Episcopal Academy wins one for the ages in PAISAA field hockey final

RADNOR — Gina Buggy has experienced a lot since she became varsity field hockey coach at Episcopal Academy in 1986, two years after she was a member of the American field hockey team which won the bronze medal in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“Before today we haven’t had a game decided like that,” Buggy said at Bryn Mawr College Tuesday afternoon after EA outlasted top-seeded Germantown Academy in a shootout, 2-1, to earn its second Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championship in four years.

The teams were tied, 3-3, after playing two halves and a 15-minute extra period, so 10 players and two goalies were given the responsibility of deciding which team would earn the title in a one-on-one shootout-style format similar to the way NHL teams finish games.

Seniors Gianna Pantaleo and Maddie Rehak finished their shootout scoring chances with goals for EA, while senior Caroline Kelly frustrated four of the five GA shooters she faced as Episcopal claimed its first post-season crown since beating Agnes Irwin in 2015 at Bryn Mawr.

“When I (recently) found out that that’s how the game could be decided, I told them we’d have to work through this,” Buggy said. “Halfway through the season we began to really play well together as a team.

“Last week we went through a lot with Spirit Week, our semifinal game against Notre Dame, and our game with Agnes Irwin before the football game (vs. Haverford School). We came back this week and regrouped and were ready to go after it today.”

Practice was shorter and less intense at Episcopal Monday as the time for the championship game grew near. It gave Buggy a chance to let her players get some needed rest, and it allowed her to celebrate her birthday with dreams of a title dancing in her head.

Those dreams appeared as if they would be coming true when EA’s Maddie Rehak scored the only goal of the first half Tuesday, and Macy Szukics added to the lead in the first minute of the second.

Germantown Academy, which earned a victory and a tie with Episcopal when the teams met during the regular season, put things in the hands of Princeton University recruit Sammy Popper, who needed just under 13 minutes to complete a natural hat trick and put the Patriots ahead.

Just as the cheering from the GA fans following Popper’s third goal died down, it was the EA fans letting out a roar as Szukics came down the field and lifted the ball into the goal cage.

Episcopal Academy, which was not awarded a penalty corner in regulation time, picked up four in the 15 minutes of overtime. Germantown Academy goalie Olivia McMichael was up to the challenge of the five shots she faced.

In the shootout, McMichael made a save and a clear on the first two shots she faced. EA goalie Kelly dove out on her first save but couldn’t get to the ball on the second try, giving the Patriots’ Catherine McPeddan plenty of open space to get a goal.

Pantaleo lifted the next shot over McMichael.

“I saw the way their goalie was following the ball,” Pantaleo, who will play at Boston University, said. “I knew if she dropped, I wanted to get around her and get off the shot.”

Kelly continued her challenging style of play and kept GA from scoring on its third and fourth attempts.

“I could see the way they were trying to shoot and knew what I had to do to stay with them,” Kelly, who also is headed to Boston University, said. “I just wanted to stay on the ball and then get it out (of the scoring circle).”

Rehak was the last of Episcopal Academy’s players to take a turn in the shootout. She outwaited McMichael’s dive and found an open cage waiting for the ball.

“I knew what she had done when she defended our other players,” Rehak, a Bucknell commit, said. “I went to the left, pulled the ball back to the right, and after I made my move I shot the ball by her.”

After the postgame hugs and handshakes, there were medals to be accepted and pictures to pose for before the EA players gathered their belongings for the trip home. Kelly had a special something to take away from an EA game for the final time.

“My 2015 championship game jacket is over there,” she said, pointing to her equipment bag, which sat beside the team bench. “I guess now it’s time to start thinking about getting another jacket.”

Stingy O’Hara shuts down Carroll, preps for Imhotep

MARPLE TWP. – John Caponi and Richie Kimmel once were teammates.

“We played baseball together,” Cardinal O’Hara junior lineman Caponi said.

“We played for a Ridley travel team in the Cal Ripken regionals,” Archbishop Carroll junior linebacker Kimmel said.

Cardinal O’Hara quarterback Luke Sprague is in full flight until Archbishop Carroll’s Shawn Johnson grabs some jersey Saturday during a District 12 semifinal game between the teams. (Eric Hartline/For Digital First Media)

The two exchanged pleasantries after the Catholic League Class 4A championship game at Lions Field Saturday night. Caponi was the one who walked away from the playing area smiling after helping O’Hara shut out Carroll 9-0.

With the win, the Lions (7-3) advanced in the PIAA Tournament to a matchup with Public League 4A champ Imhotep Charter. That game will be played at 6 p.m. Friday at Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium, the Germantown High Super Site in Philadelphia.

O’Hara was leading, 2-0, after a safety in the final minute of the opening quarter, and Caponi turned in one of the biggest plays of the game when he sacked Carroll sophomore quarterback Nick Lamey at the Lions’ 21 midway through the second quarter. One play later, a 12-play Patriots drive came to a halt.

It took O’Hara 10 plays and four minutes to drive 74 yards for the only touchdown of the game. The key play of the march was a 32-yard completion from running back Quasir Cottman to Chris Kirby, putting the ball at the Carroll 27. O’Hara covered those 27 yards in five running plays, with Cottman going the final eight yards to the end zone.

“We knew it would be tougher against them this time,” Cottman said. “Our offensive line had to do a really good job, and they did.”

Ryan Culp, Joe Kelly, Louis Perri, and Cole Gehret were among the Lions who punched holes in the Carroll defense and protected quarterback Luke Sprague during the chilly night.

O’Hara PJ O’Reilly, left, and Louis Perri strip the ball from Carroll quarterback Nick Lamey during the second quarter of playoff game at Cardinal O’Hara. (Eric Hartline/For Digital First Media)

On the other side of the ball, the O’Hara defense gave up only 69 yards rushing on 29 attempts by Carroll (5-6).

After his big play late in the first half, Caponi had three more tackles for losses after the break.

“You just never want to give up,” he said. “We owed it to our coaches to get this shutout today.”

O’Hara coach B.J. Hogan made it a point to mention that after his team surrendered 39 points to Conwell-Egan in final game of the regular season, he was pleased to see the effort his defenders gave him Saturday night.

“Getting a shutout in a Catholic League playoff game is big,” he said. “But we know we have to do a better job of getting things done on offense. We can’t keep getting into the red zone and coming away with nothing, especially against the team we have to play next.”

Kimmel’s name was heard over the public address system often during each of the four quarters. He made four stops during an O’Hara drive late in the third period, including a tackle for a loss on Cottman on a fourth-and-goal play from the Carroll 2.

“We played much better against them than we did the last time (a 21-7 loss in September),” Kimmel said. “We didn’t want to let their offense get started.”

While Caponi and his teammates will get ready for their next playoff game, Kimmel will turn his attention to the 2019 Carroll baseball season as the Patriots attempt to match the long run in the postseason the 2018 squad turned in last spring.

“Maybe next year at this time I’ll have the chance to enjoy a win in a playoff football game,” Kimmel said.

CB East knocks O’Hara out of PIAA playoffs

PHILADELPHIA —As she was about to fall, Central Bucks East sophomore Kenzie Lever got off a shot against Cardinal O’Hara late in the first half of the PIAA Class 3A field hockey tournament opening-round game at Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium Wednesday afternoon.

She might not have seen where the ball went, but she knew by the reaction of her teammates that she had scored a goal.

About 45 minutes later, when the horn sounded to end the second half, Lever’s tally remained the only goal, and with its 1-0 victory, East (20-3) had qualified for a quarterfinal matchup with District 11 powerhouse Emmaus, while the O’Hara players saw their season come to an end.

The Lions (13-6), who earned the District 12 title on the same field Saturday afternoon, two days after dropping a 2-0 decision to Archbishop Carroll in the Philadelphia Catholic League final, fared much better in this state playoff game than in the one in which they bowed to Owen J. Roberts, 10-1, a year ago.

“It wasn’t fun up here last year,” said senior Erin Welde, who helped the Lions’ defense to an outstanding effort against a team that began the playoffs as the top-seeded team in District 1. “This season has been so much more fun. Our main goal when we started out was to win the (Catholic League), but Carroll was a good team and we didn’t beat them. Today we played very hard, and it was just great to be able to play one last game with all of my teammates, who had an amazing game.”

Welde, senior Kasey Methven, and junior Sami Randazzo were among the Lions defenders who had first-year head coach Carlie Spaeder calling their efforts “very strong.

“And my goalie (Gianna Travia, who had 10 saves and faced 11 penalty corners) is just a sophomore. She was just super tonight.”

The only play on which the O’Hara defense couldn’t hold off East came 1:39 before halftime, when Lever flicked the ball over Travia despite tough marking by the Lions’ defense.

“Our coaches wanted us to keep the ball in the middle,” said Lever, a James Madison University commit. “I was on the reverse side but I got the ball toward the goal and it went into the back of the net.”

That enabled C.B. East to move on in the state tournament. Last fall, Penn Manor ended the Patriots’ season with a PIAA quarterfinal victory.

For Spaeder, it was tough knowing that her nine senior players would be moving on. She did have time to look ahead.

“I coached the JV team last year,” the former Rider University standout said. “I knew these players, and they were happy to hear I was going to be their coach. We wanted them to be successful and to have some fun, which is what they did.

“Now we’ll get those who will be coming back to keep playing and help us get back up here again next year.”

Daly keeps Carroll alive in PIAA playoffs

PHILADELPHIA — It was a disappointing first impression followed by an opportunistic second chance Wednesday that carried Archbishop Carroll to the second round of the PIAA Class 2A field hockey tournament.

The Patriots were badly outplayed in the first half, but they scored early and late in the second half and earned a 3-2 decision over Merion Mercy in a state tournament opening-round game at Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium Wednesday afternoon.

District 12 champion Carroll’s Alex Almonte got the first goal of the game in the second minute of the second half before Emily Hauck scored twice to give Merion, the District 1 runner-up, the lead with 16 minutes to play.

About five minutes after the second Merion tally, sophomore Carleigh Connors chipped in the tying goal for Carroll (18-4).

Merion Mercy, which had a 14-2 advantage in penalty corners, did not yield a corner until 2:05 was left in the second half. A second Carroll corner found Maeve Riehman getting the ball to the stick of Catholic League MVP Keri Daly, who set off a huge celebration with her goal 53.4 seconds before the half ended.

“That’s usually our second go-to on corners,” said Daly, a Saint Joseph’s commit. “Usually we just hit it straight out and drive it back. Maeve took a dribble, I was open and I hit it into the back of the cage.”

Daly and her teammates were happy to see the first half, in which Merion had five penalty corners and four long hits, come to an end with the teams scoreless.

“We all just said at halftime that this couldn’t be our last game,” Daly said. “We had watched the tape of our championship game (a Catholic League title win over Cardinal O’Hara) and were ready to play.

“When they told us we weren’t going to be able to play because of the weather (Tuesday) it was a little disappointing because everyone was so psyched up about playing in states. It just took us longer to get started than we wanted to today.”

Merion’s defenders, led by Maggie McGovern, Victoria Arra, Alex Lavelle, Hauck, Olivia Knott, and Cate Voegele, frustrated the Carroll passing attack at midfield and kept the Patriots from putting a shot on goal in the opening half.

Hauck’s reverse chip brought the Golden Bears (13-9-1) even three minutes after Carroll opened the scoring, and she put Merion ahead nine minutes later on a penalty corner play.

“Our energy level seemed low at that point,” Patriots head coach Christina Elisio said. “We told them they had to get back to playing their game if they wanted to keep playing (in the tournament).”

Connors, a midfielder, also used a reverse chip shot to pull her team back into the game.

“We had been transferring the ball back and forth,” she said. “I kept looking at the scoreboard, and I didn’t like what I saw. I knew I had to try to do something about that score.”

Because she did, Carroll advanced to the quarterfinal round of state play to face District 3 champion Donegal (25-1), the team which knocked the Pats out of states four years ago when they last made it past the first round.

“We know how good they are,” Elisio said. “Practice (Thursday) will be getting ready for that next big game.”

Labella, Curry allow Carroll’s long wait to end

CONSHOHOCKEN — Each Archbishop Carroll field hockey player who stood and watched the Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast team celebrate the 2017 Philadelphia Catholic League field hockey championship waited as 363 days went by.

Carroll, which kept qualifying for the PCL final but had not come away with the large plaque signifying success in the final playoff game since 2014, put all those numbers in the past with its 2-0 victory over Cardinal O’Hara in the Catholic League title match at Villanova University’s field at the Proving Grounds Thursday night.

Archbishop Carroll’s Katie Labella, right, moves the ball upfield in the first half as Cardinal O’Hara’s Emily Raech defends Thursday evening at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken. Labella had the game-winning goal in the Patriots 2-0 victory over Cardinal O’Hara. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

A year ago, it was a Bonner & Prendie goal 17 seconds before the end of the second half that led to overtime, and a goal in the extra period that gave the Pandas the decision over Carroll.

“We don’t have to talk about that again,” a happy Carroll head coach Christina Elisio said. “It’s time to move on.”

Both teams will move on to Benjamin Johnston Memorial Stadium in North Philadelphia Saturday to play in the District 12 title contests. Carroll will compete for the Class 2A crown and O’Hara will take part in the Class 3A final.

Senior Katie Labella scored late in the first half and junior Megan Curry tallied in the fifth minute of the second half Thursday night for the Patriots (16-4), who did not lose to a Catholic League opponent this season, including a 1-0 overtime decision over the Lions (11-7) during the regular season.

Senior goalie Mary Kate Kearney turned away four shots to earn the shutout. She got solid defensive support from seniors Keri Daly, the Catholic League MVP, and Maeve Riehman as well as junior Carly Bateman.

“She’s just the best goalie ever,” said Bateman, a Media resident who stepped up to the top of the scoring circle to thwart O’Hara’s final penalty corner just before the Pats and their fans went into celebration mode. “Our defense has been the key to our team, and tonight we all worked well together.”

Both teams worked at frustrating the other through 26 minutes of the first half before Labella put in the first goal.

“There was a shot that was saved,” she said. “Then I got the chance and put the ball in. We knew O’Hara was a good team and we’d really have to work hard the whole game.

“Knowing what happened to us here last year has pushed us all this year to get back here and to win it.”

Archbishop Carroll’s Keri Daly, right, carries the ball on her stick as Cardinal O’Hara’s Sara Grassi defends Thursday night during the Catholic League Class 4A field hockey championship game. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Curry admitted she had the chance to do something in the game that was a big part of the preparation for Thursday’s matchup.

“We’ve really worked at practice to try to redirect the ball (into the cage),” she said. “I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.

“When it got close to the end of the game, we knew the last few minutes were going to seem to take so long.”

Junior Katie Shallow applied pressure at midfield and in the attack zone for O’Hara, but the Lions were unable to get the ball past Kearney for the second time this season.

“We were more focused tonight,” Elisio said. “I could tell we were ready. We worked well together. Our stick to stick passing was good, and we worked in layers, with our midfield stopping them or if they couldn’t, our defense would come up big.”

Carly Spaeder, an O’Hara All-Delco who played at Rider University, was disappointed with the result but was determined to move on at practice Friday.

“Carroll’s had a great season and they played a good game tonight,” Spaeder said. “We don’t have a lot of seniors. What we have are people who play with their hearts.

“Now we have to get ready for districts and try to go on as far as we can in states.”

Haverford boys get to run together at states

BETHLEHEM — There were smiles as well as determined looks as the Haverford High boys assembled at their team tent following the District 1 Class 3A Cross Country Championships Friday.

The Fords, who earlier this month captured the school’s first Delaware County boys championship, placed fourth in the district team race and earned the opportunity to compete as a team at the PIAA Championships in Hershey next Saturday.

“This group has a lot of talent, and I’m very happy for them,” Haverford head coach Harry Green said.

Junior Mike Donnelly, the Delaware County champion, led the Fords’ effort with a seventh-place finish, 11 seconds behind winner Cole Walker of Unionville and nine seconds in back of Payton Sewall, who helped Downingtown West to its second consecutive team title.

“We’ve been working toward this for three seasons,” Donnelly, who had the second-fastest time turned in by a Haverford runner on the Lehigh course (15:45). George Walton set the school record as a senior in 2006.

“I knew I wanted to be out with the leaders, then I had to adjust as things happened. I think we know we can run better than we did today, and we’ll have the chance to do that next week.”

Haverford finished fourth in the team competition behind Downingtown West, Unionville, and Council Rock South. Central Bucks East and Owen J. Roberts rounded out the top six, followed by West Chester Henderson, Great Valley, and Penncrest.

Among the individuals joining the Fords at the state meet will be Penncrest junior Patrick Theveny, who finished 13th, and his sophomore teammate Ben Klinger, who was 43rd, as well as Radnor’s Ethan Zeh (17th) and Garnet Valley’s Sean Garrett (38th).

Theveny came within 2.5 seconds of a top 10 finish.

“I wanted a good start,” Theveny said. “And I felt good out there. Next week I want to run an even bigger race.”

Klinger, who had a personal-best time of 16:50, came across the line in 16:13 Friday.

“I wasn’t really expecting that I would get to states,” he said. “When I caught some people as we were getting closer to the end, I started thinking maybe I did have a good shot at making it.”

Zeh, who was runner-up to Haverford’s Donnelly at Delcos by two seconds, finished in 15:57. Garrett fell two places short of qualifying for the state meet in 2017.

“I’ve been waiting a year for the chance to run up here again,” he said. “I just wish my teammate, Chris Rudawsky, also could have made it to states.

“We stayed together up through the second mile, then I really started running after we hit the cornfield. It was a good feeling crossing the finish line knowing I had a chance (to be a qualifier) this year.”

• • •

In the 1A race, senior Ryan Schaafsma was Delco Christian’s top finisher, placing 29th. His sophomore teammates, Michael Rhine and Bobby Zhu, were 44th and 45th. Chester Charter School for the Arts freshman Antwaan Speights took 47th place.

Lehigh course sticks Strath Haven’s Forbes at third

BETHLEHEM – Grace Forbes had a race plan for the PIAA District 1 Class 3A Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus Friday morning.

“I wanted to stick with the leaders from the start,” said the Strath Haven senior and first-year cross country runner.

The problem was that there was a stick on the course.

“During the third mile, I got a stick in my shoe,” Forbes said. “I was running, but it was almost like I was limping. It really bothered me.”

Despite her valiant efforts, Forbes could only get to the finish line in third place. While she earned the chance to compete in Hershey in the state championship meet, Forbes was disappointed with Haven’s eighth-place finish in the team standings, which cost the Panthers a chance to go to Hershey to run as a team.

Forbes and sophomore Paige Day, who placed 39th, will be Strath Haven’s representatives at states. They will be joined by Penncrest freshman Sophie Cohen, who finished 23rd Friday, Penn Wood senior Elicia Moore, who was 31st, senior Erica Kent of Garnet Valley (48th), and Upper Darby senior Megan Cook, who grabbed the last qualifying place by finishing 50th.

Freshman Jenna Mulhern of West Chester Henderson was the individual champion in a time of 17 minutes, 41.4 seconds, 18 seconds faster than West Chester East junior Allyson Clarke, who crossed seven seconds before Forbes.

Mulhern is the daughter of Pat Mulhern, an All-Delco football player at Strath Haven who played at the University of Delaware.

Forbes said she prefers the challenges the hilly course at Hershey presents over the flatter surface at Lehigh.

“It may not be the popular opinion, but I like that Hershey course,” she said. “And when I go there next week, I’ll be running for redemption.”

Her teammate Day was a junior varsity runner a year ago and will be making her first trip to states.

“She’s come a long way,” Haven head coach Bill Coren said.

Cohen, who finished second to Forbes at the Delco Championships a couple of weeks ago, came within six seconds of a top-15 finish in her first district meet.

“I was hoping to have one of my teammates, Liz Egan, go with me if I made it (to the state meet), but she wasn’t able to run very well today,” Cohen said. “I went out quickly, then I slowed down during the second mile. The third mile, I knew I had to pick it up.”

Moore became the first Penn Wood runner in three seasons to qualify for the state championships in cross country.

“I think I ran about 20:03 last year, and this year I ran 19:08,” she said. “I’ve had a different mindset this year. I wanted to try to get out and stay with the girls in the front.

“My goal was to run under 19 minutes. I really picked it up, and actually I didn’t feel all that tired when I finished.”

Kent knew she might be among the runners competing for the final state qualifying positions.

“I heard people screaming that every place counts,” she said. “That really got me going, and I moved up at least five places before we got to the finish. I wanted to make sure I ran my race and let things happen.”

Cook’s goal was “to be there at the end.

“The first mile was rough,” she said. “Then I started passing people in the second mile and just kept on going.”

• • •

In the Class A race, Sacred Heart juniors Kayleigh Doyle and Chiara O’Keefe qualified for the state meet for the third consecutive year by placing sixth and seventh.

The pair made the trip to Hershey during their freshman and sophomore years by helping Heart win the district team title. This year, they were the only two runners who competed for the Lions.

“We were hoping we could both make it,” Doyle said. “I didn’t have Emma (Seifried, who graduated last spring) to push me like last year, when I finished second and she came in third. I just knew I had to work hard.”

O’Keefe, who finished eight seconds behind Doyle, said, “I wanted to stay with the girls up front and then keep trying to go as hard as I could to finish.”

Henderson’s Mulhern, Unionville’s Walker, Villa Maria’s Raubenheimer all win district gold

BETHLEHEM >> A pair of girls, one boy, and one team took championship medals back to Chester County after their efforts at the PIAA District 1 Cross Country Meet at the course at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus Friday morning.

West Chester Henderson freshman Jenna Mulhern raced to an 18-second victory over West Chester East junior Allyson Clarke in claiming top honors in the Class 3A girls race, while Villa Maria Academy senior Sarah Raubenheimer was the winner of the Class 2A individual title.

Unionville junior Cole Walker was the first-place finisher in the Class 3A boys race.

Downingtown West, paced by top 10 finishes from junior Payton Sewall, who was the runner-up to Walker, and senior Isaac Valderrabano, who placed eighth, repeated as Class 3A boys champion.

Mulhern completed the 5K course in 17 minutes, 41.4 seconds in her first district finals competition. Her senior teammates Courtney Kitchen and Courtney Alexander, were fifth and sixth, and Emma Teneza (27th) and Megan Baker (72nd) rounded out the Warriors’ top five finishers.

Henderson finished second to Central Bucks West in the team standings while Unionville was third, West Chester East placed fourth, and Avon Grove finished sixth. Each of those schools will compete as a team at the PIAA Class 3A Championships in Hershey Saturday, Nov. 3

“I had a good start and went out with the lead pack,” Mulhern, who began running as a fourth grader, said. “I knew I should stay up with Allyson (Clarke) because I knew how she would run. Then I started to go out ahead at the second mile.

“I never expected that I would be the one who would win here today. I’m just glad everyone on our team ran their (personal best time).”

Clarke cut almost 50 seconds off the time she ran to qualify for states at the 2017 district meet.

“Last year I was dealing with an iron deficiency,” she said. “I’ve felt better this year. It means a lot that for the first time in school history we will have our whole team going to the state meet.”

Sophomore Michaela Schiele (10th) and freshman Sonia Piombino (15th) were the Vikings’ other medalists Friday.

Senior Madison McGovern paced the Unionville effort with an eighth-place finish. Ninth grader Sarah Coates also earned a district medal by placing 25th.

“With a lot of work we achieved our goal to make it as a team,” McGovern said. “We did well today, but we want to be even better next week.”

Avon Grove got a 22nd place finish from sophomore Lauren O’Neill, a 46th place finish from freshman Brooke Barfell, and a 60th place finish by ninth grader Addison Chandler in earning its trip to the state meet.

Villa Maria’s Raubenheimer toured the course in 19 minutes, 4.2 seconds to capture first place by almost 20 seconds. Teammates Hope Brown (13th) and Caroline Bell, a freshman who placed 19th, also earned medals. Rauberheim’s winning time was almost one minute faster than she ran at the district meet last year.

“I just got out and stayed with the girls who were in front,” she said. “My goal was to run under 19 minutes. I really worked to get to the finish and wasn’t all that tired.

“I know the course in Hershey next week will be a lot tougher than this one was.”

In the 3A boys race, sophomore Aiden Barnhill (11th), seniors Joseph Chamoun (18th) and Kevin Wagner (32nd), and junior Ben Datte (41st) joined Sewall and Valderrabano in working together to earn another team title for Downingtown West.

“I knew I had to stick with the front pack and then kick it in,” Sewall said. “I’ve tried to build up my strength and be a strong finisher. The weather was great for us to run here today.

“Being defending champs helped us realize that we couldn’t lose our focus this year.”

Unionville’s Walker came back from a “rough end of the season last year” to become a district champion.

“I’m much more confident this year,” he said. “About halfway through the race I wanted to go out and break away and finish as strong as I could.”

Ethan McIntyre (5th), Cole Driver (6th), and senior James Conway (19th) were the Indians’ other top finishers Friday.

Among the other medalists were Joshua Lewin of West Chester East (20th) and Gavin Maxwell of Kennett (21st). Kennett’s Davis Piercy (26th) fell one place short of the medal stand, but will be competing at the state meet, along with Seth Hoffritz of Great Valley, Calvin Pash of West Chester Henderson, Domenic Moser of West Chester East, Great Valley’s Sean Garrett and Rahman Mohammed, and Bruce Trimmer of Oxford.

Moore runs Interboro back into game, past Chester

GLENOLDEN — A team that gives up a big return on the opening kickoff and a touchdown three plays later might appear to be headed for a long night. Interboro found itself facing the former situation but refusing to let the latter scenario take place at the South Avenue Athletic Complex Friday night.

The Bucs were behind before all of the Senior Night fans were in their seats. They also had those fans out of their seats cheering when they bounced back from their early problems and rolled to a 36-20 Del Val League decision over Chester.

Senior Michael Moore ran over and around Chester defenders for 168 rushing yards on 25 carries and even hurdled one on his way to one of his two scoring runs. He also found time to make a number of tackles for losses. Quarterback Jared Dellipriscolli had only two completions – one in each half – but both went for touchdowns.

Senior Ryan Galanaugh helped lead an offensive line that resulted in 308 rushing yards on 52 carries for the Bucs. Michael Zane chipped in to the defensive effort, getting an interception inside the Bucs’ 10 in the first half and putting a halt to another Chester drive inside the Interboro 20 in the second half.

“We’re getting some people back who had been missing and that’s helping,” Interboro coach Steve Lennox said. “Against Chichester last week we won, but three of our four captains were out and we had five starters who were hurt.

“Tonight our offensive line did a nice job, and everyone on this team was pulling for each other. That’s great to see.”

Chester’s Malik Langley had the home crowd worried when he ran 49 yards with the opening kickoff to the Interboro 25. On the Clippers’ third play, Anton Sterling banged through the line for five yards and six points.

Interboro (4-5, 2-2) responded with a 12-play drive that covered 80 yards and included runs of 12, 14, 10, and 13 yards by Moore before Dellipriscolli scored from one yard out. Moore’s conversion run put the Bucs ahead.

Interboro had to go only 53 yards on its next possession to add to the lead. Evan Sorrentino got things started with a 29-yard run, and Moore provided the finishing touch with a four-yard burst that included his high-step maneuver over a would-be tackler at the goal line.

“I got some great blocks all night,” Moore said. “I’m glad the way we’ve been coming together.”

Zane’s first interception set in motion a 12-play drive – all running plays – in which the Bucs drove from their 17 for another score, taking almost seven minutes off the clock. Sorrentino ran 11 yards for the touchdown.

Chester (2-7, 1-3) got a Tahree Fuller-Bryan to Hakeem Bacon scoring pass that covered 27 yards 1:38 before halftime, but Interboro had time to respond with a 75-yard drive on which Moore got off a 34-yard run and Tim Convery grabbed a 39-yard pass from Dellipriscolli to put the ball three yards from the goal line.

“I separated my shoulder when we played Penn Wood and had to miss last week’s game,” Convery said. “That wasn’t fun having to stand there and watch. On the pass I caught, I ran a post-corner and Jared threw a great ball.”

Moore picked up his second TD 34 seconds before halftime, coasting through a big opening provided by his offensive line.

“He’ll get his name in the paper for that,” Galanaugh (6-1, 260) said. “If that happens, then we know we did our jobs on the line.”

Dellipriscolli’s scoring pass to James Udowenko midway through the third quarter capped a 12-play Bucs scoring drive that began after Zane’s second interception.

“The defensive line was putting on the pressure,” Zane said. “I moved back, and I could see by the way the quarterback was looking where he wanted to go.”

Chester closed out the scoring when Jakai Boegertey stole the ball and ran 70 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 to play.

Tuayemie, Upper Darby feeling worthy of Super status

NEWTOWN SQUARE — James Tuayemie and his Upper Darby teammates wanted to make a statement when they traveled to Marple Newtown Friday night.

For Tuayemie, a junior, it was as easy as letting his actions on the field do most of his talking.

Tuayemie scored on an 80-yard reception in the first quarter and on an 81-yard interception return on the first play of the second quarter in helping the Royals roll to a 42-0 Central League victory over the Tigers (4-4, 3-4).

“We’re not in the (Daily Times) Super 7, and we wanted to do something about that,” Tuayemie said, after Upper Darby rolled up 373 yards of total offense while giving up 186, of which only 38 yards came on the ground.

Kareem McAdams, another junior, got the first of his two scoring runs on the Royals’ second possession. Less than two minutes later, Tuayemie was in the end zone for the first time, hauling in a Kevin Kerwood pass and using his sprinter’s speed to run away from the secondary to complete an 80-yard scoring reception.

“I ran a post (pattern),” Tuayemie said. “When I got the ball, I just cut past the safety.”

McAdams then ran for two points to put UD ahead, 14-0.

Tuayemie’s next reception came on a pass thrown into the flat by Marple Newtown quarterback Brian Joslin. He came up on the ball, made the interception, and just kept running until he heard a whistle and saw the touchdown signal.

“I knew I had to make that play,” he said.

Upper Darby head coach Rich Gentile was delighted with his team’s sixth consecutive victory, particularly with Ridley and Garnet Valley on the schedule for the Royals (7-1, 5-1) in the next two weeks.

“We played well on both sides of the ball,” Gentile said. “Our defensive line played better than it has in the last couple of weeks. And we keep working hard in the secondary.”

Tuayemie, Marson Weh, and Alex Chieves had interceptions for the Royals.

Defensive end Taryale Alexander, a transfer from Sun Valley, was among the Upper Darby defenders who pitched a second straight shutout.

“We wanted to stick with the game plan and not let their quarterbacks run around,” Alexander said.

In the second half, the Royals recovered a Marple fumble and picked off a pair of passes. Upper Darby got a second short scoring run from McAdams, then Darryl Farmer (31 yards) and Shawn McCullough (11 yards) ran for TDs in the fourth quarter.

“Kevin Kerwood keeps getting better running the offense,” Gentile said. “And we’re happy with the way the defense is playing. But we know we have some tough games coming up.”

Marple Newtown head coach Chris Gicking said his team will be hard at work next week getting ready to host Strath Haven.

“All credit to Upper Darby,” Gicking said. “They have a great team and played a great game. We know we have to get better, and we will get better.”