Rick O'Brien: He's cooking on football field for the Pioneers

Compton tries to shake loose from a Washington tackler after making a reception Friday. RYAN S. GREENBERG / Staff Photographer
Compton tries to shake loose from a Washington tackler after making a reception Friday. RYAN S. GREENBERG / Staff Photographer

Frankford two-way standout Renz Compton wants to be a chef.

Posted: October 07, 2012

One day, instead of "Rodeo," his current nickname, he might answer to "Chef."

Renz Compton, a two-way standout for Frankford High's football team, is studying culinary arts and hopes it might eventually become his profession.

Could he whip up, say, an awesome crème brûlée? "I can make anything," the 18-year-old said. "You give me the ingredients and I can make it."

At Frankford, Compton is learning the ins and outs of the trade under the watchful eye of longtime teacher Wilma Stephenson, who each year helps future chefs land scholarship money to culinary arts schools across the country.

Not surprisingly, Compton does take occasional ribbing from fellow gridders. "They'll see me at school with my chef's outfit on, and they'll burst out laughing," he said.

Friday afternoon, Compton, putting aside his spatula and stirring spoon, helped the host Pioneers turn back previously unbeaten George Washington, 25-14, in a Public League Gold Division matchup at Large and Dyre Streets.

"Everybody had us losing this game," the 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior said. "That made us even more determined. We were ready to go."

Compton, a wide receiver and strong safety, said "Rodeo" was born while he was playing for the nationally known Frankford Chargers youth football squad.

"When I was 7 or 8 years old, one of the 90-pound coaches gave it to me because of the way I tackled," he said. "He said it looked like a cowboy riding a bull."

Nicknames are a family thing. Compton's brothers and Frankford teammates, Lorenz, his twin, and Wydell, were long ago dubbed "Bubbles" and "Woo Woo," respectively.

Lorenz Compton is a 6-foot, 175-pound senior center. "When we were playing for the Chargers, he had a dream about bubbles, and said he was scared of them," Renz Compton said with a laugh. "A coach gave him that name."

Wydell Compton, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior, is a wide receiver/tight end. "It was my mom who started calling him 'Woo Woo,' " Renz said. Against Washington, Wydell had three catches for 64 yards.

Renz Compton's highlight last year came in the regular-season finale against Washington. With 30.9 seconds to play, he hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from best buddy Tim DiGiorgio to give the Pioneers a 21-20 victory.

This year, with DiGiorgio's tosses mostly going in the direction of brother Wydell and 6-5 senior wideout/end Denzel Turbeville, Compton's receiving numbers have dipped a bit.

"It's OK," he said. "Safety is my primary position, and the position I'll probably play in college," he said. "As far as receiver goes, I'm Tim's main man come crunch time. I think we showed that last year."

Compton played for the Frankford Chargers from age 4 to 15. "That really helped," he said. "I think it's the best little-league foundation in Philadelphia."

Friday against the Eagles, with DiGiorgio just back from a right knee injury, the usually pass-heavy Pioneers netted 162 yards on the ground. Junior tailback Damion Samuels carried 15 times for 77 yards and two TDs.

Lorenz Compton was joined up front by guards Carlos Saldana and Will Robinson, tackles Kelvin Coit and Unique Davis, and, at times, ends Wydell Compton and Turbeville.

For football, Renz Compton, who lives just blocks from Frankford, said he has heard from both Division I-A (Penn State, Temple, Miami) and I-AA (Villanova) schools.

"It's kind of mind-boggling," he said. "I never thought someone my size would end up being scouted by programs like that."

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