Ohio edges Pa. in overtime in Big 33 Classic

By Dennis Weller

HERSHEY – The final result was obviously not the one he wanted. But when the sting of an unexplainable defeat in Saturday night’s Big 33 Football Classic at Hershey Park Stadium wears off, Spring-Ford’s Andrew Scanlan will look back on the 55th Annual High School All-Star contest as the best experience of his athletic career so far.

Scanlan played in the defense backfield for Pennsylvania, which led from midway through the first quarter until midway in the fourth before suffering its fourth straight loss to Ohio, this one a 24-21 overtime heartbreaker.

“We were ready to go,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, who set career receiving records for the Rams and will attend Northwestern University on a football scholarship next year. “I don’t know how to explain it. We played our butts off. All week in practice we were on the field before Ohio was and we were out there after they were. We should have won the game, to put it simply. It kind of reminded me of the game against Daniel Boone this year where they couldn’t do much against us, but found a way to win.”

Pennsylvania led by as much as a 21-7 margin, but Ohio drew close on a quarterback sneak and then recovered a fumble in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff to tie the score. Scanlan was on defense as PA forced Ohio into a 39-yard field goal attempt on its overtime possession. But that kick was good and a pass went off the hands of a PA receiver on its first overtime play and was intercepted to end the game.

“It’s probably the best football atmosphere I’ve been a part of,” said Scanlan. “The first thing you’re going to think about is wins and losses. If he could have caught it (the PA receiver), it could have won the game for us.”

Scanlan, who did not allow any of the receivers he covered to catch a pass, played during parts of each quarter and all of the third and tried to use his size to handle the all-star receivers on the other side.

“Used my size and my strength the best I could,” he said. “The whole defense did its job. We only gave up 24 points. It was just a great game. Such a great game, probably the best sporting experience of my life.”

And whether on or off the field, Scanlan was always the first to congratulate his teammates. After the game, he was the closest of any of the PA players to the awards ceremony at midfield as Ohio was presented with its trophy.

“The Spring-Ford community is extremely proud of Andrew as an athlete and what he’s accomplished, and the person he is,” Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel said after the game. “He was cheering everybody after every play, on the field or off. Spring-Ford couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Scanlan also looked at the week of practice and the game as a good way to prepare for the week-in and week-out rigors of college football.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s what I was excited about. I couldn’t wait to play in this game.”

Quarterback Blake Rankin (Bloomsburg) was named the PA MVP after going 9-for-14 through the air for 134 yards and two touchdowns. ... Ohio MVP Tyler O’Connor passed for 161 yards on 9-for-18 accuracy. ... Last year Ohio scored the most points ever in the Classic during a 50-14 win and now holds a 13-12 edge in the all-time series.


A legendary list awaits Big 33 participant Scanlan

By Don Seeley

HERSHEY – Good, sometimes even real good, isn’t good enough.

Countless Mercury-area football players who have competed in the Ches-Mont League or Pioneer Athletic Conference, as well as their coaches, are aware of just good one has to be both on and off the field to be selected to the annual Big 33 Classic.

Fully aware, because since that inaugural game back in 1957, only 25 area players have been selected to play in it.

Raw talent alone, with glaring statistics and a scholarship to a Division I, I-AA or even Division II college football program, surely warrants a nomination. An equally impressive academic transcript and detailed school/community activities resumé packaged in with a highlight video sure helps, too. And being in the right place at the right time – or playing a position that lacks depth (or a position that doesn’t already have a surplus of all-staters and scholastic all-Americans) – can very well be the clincher.

Or what turns a nomination into a selection … that coveted invitation to play for Pennsylvania in the Big 33 Classic, billed year in and year out as one of the very best high school all-star football games in the entire country.

Spring-Ford’s Andrew Scanlan, who’ll be the Mercury area’s lone participant in the 56th renewal of the event Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium, called his selection – or opportunity to be part of the summer spectacle – “a privilege, an honor.”

It is both indeed for him.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Scanlan, who earlier this year accepted a full scholarship from Northwestern University, is the very first selection from Spring-Ford.

All but two area PIAA-member schools – Daniel Boone and Pope John Paul II, which has been in existence just two years – have had at least one representative in the Big 33 Classic. Phoenixville owns the most with seven, followed by Owen J. Roberts with four and Boyertown and Pottstown with three apiece.

The area wasn’t represented in a Big 33 game until 1963, when Boyertown’s Bob Bauer and Phoenixville’s Tom Detwiler – who had committed to Maryland and Kentucky, respectively – were selected. They were part of the game that featured all Pennsylvania players, with the Blue defeating the Gray, 34-6.

In 1966, Upper Perkiomen’s Keith Kleinbach (Florida State) was part of the Pennsylvania team that was thumped by Texas, 34-2.

In 1971, Owen J. Roberts’ all-state running back Dennis Laws (Illinois State) and Pottstown quarterback Tom Shuman (Penn State) were part of the East squad that fell to the West, 34-20.

The following year, though, Pottstown standout lineman John Nash (Maryland) helped Pennsylvania to its first win over Ohio, 27-22.

Perkiomen Valley lineman Bill Neil (Pitt) – a PIAA-Class A state champion in wrestling – was part of the all-Pennsylvania game in 1977. His East squad fell to the West, 12-8. Neil would go on to have an outstanding career at Pitt and then played with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers in the NFL.

The area was represented by an all-time high three players in 1978 – Phoenixville teammates Greg Bamberger (Duke) and Chris Carr (North Carolina State), and St. Pius X’s Jerry Rogers (East Carolina). The threesome helped the Pennsylvania East team to a 28-6 rout of the West.

Phoenixville’s run of selections continued the next year when Phantom teammates Jack Dettra (Salem) and Rich Kraynak (Pitt) were selected to the East team, which stumbled offensively in a 24-2 setback to their West rivals.

Tony Romano (Syracuse) gave Phoenixville a player in the Big 33 Classic for a third straight year in 1979. However, much like the previous year, Romano and the East squad couldn’t muster any offense, getting blanked by the West, 16-0.

Methacton’s only representative in the game was lineman Mike Ruth (Methacton), who helped the East to a 22-21 thriller over the West in 1982. Ruth later played for the New England Patriots in the NFL.

Three players who helped Owen J. Roberts during its dominant run in the 1980s – Dan Crossman, Mike Beasley and Rudy Glocker – were part of three Pennsylvania teams that lined up against standouts from Maryland.

Crossman (Kansas, Pitt), a defensive back, helped Pennsylvania to a 17-14 win in 1985. He was named to the Freshman All-American team later that year at Kansas before transferring to Pitt, where he was a starting fullback as a junior and a starting defensive back as a senior with the Panthers. Crossman – who would also play in the now defunct World Football League, where he helped the London Monarchs to the WFL title and was named the MVP of the inaugural World Bowl – is currently the special teams coordinator for the Detroit Lions.

The following year, Beasley (Maryland, West Virginia), a running back, helped Pennsylvania make it two in a row over Maryland with a 21-7 win. Beasley was part of the Dallas Cowboys’ organization for several seasons.

Glocker (Penn State), a linebacker, was joined by Phoenixville running back Chris Minor (Temple) on the Pennsylvania team that was edged by Maryland, 26-22, in 1987. Months before the Big 33 Classic, Glocker was the recipient of the Maxwell Football Club’s prestigious John Henry Award as the Philadelphia region’s outstanding high school football player. The fleet-footed Minor, an outstanding back for the Phantoms, played sparingly as a freshman at Temple, red-shirted the next season due to an injury, and was a potential starter for the Owls the following season. However, Minor was killed in an automobile accident on Route 724 in East Vincent Township earlier that summer.

Boyertown lineman Harvey Pennypacker (Syracuse) was part of Pennsylvania’s last game against Maryland in 1992, and it was one of the more lopsided affairs as Pennypacker and his teammates cruised, 38-0.

It would be another seven years before the area was represented in the game. Perkiomen Valley linebacker Grant Wiley (West Virginia) and Pennsylvania came up short in a 21-14 meeting with Ohio – a series that began in 1993 and will mark its 20th renewal on Saturday. Wiley would go on to become an All-American linebacker with the Mountaineers.

Pottstown had its first Big 33 selection in 29 long years when Rian Wallace (Temple) lined up in 2001 and helped Pennsylvania to a 31-29 thriller over Ohio. Wallace had an outstanding career as a linebacker at Temple before becoming part of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organization.

Two offensive linemen – Upper Perkiomen’s John Fieger (Pitt) and Boyertown’s Tyler Sands (Illinois) – were part of the 2007 and 2008 games, respectively. Fieger helped Pennsylvania defeat Ohio, 28-10, then Sands and his Pennsylvania teammates made it two in a row over Ohio with a 31-16 victory.

Last year, Pottsgrove’s Terrell Chestnut (West Virginia) was selected to the Pennsylvania team but could not participate due to shoulder surgery. Chestnut red-shirted last fall while recovering from the surgery, but is expected to compete for a spot in the Mountaineers’ secondary this season.

Marty Moore, who guided Phoenixville and Spring-Ford football programs before retiring, owns the honor of having the most appearances of any Mercury-area coach in the Big 33 game. Moore, while the head coach at Phoenixville, was an assistant on the East teams in 1979 and 1980. While at Spring-Ford, he was an assistant on the Pennsylvania team in 1996. … Former Owen J. Roberts head coach Henry Bernat and current Pottsgrove head coach Rick Pennypacker were assistants on the Pennsylvania staffs in 1985 and 2008, respectively.

One very hot topic of conversation making its way throughout the Big 33 Classic camp and around the state is the news released earlier this week that George Curry was named the head coach at Berwick … again.

The legendary Curry, who started his career at Lake Lehman, guided Berwick for nearly 20 seasons. He led the Bulldogs to eight District 2 titles and six PIAA-Class AAA state championships. He later moved over to Wyoming Valley West for a couple of years before retiring with a state-record 413-94-4 career mark.

According to reports, Curry accepted the school board’s appointment on a one-year interim basis. He replaces Gary Campbell Jr., who resigned to return to his former position as head coach at Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, Mass.


Scanlan, Pa. team determined to end slide

By Don Seeley

HERSHEY — It didn’t take long for Andrew Scanlan to feel like he fit in, to feel like he belonged on the Pennsylvania team that will line up against Ohio in this evening’s Big 33 Football Classic here at Hersheypark Stadium.

“The first thing I noticed was how no one thought they were above the rest,” the Spring-Ford graduate said of last Sunday’s meet-and-greet and barbecue. “I mean there was (Hopewell running back) Rushel Shell, who may be the best player in this game, for both teams, too, fitting in with everyone else. I think that’s what will help us (tonight).”

That esprit de corps, not to mention a three-game losing streak in the series, has been more than enough to drive Scanlan and his teammates through three practice sessions on Monday, two-a-days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and one more on Friday … enough to fuel the competitive fires for tonight’s showdown.

“The whole week has been a lot of fun, a lot of fun with hard work,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Scanlan explained. “There have been a lot of laughs, too. But in between those 5-10 seconds from the snap of the ball until the last whistle, believe me, it’s been all business.

“We want to get rid of that three-game skid. It’s all we’ve been talking about. The coaches have told us they want to start a new era. They don’t talk a lot about the past, but we know they want to get this (losing streak) over with, too.”

The Northwestern University-bound Scanlan has been working at a corner and as a safety, sharing time with five others in the secondary — South Western’s Michael Felton, Cardinal O’Hara’s Damiere Shaw and Archbishop Wood’s Desmon Peoples, all Temple recruits, as well as Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s Anthony Nixon (Maryland) and Bishop McDevitt’s Miles Williams (Bloomsburg).

Their defensive scheme is simple enough — man to man … every single play.

No one has drawn any easy assignments for practice or for tonight’s game, either. Among the Pennsylvania receivers challenging Scanlan and the rest of the secondary are Allentown Central Catholic’s Kevin Gulyas (Villanova), Woodland Hill’s Shakim Alonzo (Cincinnati) and Penn Hills’ Corey Jones (Toledo), all of whom have size, speed and strength. Ohio has its share of highly touted receivers, too, including Nana Kyeremeh (West Virginia), Frank Epitropoulos (Ohio State) and Quincy Jones (Eastern Michigan), all of whom have that size, speed and strength, too.

“We play man-to-man defense the entire game, and that’s a challenge because you have to throw (the ball) 60 percent of the time,” Scanlan explained. “That means we’ll all be moving around a lot, and we’re going to have to stick with some excellent receivers.

“But I think our receivers are better than (Ohio’s) receivers, too. We’ve had a great time challenging each other, and we’re getting better as a result of it. The focus is unbelievable, and the competition is at a max. That’s what a week’s work of practices is all about.”

And what has helped take Scanlan and his teammates to another level.

“I’ve definitely played against some great talent throughout the (Pioneer Athletic Conference) and when we played Coatesville (in the District 1-AAAA playoffs),” Scanlan added. “But you may have only seen three players from Pottsgrove or two players from Methacton, for instance, who had exceptional talent.

“Here, in the Big 33 game, there are 11 players on the field who have exceptional talent. So you have to be ready every play, be aware of everyone every single moment.”

“Andrew is a very smart young man, but like a lot of the (players in the Big 33 game) they haven’t been challenged in their high school careers like they’ve been challenged this week,” said Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker. “Everyone has been telling them how good they’ve been all their life, but now they have a chance to see where the rubber meets the road.”

The Pennsylvania talent alone has given Scanlan invaluable insight into just how competitive tonight’s game will be … and what is expected of him.

“I know some people may have thought I was one of those exceptional athletes back at (Spring-Ford), but here I’m just an ordinary athlete,” he said. “I’m trying to rise above that here, trying to be another exceptional athlete here, trying to be the best I can be here.

“I want to be that way for the people back home — for my family, friends, my teammates and my coaches. But I also want to show that talent to people around the state, too.”

People throughout Pennsylvania have heard of Andrew Scanlan, an all-state selection. He drew raves as a receiver last season with 52 catches for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns, and graduated as Spring-Ford’s career leader in all three of those offensive categories. But he was just as valuable on the other side of the ball, too, coming up to make big hits (48 solo tackles) as well as defending the pass (three interceptions, 12 deflections).

Still, all those numbers and honors were, at one time, nothing but a dream for Scanlan.

A dream, that is, until shortly after a positions meeting with Brubaker following his junior season at Spring-Ford.

“Coach Brubaker told me my goal should be to play in the Big 33 Football Classic,” Scanlan recalled. “Coach told me if I worked hard enough the rest of my game would come along. He pushed me to work toward that goal.

“That really opened my eyes, opened my eyes wide enough to realize that if Coach Brubaker thought I could do this then I had a good chance to play in this game.”

* * *
Scanlan is one of five District 1 players in tonight’s game. The other four are Pennsbury offensive lineman J.J. Denman (Rutgers), Council Rock South tight end P.J. Gallo (Maryland), and Neshaminy defensive end Kiser Terry (Temple). Interboro head coach Steve Lennox is an assistant on the Pennsylvania staff. … Ohio won last year’s game 50-14, the most points a Pennsylvania team has allowed any opponent in the series, which began in 1958 and has included two all-Pennsylvania all-star teams playing one another twice in 1980. … Opposition has come from USA All-Stars (1958-60), Texas, Maryland and, of course, Ohio (five games from 1972 through 1976 and every year since 1993). … Ohio has won the last three meetings, while Pennsylvania won the previous three (2006-08). The overall series with Ohio is tied at 12-12. … A news conference Friday tonight featured among others, four college coaches, all who’ll begin their first seasons this fall, with a lot of interest in the game — Bill O’Brien of Penn State, Paul Chryst of Pitt, Steve Addazio of Temple, and Urban Meyer of Ohio State. Also present was two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this year’s Big 33 Honorary Chairman.

Scanlan’s mother, Tara, and his two younger sisters — Kyra and Jovanna — will be among the thousands in attendance for tonight’s game, which will be broadcast live on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), with an encore presentation scheduled for 10 p.m. Sunday. … Scanlan leaves August 3 for Northwestern. “(The coaches) told me what I had to work on, told me to come out and be ready to compete,” Scanlan said. “That’s all I think about every snap of the ball out here. I want to get better every single day and be ready when I get out (to Northwestern).”


Scanlan honored to be part of Big 33

By Don Seeley

HERSHEY — The Big 33 Classic is billed as one of the best high school all-star football games in the nation.

But it is more than just another all-star game, more than just football-rich rivals Pennsylvania and Ohio lining up against one another every June. And its organizers’ mission is assuring everyone involved, including the thousands of fans — many of whom drive hundreds of miles to watch it here at Hersheypark Stadium — are aware of how big an event it really is.

Dave Trimbur, executive director of the event, like everyone before him since the inaugural game back in 1957, fully endorses the Big 33’s objective of showcasing and developing excellence in students and the community, and raising funds for academic scholarships and other charities.

And Andrew Scanlan is grateful to be part of it all.

“This is a privilege, an honor,” he said following Tuesday afternoon’s practice at Lower Dauphin High School.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Scanlan, who made quite an impact on Spring-Ford’s football team last fall as a wideout and defensive back and was also a key contributor on the basketball and track and field teams, is the first player from his school to be selected to the Big 33 game that began, ironically, just two years after Royersford and Spring City high schools merged and Spring-Ford first opened its doors.

That covers a lot of time and, of course, a lot of talent that has been part of the Rams’ program.

“Being the first player from Spring-Ford means so much to me,” Scanlan explained. “It means so much to me because of the great (football) history at Spring-Ford.

“I am playing for all those players in the past. I want to represent what Spring-Ford was and what Spring-Ford is becoming. I’m representing myself here, of course, but I’m also representing our great football program and the great school and great community I come from.”

Scanlan certainly proved himself on the football field, enough to help Spring-Ford to the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship and its first appearance in the District 1-Class AAAA playoffs last fall; enough to be recognized on all-league and several all-state teams; enough to earn a full scholarship to Northwestern University as a wide receiver; and enough to be named a defensive back — and just one of four District 1 players overall — for this year’s Big 33 Classic.

“Andrew absolutely belongs (in the game),” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said earlier this week. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of great wide receivers. I don’t like to compare them because I think that’s unfair. But there’s no doubt Andrew was one of them, and he definitely belongs where he is right now.”

Big 33 selections, as controversial as they may have been through the years, are nonetheless based on student-athletes’ football abilities and, equally important, their character.

Brubaker saw both qualities in Scanlan the moment he arrived at Spring-Ford two years ago. He got a reminder of those coveted traits this spring, too.

“We had a number of (graduating seniors) come out to help with our spring drills, but Andrew was there every day,” Brubaker explained. “He wants to give back. He really gets it. He realizes a lot of people helped him get where he is, helped him have the opportunities he had. He takes that all to heart.”

Very much to heart, according to Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel.

“Andrew has been blessed with gifts and talents of athleticism, social skills, leadership and intellect,” McDaniel said. “There are some people you just know are going to make a difference somewhere sometime in this world. Andrew is one of them. He has been building this road each year throughout his career at Spring-Ford.

“We’re very proud of him being selected to the Big 33 game. It’s quite an honor, and one he has certainly earned.”

Scanlan arrived at Lower Dauphin High School on Sunday morning, where he underwent a required physical. Most of the afternoon was spent getting to know everyone, including his Pennsylvania teammates and coaches, as well as his host family – Mike and Dee Vangavree and their 10-year-old son Kutter of nearby Hummelstown – during a barbeque sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Work detail, or practice, began Monday with three sessions. Scanlan and his teammates had two-a-days Tuesday and Wednesday, with another scheduled for today. They’ll have a walk-through Friday in preparation for Saturday’s (7 p.m.) showdown against Ohio, which practices on an adjacent field at Lower Dauphin.

“I was a little anxious, maybe a little nervous when I first got here,” Scanlan said. “But I’ve gotten to be friends with a lot of the (players). They’re awesome, too, because no one thinks he’s above the rest. And (the Vangavrees) have made me feel like part of their family. I’m totally comfortable with them.

“So it’s been a whole new experience for me, and it’s been great. It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s been fun, really fun … fun with a lot of hard work, too. And now we’re all looking forward to the game.”

Since 1985, more than $4 million has been raised for academic scholarships. ... The “Buddy Program” is also a big part of the Big 33 game. Players from both Pennsylvania and Ohio are matched with groups of special-needs youngsters. The players and their “buddies” share time together at lunches and Friday night’s banquet, and during Saturday night’s pregame introductions. ... The week-long festivities end Sunday morning with a breakfast sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Cotellese, Scanlan steal show at PAC-10's inaugural Senior Bowl

Football: Cotellese, Scanlan steal show at PAC-10's inaugural Senior Bowl



PHOENIXVILLE  - Numerologists have long associated the No. 7 with luck and good fortune.

While there’s no real logic tied to the theory, the fact that the No. 7 provided a windfall of dividends for Team Liberty in the inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl Sunday afternoon at Phoenixville’s Washington Field is beyond dispute.

First, there was Pope John Paul II quarterback extraordinaire David Cotellese, wearing No. 7 and hitting all seven of his pass attempts for 153 yards and three touchdowns as Liberty rang up a 41-17 verdict over Team Freedom.

Also clad in No. 7 for the Liberty was Spring-Ford wideout/defensive back Andrew Scanlan, headed for Division I Northwestern on a football scholarship. All Scanlan did was catch four passes for 74 yards and one touchdown and for good measure, return an interception 77 yards to the house to spearhead the romp.

It really wasn’t much of a roll of the dice for Liberty coach Chad Brubaker, who guided Spring-Ford to an unbeaten PAC-10 regular season and the school’s first district playoff berth last fall, to make Cotellese and Scanlan the cornerstones of his offensive game plan.

“The rules of the game are designed to encourage passing,” said Brubaker. “You have to play man coverage and five yards (off the line of scrimmage), so that makes it tough to cover.”

Cotellese and Scanlan showed how tough they were to contain on the first snap from scrimmage with a 40-yard connection that later led to an 8-yard TD pass from Cotellese to Pottsgrove’s Steve Ambs.

“The pass was a little short but Andrew went up and got it,” said Brubaker. “It was important in setting the tone. The last throw to Scanlan (21 yards for the game’s final score at the 11:08 mark of the fourth quarter) was perfectly thrown and timed, which is impressive because they didn’t have a lot of time to work with each other.”

There was no lack of familiarity when Cotellese hit PJP teammate Matt Bildstein for a 50-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

“It was a treat throwing to Scanlan,” said Cotellese. “He is someone you can just chuck it up to and he’ll get it. It was nice to hook up with Matt, too, we know each other pretty well.’

After Ryan O’Hara (Spring-Ford) drilled a 39-yard field goal to get Freedom on the board with 2:04 left in the first quarter, the other Liberty quarterback – Spring-Ford’s J.J. Paige – showed he had plenty of bullets in his right arm when he found Pottstown’s Mishon Coppock for a 62-yard score on the first play of the second quarter.

“That throw from Paige to Coppock was huge because he had a guy in his face,” said Brubaker of Paige, who hit 5 of 10 tosses for 90 yards. “The other thing you can’t forget is that it’s tough to pass protect. Our offensive line did a great job for not having been together very long. We tried to keep it relatively simple, but we have smart kids and I think it showed.”

Freedom showed some heart of its own, answering right back with an 11-play, 67-yard drive that was helped by a pair of pass interference penalties and concluded when Phoenixville quarterback Alec McQuiston scored from one yard out.

It was 20-10 and pretty much anyone’s game with 6:31 still left in the second quarter, but the door was about to slam shut on Freedom. Boyertown’s Max Marcus quickly swung the momentum back the Liberty’s way with a 42-yard sprint to the house to supply a 27-10 lead at the break, and the Liberty advantage swelled to 24 when Scanlan flashed his amazing skills with a pick-six at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter.

Phoenixville’s Vinny Nattle would draw Freedom back within 34-17 late in the third quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run that was set up by McQuiston’s 39-yard strike to Methacton’s Ryan Casper.

Appropriately enough, Cotellese would conclude his off-the-charts performance by finding Scanlan for the 21-yard score to close things out early in the fourth period.  

“We’ve got some gunslingers on our team,” said Scanlan. “Everyone knew we were going to come out throwing the ball. It was a lot of fun. I love the passing game, and was pumped up to work with Cotellese. We’ve been talking for years about what it would be like to play together.”

It was like seeing a straight line of ‘7s’ show up on the slot machine – money in the bank.

EXTRA POINTS – Despite the threatening weather that included a heavy pregame thunderstorm, the contest was well attended … Brubaker: “There was only one fumble and not a lot of picks, so it was a pretty well-played, clean game. Both sides did well, I thought. There was a good crowd, and I think the rain might have scared some people off.” … Football purists were offended by the enactment of the Big 33 game rule that allowed the Freedom to retain possession and receive the kickoff after Nattle’s score closed the gap to 34-17 late in the third quarter. But Freedom failed to take advantage of the opportunity, turning the ball over on downs at the Liberty 47, leading to the Cotellese to Scanlan TD play … Freedom controlled possession, running 63 plays from scrimmage to Liberty’s 37. That imbalance wasn't reflected in the stat sheet, where Liberty held a 362-300 advantage in total yards … In addition to Scanlan, Coppock also had a pick for Liberty, which got 1.5 sacks from Pottstown’s Rashaad Lighty.


Freedom      3   7  7  0 – 17

Liberty       13 14  7  7 – 41

L –  Ambs 8 pass from  Cotellese (kick failed)

L  -  Bildstein 50 pass from Cotellese (Yoder kick)

F – O’Hara 39 FG

L – Coppock 62 pass from Paige (Yoder kick)

F – McQuiston 1 run (O’Hara kick)

L – Marcus 42 run (Yoder kick)

L – Scanlan 77 interception return (Yoder kick)

F – Nattle 8 run (O’Hara kick)

L – Scanlan 21 pass from Cotellese (Yoder kick)


Liberty                                                           Freedom

13                           First downs                            19

20-119                   Rushes-yards                     35-114  

243                         Passing yards                         186

362                         Total yards                            300

12-17-0                 Passes C-A-I                       10-28-2

1-0                          Fumbles-lost                          0-0

5-55                       Penalties-yards                      2-10

2-24.0                    Punts-avg.                          2-23.5



Liberty: Marcus 3-47, TD; Williams 4-29; Neiman 1-21; Ingram 3-19; Conway 1-13; Cotellese 1-3; Golson-Goodman 1-2; Paige 6-(-15). Freedom: Curtin 6-30; Michaels 6-29; Miller 3-23; Andrews 5-22; Nattle 6-19, TD; Baker 1-4; McQuiston 7-0, TD; Garber 1 (-13).  


Liberty: Cotellese 7-7-0 interceptions, 153 yards, 3 TDs; Paige 5-10-0, 90, TD. Freedom: McQuiston 6-13-0, 118; Garber 4-15-2 interceptions, 68.        


Liberty: Scanlan 4-74, TD; Coppock 1-62, TD; Bildstein 1-50, TD; Ambs 2-29, TD; Yazujian 1-14; Ingram 1-7; Conway 1-6; Bauer 1-1. Freedom: Hakim 3-76; Casper 1-39; Ondo 1-26; Gribb 2-16; Baker 1-16; Curtin 1-9; Langton 1-4.


Liberty: Lighty 1.5, Knight 1, Ugwu .5. Freedom: Fox, Casper.


Liberty: Scanlan, Coppock.

Liberty prevails in inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl

FOOTBALL: Liberty prevails in inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl

By Barry Sankey

Posted: 06/03/12 09:08 pm
Updated: 06/03/12 10:00 pm

PHOENIXVILLE — For the first time as a project, most everyone agreed the inaugural Pioneer Athletic Conference Senior Bowl football game went off quite well Sunday afternoon at Washington Field.

The game was competitive and filled with a number of quality plays on both sides, the weather turned out clear after some early afternoon rain and the crowd was good and large for a first endeavor.

Team Liberty used a number of big plays on both sides of the ball to produce a 41-17 victory over Team Freedom.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Spring-Ford’s Andrew Scanlan, who caught four passes for 74 yards and one touchdown and returned an interception 77 yards for another score for the Liberty. “I don’t know if anybody else can top this year. Both teams had talent and were ready to go. It was a lot of fun. There were friend-enemies since you were playing against some of your brothers you’ve grown up with.”

Scanlan, who is headed to Northwestern University on a football scholarship, felt everything went well in terms of practices and the way the game was played.

“It was a great crowd,” said Scanlan. “It probably would have been bigger if it didn’t rain around 1 or 1:30 (game time was 3 p.m.). But you play to play the game, not for the crowd. We have great fans who came from all over the PAC-10. They came out all year. They came together to cheer for one or two teams. It was awesome.”

Pope John Paul II southpaw quarterback David Cotellese completed seven of seven passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Spring-Ford’s J.J. Paige came in to complete five of 10 throws for 90 yards and one TD.

Cotellese opened the scoring with an 8-yard toss to Pottsgrove’s Steve Ambs. Then Cotellese connected with PJP’s Matt Bildstein on a 50-yard scoring play as the Liberty took a 13-3 lead at the end of the first period.

Team Liberty stretched the lead to 27-10 by halftime.

After Spring-Ford’s Ryan O’Hara put Team Freedom on the scoreboard with a 39-yard field goal, Paige hit Pottstown’s Misohn Coppock on a 62-yard bomb. Upper Perkiomen’s Leland Yoder kicked five extra points on the day.

The Liberty, coached by Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker, also got a 42-yard scoring run from Boyertown’s Max Marcus.

Phoenixville quarterback Alec McQuiston scored on a 1-yard plunge for the Freedom, and Phantom teammate Vinny Nattle had an 8-yard scoring run.

Cotellese was glad to be able to perform so well with good protection from his offensive line as well as the receptions of a number of different receivers.

“Scanlan, he’s a good wide receiver,” said Cotellese. “You just throw it up and let him run under it and he got it. He’s a very good athlete. That set the tone.

“I had a lot of fun. It was neat to meet new people in the PAC-10.”

Defensively, Team Liberty got 1.5 sacks from Pottstown end Rashaad Lighty, one from Phoenixville lineman Ernie Knight and a half sack from Perkiomen Valley’s Jason Ugwu. Perkiomen Valley defensive lineman Ezra Ranco also created a lot of pressure up front.

Brubaker saw positives all around for Team Liberty.

“In these all-star games it is tough to pass protect, but I thought our offensive line did an awesome job,” said Brubaker. “They did a great job. We tried to keep it relatively simple. We have good, smart kids and I think it showed. Andrew’s catch early was important in setting the tone.”

Brubaker thought the line play was exceptional, especially for not having much time to work with each other in practice, as well as a couple of the scoring combinations.

“That was impressive for not having a lot of time to work with each other,” said Brubaker.

Phoenixville defensive end Dennis Kelly lined up for Team Freedom.

“It was still really fun,” said Kelly. “It was competitive but to a fun standpoint. I made some new friends. A lot of people actually turned out. I didn’t think there would be a lot of people. It is only going to get better from here as it becomes more important.”

Kelly had some personal duels against offensive tackle Tim Hunt, a Phoenixville teammate who lined up for the Liberty.

“It was really fun,” said Kelly. “Me and Tim were just playing around and having a good time. Then it came to a point where we were taking it serious. We weren’t annoying, but we were competitive. He beat me the first half and I beat him the second half.”

Kelly played his final competitive football game. He will be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and will be concentrating on academics there.

Marcus carried three times for 47 yards and Methacton’s Zavier Williams ran four times for 29 yards for the Liberty. ... Pottstown’s Karif Hakim made three recepitons for 75 yards for the Freedom while PJP’s Jacob Gribb had two grabs for 16 yards. Methacton’s Ryan Casper made one catch for 39 yards, had one sack and also blocked a punt. ... McQuiston completed six of 13 aerials for 117 yards. Boyertown’s Chase Garber added 68 yards passing for the Freedom with four completions. ... Coppock also had an interception. ... Upper Perkiomen defensive back Kyle Fox had a sack for the Freedom. ... Pottsgrove’s Robbie Curtin rushed six times for 30 yards for Team Freedom and Falcon teammate Danny Michaels ran six times for 29 yards. Methacton’s Brian Miller gained 23 yards, Phoenixville’s Travis Andrews 22 and Nattle 19.


Football: PAC-10 stages inaugural Senior Bowl

6/2/12 8:06pm



PHOENIXVILLE – Are you ready for some football?

If so, the PAC-10 will provide a quick fix when it stages the inaugural Pioneer Athletic Conference Football Coaches Association’s Senior Bowl Sunday (3 p.m. kickoff) at Phoenixville’s Washington Field.

More than 90 senior players will suit up for the contest, which has a unique format in that players from the same program will be competing against each other.

“We feel like this is an innovative thing, no one else in Pennsylvania is doing this,” said Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker, who will guide Team Liberty. “It’s completely different from other all-star games, with team connections on both sides of the ball.

“We feel like we put out a good product and have good players in the PAC-10, and we want to showcase that. Our previous all-star game participation was fragmented by distance and a lack of direct connection to some of the other games that our players were eligible for.”

Those other all-star clashes include the Valor Bowl (Chester County), Montgomery County All-Star Classic and Berks County All-Star game.

For Team Freedom roster, click here:


For Team Liberty roster, click here:


While the league’s ultimate objective according to Brubaker is “to play against another league in an all-star game format,” the PAC-10 Senior Bowl gives some of the league’s lower-profile players to compete for one final time.

“This is my last hurrah, and it will great to back out there for one last time,” said Tim Hunt, a first-team All-PAC-10 offensive lineman from Phoenixville who’ll line up for Team Liberty. “Phantom Nation will be there, and we will really connect.”

Among those heading up the marquee are 1,000-yard rushers Max Marcus and Jon Neiman of
Boyertown, Phoenixville’s Vinny Nattle and Pottstown’s Malik Brinkley. Record-setting Pope John Paull II quarterback David Cotellese, who threw for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns, is rostered with Team Liberty – but will competing against his most reliable receivers from last fall – PJP’s Jacob Gribb and Jared Siejk. Cotellese will also be throwing to the only Division I recruit in the bunch - Spring-Ford wideout Andrew Scanlan, headed to Northwestern.

“This will be the last time to see these seniors play in a high school venue,” said Brubaker, who guided the Rams to an unbeaten PAC-10 season and the school’s first-ever postseason berth. “Kids from Spring-Ford will line up across from other kids from Spring-Ford, etc. Our players are more excited to play in this game than other all-star formats I’ve been a part of in the past because of that. I hope that the enthusiasm translates to a competitive product on the field.”

A players draft was conducted Feb. 15 at Spring-Ford, and the two teams have been practicing for the past two weeks at Phoenixville. While the logistics are right, there have been other problems associated with putting a finished, cohesive product on the field.

“Getting everyone on the same page schematically with such a short time to prepare is difficult,” said Phoenixville’s Bill Furlong, who will direct Team Freedom after leading the Phantoms to the District One-Class AAA finals last fall. “The goal of this game is to celebrate and promote the high level of football, sportsmanship and camaraderie in PAC-10 football.”

Brubaker had similar problems preparing for the game.

“During this time of year seniors are taking finals, attending banquets and parties, preparing for graduation,” said Brubaker. “It is difficult to implement an offensive and defensive game plan in two weeks as it is, much less with one-half of each side of the ball missing.”

All of that aside, the unmistakable sounds of football –pads popping, helmets clashing - will be welcome by all those that love the game. Furlong is expecting a high-class show.

“The main thing for us, as coaches, was to build up the pride we all have in our league,” he said after the players draft back in February. “We knew that there would be some coaches and schools from outside our league that wouldn’t be happy about it. It just made sense for us to showcase our own kids and make it a local event. That helps get people more interested, more involved.”

NOTES:  Tickets for the event are $5 each. All proceeds will benefit the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association’s Scholarship Fund … The game is full of PAC-10 All-Conference first team selections from last season. In addition to the aforementioned players, the list includes: Team Liberty – DB Ryan Conway (Spring-Ford), LB Jason Ugwu (Perkiomen Valley), DL Ernie Knight (Phoenixville), OL Brian Tatum (Spring-Ford), DE Kevin Nyce (Spring-Ford), TE Tyler Yazujian (Spring-Ford) and TE-DE Steve Ambs (Pottsgrove); Team Freedom – LB-FB Robbie Curtin (Pottsgrove), LB/SS Danny Michaels (Pottsgrove), DB Ryan Boyd (Perkiomen Valley), K Ryan O’Hara (Spring-Ford), DE Dennis Kelly (Phoenixville), LB Cory Hueber (Pottstown), OL Eric Bonenberger (Pottsgrove) and DL Ryan Ignatovig (Pope John Paul II).


Spring-Ford Rams TD Club Launches New Mobi

ROYERSFORD, PA - The Spring-Ford High School Touchdown Club, in conjunction with MobiTree, announced today the launch of the new Rams booster club website and mobile website. Thanks to the software developed by MobiTree, Rams fans now can obtain the same information on the go via their smartphone that was previously only accessible on their computer.

The new Spring-Ford football website will offer a mobile device enabled version of the main website with all the same information and functionality Rams fans are accustomed to. When fans go to the website, they will find useful, up-to-date information on their beloved Rams in the palm of their hand via their smartphone including the latest news and scores, player rosters and coaches bios, schedules complete with GPS capabilities, photo galleries, coupons for sponsor businesses and more.

Working towards creating a user-friendly interface that adapts to the different smartphones on the market, the Spring-Ford Football TD Club and MobiTree remain steadfast to their goal in this product: creating the ultimate solutions package for Rams fans.

Jarred Jones Named to Big 33/PSFCA Hot 50 Sophomores!

       Jarred Jones, a sophomore running back at Spring-Ford, has been named to the Big 33/PSFCA Hot 50 Class of 2014.  He will be participating in the Big 33 Player Showcase at Hershey Park Stadium, competing against the best football players in PA and will be introduced at half-time of the Big 33 game where Spring-Ford's own, Andrew Scanlan, will be playing.

PAC-10 To Hold Inaugural Senior Bowl

PHOENIXVILLE – The Pioneer Athletic Conference Football Coaches Association announced Monday that the league’s inaugural Senior Bowl will kick off 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at Washington Field in Phoenixville.
Players for the game were selected during a recent draft by the coaches and will line up for either the Freedom or Liberty teams.

Chad Brubaker, head coach of the Spring-Ford Rams, who won last year’s PAC-10 title, will direct the Liberty squad. Bill Furlong, head coach of the Phoenixville Phantoms, who won their first postseason games last season before finishing second to rival Pottsgrove in the District 1-Class AAA championship game, will guide the Freedom squad.

The complete rosters for each team are as follows, with positions (NA-not available):

Boyertown – D.J. Stemple (LB), Troy Heuer (LB), Jon Neiman (DB), Max Marcus (RB), Jeff Ellwanger (DE/LB).

Methacton – Davonte Fung (RB), David Low (LB), Andrew Gannon (NA), Zavier Williams (RB), Nick Delaney (OL), Kevin Bauer (WR).

Owen J. Roberts – Tucker Palmer (OL).

Perkiomen Valley – Donte Golson-Goodman (DB), Jason Ugwu (LB), Ezra Ranco (DL), Sean Leary (OL), Anthony Rhoads (OL).

Phoenixville – Dwayne Clemmons (DB), Ernie Knight (DL), Tim Hunt (OL).

Pope John Paul II – Matt Bildstein (DB), David Cotellese (QB), Johnnie Cherneskie (LB).

Pottsgrove – Curan Wilson (DB), Christian Simpkins (DL), Joe Daye (WR), Steve Ambs (TE).

Pottstown – Malik Brinkley (RB), Rashaad Lighty (DE), Mishon Coppock (DB).

Spring-Ford – Darryl Branch (WR), Andrew Scanlan (WR), Ryan Conway (DB), J.J. Paige (QB), Xavier Ingram (NA), Dan Lawrence (LB), Paul Castro (OL), Brian Tatum (OL), Kevin Nyce (DE), Brian Czop (OL), Ty Yazujian (WR).

Upper Perkiomen – Leland Yoder (K), Nick Kozrad (DB), Brad Heckler (DL), Dennis Harvey (LB), Matt Beidler (OL), Justin Cruz (DL).

Boyertown – Gary Kluk (DB), Chase Garber (QB), Travis Mitchell (DL).

Methacton – Brian Miller (DB), Eric Caplan (SB), E.J. Smith (OL), Tom Culligan (OL), Brad Lowery (OL), Ryan Casper (DE).

Owen J. Roberts – Blake Bradshaw (WR/QB), John Langton (TE).

Perkiomen Valley – Nick Delaney (LB), Kyle Chudoba (K), Ryan D’Ambrosia (LB), Ryan Boyd (DB), Sean Kilkenny (OL).

Phoenixville – Alex McQuiston (QB), Travis Andrews (RB), Vinny Nattle (RB), Dennis Kelly (DE), Jesse Gervasi (LB), Alex McLemore (OL).

Pope John Paul II – Kyle Early (DB), Jacob Gribb (WR), Jared Siejk (WR), Ryan Ignatovig (OL).

Pottsgrove – Johnny Fowler (DB), Robbie Curtin (LB), Danny Michaels (DB), D.J. Ludy (DB), Sean Figueroa (DE), Nick Sotera (NA), Dylan Pritchard (OL), Eric Bonenberger (OL), Scott Shollenberger (OL).

Pottstown – Corey Baker (RB), Karif Hakim (WR), Cory Hueber (LB), Dante Auman (DL).

Spring-Ford – Nick Ondo (WR), Nick Friel (DB), Ryan O’Hara (K), Ben Cutler (DL).

Upper Perkiomen – Jesse Freer (DB), Kyle Fox (DB), Jody Peart (LB), John Hovanec (OL).

Andrew Scanlan Announces He Will Attend Northwestern University

Andrew Scanlan Named to Big 33 Game.

ROYERSFORD, PA — Andrew Scanlan had a pretty good weekend.
By Don Seeley

The Spring-Ford wideout-defensive back didn’t catch any passes, not a single one. He didn’t even pick any off, either.
But late Saturday, Scanlan was selected to the Pennsylvania team for this year’s prestigious PNC Big 33 Football Classic. Then Sunday afternoon, he was honored as the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Two Way Player of the Year during the PAC-10 Football Coaches Association’s annual Awards Banquet at Gilbertsville Fire Co.
Not a bad weekend at all.
“We’re just ecstatic,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker said. “The Big 33 roster is limited … there are only so many spots. We feel Andrew was a great choice. It’s quite an honor.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior – who has already verbally committed to Northwestern University and will put his signature on a letter of intent on national signing day next month – is the first player from Spring-Ford to be selected to the Big 33 game.
“We felt Andrew had a good shot,” Brubaker added. “The film of him that got him recruited is the same film (the Big 33 Selection Committee) saw.
“The process up there, which quite a few people have been critical of, is still a process of selecting the best players. They don’t care if you’re all-league or all-state. It all comes down to who they see on film, and Andrew’s film was excellent.”
Scanlan, who was The Mercury’s Two-Way Player of the Year and an all-state selection by both Pennsylvania Football News and EasternPaFootball.com, certainly had his share of highlights this past season.
Selected as a defensive back for the Big 33 game, he was credited with 53 tackles in helping the Rams to the PAC-10 championship and a berth in the District 1-AAAA playoffs – a first for the Spring-Ford program. He defended a team-high 12 passes, intercepted three others, and forced one fumble as well as recovered another.
His efforts on the other side of the ball didn’t go unnoticed, either. He caught 52 passes for 839 yards and an area-high 10 touchdowns, a key contributor on both the PAC-10’s and area’s most productive offense.
“Andrew could have made it (onto the Big 33 roster) as a wide receiver,” Brubaker said. “I understand he was on the (selection) board late as a wide receiver, too.”
Scanlan was one of only two players from District 1 to be named to the Pennsylvania team. The other was Pennsbury offensive tackle J.J. Denman (6-6, 310), who has committed to Wisconsin.
Scanlan will also have an opportunity meet two of his future Northwestern teammates leading up to the game. Adam DePietro (6-4, 250) of Lancaster Catholic and Ian Park (6-4, 290) of Upper St. Clair, selected as offensive linemen, have also committed to the Wildcats’ Division I-A program.
“I just think Andrew is a great choice,” Brubaker said. “We hope to have more in the future.”

Six Spring-Ford seniors land in college ranks

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