UPPER DARBY >> Alex Coll strayed from his family’s Upper Darby lineage when he opted to become a Bonner & Prendergast Friar, and now that he’s a senior, Coll is fully aware of the tradition that Bonner football carries.
The Friars’ list of impressive alumni is lengthy. Bonner has produced a Heisman Trophy winner, countless college players and several of its alums have dotted NFL rosters.
Despite all of that, the 2016 edition of the Friars will always stand alone in the school’s history books, as Saturday night marked the first on-campus home game for Bonner & Prendie as its turf field was finally put to football use. The Friars might want to stop after this one, too, to maintain their perfect record after blasting Bishop McDevitt, 33-12.
Coll was a major factor in helping the Friars, torching the Lancers’ secondary for seven catches totaling a career-high 156 yards. That included a 36-yard touchdown.
“It was definitely the home-field advantage,” Coll said. “Fill the Hill. So many people came out. How can you not put on in front of everyone? In Bonner football’s history, this has never happened. We have people like Al Atkinson who won a (World Championship) with the New York Jets all coming back. Everyone who played Bonner football was coming back because they want to see this.
“Even when I leave next year, everyone’s going to remember that class that got it started.”
Bonner (2-4, 1-2 Catholic League) didn’t waste any time in getting the party started. The Friars got a pair of early touchdown plunges from Shawn Harmon, then Joe Hartley-Vittoria (19 carries, 124 yards) darted in on a nifty 23-yard cutback run to push Bonner & Prendie’s lead to 20-0 after one quarter.
It wasn’t very hard for the Friars to get up juiced up for the history-making night, and once they got rolling, they were almost impossible to stop.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” left tackle, nose guard and new kicker Kevin Zimmerman said. “We had all of the alumni behind us and it was the most amazing atmosphere to be a part of. It’s like we’re actually home now. We can look outside our school and see our field. It’s absolutely a point of pride for us.”
Rival Cardinal O’Hara embarrassed the Friars last week via a 28-0 rout. Coll was held to one catch for zero yards, so it might be understating it to say that this was a redemption game for him. On his touchdown, he twisted McDevitt’s secondary into a pretzel on a post-corner route before finding himself wide open for a pretty toss from Evan Raiburn.
“If I dropped that with all of the people here, I would have never heard the end of it,” Coll said. “I should have had another one on a dig route, but that’s OK. We needed this. October is our month. It’s a bunch of league games. We just haven’t been playing the way we know we can. If we do well in October, be scared of us in the playoffs.”
Quarterback Max Bryson got the reeling Lancers (2-3, 1-2) on the board with a 58-yard run on McDevitt’s first second-half play from scrimmage. He was constantly on the run, though, as the Friars’ edge rushers had their way with the McDevitt offensive line, and the pass rush helped stymie the Lancers’ offense.
“They were blitzing their outside ‘backers a lot and their defensive line got a big push, so stepping up (in the pocket) was hard,” Bryson said. “I had to scramble around a lot. It’s a heck of a defense, so we just have to work on getting the ball out faster.”
On its first chance, Bonner filled the hill, and now the Friars look to continue filling the win column.