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All-Delco Football: Defense – Garnet Valley’s Brennan, Springfield’s Clemens boosted their teams’ stopping abilities

Garnet Valley defensive end Cade Brennan, seen here deflecting a pass from Springfield's Jack Psenicska, earned All-Delco honors for a second straight season.

The All-Delco defensive team includes:

Cade Brennan, Garnet Valley: The two-time All-Delco was the engine of the Jaguars’ defense. The most productive defensive end in the Central League improved upon an outstanding junior campaign and was the catalyst of one of Delco’s top units. Featuring a potent combination of size, strength and quickness, Brennan was the top tackler on the Jags (57.5) and ranked second in sacks (7.5). The Cornell commit’s play helped the Jags to their first Central League title in five years and an appearance in the District 1 Class 6A semifinal round for the third straight season.

Mike Moore, Interboro: A senior, Moore was a workhorse for the Bucs. At defensive end, he was dominant, racking up 60 tackles, six sacks and an interception. The All-Del Val League selection was the Bucs’ No. 1 running back, too. He amassed 1,139 yards and 19 touchdowns en route to leading the Bucs to the quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class 5A tournament. He also had a kick return for a touchdown.

Jack Purcell, Episcopal Academy: A senior, Purcell was stellar on both the offensive and defensive line units. With plenty of size and speed, Purcell’s play as a two-way standout helped the Churchmen to a 7-3 record. Purcell finished with 40 tackles, including 11 behind the line of scrimmage and 3.5 sacks. He earned All-Inter-Ac League honors as an offensive and defensive lineman.

Da’Shawn Brickle, Penn Wood: A senior, Brickle made a huge impact in his lone season at Penn Wood. A transfer from Jacksonville H.S. in North Carolina, Brickle flourished at defensive end on arguably the best defensive unit in the county. He posted 105 tackles, including 22.5 TFLs, and registered 12 sacks and a forced fumble. Brickle’s performance earned him All-Del Val honors.

Haverford junior Trey Blair was flourished on offense, defense and special teams. He finished tied for the county lead in interceptions (six) and had 513 yards receiving with six touchdown catches.

Pat Clemens, Springfield: A two-time All-Delco, he was the heart and soul of a Springfield defense that once again ranked among the top units in Delco. In helping the Cougars qualify for the District 1 Class 5A playoffs, the senior linebacker posted 163 tackles, good for nearly 15 per game. He also notched three fumble recoveries and an interception. Clemens will play lacrosse at Saint Joseph’s.

Aliyoh Turay, Penn Wood: A senior, Turay was another on a long list of playmakers for the Patriots. The outside linebacker tortured opposing running backs and quarterbacks. He finished with a team-high 144 tackles, seven TFLs and 3.5 sacks. Thanks in part to Turay’s efforts, Penn Wood’s defense held opposing rushers to 3.2 yards per carry, An All-Del Val selection, Turay (5-10, 185) also returned an interception for a touchdown.

Richie Kimmel, Archbishop Carroll: A junior, Kimmel was the backbone of the Patriots’ defensive unit. The linebacker posted 166 tackles, including 18 TFLs. An All-Catholic League selection, he forced three fumbles, returning one to the end zone, and recorded a pair of interceptions. Kimmel’s play helped the Patriots to a 5-6 record, their most victories since 2007, and advance to the Catholic League Class 4A final.

Dan Bradley, Garnet Valley: A senior, Bradley was regarded as Garnet Valley’s top all-around performer, according to coach Mike Ricci. He excelled as a defensive back and outside linebacker during the Jags’ run to the District 1 Class 6A semifinals. Bradley was one of few Jaguars to go both ways on offense and defense. By midseason, Bradley became a go-to player in GV’s running back rotation. He ranked second on the team in rushing yards (619) and scored seven touchdowns.

Omar Ba, Penn Wood: Ba was a ballhawk in the defensive secondary for the Del Val League champions. The senior free safety made a slew of big plays and scored three defensive touchdowns (one interception, two fumble recoveries). With Ba roaming the defensive backfield, the Patriots ranked as the top defensive passing unit in the county. An All-Del Val honoree, Ba finished with 60 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and seven pass deflections.

Edmund Dennis, Penn Wood: A senior, Dennis was a shutdown cornerback for two straight seasons. Quarterbacks simply avoided throwing the ball in Dennis’ direction. He totaled 45 tackles and one interception, indicative of how effective he was in pass coverage. Dennis also earned All-Del Val honors. With offers from Morgan State and Stoneybrook, college programs are well-aware of Dennis’ talent. In addition to his exploits on defense, Dennis was the team’s kicker and punter. He averaged 38.9 yards per punt. On offense, Dennis contributed 10 catches for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

Trey Blair, Haverford: A junior, Blair is another in a handful of All-Delco performers recognized for their all-purpose abilities. He did a little of everything for the Fords, who qualified for the District Class 6A tournament and finished 9-3 overall. Blair tied for the county lead in interceptions with six and was the Fords’ No. 1 playmaker on offense. As a receiver, he made 25 catches for 513 yards and six touchdowns. As a rusher, he gained 407 yards with three scores. Blair was also the team’s starting punter.

Elijah Yakpasuo, Ridley: “Yak,” as he is nicknamed, was vital to the Green Raiders’ midseason resurgence. The senior was a multi-purpose force. As the team’s leading rusher, Yakpasuo amassed 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns. He returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns, as well. Yakpasuo was a standout in the defensive secondary, leading the team in interceptions with three. Yakpasuo’s performance was crucial in helping the Green Raiders win seven of their final eight decisions and qualify for the District 1 Class 6A tournament. Said coach Dave Wood: “He is a huge part of our turnaround and is a total team kid.”

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