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Lower Merion Football Hall of Fame induction to be held Oct. 20

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The Lower Merion High School Football Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremony at halftime of the Harriton-Lower Merion football game Oct. 20 at Arnold Field. The 2018 inductees are Dr. William Martin, William Ponzer (Class of 1960), Frank Basile (Class of 1945), Lynn De Nardo, the Monaghan Family (1954-1965) and Kevin Mosley (Class of 1989).

A reception including dinner and dessert with be held Oct. 19 from 5:30-9 p.m. at McCall Golf & Country Club in Upper Darby. Admission to the reception is $35 per person ($15 for those under 18 years of age). For further details on the reception email Paul Monaghan at LMgridHOF@aol.com or call 610-896-5420.

The inductees are as follows:

Dr. William L. Martin

Dr. William L. Martin, a resident of Merion, served as Lower Merion High School football team physician from 1925 to 1960.  Affectionately known as “Lower Merion’s most capable bench warmer,” Dr. Martin’s service coincided with the head coaching careers of Hall of Fame coaches Al Adams (1925-40), Dick Mattis (1941-51), and over half of “Fritz” Brennan’s tenure (1952-68). Dr. Martin, Professor and Chief Surgeon at the Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, not only would attend all of the games, but he also would have injured or ill players come to his home for special medical treatment.  Dr. Martin retired after the 1960 season. In 1961 the Lower Merion Football Boosters, desiring to acknowledge “Doc” Martin’s 36 years of service, established the Dr. William L. Martin Football Award, first presented in the fall of 1962.  The award recognizes a Lower Merion football player for “exceptional attitude, dependability, and sportsmanship”.  The first recipient was John Monaghan ’63.

Frank Basile

Frank Basile’s athletic prowess began to show on the playing fields of Bala-Cynwyd Junior High School, where he was the leading scorer on the football team, a starter on the basketball team and the leading hitter on the baseball team. He was a key contributor to the Lower Merion High School 1942-43 teams, which won 17 straight games. Following the 1943 season the 5-8, 155-pound halfback/defensive back was named first team “Big Six” (All League), first team Philadelphia All Scholastic, and selected as one of the eight best backs in the State via the A-P All-State team. During that season he gained 604 yards rushing  (9.6 yards per carry) and scored 14 touchdowns. Glenn Etzweiler, Lower Merion’s backfield coach from 1941-1968, claimed that Frank Basile was the best back that he ever coached.  That is quite a compliment considering all the great backs Coach Etzweiler developed during his tenure on the football staff.  Following his junior year, Basile was one of 22 members of the Class of  1945 to leave Lower Merion to volunteer for military service. Following his discharge from the U.S. Navy, he returned to LM and graduated in June 1947.

The Monaghan family 

From the 1952 season through the 1964 season, with only two exceptions (1955 and 1959), there was a member of the Monaghan family involved with the Lower Merion High School football program.  During those 11 seasons the team’s varsity record was 69-24-3.  They won four Suburban championships (’54, ’56 ’63, ’64) and one co-championship (’60).  All four brothers played for Hall of Fame head coach John “Fritz” Brennan.  They all, for at least one season, wore No. 50. The Monaghan involvement was not limited to the four brothers on the teams – it also included Edward, Sr., who was active in the Booster Club from 1953 until 1958 and served as president of the organization during the 1956 season; Catherine, who did the preparations required during a football season, e.g. preparing lunches during summer camp, laundry on weekends, taking care of the minor “bumps” and “bruises”, etc.; Cass (’54) and Margie (’61) loyal followers of the LM teams. 

Ed, Jr. (’55) was the starting center on the ’53 team and the undefeated ’54 squad.  He earned honorable mention recognition on the 1954 Philadelphia All-Scholastic team.  Following graduation, he prepped at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy for one year.  In 1956 he received a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina.  Ed also  played lacrosse and was a member of the crew team for one season

Joe (’59) played center and linebacker for the 1957 and 1958 teams.  He missed half of his senior season due to a knee injury suffered in the third game.  He was able to return for the final two games.  He also played lacrosse while at LM.

John (’63) played guard, center, defensive line and linebacker.  He was the only brother to win three varsity letters in football. The 1960 team finished Co-champions of Suburban One.  During his senior season (1962), while playing guard and middle linebacker, he was the second leading tackler on the team (58 tackles in 9 games). Following that season he was named first team All-Suburban One and first team All Main Line.  He received honorable-mention recognition on the Philadelphia All-Scholastic team and was named first team on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield All-Star team.  He was selected, by his teammates, to be the recipient of the inaugural Doctor William L. Martin Award.  In the spring of 1962 he was named first team All-State in lacrosse.

Sue (’64) was on the cheerleading squad for two years.  She served as co-captain, along with Marcy McKissock, during the 1963 season.

Paul (’65) played tackle, center and defensive line.  He was a member of two Suburban One Championship teams (1963, 1964). From midway through the 1962 season to the end of the 1964 season Lower Merion won 18 straight Suburban One games.  Following the 1964 season he was named first team All Suburban One and first team All Main Line.In the fall of 1965 he received a football scholarship to a junior college in Kansas.  While at LM he also played lacrosse. Paul would later coach football for 16 years, six at Haverford Junior High School/Middle School, seven seasons at the Haverford School, and three seasons at Haverford High School. In 2006 he was one of the pioneers that helped organize the Lower Merion High School Football Hall of Fame.  At the 2014 LM-Radnor game he was honored by the Great American Rivalry Series for his work with the Hall of Fame.

William D. Ponzer 

Bill Ponzer was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Lower Merion High School.  Besides excelling in football, he also played basketball and was an excellent pole vaulter for the track team. Following the 1959 season he was named to the first teams on the Philadelphia Area All Scholastic Team, All Suburban One, and All Main Line.  He caught 19 Passes, five for touchdowns -the longest being a 59 yard score in the opening game against Springfield (Delco).   He averaged 39.3 yards per punt. The 1959 squad finished the season co-champions of Suburban One.  In the spring of 1960 he won the pole vault in the Suburban One championship meet. In the spring of 1964 Jack Ryan, long-time high school sports writer for the Evening Bulletin, named his all-time high school all-star team dating back to 1924.  Bill Ponzer received honorable mention recognition, and was one of six Lower Merion players named to the team. He also played for Cornell University,and in 1963 led the Big Red in pass receptions, scoring two touchdowns.  The quarterback during his career at Cornell was Gary Wood, who later would play six years in the National Football League.

Lynn R. DeNardo 

The Fritz Brennan Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in 1989 to honor former Lower Merion head football coach John “Fritz” Brennan (1952-1968).  The fund was created by former players, fellow coaches, and friends of Coach Brennan.   It was designed to help need-based football players from Lower Merion and Harriton High Schools to further their education. Bill DeNardo (LM Class of 1957) served as president of the organization, and his wife, Lynn, took over the everyday functions of the fund, which included handling all correspondence, collecting donations, banking/accounting records, publicity, reserving facilities for social functions, etc. for more than two decades she meticulously performed these duties and so could be considered the “Matriarch” of the Fritz Brennan Scholarship Fund.  The first scholarship recipients (1989) each received $200.  By the final year (2010), each recipient received $3,000. In December, 2010, after 22 years of awarding scholarships to 67 student-athletes, the Fritz Brennan Scholarship Fund merged with the Lower Merion Township Scholarship Fund, and deposited $205, 000 into the LMTSF.

Kevin P. Mosley

Mosley succeeded a couple of outstanding LM tailbacks – Ernest Pendleton, LM’s all-time leading rusher (3,714 yards) from 1984-1986, and  O’Neil Allen (1987).  During the 1988 season Mosley rushed for 1,290 yards -the second highest single season total in LM history (Ernest Pendleton’s 1,687 yards in 1985 is the record) – and scored 16 touchdowns.  On defense, he recorded 27 sacks from his position at end.  The team completed its winning season with a 27-0 shutout of Radnor. His post- season honors included team MVP, first team All-Main Line, and first team All-Central League on both offense and defense. He went on to play football for Villanova, and led the Wildcats in rushing during the 1992 and 1993 seasons.  In 1992 his 814 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns helped Villanova capture the Lambert/Meadowlands Cup, awarded to the top IAA team in the East.  As of 2011, Mosley ranked 15th in all-time rushing yardage in Villanova grid history. His son, Jordan, starred in football for Haverford High School during the 2016 and 2017 seasons and is now at the University of Maryland on a football scholarship.  Another son, Shane, is currently playing football for Haverford.

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