Pottsgrove boosted ahead of district game by Defransesco’s return from cancer bout

It’s been a tough month for Pottsgrove’s Chris Defrancesco.

But finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the Pottsgrove senior.

One month after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, and two weeks after undergoing surgery, the Falcon defensive end has been cleared to play, receiving a call late Wednesday night with the positive news.

“We got the call around seven (Wednesday) night from CHOP,” Defrancesco said. “My mom told me they called and that I was cleared to play. I was just so hype about it. The first thing I did was text coach and then I told everybody and all the kids were excited.”

The Falcons gain its best defensive end back in time for the team’s District 1-AAA dual with No. 6 Marple Newtown Friday night at 7 p.m. at Pottsgrove.

For Defrancesco, it couldn’t come a moment too soon after he sat out the past two weeks after recovering from a successful surgery. Currently, Defrancesco does not need chemotherapy, and faces a 50 percent chance of recurrence. However, even in recurrence, he has more than a 99 percent chance of the cancer being curable.

“It feels so good to come back,” Defrancesco said. “I’ve been waiting the whole two weeks to come back and now that I’m actually back, it feels so good.

“To sit there and go to the Owen J. game and Pottstown game and to not be able to go out there, I just felt a sinking feeling in my gut. I wanted to be out there, knowing that I won’t be able to come back and do this for Pottsgrove was the worst feeling in the world. When I got the news, it was great.”

Defrancesco’s return puts the Falcons back at full strength for the first time since its Week 1 date with Ben Franklin. Kobey Baldwin is back in the secondary with running back Tyrell Barr back at full strength at running back. Deyon Doctor, after suffering a foot injury in the Week 1 loss, has been back since midseason along with starting fullback and safety Wyatt Porter.

The return to full strength couldn’t come at a better time for the Falcons, who seek their third District 1-AAA title and first since 2011. They will face off against a Marple Newtown team that is seeking its first playoff win in school history and making its first appearance to the district dance since 2011.

“We have to keep the penalties down, make sure everything is correct and defensively we need to stop No. 7 (wide receiver Abel Hoff). He’s a great athlete, cuts good, finds the hole then goes. We just need to play aggressive. They’re like Spring-Ford or Perkiomen Valley. They’re not an average team, they’re well trained so we need to go out there amped up,” Defrancesco said.

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