RADNOR >> Kyle Addis is the type of player Tom Ryan loves to have on his team.
“Kyle will do anything,” the Radnor High coach said. “He wants to play all 48 minutes. He’s an All-Central League linebacker, plays in the slot, returns punts and is an emergency kicker. He does it all. He’s just a true pleasure to coach and a heck of a leader as one of my captains.”
Addis, a 5-11, 190-pound senior captain, doesn’t mind wearing multiple hats so long as his contributions help the team win football games.
“I take pride in it. Anyway I can help the team out, I’d love to do it.” said Addis, who admitted that linebacker is his favorite position.
Addis is usually one of the first players on the field every day at practice, and leads by example. His work, in practice and on game nights, has spurred the Raiders to a 2-0 overall record heading into their Central League opener against Marple Newtown (1-1, 1-0) Friday night at Prevost Field.
While Addis is a special talent, the Raiders have scored 92 points in two games — a 52-22 win over Upper Merion, followed by a 40-7 rout of West Chester East — due in large part to a close-knit offensive line unit that has excelled under the tutelage of a familiar name.
Dave Bowen, a Radnor All-Delco and Boston College standout, is one of Radnor football program’s best success stories. After graduating in 2016, Bowen worked out in rookie minicamp with the Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But even as he was preparing for a potential future in professional football, Bowen never forgot where he came from. He was a volunteer assistant at Radnor last year and became a full-time offensive line coach this season, joining veteran coaches Tony Brigg and Dave Booth. Bowen is one of five Radnor graduates on Ryan’s staff.
Co-captain George May is the right guard, starting alongside fellow seniors Brendan Crowe (left guard) and Pat Lofton (left tackle). Henry Collins, the center, and left tackle Anthony Laudicina, a left tackle who is garnering college interest, are the junior standouts on the offensive line. Tight end wings Chase Ressler and Ryan Bernicker, both juniors, have been instrumental in the Raiders’ dominance up front.
“It’s really an honor to have him as a coach,” the 6-4, 250-pound Lofton said of Bowen. “Obviously, he played here (under Ryan) and at Boston College. In the offseason, in the winter … we would be out on the goal line working on our pass sets. He’s helped a lot. He was a tackle, too, so he’s easy to relate to and he will give us some secrets no one else knows.”
Radnor’s effectiveness on the line has paved the way for running back Taylor Margolis, who ran for three touchdowns in the West Chester East game, and others to hit the hole and rack up big chunks of yardage. They also share one common belief, that being average simply isn’t good enough.
“It started after the Lower Merion game last year, the last game of the year,” May said. “A bunch of us were together the entire offseason. It definitely helped build our team unity. We’re normally on the same page. We worked hard every day in the summer. We expect to beat teams by that much and beat them up front because we’re trying to be the best.”
Quarterback Sean Mullarkey has benefitted from the offensive line’s pass protection prowess. The junior is 14-for-23 with 273 yards and four touchdowns. The Raiders offense is in the process of weathering the loss of their leading running back, Jack Horvath, who suffered an injury the season opener.
On defense, Addis has led a unit that has notched four interceptions and four forced fumbles. Linemen Aidan Dunn and Joaquin Hollero have combined for five sacks. Addis led the squad with four tackles in the Raiders’ win on opening night.
So far, nothing — and no one — has slowed Ryan’s Raiders.
“I think part of it is we had quite a few returning starters,” Ryan said. “We had a great summer, as we usually do, with the majority of kids here. Sean played five games as a sophomore when Pat McDermott got hurt. Coming in with varsity experience as a junior was huge, and Sean has embraced the leadership of the quarterback role. It’s his huddle even though he’s only a junior.
“This is a really focused group, on both sides of the ball.”
As Addis noted, it’s been a long time — a half decade — since Radnor previously defeated Marple Newtown. The Raiders, who went 5-7 last year and made the District 1 playoffs for the first time in program history, have a chance to knock off the reigning Central League co-champions and put themselves on the proverbial map.
The Tigers, following a Week 1 defeat to Florida High School, returned home last week to pound Penncrest, 35-0. All-Delco and Delaware-bound quarterback Anthony Paoletti passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns for MN, which is ranked fifth in the Daily Times Super 7.
Radnor appears ready for the challenge that awaits.
“The past two games has driven our momentum, but everyone knows that this is a test and we’re going to have to work harder than the last two weeks,” May said. “I think that’s just going to be the theme of the whole season — working harder every week and always improving.“
Top photo: From left, linebacker Kyle Addis, offensive tackle Pat Lofton and offensive guard George May, have all contributed to a 2-0 start at Radnor. (PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA)