RADNOR — There’s a two-word phrase that Radnor’s offensive line lives by. It’s short on verbiage and strong in meaning.
“One O-line,” said Anthony Laudicina, the Raiders’ senior left tackle and a University of Buffalo commit.
It’s unity. No one player is better than the other. There are no egos. There’s just one goal: do your job, do it well and do it together.
“It’s really a team thing,” senior center Henry Collins said. “(Offensive line) coach Dave (Bowen) has done an amazing job, with his strategies and teachings. We’re just learning from him every day. You can’t ask for more from a coach.”
Bowen was an All-Delco football player at Radnor and standout for Boston College. After graduation in 2016, he returned to his alma mater to join former coach Tom Ryan’s staff.
The “One O-Line” mantra comes from former Radnor line coach Mick Bonner, who coached Bowen at Radnor.
“Dave has taken a lot of stuff from Coach Bonner but I’ve noticed he’s brought a lot of stuff from Boston College,” Ryan said. “Dave and my offensive coordinator Larry DiSipio really game plan together offensively. I don’t really even get involved in the offense; I don’t need to. I have two great, young guys who care about this program who both played here, who were both captains here. I know the offense is left in good hands.”
The current starting lineup consists of seniors Laudicina, Collins, Nick Scheri, Archer Darrach. Lincoln Twedt is the lone junior. He is filling in for injured senior Ryan Bernicker.
“I’ve been lucky the last couple of years to have a group of guys who just come every day to work,” Bowen said of his linemen. “They’re not flashy guys, they just work.
“I mean, Lincoln plays more Dungeons & Dragons than he watches film …”
That last comment elicited laughter from everyone. Lincoln simply smirked and nodded.
“I’ve got a group of guys that want to get better and they enjoy playing together,” Bowen added. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Radnor’s offensive linemen are often left out of the spotlight, taking care of business for senior quarterback Sean Mullarkey and skill players such as running back Matt Cohen and wide receiver Jahmair Rider. They don’t mind getting overlooked.
“Matt’s never the kid who likes to brag,” Scheri said. “He’s always very humble and appreciative. That’s just makes you want to go out there and block for him even more.”
Darrach is the newcomer. A starting goalie for the Raiders lacrosse team, he never thought too much about playing football before this season until Ryan posed the question: Why not come out for the team?
It turns out Darrach has been a revelation for the Raiders.
“It started with Coach Ryan in gym class,” he said. “Dave then started asking me, too. I was able to convince my parents and now I’m here.”
Darracc needed plenty of work. He was raw, but Ryan and Bowen recognized the potential. Darrach has carried his weight and excelling at guard. He admits he’s sort of surprised himself.
“At mini-camp last year, I couldn’t do the most basic stuff, I was bad,” he said. “I thought there is no way I am going to be able to block like these big guys. Dave helped a lot, getting me better every day.”
With the big guys in the trenches showing the way, Radnor is 4-0 overall and 3-0 Central League. They just ripped a part Ridley, 63-21, and are aiming for another huge victory against perennial championship contender Haverford High (3-1) Saturday night at A.G. Cornog Field.
Radnor is at or near the top of several offensive categories in Delco. They’re second in scoring (40.8 ppg) and total yardage (415.0 ypg). Cohen is the leading rusher with 605 yards and six touchdowns. Mullarkey is tied for second in touchdown passes (eight), third in passing efficiency (183.67), third in completion percentage (62.0), and sixth in yardage (573).
Radnor’s linemen aren’t seeking praise or acknowledgement but they’re earning it. And with a tough road to hoe, they believe they’re just getting started.
“There’s something special about O-linemen and this group is no different,” Ryan said. “They truly take pride in seeing Matt (Cohen) and our other running backs get in the end zone. It’s that personal glory without getting their name in the paper. …
“The O-linemen are their own entity and there’s a brotherhood that goes along with that. We’re having success right now and I know they want to keep it rolling like we all do.”