Broadcast crew – Mike Mayer (seated), Pete Fulginiti (seated) and Brian Carroll
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The usual bite will be in the air Saturday afternoon at West Chester Rustin High School, host of a PIAA Class 3A football semifinal between Middletown and Conwell-Egan.
It won’t have anything to do with the weather or glad tidings, though. It’ll be the all-too familiar scent of controversy, courted year after year by the gaping loopholes pockmarking the PIAA’s governance.
Saturday’s installment will center on Conwell-Egan lineman Tom Burns IV, not because he’s a bonafide blue-chipper or even a potential game-breaker for the Eagles. The symbol of Burns’ presence could exceed the junior’s actual impact on the field.
Burns has generated controversy for the simple trajectory of his season — he’s at his second school, in his second state, in the same season.
He logged a full season as a lineman (and kicker) at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, N.J. He transferred to Conwell-Egan in mid-November, and the laxity of PIAA rules plopped him right into a surprising run to the PIAA semis by the Catholic League side. And for whatever actual influence the lineman has on the final score, his 6-4, 250-pound frame provides a large canvas on which observers can cast their aspersions.
It was just the way you expected Kevin Clancy to react to a personal milestone.Last Friday night’s PIAA District 1 Class 5A first-round playoff triumph at Bishop Shanahan marked Clancy’s 300th career victory, but he made it clear that he wanted the attention and accolades to go to his players.
“It’s nice, but it wasn’t as exciting as the game or what the kids accomplished,” Clancy said. “The big thing is this team and what it’s done this season. The kids are playing their hearts out, getting better every week.”
Sophomore Emmet Young’s 23-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining lifted the 11th-seeded Panthers to a dramatic 24-21 victory over the No. 6 Eagles in Downingtown.
Clancy, who is widely regarded as one of the area’s classiest coaches, posted his 233rd victory in 27 seasons on Providence Road. Prior to coming to Wallingford, he won 67 games in nine years at Archbishop Carroll.
“Obviously, you strive to win every time you take the field,” he said. “But football, just like any sport, should support the educational goals of the school.
“I want the kids to learn a strong work ethic, a commitment to their teammates, a commitment to the program, and how to fight through adversity. These are skills they can use later in life.”
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2017 FINAL League Standings
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