Kevin McGarrey can imagine worse ways to end his high school career. He went out scoring the biggest touchdown of Garnet Valley’s season.
The play was a quarterback keeper, and the senior was off and running, a 60-yard jaunt to the end zone. It happened in the biggest game of his life — the Central League championship in November — and his objective at the time was to provide a much-needed spark for his GV mates. McGarrey’s incredible scoring scamper snapped the Jags out of an early malaise against Marple Newtown.
The sheer joy of McGarrey’s dash ended in misfortune when he was tackled in the end zone, incurring a serious shoulder injury along the way. It ended McGarrey’s night.
The bright side? Garnet Valley rallied from a two-touchdown deficit, thanks to the light provided by McGarrey’s touchdown, as the Jags went on to rout the Tigers, 52-30. McGarrey was able to watch the remainder of the game on the sideline, shoulder in a sling, and witness the Jags put the finishing touches on a 6-0 season.
Weeks later, upon reflection on the play that effectively ended his playing career, McGarrey offered a positive outlook.
“At least it wasn’t a sack,” he said.
Indeed, he will take his football play with him for the rest of his life.
“It’s something that I won’t forget,” he said.
McGarrey was one of the Jags’ MVPs and senior captains. It’s rare to see any Garnet Valley quarterback rank among the Delaware County leaders in passing, but McGarrey was an exception to the rule. He threw for 509 yards, good for seventh in Delco, and seven TDs. He also ran for 185 yards and three scores.
A case could be made that McGarrey was the most valuable QB in the Central League, even though he was voted second team by coaches and Conestoga’s (1-4) Michael Costigan was selected to the first team.
“Right when (the injury) happened, even before I knew I was hurt, I knew at that moment the entire team was going to be hyped up,” McGarrey said. “The energy absolutely skyrocketed when that happened and I knew they were going to get the job done for me.
“We were down 14-0 at the time, and I knew we had to score. On that particular play nothing really snapped in my head. I knew if I didn’t score somebody else on the team would, because everyone is capable of doing something great.”
GV scored the next four touchdowns and had seized control at halftime. McGarrey watched with pride as junior Max Busenkell stepped in his place at quarterback and completed 8 of 9 passes for 167 yards and two TDs. Busenkell had never played quarterback on varsity prior to that night.
“He was amazing,” McGarrey said. “I knew he would come in and lead us.”
The All-Central League football team, voted on by the league’s head coaches, was announced last week.
The strong Garnet Valley contingent included Reynolds (running back), Gallagher (wide receiver), Sam DiTrolio (center), Zach Libertore (kicker), Alex Nicolaides (linebacker), Will Wrzesniewski (linebacker) and CJ Wood (defensive back), who were chosen to the Class 6A first team. The Jags were far and away the best team in the league, outscoring the opposition, 291-56.
McGarrey was among seven GV players selected to the second team, joining Brendan Henry (offensive line), Brian Bradley (running back), Nolan Brennan (defensive line), Sam Morin (defensive line), Ryan Saunders (defensive back) and Liberatore (punter).
Other Class 6A first-team honorees included:
Mario Tascione and Jimmy Wright of Haverford (4-2) were voted for their efforts on offense and defense. Tascione, a two-way lineman, and running back/defensive back Jimmy Wright helped the Fords placed fourth in the league. Wright finished second in Delco in rushing with 797 yards and 11 TDs. Chris Dempsey (tight end), Casey Gilroy (wide receiver) and All-Delco Will Higson (linebacker) made first team, as well.
Nate Desmond (offensive line/linebacker) was Ridley’s top performer on both sides of the ball. The Green Raiders (3-3), who claimed sixth place in the league, also were buoyed by first teamers Blaise Harris (defensive line) and Jack Wills (defensive back).
Upper Darby’s Josh Denis was voted first-team offensive lineman. Other Royals (2-4) to earn first-team recognition were running back Darrly Pollard-Farmer and defensive lineman Julien Laventure (defensive line).
For the first time the All-Central League teams were separated by Class 6A and Class 5A, with coaches from each classification choosing a first and second team as well as honorable mentions.
League runner-up Marple Newtown (5-1) was the only team that gave Garnet a scare. Running back Charlie Box and two-way lineman Ryan Lain, who earned Pa. Sports Writers All-State honors earlier this week, joined Joey Paoletti (quarterback), Joe Goodman (offensive line), Eric McKee (receiver), Johnnie Ebert (defensive line) and Jim O’Brien (kicker/punter) as all-league first teamers.
The future is bright at Penncrest (2-4). The Lions ended the season on a high note with an upset win at Upper Darby. Connor McCarney and Nick Chelo were voted first-team offensive line and defensive back, respectively.
Radnor (5-2) placed fifth in the final standings. Scott Belveal was the leading rusher in Delco with 858 yards and 10 TDs and wide receiver Jahmir Dixon was tied for second in receiving with 443 yards and four TDs on just 15 catches. Both players voted first team along with teammates Daetrel Jerome (offensive/defensive line), Duncan McDermott (offensive line), Thomas Hannum (longsnapper), Damian Falcone (linebacker) and Mark McKeon (defensive back).
Springfield (2-3) was represented on the first team by wide receiver Robby Longo (239 yards, two TDs), defensive lineman Brian Layton and linebacker Michael Grapin.
Strath Haven’s strong 2020 season culminated with a victory over Haverford in the third-place game. The 5-1 Panthers’ stellar run offense produced 32 touchdowns. First teamers Jaris Adams (running back/linebacker) and Matt Shuler (linebacker) combined for 1,135 yards and 14 TDs. Adams also was named first-team linebacker. Other Panthers earning first-team honors were Jake Millett (offensive line) and Christian Mazur (defensive line).
Seth Fliszar (tight end) and Matt Krebs (defensive back) of Harriton (0-5) also were selected to the first team.
All-Central First Team
Michael Costigan, Conestoga, QB
Jimmy Wright, Haverford, RB
Shane Reynolds, Garnet Valley, RB
Darryl Pollard-Farmer, Upper Darby, RB
Casey Gilroy, Haverford, WR
Sean Gallagher, Garnet Valley, WR
Pete Detwiler, Conestoga, WR
Chris Dempsey, Haverford, TE
Nate Desmond, Ridley, OL
Josh Denis, Upper Darby, OL
Elijah Philippe, Lower Merion, OL
Mario Tascione, Haverford, OL
Sam DiTrolio, Garnet Valley, OL
Zach Liberatore, Garnet Valley, K
Mike Ippoliti, Conestoga, LS
Julien Laventure, Upper Darby, DL
Dshawn Jemison, Lower Merion, DL
Mario Tascione, Haverford, DL
Blaise Harris, Ridley, DL
Will Higson, Haverford, LB
Alex Nicolaides, Garnet Valley, LB
Nate Desmond, Ridley, LB
Will Wrzesniewski, Garnet Valley, LB
Jimmy Wright, Haverford, DB
CJ Wood, Garnet Valley, DB
Michael Brosso, Conestoga, DB
Jack Wills, Ridley, DB
Patrick Nichols, Conestoga, P
Joe Paoletti, Marple Newtown, QB
Charlie Box, Marple Newtown, RB
Scott Belveal, Radnor, RB
Jaris Adams, Strath Haven, RB
Jahmir Dixon, Radnor, WR
Rob Longo, Springfield, WR
Eric McKee, Marple Newtown, WR
Seth Fliszar, Harriton, TE
Joe Goodman, Marple Newtown, OL
Connor McCarney, Penncrest, OL
Ryan Lain, Marple Newtown, OL
Jake Millett, Strath Haven, OL
Dae Trel Jerome, Radnor, OL
Duncan McDermott, Radnor, OL
Jim O’Brien, Marple Newtown, K
Thomas Hannum, Radnor, LS
Johnnie Ebert, Marple Newtown, DL
Christian Mazur, Strath Haven, DL
Brian Layton, Springfield, DL
Dae Trel Jerome, Radnor, DL
Michael Grapin, Springfield, LB
Damian Falcone, Radnor, LB
Jaris Adams, Strath Haven, LB
Seth Fliszar, Harriton, LB
Matt Shuler, Strath Haven, DB
Matt Krebbs, Harriton, DB
Mark McKeon, Radnor, DB
Nick Chelo, Penncrest, DB
Jim O’Brien, Marple Newtown, P
All-Central Second Team
Kevin McGarrey, Garnet Valley, QB
Jay Zheng, Lower Merion, RB
Gavin Kingsborough, Ridley, RB
Brian Bradley, Garnet Valley, RB
Tahir Mills, Ridley, WR
Patrick Reilly, Conestoga, WR
Albert Marshall, Conestoga, WR
Anthony Laber, Ridley, TE
Connor Whitlow, Conestoga, OL
Brendan Henry, Garnet Valley, OL
Pat Kerwood, Upper Darby, OL
Xavier Archawski, Lower Merion, OL
Nick Falcucci, Ridley, OL
Ryan Wellington, Haverford, K
Mason Paul, Haverford, LS
Nolan Brennan, Garnet Valley, DL
Sam Morin, Garnet Valley, DL
Victor Ninson, Ridley, DL
Conor Whitlow, Conestoga, DL
Freddie Mucklow, Conestoga, LB
Casey Gilroy, Haverford, LB
Phil Cook, Lower Merion, LB
Patrick Nichols, Conestoga, LB
Darryl Pollard-Farmer, Upper Darby, DB
Jack Lledo, Lower Merion, DB
DJ Penske, Conestoga, DB
Ryan Saunders, Garnet Valley, DB
Zach Liberatore, Garnet Valley, P
Nick Falcucci, Ridley, P
Jack Ryder, Strath Haven, QB
Teddy Molineaux, Harriton, RB
Jayden Baiden, Springfield, RB
Matt Shuler, Strath Haven, RB
Mark McKeon, Radnor, WR
Alex Sciarinno, Springfield, WR
Zach Tropiano, Springfield, WR
Kamrin Vaughn, Penncrest, TE
Brian Loeper, Penncrest, OL
Ethan Barrar, Strath Haven, OL
Mike Wysocki, Springfield, OL
Gavin Holz, Radnor, OL
Ryan Marsh, Harriton, OL
Charlie Shankweiler, Strath Haven, K
John Williams, Springfield, LS
Connor McCarney, Penncrest, DL
Joe Goodman, Marple Newtown, DL
Ethan Johnson, Springfield, DL
Aiden Prochniak, Strath Haven, DL
CJ Lane, Marple Newtown, LB
Dylan McDougall, Penncrest, LB
Chris Meikeljohn, Marple Newtown, LB
Reece Evans, Radnor, LB
Matt Dickenson, Springfield, DB
Chase Barlow, Strath Haven, DB
Kamrin Vaughn, Penncrest, DB
Charlie Box, Marple Newtown, DB
Reece Evans, Radnor, P
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