It was the fall of 2009. The Friars hosted Penn Charter, and Gallen, having been invited to see the program up close and personal, found himself in the locker room at halftime.
"One of the players made a speech," recalled Gallen, who later added he was pretty sure the tremendous talker was lineman Joe DiTrolio. "It was awesome. The whole atmosphere in there was great. That changed everything for me."
Malvern won that contest, 44-27. Friday, as coincidence would have it, the opponent again was PC - on the road, this time - and guess who turned out to be the primary hero?
Indeed. Troy Gallen.
On what's now the Inter-Ac League's only natural surface, Gallen mostly avoided the problems caused by spotty patches of mud - it rained hard into the early afternoon - and paced the Friars to a 27-20 triumph.
Showed versatility, too.
In all, Gallen accounted for 192 yards of scrimmage yardage and posted three touchdowns. He did most of his damage as a receiver, turning three catches (all in the first half) into 110 yards and TDs of 43 and 30 yards. Then, with 2 minutes remaining, there he was turning a left-side counter into an easy-as-pie, 7-yard score that snapped a 20-20 tie, which had stood since shortly before halftime.
What level of easy as pie? He wasn't touched.
"That surprised me," Gallen said. "That was a great play-call. It was wide open, and I cruised into the end zone."
Gallen finished with 13 carries for 82 yards. The coaches relied on him three times in the last four plays of the drive, and he responded with pickups of 8 and 11 yards before frolicking into the end zone.
The series began at PC's 42. Back to punt, the Quakers' Tyler Gottlieb saw the snap sail far over his head. He tracked down the ball and was able to get off the kick, under pressure, but Hunter Paulus caught it only 7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and managed an 8-yard return.
"That last drive was definitely my favorite moment of the day," Gallen said. "Everybody was really motivated, and we executed our plays."
The Friars' grunts were center Mike Panichelli, guards Mike McCarthy and Jake Rebisz, and tackles Joe Barrett and Dan Riordan. Rebisz was a replacement for Jordan Andrews, who'd suffered a late-second-quarter injury.
Gallen has been there. He missed the early part of the 2011 season after having surgery to remove a non-cancerous growth from his right hip.
"It really held him back last year," coach Kevin Pellegrini said. "But he was very impressive on the summer circuit, so his name is out there. He's looking at a very nice future."
Gallen has no preference between rushing and receiving.
"Whichever way they can get me the ball," he said, smiling. "I love getting the ball in space. If two guys are there, I know I can always make one of them miss. That opens things up, anywhere on the field."
Through the first 24 minutes, the quarterbacks dominated. PC soph Pat McCain, the cousin of Atlanta Falcons star Matt Ryan (PC '04), passed 7-for-10 for 208 yards and two scores to West Virginia commit Daryl Worley. Malvern's Billy "Moose" Ford went 4-for-6 for 122 and the scoring connections to Gallen.
McCain finished 11-for-22 for 275 yards, while Ford's final tally was 8-for-13, 166. Neither notched a TD pass beyond intermission.
Worley hustled for 243 yards from scrimmage - 13-68 rushing, 7-175 receiving. Also important on offense was another Ryan cousin, tight end Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame). He turned four catches into 100 yards, and his blocking, sometimes as a slotback in motion, was pivotal to the rushing yardage racked up by Worley and Bruce Smalley (14-41, TD). PC's star rusher, Eric Neefe, missed the game with a concussion.
On PC's final possession, the 6-8, 275-pound McGlinchey even took a wildcat snap and heaved an incomplete pass about 40 yards downfield. McCain was back in charge for the next play, a right-sideline pass that Eric Purnell intercepted.
Troy Gallen's father, Mike, was a star running back for O'Hara's 1980 Catholic League champs and earned second-team Daily News honors as a kick returner. Troy's brother, Tyler, was a first-team All-Catholic wideout for O'Hara two seasons ago.
Yes, Dad's still speaking to him.
"He was fine with Malvern," Troy said. "We did have the family legacy at O'Hara, but he just wanted what was best for me."
Contact Ted Silary at firstname.lastname@example.org. High school coverage online at www.philly.com/rally.