw 14-yard touchdown pass to Brian McKeon to go with two interceptions.
Radnor coach Tom Ryan talked about Myers' performance and his second straight heartbreaking loss.
"He's a tremendous football player,' said Ryan, whose team lost to Penncrest last week 7-6. "And obviously coach Clancy is one of the best coaches in the state, if not the best. It's a great program...we just started off slow tonight and then we played a very good second half on both sides of the ball. Our defense stepped up, we just have to learn how to finish games. It's a process. We're excited about next week (against Lower Merion), it will be a fun game.
"Our season with wins and losses, they are what they are, but we've gotten better. And that's all I can ask.'
Last night's game between Radnor and Strath Haven was between two teams winding down disappointing seasons.
The difference is the Raiders started out 3-1 and have now lost six games in row.
Strath Haven started out 1-6 but has now won three in a row.
Clancy did not want to take any credit for the turnaround.
"I'm just proud of the kids hanging in there,' Clancy said. "Coaches don't turn around seasons, players do. It was senior leadership, the seniors hung in there.'
MIDDLETOWN — Looking for just its second win of the season, and its first in five weeks, Penncrest coach Rick Stroup had a proper summation of the 48 minutes of football he witnessed Friday.
"We're just lucky they missed the extra point,' the veteran coach said. "Sometimes it's good to be lucky.'
That was the case for Penncrest on Senior Night, as it eked out a 7-6 victory over Radnor in Central League action. The Lions scored on their first possession, the Raiders early in the fourth quarter. However, Radnor missed its point-after try.
That was the difference in this contest, which featured two teams well out of the playoff picture. Penncrest is now 2-7 overall, 2-6 in league play. Radnor is 3-6, 1-6. But, it went as a win for the hosts.
"I guess,' Stroup said. "It's frustrating when you're turning the stinking ball over.'
Penncrest fumbled four times, including twice late in the fourth quarter in a sequence that saw turnovers on three consecutive plays. It was that kind of night, and it's been that kind of season, for both teams. The Lions, though, had to be happy they at least put something together in the first quarter.
There, quarterback Dan Fisher led his side on an eight-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with Fisher's 19-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2. It was the only time Penncrest was in the red zone, and they made it count.
"We just executed,' Stroup said. "We just executed, blocked it well. He ran a good dive, a good fake.'
Fisher rushed for 49 yards and threw for 57 to lead Penncrest. The Lions had just 192 yards of total offense. Radnor had 197, most of which came on its scoring drive, which covered 99 yards.
It was capped by Jack Wilson's 22-yard run, bringing the score to 7-6 with 10:34 left. However, Wilson missed the ensuing extra point, keeping it a one-point game. Radnor had three more chances with the ball. Two ended in turnovers on downs, one was fumbled away.
Penncrest didn't care how it happened. It just wanted the win.
"It's great,' Fisher said. "I know this season didn't work out the way we wanted, but it's great to go out on a win on our home field.'
His defense was the reason for it, making plays again and again down the stretch.
"It was huge,' Stroup sad. "Jonah (Jackson) with the big hand there and the time before.'
With just one game left on the season, it's almost the end of the line for Penncrest and Fisher.
The senior signal caller is hoping to play football in college. He's been talking to several schools in the Patriot League, like Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell. Coastal Carolina and Old Dominion have also been in the mix. He says offers and decisions will come after the season, once coaches see more tape.
He hopes to play quarterback, but will do whatever's asked of him.
"If they move me,' Fisher said, "I wouldn't mind moving.'
HAVERFORD -- The whispers have followed Jack Donaghy around since he was a freshman at Haverford High.
Any time anyone talked about the Fords' future in football, basketball and baseball, Donaghy's was the first name that came up. To a man, Joe Gallagher, Keith Heinerichs and Paul Bogosian raved about Donaghy's leadership skills, his natural ability and his bright potential.
With each passing season, more and more of that potential is being realized, and it might not be more evident than on the football field. A year ago, Donaghy was battling through the ups and downs of being a first-year starter, but he oozes calm and poise in the huddle. That was on display in Friday night's 21-0 Central League shutout of Radnor at A.G. Cornog Field.
Donaghy shredded the Raiders for 163 passing yards and touchdown strikes to Nick Costello (three catches for 43 yards) and Dan Boyle (two catches for 37 yards). The play to Costello showed his maturation in one play. Donaghy calmly eluded pressure, made a pair of would-be tacklers miss and lofted a picture-perfect pass to the 6-5 Costello in the back of the end zone. Just like they draw it up on the sandlot.
"Last year was a huge learning experience for me,' said Donaghy, whose scoring strike to Boyle came on a wide-open wheel route. "Playing in all of those games and throughout the offseason, I learned how to read defenses better and what routes worked against what coverages. Playing freshman and sophomore years was huge for my growth. I remember playing JV as a freshman and being thrown into that (varsity) playoff game and being mind-blown at the pace of the game. It's so different.'
There's no longer any question about it: this is Donaghy's team. The junior is completing nearly 63 percent of his passes and averages a robust 8.63 yards per attempt, meaning that the Fords are pushing the ball down field well.
It doesn't hurt to have a lights-out defense to work with, either. Since a 31-2 loss to Downingtown West in the season opener, the Fords (5-2, 4-1) have given up all of 34 points and they're one of the toughest pass defenses in Delco.
"Over the past few weeks, our defensive coordinator (Dan Milewski) has been telling us to be tough and to push people around,' cornerback Alex Mount said. "... We've got confidence and it just keeps gaining. We had a lot of young guys playing and they didn't really know the coverage. Over time, you can see it change.'
That improvement is clear. Radnor (3-4, 1-4) struggled to move the ball down field, preferring to go after the Fords by attacking the edges with bubble screens and sweeps. Slot receiver Jack Wilson was once again the Raiders' go-to guy with a whopping 13 catches, but Haverford hemmed him in and limited him to 72 yards.
"They just played good D,' Wilson said. "They had good D-backs. We just took what they were giving us.'
Radnor tried to take pressure off Wilson by getting Tucker Ballbach (a career-high four catches) and Mike Thompson (28 yards on two catches), among others, involved in the passing game, but the Raiders couldn't break through for big plays consistently.
"I'm not used to being out there every single play,' said Ballbach, who got more playing time due to an injury to a Radnor receiver. "It's kind of exhausting, but it's fun at the same time. I think I slid in pretty well. I didn't get lost in the plays, so I think it went well.'
Mount and his defensive friends, though, had the even better night, and having their quarterback put forth a great show went a long way, too.
RADNOR — By the sound of it, Marple Newtown couldn't afford another loss.
Boasting a winning record through five games, the Tigers knew they had a tough task in store when they hit the road to face Radnor Thursday night.
Abel Hoff and Adrian Sapnas, MN's dynamic offensive duo, felt the pressure. Radnor came out firing and seemingly possessed the kryptonite that Ridley had two weeks earlier for Sapnas, the Superman of Delco football. The county's leader rusher was bottled up. Sapnas went into the locker room at halftime with a frustratingly mediocre stat line: 14 carries, 48 yards. Radnor juniors Dario Falcone (linebacker) and Alex DeNolfo (lineman) had a lot to do with Sapnas' lack of production.
"We came out a little flat. Being that it was a Thursday night, maybe we weren't used to it,' said Hoff, who had a touchdown catch and an interception. "At halftime, we challenged the line because we knew this game was a must-win for us.'
The offensive line answered and Sapnas went nuts, rushing for a pair of touchdowns en route to another 200-yard performance as Marple Newtown went home happy with a well-deserved, 24-13 victory.
Sapnas is the third player in Delco history to have three games of at least 250 yards in one season. The senior finished with 255 yards on 28 carries to give him a cool 1,181 yards after six games.
"During halftime, Coach Gick (Chris Gicking), (quarterback) Marcus (Weathers) and I ... we all challenged the line. We said to them, ' Are you guys going to roll over or are you guys going to step up?' They sure stepped up.'
Sapnas broke off runs of 80, 44 and 53 yards in the second half. The big blow was the 80-yard scamper that put the Tigers (4-2, 4-1) ahead to stay, 14-7. On the first play of the fourth quarter, he darted 44 yards to paydirt to make it a two-touchdown game.
"I tell (the offensive line) all the time, ' If you give me a little hole, I'll find a way to score,'' Sapnas said. "I definitely got to thank these guys — (Kyle) Kelly, Big Luke (Lozowicki).'
Radnor coach Tom Ryan was proud of his defense's effort against Sapnas through two quarters, but the Raiders (3-3, 1-3) couldn't sustain that effort.
"I thought we were in good position, but the kid is a heck of a player,' Ryan said. "He's the leading rusher in the county and probably in this part of the state. Our thing all week was not give up the big play. Obviously, we gave it up a couple times tonight. Coach Gick is doing a good job. That's a very good football team we just played.'
Hoff was left wide open in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Hoff started play as the third-leading receiver in Delco.
"Radnor is a good team,' he said. "Their D-line was getting a lot of penetration in the first half and made it difficult on us. Everyone really stepped up in the second half.'
Marple's goal defensively was to contain athlete Jack Wilson, who is Radnor's most dangerous offensive threat. He was limited to 49 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving, 25 of which came on the final play of the game.
Vinnie Kelly returned an interception 23 yards to cut into Marple Newtown's lead in the fourth quarter. No worries for the Tigers, though, as a 44-yard dash by Sapnas put them in prime position for an eventual 29-yard field goal George Lambritsios.
"I think we needed this game. If we had rolled over, that could have completely changed our season in a bad way,' Sapnas said. "The way that we played in the second half, I feel as though if we play like that every time, we can compete with any team on the rest of our schedule.'
RADNOR — Ridley exploded for two quick strikes in the first quarter to set the tone and the Green Raiders (3-2) coasted to a 27-3 win over Radnor, who saw its record drop to 3-2, in a Central League game Friday night.
While Ridley's offensive line kept quarterback Jake Hoffman clean in the first half, it wasn't dominating.
The Green Raiders finished with 152 yards rushing, but most of that came in the second half.
The score was 14-0 after one quarter, but the offense sputtered in the second quarter and if it were not for Ridley's special-teams play and defensive effort, the game could have been closer.
After a deep punt pinned Radnor at its 2-yard line, Ridley coach Dennis Decker called for a blitz on the first play. Cornerback Tre Hinchey stripped Radnor quarterback Chris Leighton of the ball in the end zone and lineman Ed Bleacher pounced on the fumble for a touchdown.
The score at the half was 20-0 and the Green Raiders never looked back.
"They are very good offensively,' Radnor coach Tom Ryan said after the game, played at Prevost Field.. "Both their offensive and defensive line are good, as is their defense. We said all week, of course we want to win, but we wanted to play hard. I think we did. They did some things we weren't expecting ... hats off to Ridley.'
With just over six minutes left in the first quarter Hoffman teamed up with wide receiver Brock Anderson for a 79-yard strike that saw Anderson catch the ball at the Radnor 35-yard line then race untouched into the end zone.
The second touchdown came on a 33-yard bullet from Anderson to Jaasir Minor who was wide open for the reception.
But there were no sustained drives by the Ridley offense in the first half.
"Our defense played well last week and they came out again tonight,' Decker said. "Our goal was to shut down No. 3 (Jack Wilson), he's a very good player. They have some guys up front that are talented and their quarterback is a good kid. We knew coming in they were going to move the ball. Defensively we played well. The kids followed their assignments and did a nice job.
"I thought we were a little lax in the first half offensively with the exception of a couple of plays,' Decker added. "I thought our offensive line could have played a little bit better. We talked about it at halftime. The second half they came out and played much better. It wasn't an adjustment, it was just getting in their ears a little bit. As well as they played last week (37-0 win over Marple Newtown), I think they (O-line) were living on their laurels at little bit. I told these guys Radnor is a good football team and we need to play for four quarters.'
Senior offensive guard Jesse Lesher talked about what was going on with the offensive line. "We weren't run-blocking well but when it came down to pass blocking we were doing well,'
Lesher said. "We kept Jake on his feet. We couldn't get the run blocking down in the first half.'
Lesher said Decker's words at the half worked. "It got us pumped up coming out in the third quarter,' Lesher said. "We came out and had that one long drive...we went 80 yards down the field and scored. That helped us out a lot.'
Anderson finished with the 79-yard touchdown pass and a 29-touchdown run in the third quarter. Running back Dasantae Callis rushed 12 times 75 yards, and Hoffman had 122 yards passing on just three completions and an interception.
Hoffman said he has an advantage with an offensive line that has so much size. Lesher himself is listed at 6-3, 320 pounds.
"I've got plenty of time to throw,' said Hoffman, who is listed at 5-7, 165 pounds. "I just have to make sure we have the deep routes read and see over them.'
Leighton was 10 of 19 for 70 yards to lead Radnor.
Lesher said he knows they have to play better to make some noise down the road, but wasn't going to let the first half of a 24-point win spoil the evening.
"We came out and got the win and that's all that really matters.'
Radnorâ s Aaron Fuller, right, find some running room during the Raidersâ 16-15 victory over Chichester Friday night. (Times staff / JULIA WILKINSON)
RADNOR — It's never easy to keep a great player in check.
Sometimes, you can prevent him from doing damage for a half. Sometimes, it might be even three quarters, or, as Chichester did Friday night to Radnor standout slot receiver Jack Wilson, about 46 minutes of play.
Those great players, though, earn that title because no matter what, they seem to find a way to make big things happen. Take Wilson, for example. His early damage was limited to a 1-yard touchdown run and a 27-yard field goal, which had to feel good for the Eagles.
With 1:46 to go, they felt fine. With 10.5 seconds to go, they felt sick as they watched Wilson and the Raiders celebrate a game-tying touchdown that culminated a made-for-TV drive. One extra point later — courtesy of, well, you can guess by now — and Radnor cemented a 16-15 nonleague home win.
"We played our hearts out, and at the end of the day, we stuck together. They just made one more play than us,' Chichester dominant two-way lineman Colin McAllister said.
The Raiders (3-1) did that by going to the man they seemed to ignore after a sluggish first half. Wilson was limited to five yards on four carries — including a six-yard loss on a backward pass — and one catch for four yards. When push came to shove, though, Raiders quarterback Chris Leighton knew where to go.
Radnor's defense forced a three-and-out and burned all of its timeouts to get the ball back with 1:46. Leighton dropped back and found a wide-open Wilson right up the seam for a diving 43-yard catch to set up shop at the Eagles' 19. Three plays later, Wilson kept the drive alive on fourth down by somehow snaring a pass thrown behind him on a wheel route right at the first-down marker.
Wilson wasn't done there, though. Two plays later, he drew a horse-collar penalty on a sweep and with 10.5 ticks to go, broke free from man coverage on a pick play for a six-yard TD to set himself up for the extra point.
All in a day's work for the future Maryland lacrosse midfielder.
"(Leighton) just threw it to me and I just wanted the ball in my hands to find the end zone,' said Wilson, who finished with four catches for 63 yards and all 16 Radnor points. "I knew they lost me (on the 43-yard catch). I didn't see the safety and he got a nice shot on me, but I pulled it in and didn't drop it. I knew they were keying on me, but I had to find a way to make a play. It's a new team, new chemistry. We love to fight and we love to win. That's it.
Wilson's heroics prevented a phenomenal Radnor defensive effort from going to waste. The Raiders limited the Eagles (2-2) to a scant 102 total yards of offense, led by middle linebacker Dario Falcone's three tackles for loss. Chichester got a 30-yard touchdown from Kevin Miller to pull ahead 15-9 with 10:23 to go, but other than that, the Eagles had little room for anything.
"No one has a perfect game,' Falcone said in reference to Miller's touchdown. "They're going to have plays where they get up on you, but I think it's a testament to our defense that we were able to get back up, get on the horse and keep pounding on them and just hold them after that.'
And on the other side, it was McAllister and Chichester with dejected looks, but already moving on with an eye toward their league schedule.
"We came out as a team with one goal in mind and that's to win,' McAllister said. "We didn't win one (Friday), but we've got (the) Del Val (schedule) coming up and that's our main goal.'
September 12, 2014
Fleagle the difference-maker as Springfield downs Radnor
SPRINGFIELD — The history, in print and in the arithmetic, will forever show that Springfield defeated Radnor in football Friday, and that it did so with some measure of ease.
The truth, as revealed in the exhales from one sideline and the looks of exasperation from the other, was that it was just like so many close football games, and that it will accurately reflect the balance in the Central League.
A play here.
A play there.
A nice 28-7 victory for the Cougars, who remained undefeated at 3-0, 2-0 in the Central. A difficult loss for Radnor, which fell to 2-1, 1-1 in the league.
"You're playing on the road against a playoff-caliber team,' Raiders coach Tom Ryan said. "They are well-coached and have great players. And we made too many mistakes.'
The Cougars did thrive in multiple ways, from the two-ply, running and passing contribution of quarterback Brian Allen, to the 15-tackle bombardment of junior linebacker Ricky Sterling, to the 4-for-4 PAT perfection of Jack Coary. But even with that, Springfield needed two out-of-nowhere big plays from senior Mike Fleagle to make the difference.
With 1:32 left in the first half, which seemed ready to end with the Cougars up by one touchdown, Fleagle took a punt at his 24 and whistled 76 yards for a touchdown, adding some comfort to what might have been a tense intermission.
Late in the third quarter, with the Raiders threatening deep in Springfield territory, Fleagle plopped on a fumbled reception in the end zone, good for a touchback and some more relief.
"Alex Masino was covering the man across the middle, hit him and popped the ball out,' Fleagle said. "It was in the end zone, and I just recovered it.'
Fleagle recovered the ball, but Radnor recovered at least one more time, only to confront more frustration. With five minutes left, and down by just 21-7, quarterback Chris Leighton kept the ball on fourth down and nearly extended a drive. But the dangerous Springfield defense — which, it is said, has been the Cougars' secret in this undefeated season — met the challenge, with senior defensive end Jack Collins making the decisive stop with a thud.
By then, the Raiders were out of time if not answers, and when Colin Braconnier crashed into the end zone for his second one-yard touchdown of the night with 1:01 showing, an otherwise tight game was officially this three-touchdown message: The Cougars, particularly when challenged, will be tough to beat.
"We just kept our heads on right,' said Sterling, who contributed an 18-yard pass reception in a play-both-ways effort. "They made some long passes, but we know we can't break down after that. Our offense was a little shaky in the second half, but the defense got it done. We just have to come back, practice hard and play our next game.
"We're taking it one by one.'
Springfield appeared ready to dominate early, generating two quick first-quarter drives, scoring on Braconnier's first one-yard blast, then on a six-yard run by Allen.
But the Raiders answered with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Leighton to Josh Simpson in end-zone traffic to suggest their unwillingness to easily surrender their undefeated record. Radnor was particularly effective on defense late in the game, five times catching the quarterback in the backfield for losses.
"We have things to work on,' Springfield coach Chris Britton said. "We said that last week. So we'll keep working.'
So will Radnor.
"A lot of great players, a lot of great coaches,' Ryan said. "There are no easy weeks in the Central League.'
September 6, 2014
Wilson proves Radnor is moving in right direction
By JACK McCAFFERY
LOWER MERION — From the front out, nothing Radnor High is likely to try this season will surprise fans or revolutionize football.
From the front and back, though, there will be the surprises.
Such was the message Friday night on the Main Line when the Raiders wore down host Harriton, 28-13, in the Central League opener. Such was the one coach Tom Ryan was not trying to hide.
Simply, it was this: The Raiders will trust their versatile, aggressive offensive line of Alex Andersen, John Lord, Colin Bradley, Alex DeNolfo, Jake Schug and Griffin Monaghan to provide a force field, then decide later which of its weapons it would best protect.
"This week, Jack Wilson was highlighted,' Ryan said. "And he delivered.'
Wilson scored first-half touchdowns of 14and 53 yards on screen passes from Chris Leighton, trusting his blockers then exploding into the open field. He also added an 11-yard TD run, four PATs and, in the second half, a 42-yard kickoff return.
"We put the time in this summer and worked on it,' Ryan said of the short-pass, run-after-the-catch approach. "And that's part of our package, the way we are running it. So Chris did a heck of a job reading, making the right throw, and making the right calls on his runs. I can't wait to see the film, but he did a heck of a job.'
"Oh, yeah,' Ryan said, laughing. "He's not bad.'
Wilson is committed to Maryland, where he will play lacrosse. Friday, his running, catching, blocking and kicking provided some proof of his overall athletic ability.
Maybe he should have waited for some football offers, too?
"I'm pretty set on lacrosse,' he said, smiling. "I like lacrosse. It's my No. 1 sport. Football is great, though.'
At 5-9, 170, that's likely a sturdy decision. It's also an accurate observation that, this autumn at least, football can be great — or something approaching it — at Radnor. The Raiders are 2-0 and were dominating Friday, even if the Rams (1-1, 0-1) did pull within 21-13 on a 25-yard pass from Patrick Stewart to Jake Smolinsky in end zone traffic and then a Noah Danz extra-point.
Radnor collected 20 first downs, enjoying production from three running backs and Leighton, who rushed for 61 yards and controlled the balance of the line play.
The Rams, with little choice, were forced to throw, and did so 37 times, Stewart passing for 240 yards, 117 to Sam Schlichting. His 29-yard pass to Dawson O'Donnell left Harriton at the Radnor one, and Stewart closed that gap on the next play to cut the Radnor lead to 21-6 with 1:37 left in the first half.
"We were having a real tough time running the ball,' Harriton coach Justin Mellor said. "We like the ball in Patrick's hands. He keeps plays alive and he gives us a chance.'
The Smolinsky touchdown with 4:20 left in the third gave Harriton ideas of a comeback, but Radnor answered with an eight-yard touchdown run from Mike Thompson with 8:17 to play, reducing some stress. An Alex Hino interception with 3:49 showing eliminated the rest — and gave a hint that Radnor will be a factor in the Central League.
"I don't know what else happened tonight,' Ryan said. "All I know is that Radnor is 2-and-0.'
Dario Falcone opened the scoring with a fumble recovery in the end zone and quarterback Chris Leighton came on to throw for 160 yards and a pair of TDs, powering host Radnor past Valley Forge Military Academy, 40-28, Friday night in a nonleague opener for both teams.
Jack Wilson, who picked up 45 yards on five receptions, caught a 22-yard scoring strike from Leighton in the opening quarter and reached the end zone again on a 10-yard scamper in the third.
Mike Thompson (14 carries, 53 yards) and Aaron Fuller (eight carries, 18 yards) each had a rushing touchdown, while Alex Hino made the most of his lone catch — hauling in a 46-yarder from Leighton to cap Radnor's 27-point first half.
August 29, 2014
Penn makes Radnor's Andersen an offer he can't refuse
Radnor's Alex Andersen could have waited until after his senior season to worry about where he would play football in college, but the opportunity to choose sooner than expected was too good to pass up.
The 6-2, 270-pound lineman told the Daily Times that he will be a University of Pennsylvania Quaker starting in 2015.
"I always told myself that I wanted to wait it out until the winter to make a decision,' Andersen said. "But I also realized that it would be better for me and the team to get it over with now so that I could focus on the season."'
Andersen has made steady progress throughout his four seasons with Radnor coach Tom Ryan. While the team has struggled to gain attention and wins over the years, Ryan and line coach Dave Booth, who was a longtime assistant at Upper Darby, have quietly produced linemen that have excelled at Division IA and IAA programs.
For instance, Mike Staples is a sophomore at Cornell, All-Delco Dave Bowen is a junior at Boston College, and Greg DiCocco is beginning his junior campaign at Citadel. Several other of Ryan's players have cracked a college roster in recent years including: Rob Collins, a walk-on reserve quarterback at Duke; Vincent Caniglia, a linebacker for Catholic University; and Tim Wilson, a wide receiver who played at East Stroudsburg in 2012-13.
Andersen is Radnor football's latest success story.
"Ever since he was a sophomore, Alex has had those natural leadership qualities," Ryan said. "He's really made a lot of progress. He's been here all this time along with (running back/linebacker) T.J. Hockersmith and (lineman) John Lord. The three of them were voted captains by their peers. Alex is definitely one of the leaders on the team."
Andersen isn't the only Central League player to commit to a college program prior to the season. Two Penncrest seniors, Jonah Jackson and Diego Zubieta, offered their verbal declarations. Jackson, a bruising two-way lineman, committed to Rutgers in the spring. Zubieta, a standout linebacker, announced his commitment to Monmouth earlier this week.
"For me as an individual, it was the best fit as a program and as a school," said Andersen, who will enroll at Penn's Wharton School of Business.
Before Andersen's freshman year, he impressed Radnor coaches with his hard work and dedication.
"I remember when Alex was coming as an eighth grader, he worked a lot with Dave Bowen and Greg DiCocco, who I've been told could be starting at Citadel," Ryan said. "They kind of mentored Alex over the years. When he was really young and just starting out with us, you could see his potential."
Andersen is back to 100 percent health following an offseason knee injury that prevented him from attending college showcases. Prior to choosing Penn, he was garnering interest from other Ivy and Patriot League schools.
"Our strength and conditioning coach, Luke Peterson, helped a lot to get me stronger for the season. Cory Walts (who is the head strength and conditioning coach) at Haverford College has also helped me get back to full strength. I'm ready to go."
Andersen, who is the younger brother of former Radnor quarterback Tyler Andersen, is penciled in as the team's center and nose tackle. Radnor is running an odd-front defensive scheme this season.
"I played all over the place last year," he said. "It's kind of nice to be versatile."
Radnor begins its season at home Friday night against Valley Forge Military Academy. Last year the Raiders claimed a 35-8 victory over the Trojans, one of the team's three wins. VFMA's marching cadets will take the field for a pregame ceremony, which should be a cool scene to kick off the 2014 campaign.
"We've had a great camp and a great summer," Ryan said. "Obviously, Alex has been a big part of that. Our goal is to be competitive each week, but we're hoping to take that jump and win more than we lose. I think we have a very good O-line with three starters back. With Alex in his fourth year on varsity, it's a huge factor having his experience."
August 29, 2014
DELCO Football Preview
Get ready for the season with our high school football preview
The annual GameTimePA.com football preview is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever.
And this year, it features a new, interactive design that works on all of your devices, so you can seamlessly browse stories, schedules, results and more on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer without downloading a thing.
The preview section also expands its coverage area for 2014, spanning more than 115 teams, including those on the Main Line.
It’s all you need for comprehensive coverage to get psyched for the 2014 high school football season, and it can be found at www.GameTimePA.com/fbpreview.
Some of the features:
• Photos and preview stories for each team, along with team stats from 2013, coaching info and more.
• Each team’s schedule, and a week-by-week breakdown of each region’s schedule.
• Preseason watch-lists of players predicted to make an impact.
• Written recaps of last season’s results and highlights, as well as game-by-game results from the past five years.
The preview is being updated with even more football preview coverage now that practices are underway, so check back early and often for the latest and greatest in high school football coverage.