The 2016 season has been the year of the all-purpose player in Delaware County.
Academy Park’s Teddy Wright, a first-year running back who also plays linebacker, defensive back and special teams, is fifth in the county in rushing yards. He has two interception returns and a fumble return for touchdowns.
The Central League is loaded with these type of all-around performers, most notably Joe Kennedy of Springfield, Jacob Buttermore of Garnet Valley and Ridley’s Brock Anderson, who plays running back, defensive back and punter. Anderson also is a threat in the return game.
Buttermore is a player that can run the ball and line up at wide receiver. Garnet Valley coach Mike Ricci has had these multi-dimensional players every year, it seems, but Buttermore is arguably the best he’s ever had. Buttermore rushed for 217 yards two weeks ago against Haverford. He has six rushing TDs, one TD catch and has returned a punt return and a kick return to paydirt. Buttermore also has been excellent at kicking extra points and field goals.
Anderson is Ridley’s leading rusher and has a punt return for touchdown. Kennedy has a kick return for a touchdown in addition to five touchdown receptions.
“I think what you’re seeing is that teams are emphasizing these athletes and are making a big effort to recruit them within their school,” one Delco coach said. “Buttermore and Anderson certainly fit this description, kids who excel at multiple sports and can do a lot of different things on a football field. Buttermore is the best I’ve seen this year. These players are very difficult to game-plan against, and I think it’s a trend that will continue.”
DISTRICT ONE RANKINGS >> The latest District One playoff standings were released Monday. Here is where all the Delco teams stand as we enter Week 8 of the regular season.
In 6A, Ridley (6-1) sits in fourth place and is likely in position to earn a first-round home game, provided it wins out. Penn Wood (6-1) is in 10th place, while Garnet Valley (5-2) and Haverford (5-2) are tied for 13th. Upper Darby (3-4) is in 23rd place. The top 16 teams qualify for the district tournament.
In 5A, the top three teams are all from Delco: Springfield (7-0), Academy Park (7-0) and Marple Newtown (6-1). Sun Valley (6-1), in sixth place, continues to gain ground. Glen Mills (3-4) is 10th, while Strath Haven (3-4) is tied with Upper Moreland for 12th. Chester (2-5) and Kennett (3-4) are tied for 15th. On the outside looking in are Chichester (2-4), which is 18th, and Penncrest (2-5) and Radnor (2-5), who are in a three-way tie with Upper Merion (2-5) for 19th. The top 16 teams advance to the playoffs.
In 4A, Interboro (6-1) stays well ahead in first place. Four of the six 4A squads will make the postseason tournament. In 1A, Delco Christian (2-4) is second behind Jenkintown (2-4).
Cardinal O’Hara’s defense continued to shine last week in a 28-0 rout of Lansdale Catholic. It marked the second straight shutout for the Lions and their third this season. The Lions have outscored the opposition, 168-26. O’Hara’s defense is limiting teams to an average of 108.8 yards of total offense in six games.
One of the defense’s top performers is junior linebacker/defensive back Jamir Redd, who has come a long way this year.
“I tell Jamir all the time, he has a chance to be a scholarship player,” head coach B.J. Hogan said last month. “He looks the part, it’s just between his ears. He’s got to continue to grow up and that’s nothing that I don’t tell him every day. … We have seven juniors that are starting for us, and Jamir is one of them.”
FOR THE RECORD >> Sun Valley’s Gabe Boccella was selected quarterback of the week by independent school coaches at Monday’s meeting of the Delaware County Football Coaches Association. Boccella’s name was omitted from the article that was published in Wednesday’s Daily Times.
Boccella, who leads the county with a 71 completion percentage, was 7 of 9 for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Sun Valley’s 51-6 rout of Octorara last Friday.
Thanks to its victory over Strath Haven, and coupled with Marple Newtown’s loss to Ridley, Springfield is all alone in first place in the Central League. The Cougars’ remaining opponents are Penncrest (2-5), Garnet Valley (5-2) and Haverford (5-2), so running the table will not come without its challenges.
Springfield coach Chris Britton and his players often give props to the coaching staff for helping the team to its 7-0 start. The offense is run by Brian Thompson, with help from line coach Gabe DiBernardino. The offense has benefitted from the development of Johnny Fanelli, who has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the county. Ja’Den McKenzie and Phil Shovlin have been a one-two punch out of the backfield, and the offensive line has received strong play from the likes of Alex Pinto and Dan Gluck.
Coordinator Joe DiTullio has guided a defensive unit that has held opposing rushers to 65.7 yards per game. Justin Shields and Derek Strain have led the way on the defensive line, which is coached by Kevin “Chewy” DiPaolo. Elsewhere, Pat Clemens has thrived at the linebacker position under the tutelage of linebackers coach Phil Plank.
A rare Thursday night game this week sees Interboro (6-1) traveling to Glen Mills (3-4) for a 7 o’clock kickoff. The Bucs look to keep pace with Academy Park and Penn Wood for first place in the Del Val League.
MOVING THE CHAINS >> During Haverford’s five-game winning streak, sophomore Jake Ruane has thrown for 933 yards and nine touchdowns … Chichester’s Jahrod Jennings-Perry is doing very well following a scary on-field incident last week that led to a hospital visit … O’Hara’s PCL Blue Division battle with Conwell-Egan (5-1) was voted Philadelphia Eagles Showdown of the Week. Marple Newtown at Haverford took second place in the online voting … With 16 touchdowns, Interboro’s Chris Thomas is eight away from tying the school’s single-season record. Sean Wasson had 24 TDs for the Bucs in 2004.
To contact Matt Smith, email [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DTMattSmith.