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FOOTBALL: Final Philadelphia Sports Digest Inter-Ac Pick Six (11/13)

By Rich Flanagan Photos: Patty Morgan. Lou Rabito, Mike Nance & Cole Nowak, 11/24/21, 1:15PM EST


An Inter-Ac champion crowned…historic rivalries revisited…statistical leaders unveiled.

The “Pick Six” – a new league champion, a historic season for a senior running back, a prolific wide receiver duo and the future at quarterback for one program.  PSD’s “Pick Six” highlights personal achievements, team highlights and unbiased turning points of our weekly Inter-Ac League teams in their previously played games.

Photos/Videos: Lou Rabito, Patty Morgan, Mike Nance, Marc Narducci & Cole Nowak

By: Rich Flanagan

Pick One: Malvern Prep Secures Inter-Ac Title in Convincing Fashion

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Dave Gueriera had a moment of realization. His Malvern Prep Friars had just defeated Springside Chestnut Hill, 14-0 to claim the 2021 Inter-Ac title in dominating fashion. The victory secured the Friars first Inter-Ac title since 2018 and their third outright crown under Gueriera.

As his team stormed the field to celebrate, Gueriera could not help but reflect, especially coming off a season where his team played as an independent and no league champion was crowned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s a feeling of satisfaction when you set out for a goal and ultimately accomplish that goal,” Gueriera said. “We took a lot of pride in doing this because this league has so many good teams and every week felt like a playoff game.”

Malvern Prep (8-2, 5-0 Inter-Ac) secured its 35th overall title, keeping it in second all-time behind Penn Charter (48) and this team won by controlling the game on the ground while allowing its defense to dictate the game.

The Friars allowed only 14 points over their final three games and they recorded seven contests in which they only allowed one touchdown or less.

Inter-Ac MVP Coltin Deery, the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Maryland commit, anchored the unit upfront at defensive tackle. He became the first non-skill position player to win league MVP outright since fellow Friars alum Joe Nilan, who played at Marist, in 2011. Defensive end Colin McHugh, the junior and converted linebacker, led the team with 10 sacks this year.

Ryan Davis and Dale Law, the senior linebacker and All Inter-Ac First Team selections, were relentless in their pursuit of ball carriers and showed promise in coverage. 


Davis has interceptions against Episcopal Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill. The 6-1, 205-pound backer had seven tackles and a sack in his final game versus the Blue Devils. Law recorded a strip sack and recovered the fumble followed by six total tackles in that final win. The secondary was manned by Richmond commit D’Angelo Stocker and Isaiah Wright. Stocker had a pair of interceptions this season.

Offensively, Deery, Max Bowman, the 6-5, 300-pound Harvard commit, and Peter Jones, the 6-5, 290-pound and 15-year-old sophomore with offers from Boston College, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, led the way for the Friars to average 186.8 rushing yards per game.

The offense went as that line went and they opened running lanes times and again for a variety of skilled Malvern Prep running backs.

“It’s great to have great players but it’s also good to have coachable players,” Gueriera said. “We have guys who just want to get better. There’s a toughness factor and you have to want to move people against their will. We build that here. It’s not a position of glory but of grit and we embrace that.”

Wright, who recently received an offer from Marist, was sensational this season rushing for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns, tied for the most in the Inter-Ac this season. Those 1,100 yards were the most rushing yards by a Malvern Prep player in a single season since Zac Fernandez, who played at Johns Hopkins, in 2016. He recorded five 100-yard games and capped off his career with his best day on the ground, rushing for 244 yards against the Blue Devils.

His development was instrumental to the Friars success this season and, to cap a year where it appeared he had suffered a major injury against Germantown Academy but returned to help lift the league trophy, Gueriera could not be more proud of Wright.

“He tried to add some more weight this offseason while keeping his speed and quickness at where it has been in the past,” Gueriera said. “He knew he was going to be our workhorse and get a lot of carries behind our big offensive line. It’s an accomplishment for him and he couldn’t go out any better for a three-year starter. He left it all on the field and has no regrets.”

Backup running back Yaahdir Nash rushed for 325 yards and four touchdowns. He will be the starter next season as a senior. Senior quarterback Jack Capaldi rushed for four scores of his own while passing for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns, with Stocker catching three of them, through the air.

On special teams, the Friars had the premiere kicker in the league in Navy commit Jake Reid, who scored 50 points and converted 26-for-28 point-after tries. Additionally, he hit 8-for-12 field goals and netted touchbacks on 34-for-41 kickoffs. On punts, he was even more impressive averaging 43 net yards per punt with a season-long 85 yarder against the Patriots. Stocker had a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown vs. Germantown Academy and Nash returned one 88 yards against Penn Charter.

Pick Two: Shelinsky, Thorpe Created High Octane Offense for Blue Devils

Rick Knox had a unique combination of size, speed and experience on the outside with two of the best wide receivers in the Inter-Ac this season in Tommy Shelinsky and Ivan Thorpe. Shelinsky, the 5-10 senior and All Inter-Ac First Team pick, caught 33 passes for 529 yards and seven touchdowns, the most in the league. Thorpe, the fellow 5-10 senior who recently earned an offer from VMI, had a team-high 40 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns despite missing four games due to injury.

SCHA senior Ivan Thorpe battles Malvern Prep's Isaiah Wright in final league game of the season - PSD Photo by Lou Rabito

SCHA senior Tommy Shelinsky was named to the All-Inter-Ac first team - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

Knox admitted that Springside Chestnut Hill (3-7, 0-5) was at its best when those two were playing outside of each other and making plays all over the field.

“When we were able to have them together on the field, it was awesome,” Knox said. “When a defense can’t roll their coverage to one guy and we can spread the field, it’s a huge advantage. In the games Ivan was out, teams were double-teaming Tommy and we didn’t have those other options. It leaves all of your options open in the offense.”

Thorpe recorded 183 receiving yards in the season opener against Cheltenham then Shelinsky tallied 146 vs. Pope John Paul II the very next game. They kept defenses on their heels and gave defensive backs fits. Of course, the two were catching passes from the league’s premiere passer in All Inter-Ac First Team selection Aidan Dooley, who led the league with 1,787 yards and 20 touchdowns. He became the third Blue Devils quarterback to throw for 20 touchdowns in a single season, joining his brother, Paul, who starred at West Chester University. He threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns against Cheltenham then tossed five scores vs. PJP. His best Inter-Ac performance came against the Haverford School with 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Having a polished passer like Dooley aided Knox's spread offense and allowed it to reach its potential.

 “We felt like we could overcome and outperform if Aidan and Ivan played really well,” Knox said. “Aidan did a lot within the confines of the offense but he also made plays when things would break down and find people. When we were at our best, Aidan was the reason why.”

Dooley was able to find Shelinsky, Thorpe and tight end Danny Reagan, a 6-1 sophomore who burst onto the scene in his first season with the Blue Devils. Reagan caught 34 passes for 352 yards, with 118 coming against Germantown Academy, and two touchdowns. Tyler Roberts, the 5-10 sophomore wideout, returns after having 216 receiving and four scores this season.

Reagan caused havoc as a linebacker, recording 15 tackles and an interception return touchdown against the Fords. “Throughout the entire year, he was our most important two-way player based upon his contributions on both sides of the ball. He’s only a sophomore so he has a lot of football ahead of him. He turned into one of our best leaders this year,” according to Knox.

Roberts was sensational at safety, totaling 19 tackles in the season finale against the Friars. Darrion Rascoe, who Knox described as the “biggest playmaker on the defensive line,” will return as a senior.

Pick Three: Allen Completes Historic Senior Season for Patriots

Germantown Academy head coach Matt Dence has coached running backs who can hit the hole in a hurry, make plays in the passing game out of the backfield, excel in blocking and even return punts and kickoffs. What made his starting tailback this season so special was that nothing Brian Allen did surprised the 10th year head coach in the slightest.

“He’s a hard worker and prepares as well as anyone,” Dence said. “The only thing we were mindful of was keeping him healthy. He was hurt a lot through his first three years, even missed the entire sophomore year. Then last year, we only played four games. Not a lot of people knew what we had in him but I knew he was special. This was an all-time great season at running back for him.”

Allen, the All Inter-Ac First Team selection, rushed for a league-leading 1,435 yards and tied for the league lead with 13 touchdowns. Those 1,435 yards are the third-most in a single season in Germantown Academy history since 1991.

GA senior Brian Allen weaves his way to the end zone in historic rivalry matchup vs. Penn Charter - Video by Cole Nowak

The 5-11 senior and Long Island University lacrosse commit rushed for 186 yards in the opener vs. Simon Gratz and continued to build from there. He rushed for over 100 yards in eight of the Patriots nine games, including a season-high 229 in a loss to Episcopal Academy. He closed out his career with 215 yards on the ground vs. the Quakers.

Under center, Tristian Machado showcased why he won the starting job in August. The 5-11 junior lefty completed 67.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,452 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s continuing a line of succession that goes back to Hayes Nolte, Kyle McCloskey and Jordan Longino in recent years.

In his first year as a starter, Machado did everything Dence and the coaching staff asked of him and he displayed steady improvement.

“That’s part of the work he puts in and the product on offense that we’ve become,” Dence said. “It was convincing in the summer that he was the best out of the QBs battling for the starting spot and he proved us right.”

Machado had success without two starting wide receivers in Jake Hsu, who was lost for the season in the Patriots second game, and Matt McGettigan, who missed six weeks. He built a connection with 6-1 junior Evan Spivey, who had 34 receptions for 604 yards, which led the Inter-Ac, and six touchdowns, good for second. Aidan Donahue, the 5-11 junior, turned into a reliable receiving option with 29 catches for 307 yards and a touchdown.

GA senior Mike McGhee said the Patriots excelled at running the ball and noted how special it was to get back on the field after a shortened Covid season - video by cole nowak

The Germantown Academy (5-4, 2-3) was led by Donny Lattanze and Sean Spinosa, both four-year starters, and Jack Brookman, the 6-2, 240-pound Bowdoin College commit. That unit allowed Patriots running backs to avg. 199.2 rushing yards per game this year, tops in the Inter-Ac.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Seamus Knox, senior linebacker Mike McGhee and senior nose tackle Coulten Grasela anchored a unit that only allowed one team over its final four games to score more than 15 points.

Pick Four: While Injuries Mounted, Churchmen Continued to Roll

Two seasons ago, Episcopal Academy head coach Todd Fairlie dealt with a multitude of injuries at key positions but was able to plug new players in various spots and the result was an Inter-Ac title. Last season, even with a shorter schedule, injuries mounted once again and Fairlie continually maneuvered his depth chart to find what worked best for that group.

A third consecutive year of unfortunate injuries, particularly at quarterback and across the offensive line, but the Episcopal Academy head coach found a way to put players in position to be successful and the wins rolled in.

EA senior QB Jake Fant passed for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns this season - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

“We put ourselves in a position to play for a championship and that was the goal,” Fairlie said. “When we started this thing, we have always wanted to play meaningful games in November. You want these last few weeks to mean something. We reached that goal but we didn’t capitalize on that. Still, it was a great experience because we were a very young team and to have that is exciting for the future having played in these championship environments. We’re going to return the most experienced team we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Senior signal caller Jake Fant went down with a shoulder injury in the Germantown Academy game and missed two straight starts. The 6-1 quarterback passed for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing 232 yards and four scores. He returned for the biggest game of the season against the Friars and, despite the team's 17-7 loss, he kept the Churchmen in the game with 189 yards through the air.

Fairlie was thrilled to have a veteran like Fant leading the Episcopal Academy (6-4, 3-2) offense and felt his presence helped, even when he wasn’t out on the field.

“He made a lot of plays and was really smart with the football,” Fairlie said. “He stood in there and never wavered. He always made the right read and got the ball to the right person. He was a consistent presence back there and always had an even keel to him.”

While Fant was out for an extended period, he and backup Na’Rome Rayborn were played behind a reconstructed offensive line. Junior left tackle Victor Coleman was lost for the season against Governor Mifflin and three other starters also missed time. Tight end Ryan Appaneal only had three catches all year.

EA senior Bryce Cooper averaged 20.5 yards per catch this season - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

Still, both Churchmen passers had a plethora of receiving options. TJ Lamb, the 6-2 junior, led the team with 25 catches for 408 yards to go along with three touchdowns. Bryce Cooper, the 5-8 senior whose five touchdown receptions were tied for third in the league, had 369 receiving yards and avg. 20.5 yards per catch. TJ Cadden, the 6-foot junior wideout, had 23 catches for 230 yards and a pair of scores, including the game winner vs. Penn Charter. Army commit Neo Vossschulte missed most of the year with an injury but hauled in a nine-yard touchdown on a fade route from Fant in the loss to the Friars.

Starting running back Andrew McMeekin, who is committed to play lacrosse at Princeton, accrued 663 yards of total offense (464 rushing, 199 receiving) and finished third in the Inter-Ac with 10 touchdowns on the ground.

The Churchmen look to have found their replacement at quarterback in Rayborn, who had a 70.5 completion percentage of the three games he played. He went 2-0 as a starter and engineered Episcopal Academy’s come-from-behind victory over the Patriots when Fant went down. He had 414 yards and four touchdowns in that stretch.

Fairlie is confident Rayborn will pick up where he left as a sophomore and thrive as the unquestioned starter.

“He’s earned the right to be the future at that position and we’re excited about that,” Fairlie said. “We’re optimistic with what he was able to do with his opportunity. He played a lot of football this year outside of quarterback. We’re a team that relies on the two-way player and we’ve always felt that if we can get our players, specifically our quarterbacks, at different positions, it will benefit when they move to the position. He started every game on offense or defense.”

Junior linebackers Will Hohn and Jack Gallagher tied for the team lead with 62 total tackles. Gallagher recorded 7.5 tackles for loss. McMeekin had a team-high 8.0 sacks to go with 19 tackles for loss and 51 total tackles. TJ Cadden had 55 tackles from his safety spot while his brother, Michael, also a safety, had 42 tackles and five for loss. Rayborn had an interception return touchdown.

Pick Five: Gerber, Knox Fueled Fords’ Success

Brian Martin saw major strides in his second season at the helm of The Haverford School (5-4, 3-2) as they finished second in the Inter-Ac. The next step is getting back into consistent contention, similar to when Mike Murphy, now an assistant, was propelling the Fords to at least a share of five league crowns between 2009 and 2015.

“It’s a good foundation and the team knows what my expectations are from how we’re going to attack in practice, watch game film and execute on game day,” Martin said. “They’re buying into the system, which is a little different than when Mike Murphy had it. It’s like a whole new regime and guys are responding to it pretty well.”

Martin orchestrated a dual quarterback system behind two seniors in 6-2 Mike Benincasa and 6-foot Mike Galasso. Benincasa had 680 passing yards and seven touchdowns, fourth in the league. Martin said he “was like having another head coach out there” and “he was a student of the game.” Benincasa’s best game of the year came against Lansdale Catholic with 181 yards and three scores.

Galasso racked up 593 yards and four touchdowns. “He was a gamer. He always wanted to go and get things done. He could extend plays with his feet and look downfield,” as Martin stated. His best game was 276-yard, three-touchdown performance in a win over the Quakers.

Both quarterbacks were aided by the presence of senior Sam Gerber, who was the only player in the Inter-Ac this season with multiple rushing and receiving touchdowns. He had seven total touchdowns (four receiving, three rushing) while amassing 828 total yards of offense (435, 393).

The Fords defeated the Churchmen 13-7 on EA-HAV Day to "win the day" and claim ownership of the coveted split-sweater - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

He tallied 108 rushing yards against Springside Chestnut Hill then 140 in the season finale win over the Churchmen. He racked up 62 yards on 16 carries as well as five catches for 101 yards vs. Penn Charter. His versatility was the key to unlocking Martin’s offense, especially after moving to tailback.

“He was always willing to do what needed to be done,” Martin said. “When I told him we were going to move him to running back, he said, ‘Alright, whatever helps us win.’ He did it all and all he wanted to do was make the team better.’”

Matthew Brosko, the 5-8 sophomore, found success in the running game as well with 369 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Chace Knox, the 5-10 junior receiver, finished fourth in the league with 451 yards. He had consecutive 100-yard receiving games against Malvern Prep and Penn Charter.

Isaiah Boyd locked things down upfront on offense and bull rushed opposing offensive linemen all season along. The 6-4, 270-pound Tulane commit broke his hand in the Penn Charter but played through it. Unfortunately, he missed the final two games but finished the season with 38 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. “He would split double teams or take tight ends or tackles then make a play in the backfield all while holding his ground,” as Boyd noted.

Nose tackle Billy Brosko, a 5-11 junior, also had 4.0 sacks and eight tackles for loss.

Pick Six: Quakers Ground Game Paved the Way

Penn Charter (4-5, 2-3) closed out its season in dominating fashion by accumulating a season-high 509 total yards of offense in a 35-32 victory over Germantown Academy. Junior running back Ohifame Ijeboi rushed for a career-high 252 yards, which were the most since Edward Saydee (Temple) had 277 vs. the Patriots in 2018. He also added a touchdown.

In the 135th consecutive time the two historic programs have faced off in a rivalry that dates back to 1887, the year the Inter-Ac was founded. Penn Charter leads the all-time series 87-37-11.

Quarterback Seamus McCain rushed for 176 yards on 12 carries and four touchdowns in that win, the most by a Quakers player since Chandler Turner had that total in 2019. Turner rushed for 258 yards this season, one of four Penn Charter players with at least 200 yards on the ground, and four touchdowns.

Ijeboi had 622 yards on 80 carries and three touchdowns this season. McCain had 202 rushing yards on two straight starts to close out the year and sophomore Zach Curtin added 235 yards on 29 carries and five total touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving). Junior quarterback Colin Schumm 746 passing yards and six touchdowns this season. Tight end Isaiah Grimes led the Quakers with 22 receptions for 439 yards and a touchdown on his way to All Inter-Ac First Team.

Junior linebacker Liam Rowan had an interception return touchdown and two fumble recovery scores while recording 33 total tackles and two sacks. Senior linebacker Jerry Rullo led the team with 64 tackles to go along with three fumble recoveries, 1.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. Sophomore defensive end Curran Rahn recorded six tackles for loss and Grimes had 2.5 sacks on the year. Ijeboi and Curtin had eight passes defended in the Quakers secondary. Ijeboi also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown vs. Malvern Prep.

View the entire All Inter-Ac Team here.

2021 PC-GA Day Football Highlights by Cole Nowak:

Penn Charter juniors Ohifame Ijeboi and Seamus McCain talk about the keys to the quaker’s success on coming away with the victory on PC-GA Day - PSD Video by COle Nowak:

Penn Charter head coach Tom Coyle noted this importance of this historic rivalry game with the competition cup trophy in hand - PSD Video by Cole Nowak

2021 Inter-Ac Statistical Leaders

Rushing Leaders

1. Brian Allen, Germantown Academy 1,435 yards

2. Isaiah Wright, Malvern Prep 1,100 yards

3. Ohifame Ijeboi, Penn Charter 622 yards

4. Elio Colavita, Springside Chestnut Hill 478 yards

5. Andrew McMeekin, Episcopal Academy 464 yards

6. Sam Gerber, Haverford School 435 yards

7. Matthew Brosko, Haverford School 369 yards

8. Yaahdir Nash, Malvern Prep 325 yards yards


Rushing Touchdowns

T-1. Isaiah Wright, Malvern Prep 13

Brian Allen, Germantown Academy 13

3. Andrew McMeekin, Episcopal Academy 10

4. Matthew Brosko, Haverford School 5

T-5. Yaahdir Nash, Malvern Prep 4

Chandler Turner, Penn Charter 4

Jack Capaldi, Malvern Prep 4

Seamus McCain, Penn Charter 4


Passing Yardage Leaders

1. Aidan Dooley, Springside Chestnut Hill 1,787 yards

2. Tristian Machado, Germantown Academy 1,452 yards

3. Jake Fant, Episcopal Academy 1,132 yards

4. Jack Capaldi, Malvern Prep 1,007 yards

5. Colin Schumm, Penn Charter 746 yards

6. Mike Benincasa, Haverford School 680 yards

7. Mike Galasso, Haverford School 593 yards


Passing Touchdowns Leaders

1. Aidan Dooley, Springside Chestnut Hill, 20

2. Tristian Machado, Germantown Academy 10

3. Jake Fant, Episcopal Academy 9

4. Mike Benincasa, Haverford School 7

5. Colin Schumm, Penn Charter 6

T-6. Jack Capaldi, Malvern Prep 4

Na’rome Rayborn, Episcopal Academy 4

Mike Galasso, Haverford School 4


Receiving Yardage Leaders

1. Evan Spivery, Germantown Academy 604 yards

2. Ivan Thorpe, Springside Chestnut Hill 559 yards

3. Tommy Shelinsky, Springside Chestnut Hill 529 yards

4. Chace Knox, Haverford School 451 yards

5. Isaiah Grimes, Penn Charter 438 yards

6. TJ Lamb, Episcopal Academy 408 yards

7. Sam Gerber, Haverford School 393 yards

8. Bryce Cooper, Episcopal Academy 369 yards

9. Danny Reagan, Springside Chestnut Hill 352 yards

10. D’Angelo Stocker, Malvern Prep 311 yards

11. Aidan Donahue, Germantown Academy 307 yards

12. Ryan Falkenstein, Malvern Prep 230 yards

13. TJ Cadden, Episcopal Academy 230 yards


Receiving Touchdowns

1. Tommy Shelinsky, Springside Chestnut Hill 7

2. Evan Spivey, Germantown Academy 6

3. Bryce Cooper, Episcopal Academy 5

T-4. Sam Gerber, Haverford School 4

Tyler Roberts, Springside Chestnut Hill 4

Sam Gerber, Haverford School 4

T-7. D’Angelo Stocker, Malvern Prep 3

Ivan Thorpe, Springside Chestnut Hill 3

Davin Barnett, Penn Charter 3

TJ Lamb, Episcopal Academy 3