Eight PAC-10 athletes honored at Tall Cedars

ROYERSFORD — Eight Pioneer Athletic Conference football players and their coaches were honored during the annual Tall Cedars Lodge Football Night on Wednesday evening.

Honored players included Patrick Finn, Pottsgrove; Shawn O’Donnell, Boyertown; Brendan Zimmie, Spring-Ford; Joshua Torrens, Owen J. Roberts; Andrew Narducci, Perkiomen Valley; Matt Mesaros, Pope John Paul II; Matt Palubinsky, Phoenixville; and Vaughn Bertoti, Pottstown.

Perkiomen Valley was recognized for its undefeated run in the PAC-10 and first outright championship in school history, all coming under the direction of head coach Scott Reed. Perkiomen Valley offensive line coach Jason Basile was the first to speak about his player, Narducci.

“Andrew was our center and is an excellent representative of our program,’ said Basile. “He fought his way up. As a junior, he started four games at left tackle last year. This year he was our starting center. But he could have been our right tackle, right guard, left guard or left tackle. He was extremely versatile and stayed calm.’

Narducci carries a 3.2 grade point average and plans to study accounting in college. He is considering UConn, Delaware, Temple and Bloomsburg.

Boyertown head coach George Parkinson talked about O’Donnell, an offensive lineman for the Bears.

“Number one, he is a good student, an honor student, and he gives back to the community,’ said Parkinson. “He played offensive line, but he wasn’t the biggest guy. He used his intelligence and technique and (has a lot of) heart and desire. He has a great work ethic, and his enthusiasm is contagious.’

O’Donnell has also helped his father coach youth football for the last seven years. O’Donnell plans to major in history in college. He is deciding between Albright, Wilkes and Indiana.

Owen J. Roberts head coach Tom Barr talked about Torrens.

“Joshua was always a guy you could depend on,’ Barr said of the offensive lineman. “This year we had guys go down in our offensive line. We never had the same five guys on the field at one time so we had to change people around. But he never questioned his role.’

Torrens played tackle, guard and center for the Wildcats.

“He knew what had to get done, and he really helped us out a lot,’ said Barr. “He is a team player, and he stayed injury free by dedicating himself in the offseason in the weight room.’

Torrens wants to study metal fabrication and welding at Stevens College, and he would also like to play football there.

Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker talked about Finn, who also happens to be his nephew. Finn has been an outstanding student as well as an outstanding two-way lineman on the football field the last two seasons.

“Patrick is a special kid,’ said Pennypacker. “We brought him up in ninth grade, and he was a skinny runt. Four years later he became a good football player. We like our players to have character, academics and skill. His character is beyond reproach. He never talks, but he lets his actions speak for themselves. He was voted our captain by 46 of 47 votes.’

Finn carries a 101.3 cumulative grade average in his schoolwork with honors courses in his curriculum. A member of the National Honor Society, Finn plans to study mechanical engineering in college on a scholarship to Bucknell University while also playing football. Finn also had big offers from Navy, Army, Villanova and Delaware to play college football.

Also an outstanding wrestler, Finn finished second in the state at 285 pounds during the PIAA Championships. However, he will not be wrestling this year. He plans to have surgery on his shoulder in order to prepare for his college football career.

Pope John Paul II head coach Rory Graver discussed Mesaros.

“I have known Matt since his freshman year,’ said Graver. “He has really developed into a leader and always competes in school and in the community. He was voted our most outstanding player.’

Mesaros has a 3.9 GPA. He also gives back to the community as a CYO coach and Special Abilities Coach for Shooting Stars. Mesaros was moved from quarterback to wide receiver this year, but he maintained a positive attitude to help lead the squad as a team player. He was also willing to help out the Golden Panthers’ younger quarterbacks.

Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker talked about defensive end Brendan Zimmie, who went from not playing football at all to becoming a standout contributor this season.

“It is a tribute to how hard he’s worked,’ said Brubaker. “He did not play football as a sophomore. He came out last year and played JV linebacker and on special teams. But he had a tremendous offseason, and he had a really good wrestling season. During the spring and summer, he developed in the weight room. The coaches felt ‘ we have to get this kid on the field’. We ended up moving him to defensive end. He has a motor and he plays to the whistle. Everything he’s gotten, he’s earned.’

Zimmie registered seven sacks and had six hurries this season in becoming an elite pass rusher in the PAC-10. He also excels in the classroom with a 96 percent cumulative grade average and a 1,310 combined score on the GSAT.

A quiet kid, Zimmie still knew how to lead his Ram teammates.

“He motivated kids,’ said Brubaker. “He knew what buttons to push. He earns what he gets.’

Pottstown head coach Don Grinstead spoke about Bertoti, a 160-pound center on the Trojans’ offensive line last year who also led the team in tackles.

Grinstead remembered when he took the job at Pottstown last year, he was looking for offensive linemen. Bertoti told him he was the center. Grinstead was skeptical due to Bertoti’s size, but it turned out to be true and solid.

“It is because he was as tough as nails,’ said Grinstead. “He did not play this year because he broke his leg on the second play in our first scrimmage. Football can be cruel, but we all love the sport, and it teaches us life lessons. He went through four hours of surgery. He got back to practice for our Thanksgiving Day morning game. But the hardest part I had to do was tell him he wasn’t ready. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a coach, but he just was not ready. He would have been one of our best players this year. We missed him like crazy.’

Grinstead praised Bertoti and his parents for raising such a fine young man. Bertoti plans to enter a branch of the military for his future career.

Phoenixville head coach Evan Breisblatt brought along Palubinsky, an all-purpose junior performer for the Phantoms. Palubinsky was accompanied by his mother, Phoenixville assistant superintendent Dr. Regina Palubinsky, as well as Phoenixville principal Dr. Craig Parkinson.

“Matt Palubinsky is a great example for my own kid,’ said Breisblatt. “He was the first-ever junior captain I’ve had, and I have been coaching for 19 years. We left it open, but we all agreed.’

Breisblatt said Palubinsky, like all the honored football players, does the right things as far as being a student-athlete, which may not be “cool,’ but they do not care what other people think.

Palubinsky played wide receiver, tight end, running back and quarterback for the Phantoms, and he also doubled on defense. He also played on all of the special teams.

“He never came off the field,’ said Breisblatt. “He did it all.’

The Tall Cedars continued a tradition that began in 1941 and has continued ever since. Bob Mull has been the longtime chairman of Football Night. The Tall Cedars also presented gifts to each of the football players.

The guest speaker for the evening was West Chester University head football coach Bill Zwaan, who has been directing the Golden Rams to success in the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) for the past 12 years. Zwaan was a star quarterback at Archbishop Carroll High School before graduating in 1972, and then went on to become a standout quarterback at the University of Delaware.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply