By Todd Orodenker
The East team didn’t want it to end. After the clock hit zero, after their 36-7 domination of the West was final, they figured out ways to prolong the night.
First it was a team picture, then it was a round of shoutouts, then they reminisced about their two-and-a-half weeks together. Finally, they broke away, the joy of their Hero Bowl victory Thursday at Cardinal O’Hara still evident on their faces.
“We told the kids from the beginning, we wanted to create a great experience,’ said East coach Drew Pearson, who leads the Delco Christian program. “They came out and they just played.’
The East team did that in this annual Delaware County all-star game, which benefits the Hero Scholarship Fund, with a squad made up of senior stars from Springfield, Strath Haven, Radnor, Upper Darby, Academy Park, Interboro, Penn Wood, Haverford and Bonner-Prendergast. Previously, the teams were split up according to their leagues.
This year, they changed course and rough cut a geographically based mix. The result was a great night for the East and a rough night for the West.
(Webmaster’s note: If you missed the game you can listen to our broadcast in it’s entirety by clicking on the link at the top of this page to our Archived broadcasts)
By Jack McCaffery
The more head coach Tony Beaty watched his West All-Stars practice for the Hero Bowl, the more he believed he had something special, that he had accurate quarterbacks, speedy receivers, defenders willing to collide.
Then he remembered: The East will have an All-Star team, too.
“I’m excited,’ said Beaty, the coach at Chester High. “The kids are excited, too. We look pretty good. But ‘ on paper’ is always different than reality. We’ll see what happens when we get on the field.’
That will happen Thursday night (7:30) at Cardinal O’Hara High in the 39th annual game, which benefits the Delaware County Hero Scholarship fund for the families of police, firemen and emergency responders killed while on duty.
Under a revised format that splits Delco geographically rather than a previous setup that essentially matched the Central League stars against the Del-Val with some private school stars blended into the rosters, the game should yield a refreshed rivalry.
“We have been trying to shout ‘ West’ all week long,’ Beaty said, after the final workouts Wednesday at Widener University. “So we’ll see what happens.’
While the usual All-Star dynamics will be in place, and all the stars will enjoy playing time, Beaty will start Episcopal Academy’s Ryan Whayland at quarterback, while East coach Drew Pearson will counter with Colin DiGalbo of Bonner-Prendie.
By Jack McCaffery
At some point in the Hero Bowl Thursday night, Christian DiGalbo will snap a football into the hands of Colin DiGalbo, who likely will execute the play with precision, the last in a long, long, long series. In the stands, Anthony DiGalbo will be smiling, even if it doesn’t show.
“He’ll probably be crying,” Colin said.
Long involved in Delaware County boxing, as a trainer, a manager, a teacher and a fighter, Anthony DiGalbo has absorbed harder punches without blinking. But when his twin sons play football together for the final time, that could be a shot to the gut unlike anything in a ring.
“Bittersweet,” he said. “It’s going to be very, very bittersweet.”
By Matt Goul
The subject of expanding high school football classifications in Pennsylvania passed its first reading Wednesday at the PIAA Board of Directors’ meeting in Mechanicsburg.
The board passed four proposals, each with two methods for dividing schools, PIAA executive director Robert Lombardi said after the meeting.
The state’s governing body for high school sports is considering whether it should change the postseason format, which currently divides schools into four classifications. An initial proposal in January by District 9 representative Bob Tonkin suggested a move to six classifications would narrow the enrollment gap between schools competing for district and state championships.
Any change to the PIAA bylaws must pass three readings.
“There’s a proposal we’re looking at to include this for all sports, but first we want to investigate football,” Lombardi said.
The state last entertained expanding football classifications in 2009, but the proposal was voted down in the final stage. The next board of directors’ meeting is July 22.
By Rob Parent
But in counties in and around Southeastern Pennsylvania, six other locally based all-star football games are scheduled over the last two weeks of May, including what once was a crown jewel of summer sporting events around here, the Delaware County Hero Bowl All-Star Football Game.
Now part of the busy spring mix, but still going strong for its 39th annual run-through May 28 at Cardinal O’Hara High.
“We’ve been practicing for it for two weeks,” said Chester High coach Tony Beaty, head coach of the “West” team. “We’ve got some kids playing lacrosse and baseball, but we’ve still got about 40 kids out for our team.”
The popularity of the event has varied over the years, but the Hero Bowl was always held for a good cause; the Hero Scholarship Fund benefits children of police, firefighting personnel and emergency medical service personnel who have died in the line of duty.
Webmaster’s note: If you can’t make the game you can listen, LIVE, right here on havenfootball.net! To link to our broadcast: Hero Bowl 2015 Broadcast
Coach Connor talks about the current state of high school football, Panther football and the PIAA.
Coach Jim Connor has been teaching and coaching for 37 years, most of those years in Nether Providence. He began at the old Swarthmore High School and was the head football coach there. He has made a decision to leave the Strath Haven coaching job as Defensive Coordinator (he will continue his teaching career at Strath Haven as well as coaching middle school sports) and has taken a position as the Defensive Coordinator at Cardinal O’Hara along with his son Mike. We interviewed him in his classroom at Strath Haven High School in mid-April to talk about his career, his future and his feelings about the current state of high school football in Pennsylvania.
HAVENFOOTBALL.NET – Coach, give us a little background on your career.
CONNOR – I was head coach at Swarthmore high school and then I was the head coach here at Strath Haven when the school changed from Nether Providence to Strath Haven High School for the first five years. At the end of the five years I decided to try my hand at college coaching and went to Penn State and then kicked around at some colleges and coached at Widener and Swarthmore College. After that experience I decided I wanted to come back and be a high school coach. Being a college coach is just a tough lifestyle with moving your families all around and my kids were coming up so I wanted to be available to them as well.
It’s taken us many, many hours of work and effort since our site shut down in mid-January but we believe the effort has been worth it. What you see on these pages would not have been possible without the assistance of web designer, Paul Nuschke. He worked diligently (and patiently) to teach us the Word Press platform and we look forward to his continued assistance as we find bugs and problems.
While the format has changed the look and feel of the pages is very similar to our former site. We’ve produced a short video (above) as a brief tutorial on our new site and how to navigate around it and some of the new features we can offer in this format. Enjoy!