Potent arms and sure hands

The area's top pass-catch combinations deliver devastating aerial strikes.

Posted: September 28, 2008

We ranked the top quarterbacks and running backs in local football in recent weeks. Now, we turn our attention to the best pass-catch duos in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Because they engineer run-oriented attacks or spread the ball around to multiple receivers, the names of several of the players who appeared on that top 10 QB list will not be duplicated here.

For example, West Catholic's Curtis Drake, headed to Penn State to play either QB or wideout, is one of the main figures in a run-heavy offense. He throws, on average, only 10 passes per game.

Anyway, here's one man's list of the best pass-catch pairs in Southeastern Pennsylvania, with the quarterback listed first. As we did with RBs, we had to make this a top 11.

1. La Salle's Drew Loughery and Sam Feleccia. Through four games, the strong-armed Loughery passed for 915 yards and nine touchdowns. Feleccia has good hands and runs well after the catch. La Salle has another No. 1-type receiver in Connor Hoffman.

2. Malvern Prep's Billy Conners and Joe Price. Conners has picked up where standout Ryan Nassib, now at Syracuse, left off. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior is headed to Duke for lacrosse. With increased speed, Price (13 catches for 323 yards) is a big-play threat.

3. Bishop Shanahan's Greg Cordivari and Ryan Alderman. Hidden in Chester County, this duo was accounting for an average of 163 yards per game. Cordivari, a 6-0, 180-pound senior, began playing organized football only three years ago.

4. Perkiomen Valley's Zach Zulli and Rhashad Santiago. On track for another 2,000-yard passing season, the 6-1, 175-pound Zulli has a stellar completion percentage. Santiago is a dangerous target, as is tight end Paul Thomas.

5. Interboro's Jim McMenamin and Shawn Krautzel. The 5-9, 160-pound McMenamin is undersize but efficient. Krautzel, a Division I-AA recruit, is quick-footed, versatile and can catch the ball in heavy traffic.

6. North Penn's Justin Davey and Ronnie Akins. Davey, better known for his running ability, has good touch on short passes. The speedy Akins can turn any Davey screen pass - no matter the distance - into a touchdown.

7. Downingtown West's Bret Gillespie and Jared Heller. A 6-2, 195-pound junior, Gillespie has done a nice job in replacing 2,250-yard passer Nolan Kearney, now at William and Mary. Heller has been productive catching the ball out of the backfield.

8. Northeast's Malik Stokes and Je'Ron Stokes. The Stokes brothers give the Vikings a potent offense, especially against Public League foes with weak secondaries. Malik Stokes threw for a single-game school record of 253 yards against Father Judge.

9. Conwell-Egan's Matt Della-Croce and Ryan Golin. This duo gives the Eagles a shot at making noise in the Catholic League's Class AAA Division. The 6-1, 185-pound Golin is back after missing half of last season with a broken leg.

10. Abington's Sam Kind and Dom Massey. Kind has stepped in nicely for the graduated Kevin Morton, a 6,300-yard career passer now at Kutztown. Massey spreads the field with his quickness.

Kind has another good target in wideout Anthony Hensley.

11. Father Judge's Tony Smith and Tom Ryan. Smith, just a sophomore, has shown promise as the replacement for Paul Volpe. Smith threw for 100-plus yards in Judge's first three games. The 6-3, 190-pound Ryan is a quality playmaker.

Thumbs up

To Olivia O'Neill for filling Pennridge's desperate need for a placekicker. The senior, a member of the school's girls' soccer team, joined the Rams for last week's nonleague matchup against North Catholic. She was 2 for 2 on extra-point tries in a 28-14 loss.

Commitment

Diamon Beckford, an athletic guard/forward for Upper Darby, has orally committed to play basketball for New Hampshire. The 5-10 senior averaged 17 points and eight rebounds (and shot 83 percent from the foul line) for the Royals last season. She was a third-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection by the Inquirer.

Beckford will join Mountain MacGillivray, an assistant to New Hampshire coach Kristin Cole. A baseball player at Archbishop Carroll and Temple in the 1990s, McGillivray served under former Carroll girls' coach Barry Kirsch.

Sad week

A day after the sudden death of Saalen Jones, a 17-year-old senior and football player at Martin Luther King, former Hatboro-Horsham basketball player and coach Jeremy Kircher died at his Pennsburg home.

The 31-year old Kircher, who was married with two young children, was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue nearly a year ago. A 1995 graduate of Hatboro-Horsham, he guided the boys' program from 2004 to 2006.


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.

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