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Football Notebook: Radnor proves it belongs with Delco’s elite

Quarterback Sean Mullarkey and his Radnor teammates have served notice that they have turned a corner in their development into one of the Central League's upper echelon of teams. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)
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If there were any questions about Radnor’s toughness and talent, those doubts were put to rest, once and for all, last Friday night.

In going to overtime with undefeated Garnet Valley (8-0), one of the top teams in District 1 Class 6A, the Raiders proved they are a team built to win now.

Maybe we should’ve known all along.

Radnor (6-2) is the No. 5 team in the Daily Times Super 7. One could argue they are the second-best team in Delco, behind only Garnet Valley. And, quite frankly, one could wonder exactly how much “better” Garnet Valley really is.

It’s unusual for any team to feel good after a heartbreaking loss, but Radnor is a different story. The Raiders showed, back in Week 3, that it was not the same old Radnor team that has underachieved for years. Every season the Raiders produce talented players who move on to the collegiate level, which is a testament to longtime coach Tom Ryan and his staff. But no Radnor team under Ryan’s tutelage has learned to put it altogether, until this year.

The Raiders began 4-0, beating Marple Newtown in three overtimes and then scoring 63 points against Ridley. At that time, they were clearly a team to watch.

When they suffered a 40-16 defeat at Haverford High (7-1), the No. 2 team in Delco, perhaps there was concern that the loss would have a lingering effect. Although the Raiders came up short, they were never deterred. So they turned the page and continued winning lopsided games. Two weeks ago they put up 35 points against Springfield. Garnet Valley scored only six against Springfield in a shutout the week prior.

With two weeks to play in the regular season, the Raiders will not capture the Central League championship, but they will enter the District 1 Class 5A playoffs as one of the favorites. Only four teams in Delco (Garnet Valley, Haverford, Sun Valley, Academy Park) are averaging more yards of offense per game than Radnor’s 360.1. Defensively, their 265.5 yards allowed is respectable, good for sixth in Delco.

Radnor has a senior quarterback in Sean Mullarkey who is at the top of his game, one of the best running backs in the county in Matt Cohen, a junior linebacker with a nose for the ball in Taylor Margolis, and superb all-purpose threats in Jahmair Rider and Teddy Girton.

It’s time to give credit where it’s due. Radnor football, in case you still had any doubt, is for real.

“We’ve always know that we can beat the really good teams. Maybe no one else knew that, but we do,” Mullarkey said after the Garnet Valley game. “Hopefully we can wake some people up because Radnor is back. Even though we didn’t come out on top, and it stinks, we still love each other and we’re still going to play together and play for the community. We still have our goal in mind and that’s to win a district championship.”

• • •

Interboro’s Mike Moore earned player of the week honors by Del Val League coaches at their weekly meeting Monday night at Barnaby’s of Havertown.

Moore was a menace on both sides of the ball in the Bucs’ 29-27 decision at Chichester last Saturday. The senior rushed for 140 yards and four TDs and had a key sack and blocked punt on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter.

Moore’s performance was crucial in helping the Bucs (3-5) win their first contest since Week 1 (they won by forfeit over Lower Moreland in September).

“We think we are only going to get better,” Moore said after the win over Chi. “We just have to stay together and keep working.”

Other weekly Del Val honors went to: Chester’s Aasim Mohammed (linebacker), Interboro’s Ryan Galanaugh (offensive line), Glen Mills’ Blessin Sesay (specialist), and Penn Wood’s Desman Johnson (quarterback), Kennedy Poles (receiver), Dashawn Brickle (defensive line), and Omar Ba (defensive back).

• • •

AROUND THE STATE >> North Allegheny and West Allegheny (District 7) had originally agreed to play a full game with a running clock Friday night. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that agreement has been scrapped.

The teams’ Week 9 affair is a nonleague contest and has no bearing on playoff seedings. According to the newspaper, West Allegheny coach Bob Palko and North Allegheny coach Art Walker agreed to play with a running clock and would play starters for the first half.

“The game doesn’t mean anything to their standings and doesn’t mean anything to ours,” Walker told the Post-Gazette earlier in the week. “We want to play and get in some work, but you have to put things into the big picture. I think both coaching staffs are looking at the best situations for the players and the teams moving forward. We’re looking at what’s going to be best for our players.”

However, by rules under the National Federation of State High School Association, a running clock can only be triggered under the “mercy rule,” where one team leads by 35 points or more.

The teams had the option to play shortened quarters, but decided against it.

• • •

MOVING THE CHAINS >> Upper Darby’s Marson Weh is averaging a ridiculous 35.3 yards per catch. He has 17 receptions for 601 yards and seven TDs … Haverford High became the highest scoring team in Delco, averaging 37.1 points per game, with last week’s 40-20 rout of Strath Haven… Haverford is one of 10 Delco teams averaging at least 30 points per game. The others? Garnet Valley (36.5), Upper Darby (35.6), Radnor (33.1), Academy Park (32.6), Penn Wood (32.0), Ridley (31.1), Archbishop Carroll (31.0) and Haverford School (30.8) … With 2,647 career receiving yards, Penn Wood’s Kennedy Poles is 205 yards away from breaking the county record, which has stood for 19 years… During its four-game slide Strath Haven is giving up an average of 36.5 points and 434 yard per contest … Sun Valley’s Dayon Belgrave ranks second in Delco in receiving yards (765) and first in receptions (51). The county record for catches in a season is 72, which was set by Marple Newtown’s Abel Hoff in 2015.

To contact Matt Smith, email msmith@delcotimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @DTMattSmith.

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