D'Emilio, who lives near 13th and Reed Streets in South Philadelphia, did not begin playing organized football until his freshman year.
"Before that, people were always asking me, because of my size, if I played football," the 17-year-old said. "I finally decided to give it a shot. I immediately liked it."
Against Furness, the difference, with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, was sophomore Ryan Lenhart's 22-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Jamal Custis. The Falcons' try for a go-ahead score died at their own 46 with 2 minutes, 33 seconds remaining.
"We were happy with the outcome," D'Emilio said. "We realize, though, that it wasn't our best effort. We could have done a little better on both sides of the ball. We have some work to do."
D'Emilio, a third-year varsity member, is joined on the offensive line by his brother Joe, a 6-4, 260-pound sophomore right tackle. His gridiron start came at St. Monica School.
"We're both pretty competitive," Rob D'Emilio said. "On the bus ride to games, we're both locked in and ready to go."
At Maxwell Field, the D'Emilios were supported by their parents, Robert and Rita, an uncle and aunt, and two cousins.
For Neumann-Goretti, junior tailback Sihmare Morgan, a transfer from Father Judge, rushed for 180 yards and three scores. Midway through the third quarter, his 5-yard dash - and Lenhart's conversion toss to a high-leaping Custis - put the Saints in front, 27-20.
"I think Sihmare is the perfect fit for our offense," Rob D'Emilio said. "We have some pretty big O-linemen. If we do our job, he knows how to hit the gaps."
Also up front for Neumann-Goretti were guards Christian Oakes (6-1, 220) and Mike Schiela (6-0, 235), left tackle Jose Rodriguez (6-1, 305), and tight end Sharif Custis (6-4, 215). Custis, also a defensive end/linebacker, is a major college prospect.
The Saints went 4-7 overall and 2-2 in Catholic League Class AA action in 2011. "I think we'll do a lot better this year," said Rob D'Emilio, a first baseman and outfielder in baseball. "We've put a lot of work into it."
Marquee victory. Allowing only a fourth-quarter score, St. Joseph's Prep knocked off Cocoa (Fla.), 16-7, Friday night at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
"It's a great win for us as a program and for the state of Pennsylvania," said the Hawks' third-year coach, Gabe Infante.
The Prep limited Tarean Folston - 14th-ranked running back in the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com - to 68 rushing yards. The clincher was sophomore safety Tom Johnson's interception with 3 minutes, 48 seconds to go.
Infante said junior QB Chris Martin "managed the offense well, protected the football, and made a couple of nice third-down conversion passes."
Malvern Prep-Roman Catholic. In Saturday's opener at Maxwell Field, Roman Catholic, with a pair of late scores, rallied for a 28-27 triumph. On defense, the Cahillites were led by linebacker Chris Cruz-Johnson's 12 tackles, including four solos. At cornerback, Will Fuller notched seven solo tackles. Next in line was linebacker Guy Campanella, with six tackles (four solos). . . . For the Friars, halfback Eric Purnell carried 11 times for 116 yards and two TDs. Fullback Troy Gallen, with rumbles of 57 and 44 yards, netted 111 yards on six tries.
Quotable. Roman coach Joe McCourt, on Cahillites offensive tackle J.J. Logan, a 6-4, 335-pound senior: "He's a big body in pass protection. Defensive ends can't get around him."
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