ROYERSFORD >> The 74th annual Tall Cedars of Lebanon Football Night was held Wednesday evening at the Masonic Lodge home in Royersford.The group, which started having its banquet and programs back in 1941, has muscular dystrophy as its main project goal to benefit. The year 2015 represents the 100th anniversary of the Spring City Forest.
Players honored with their coaches included: Mike Banks, Boyertown; Tim Rudderow, Spring-Ford; Jared Johns-Lupold, Pope John Paul II; Jimmie Zazzi, Pottstown; Tim Nestor, Perkiomen Valley; Jake Adams, Pottsgrove; Mitch Bradford, Owen J. Roberts; and Matt Palubinsky, Phoenixville.
Coaches present included: George Parkinson, Boyertown; Chad Brubaker, Spring-Ford; Rory Graver, Pope John Paul II; Steve Anspach, assistant, Pottstown; Matt Young, assistant, Perkiomen Valley; Rick Pennypacker, Pottsgrove; Brian Lester, assistant, Owen J. Roberts; and Evan Breisblatt, Phoenixville.
Brubaker, head coach of this year’s PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford Rams, talked about Rudderow — a standout defensive tackle for the Rams.
“Our defense was very good this year,” said Brubaker, who recorded his second championship as a head coach with the Rams. “But we had no Division I players. We were like the 1984 Miami Dolphins with a No Name Defense. Tim epitomizes what we try to do at Spring-Ford.”
Rudderow saw some playing time as a sophomore and then became a starter during his junior season. That role continued this past season.
“He is a really hard worker with a motor that goes 100 percent,” said Brubaker. “He is a great example for the other players on the team.”
Rudderow closed out his career with 83 tackles, including 22 tackles for losses. He also recorded seven sacks and 11 hurries.
Rudderow plans to enter the Reserves or pursue a career in criminal justice.
“Football teaches a lot of life lessons, and Tim learned that a lot of times at Spring-Ford,” said Brubaker.
Young, an assistant coach who works with the defense at Perkiomen Valley, brought with him Nestor, a three-year starter with the Vikings. This past season, PV won its first-round District 1-AAAA playoff game.
“We knew we had a pretty decent defense coming back this year,” said Young. “But we also had some glaring holes, some big holes to fill. Tim was a receiver during his sophomore and junior years. But we needed an inside linebacker. He came to us during the summer and said he would like to give it a try. This was really important to me. He learned a lot the hard way. He was an unbelievable leader on defense and he earned all-league honors.”
Pennypacker talked about Adams, who became an instrumental part of the Falcons’ team as an offensive lineman and leader as a captain. He also carried a stellar grade point average as a student in the classroom.
“Jake was my favorite player this year,” said Pennypacker. “He is a tremendous kid who gave us great leadership. He leads by example and did things the right way. I had his brother (Jeff) a couple years who made all-league as a linebacker and tight end. There is also another brother in ninth grade coming up. Jake was a hard worker in the weight room. He always kept the team in line. He is one of the best offensive linemen I ever coached.”
Adams is being recruited by a number of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) schools.
Parkinson brought along Banks, an offensive and defensive lineman who became an anchor on both lines.
“I coached Mike for four years,” said Parkinson. “When he was in eighth grade, I was the ninth grade coach at Boyertown East. He moved up to play with the ninth grade. Then we were reunited during his junior and senior years in high school. It was a nice thing to watch his development as a player and young man.”
Besides his dedicated work in the weight room, Banks also made definite work on improving his footwork a primary area. He gained a large amount of quickness and speed in his game.
Banks served as a team captain because of his leadership abilities and work ethic.
Breisblatt brought with him versatile standout three-way performer Palubinsky, who was also honored at the Tall Cedars event a year ago. Breisblatt said he has been coaching football for some 20 years and has enjoyed having some top quality players at all collegiate levels during that time span.
He termed Palubinsky “the ultimate player for me and he has been for three years.”
A two-time team captain, Palubinsky was also the recipient of the Mini-Max Award this year. During his career, he recorded more than 200 tackles while playing several different positions. He posted some awesome numbers as a receiver while doing just about everything on the field in terms of offense, defense and special teams.
Palubinsky was also heavily involved in a number of other school activities as well as community service. He also ran the Phuture Phantoms football camp during the summer.
Leister brought with him Bradford, who represented the heart and soul of the Wildcats’ team as a quarterback and defensive back.
“Every time he got the football, he was exciting,” said Lester. “He gave 110 percent. We had a new coaching staff this year, and he was a three-year starter. His leadership came up.”
The Wildcats had a new coaching staff this past season, which brought about new schemes. Players like Bradford stepped up, even after OJR dropped its first two games. The Wildcats ended up 6-6 overall.
“He was Mr. Excitement,” said Lester.
Graver was joined by Johns-Lupold, whom he considered a great student-athlete for two years while playing for the Golden Panthers. Johns-Lupold was named PJP’s Most Valuable Player for two years and also served as team captain and leader. An all-league wideout, Johns-Lupold also became a top punter. During the summer, he overcame an emergency bout with his appendix, during which time he lost a lot of weight and strength. But to his credit, Johns-Lupold became an even bigger, stronger and better player this season.
Pottstown assistant coach Anspach brought Zazzi, who was a central figure in the Trojans’ resurgence to prominence this season under former head coach Don Grinstead. Grinstead, who left immediately after the season to take a job in Florida, gave remarks to Anspach to be read at the banquet. After starting his scholastic career at just 170 pounds, Zazzi’s dedication in the weight room upped his bulk and strength to the point where he became an anchor along the offensive and defensive lines.
“He fulfilled his vision and earned everything he got,” said Grinstead in his letter about Zazzi. “He is a high school coach’s dream. He’s selfless and works hard.”
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Kutztown University head football coach Jim Clements was the guest speaker. Under his guidance, the Golden Bears have finished 6-5 and 7-4 in the PSAC each of the last two years. He has an overall career coaching record of 79-33.
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Bob Mull, chairman of the Tall Cedar Football Night, was also in attendance.
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