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All-Delco Defense: Academy Park got defensive for District One title

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Members of the 2015 All-Delco defense include:

Tim Bradley, Garnet Valley: An All-Central League snub, Bradley was a major force at defensive end for the Jaguars. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior was a relentless pass rusher with a high motor who was in the middle of so many of his team’s biggest plays on defense. GV coach Mike Ricci said of Bradley: “He had a ridiculous year. One of the best defensive players we’ve ever had.” Bradley recorded 48 tackles, including six for loss, four sacks, 14 hurries, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Garnet Valley’s Tim Bradley (94) returns one of his two fumble recoveries. The defensive end was a relentless pass rusher, recording four sacks and 48 tackles. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

Garnet Valley’s Tim Bradley (94) returns one of his two fumble recoveries. The defensive end was a relentless pass rusher, recording four sacks and 48 tackles. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

Frank Cresta, Haverford School: A two-time All-Inter-Ac League selection, Cresta began the year at a new position, linebacker, but thrived upon returning to his usual spot on the defensive line. It was the right choice for both Cresta and the Fords, who played inspired defense with Cresta penetrating the line of scrimmage. Cresta put forth dominating performances against Malvern Prep and in the Fords’ 21-0 shutout of Episcopal Academy to clinch the league title outright on the final day of the season. Cresta registered 59 tackles, including seven for loss, and one interception as a defensive end. Cresta (6-2, 230) also earned recognition for his work at guard on the offensive line.

Togba Porte, Academy Park: The junior defensive end was a major force in helping the Knights become the top-ranked defense in Delaware County. An All-Del Val League honoree, Porte registered five sacks in the Knights’ 39-13 rout of reigning district champions Great Valley in the District One Class AAA semifinals. For the season, Porte registered more than 100 tackles and posted 11.5 sacks to go with three caused fumbles. He will be one of the top returning defensive players in the county next fall. Porte also showed off his dulcet tones by performing the National Anthem prior to Knights home games.

Mickey Kober, Haverford School: A stellar two-way player who earned All-Inter-Ac League honors for his performance on both offense and defense, Kober was in the middle of the Fords’ defensive resurgence in 2015. While the team struggled to find its identity until midway through its perfect 10-0 campaign, Kober was a constant force all season. The senior linebacker logged 78 tackles, six sacks and 13 tackles for loss. In addition, Kober racked up four interceptions and three forced fumbles for the Inter-Ac League champions.

Dario Falcone, Radnor: The senior linebacker and two-time All-Delco was a big reason why the Raiders enjoyed their best season under longtime coach Tom Ryan. Falcone was Radnor’s MVP on defense for a second year in a row. A standout lacrosse player, Falcone (6-1, 210) continued to make a name for himself on the gridiron. The All-Central League honoree racked up more than 80 tackles with five sacks on the way to helping the Raiders to a 7-4 record.

Haverford School’s Micah Sims (1) with one of his five interceptions on the season. The senior defensive back also had 28 tackles for the Inter-Ac champs. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

Haverford School’s Micah Sims (1) with one of his five interceptions on the season. The senior defensive back also had 28 tackles for the Inter-Ac champs. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

Jack Farrell, Haverford High: There was no bigger playmaker on the Fords defense than Farrell, a junior linebacker who flourished on a team that won its first Central League title in 20 years. Farrell, whose senior brother, Billy, was a standout lineman for the Fords, recorded the most interceptions by a Delco linebacker this season (five). Moreover, Farrell notched more than 100 tackles with four fumble recoveries, nine pass deflections and three forced fumbles.

Tom Becker, Springfield: Becker made an impact in his first and only season donning Cougars blue and gold. A standout linebacker at Bonner-Prendergast, where he earned All-Catholic League AAA honors as a junior, Becker fit in with the rest of Springfield’s hard-hitting LBs. En route to earning All-Central League honors, Becker registered 98 tackles and an interception as the Cougars advanced to the District One Class AAA playoffs, where they gave eventual champion Academy Park all it could handle in the quarterfinal round. One Central League coach said of Becker: “He’s the best defensive player we saw all year.”

Clarence Buchanan, Academy Park: For the second year in a row, Buchanan was the best ball-hawker in the county. After recording a county-high six interceptions last fall, Buchanan came one pick shy of double digits this season. His nine interceptions were tops in the county as Buchanan was the star of a Knights secondary that was dominant this season. Buchanan was a key cog on an Academy Park defense that caused 40 turnovers. Buchanan, a two-time All-Delco and All-Del Val League selection, finished with 56 tackles, 10 pass deflections and nine interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

Teddy Wright, Academy Park: The junior free safety — and Buchanan’s good pal — was a blanket in the Knights’ secondary. Wright upped his play in the second half of the season as the Knights posted their most victories (13) in program history and won their second district championship in three years. Wright registered 89 tackles, six interceptions and nine pass deflections. In addition, Wright, who was named All-Del Val League, had a huge interception to seal the Knights’ district quarterfinal win over Springfield. Wright also logged two sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries for the best defense in Delco.

The Upper Darby secondary duo of Naiqjuan McKenzie, 23, and Calvin Fielding, 7, were both standouts in helping Upper Darby make the quarterfinals of the District One Class AAAA Tournament. (Special to the Times/Frank Donato)

The Upper Darby secondary duo of Naiqjuan McKenzie, 23, and Calvin Fielding, 7, starred in helping Upper Darby make the quarterfinals of the District One Class AAAA Tournament. (Special to the Times/Frank Donato)

Calvin Fielding, Upper Darby: The junior safety was the backbone of Upper Darby’s defense and also chipped in on offense at wide receiver. He ranked second on the team with 116 tackles, including 14 for a loss, while notching three interceptions, 10 pass deflections and one sack. Fielding had a knack for finding the ball and made his presence known on the majority of pass plays called against the Royals defense. Fielding’s all-around outstanding play, which earned him All-Central League honors, helped the Royals to a 10-win season and the program’s first district playoff win.

Naiqjuan McKenzie, Upper Darby: An All-Central League snub, McKenzie was excellent in his first season as a defensive player. Ranking second in the county with seven interceptions, the senior cornerback earned high praise from Ryan Stover, who quarterbacked Upper Dublin to the District One Class AAAA championship. Stover said, following Upper Dublin’s win over the Royals in the district playoffs, that McKenzie was an “amazing” defensive back. McKenzie’s interception total is believed to be an Upper Darby school record. He finished with 42 tackles, 12 pass deflections and one sack.

Micah Sims, Haverford School: The senior defensive back and wide receiver earned All-Delco honors for his performance as an all-around player for the Fords. While helping the Fords to their third consecutive Inter-Ac League title, Sims made an impact on offense and defense. As a wide receiver, he had 38 catches for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Sims was best known for his exploits in the defensive secondary and received All-Inter-Ac League honors for his work at the position. Sims logged 28 tackles and five interceptions, three of which came in a rout of Germantown Academy.

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