Wilson carries Radnor to victory in rivalry

LOWER MERION — The shouting came from the Radnor sideline as a punt by Lower Merion’s Jake Weinberg bounced inside the Aces’ 40-yard line early in the second quarter of the Central League game at Arnold Field Saturday afternoon.

“Poison, poison, poison,’ were the cries of the Red Raiders’ coaches as they tried to warn their players not to pick up the football.

“I did hear them,’ junior Jack Wilson said.

The fact that he ignored what his coaches were saying didn’t turn out to mean a whole lot after Wilson dashed 66 yards down the sideline in front of his team’s bench for one of his two touchdowns, which helped visiting Radnor (4-7, 2-7) snap a six-game losing streak and earn a 34-0 decision over Lower Merion (2-9, 1-8) in the 118th renewal of one of the oldest high school rivalries in the country.

The win was the third in a row in the series for the Raiders, who have beaten Lower Merion 51 times. The Aces have come out on top in the game on 56 occasions, and 11 games have ended in a tie.

After the game — which this year was a part of the Great American Rivalry Series — Wilson, who was named most valuable player in the contest, was clutching his award as tightly as he held the football on his scoring return, his seven rushes, which accounted for 45 yards, and his two receptions (14 yards).

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to stop (Lower Merion’s) momentum,’ Wilson said. “That’s why I grabbed the ball and just took off.

“I knew winning this game meant everything for our seniors. Each weekend that we play is important, but this is the biggest weekend of the season.’

Senior quarterback Chris Leighton made the most of his final game in a football uniform, completing seven passes for 63 yards, including scoring strikes to junior Justin DiCarlo (19 yards in the first quarter) and senior Brian McKeon (five yards) in the fourth quarter.

Leighton also chipped in with 80 yards on 11 carries, and dashed across the goal line to complete a 10-yard run with 1:14 left in the third quarter. Senior Mike Thompson contributed 15 carries and 78 yards for the Raiders.

“Our line had a great game,’ Leighton said, giving seniors Alex Anderson, John Lord and Jake Schug credit for helping the Raiders to 206 yards rushing on 36 carries, a 5.7 average.

Leighton and Wilson had back-to-back 26-yard runs on the first two plays from scrimmage of the second half, with Wilson’s going for a touchdown after he got a solid downfield block from McKeon. When Leighton turned right end for his scoring run, it was McKeon who took out an Aces defender to give the quarterback a clear path to the end zone.

“McKeon had a good game,’ said winning coach Tom Ryan, who survived an ice-bucket dousing from his players late in the fourth quarter. “I’m really happy for every one of our 14 seniors.

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