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SPORTS
September 26, 2015 | By Phil Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
Wesley Payne made the big hit, heard the crowd's roar, saw the bright lights, and felt his teammates' celebratory slaps on his shoulder pads. He was happy. He also was relieved. "It occurred to me, 'Wow, I almost wasn't here for this,' " Payne, a senior linebacker/running back, said of his revelatory moment during Bishop Eustace's game against visiting Woodrow Wilson on Sept. 11. Payne, who briefly considered not playing this season, was "the best player on the field" against Woodrow Wilson, according to Crusaders' coach Rob Cormier.
SPORTS
September 24, 2015 | BY LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer bowenl@phillynews.com
DEMECO RYANS' "pitch count," as he returns from Achilles' surgery, just got adjusted upward. Jordan Hicks, the third-round rookie who didn't get a defensive snap in the season opener, is an integral part of planning for this week's Eagles encounter with the 2-0 New York Jets. And Najee Goode, who returned to the locker room yesterday after nearly three weeks in limbo, also should see action. The Eagles' inside linebacking corps was transformed dramatically within the space of a few second-quarter plays Sunday.
SPORTS
September 19, 2015 | By Rick O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
Downingtown East coach Mike Matta says the nonleague matchup Friday night against perennial power North Penn will serve as a good barometer of the squad's potential to contend for a District 1 Class AAAA championship. The Cougars' bid to beat the Knights at Kottmeyer Stadium and make major noise down the road is headed by a pair of two-sport standouts. Quarterback Saunders Healy and middle linebacker Brody Wilson are key contributors for East on the gridiron and in lacrosse. Healy is a swift and agile defenseman in the latter; Wilson is a rugged and savvy netminder.
SPORTS
September 15, 2015 | By Rick O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
While Steve Devlin has an intense and demanding coaching style, defensive end Mack Schwartz says Archbishop Wood's ninth-year boss finds a healthy balance when it comes to relating to his players. "He can be pretty tough on you when he sees a mistake, but he'll also joke with you," the senior said. "And he's really good at sensing when a player needs positive reinforcement instead of criticism. " On Saturday night, with Schwartz registering seven tackles, Devlin notched his 100th career victory as the host Vikings downed Simon Gratz, 44-30, in a nonleague matchup at William Tennent.
SPORTS
September 11, 2015 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Vinny Curry has been getting a lot of questions about his move to outside linebacker. But he doesn't understand the ones that are based on the premise that he has to learn yet another new position. For Curry, the switch to outside linebacker has been, if anything, a stroll compared to his climb from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive end two years ago. "Everybody's so shocked, but you've got to understand, I've been playing on the edge my whole life," Curry said. "The adjustment was two-gapping, staying on the block instead of shedding him. That was the adjustment.
SPORTS
September 11, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The 2015 season for Penn State began with plenty of optimism, but nothing could have damaged the positive outlook any worse than watching middle linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White suffer a knee injury that ended his campaign before the first half of the opening game had ended. The Nittany Lions now must come up with a new middle linebacker. Head coach James Franklin wants to find one who can figure out the complexities of the position and possess the physical skills and leadership ability needed to handle it. Enter sophomore Jason Cabinda, who has been making a steady climb since playing in seven of his last eight games as a freshman in 2014.
SPORTS
September 6, 2015 | By Phil Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Inquirer's Preseason Top 25: 1. St. Joseph (11-0 last season). The Wildcats have won 21 in a row. They are 52-3 since 2010. They've won six state titles in a row. This is the last go-round for senior twins Salaam and A'Laam Horne as well as classmates Derek Lomax, a two-way lineman, and Chris Carey, a linebacker and tight end. 2. Timber Creek (11-1). The Chargers showed well against North Jersey superpower Paramus Catholic in a scrimmage. This team might have South Jersey's top receiving corps, led by Michigan State recruit Cameron Chambers and Old Dominion recruit Noah Ellison.
SPORTS
September 4, 2015 | By Rick O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
Coatesville, Downingtown East, and Downingtown West are set to wage a three-way battle for the Ches-Mont League National Division title. Coatesville was hit hardest by graduation, but the defending champs have strong playmakers in quarterback Jordan Young, running back Brasir Stocker, multipurpose threat Jadan Hudson, and receivers Kevin Kirk and Avery Young. Coatesville (13-1 overall, 6-0 league) also features offensive tackle Justus Martinez (6-5, 300), linebackers Chris Jordan and Ronnell Knight, and defensive linemen Jelil Norman, Isaiah Hall, and Javon Sampson.
SPORTS
September 4, 2015 | By Rick O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
Simon Gratz made the jump from Class AAA to AAAA last season and more than held its own, going 11-2 and advancing to the Public League Class AAAA final before falling to Ben Franklin. With a boatload of returning talent, including two-way linemen Raquan Thomas and Charly Timite, the Bulldogs are favored to take home top honors this year. "We have a lot of senior leadership," coach Erik Zipay said. The 6-foot-4, 340-pound Thomas has a scholarship offer from Temple. He also has drawn interest from Georgia, Michigan State, Penn State, and South Carolina.
SPORTS
September 4, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
SO WHAT WOULD you do in your spare time, when you're not busy being one of the top defensive players in FCS or the Colonial Athletic Association's Football Student-Athlete of the Year? Well, if you're Villanova senior linebacker Don Cherry, you're trying to conceptualize that next game-changing business idea. "It has to be out there somewhere," said Cherry, who finished second in last season's voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in FCS. "I'm looking for it. I don't know where it is yet. "Right now I don't have any, but . . . " When Cherry was still at Trumbull (Conn.)
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