Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Best Football Players in the Philadelphia Catholic League

The January 26, 2010 All-Catholic Banquet was an event to remember for the best players in the Philadelphia Catholic League. The banquet hosted All-Catholic players and their families, league coaches, even some current college coaches like Penn State Linebackers Coach, Ron Vanderlin, Delaware Quarterback Coach, Jim Hofher, and Head Coach and guest speaker from Holy Cross, Tom Gilmore. This event is to acknowledge the players for their athletic accomplishments on the field and distinguishes them as the best players in the Catholic League.

Various coaches in the Catholic League got to present the awards to the players in their respective division (divisions are based on male enrollment #'s, 4A being the highest). Besides the dinner(stuffed Chicken and green beans), this was my favorite part of the banquet. This part of the banquet was particularly entertaining because as each of the players’ name, height and weight were announced to receive their award, you could see the other guys sizing them up as if to say “He’s not tough, let’s put the pads on”. Kind of like the stare downs that competitors get into during pregame warm-ups in the season.

After all of the players were recognized, it was the coaches’ turn. Each Coach of the Year award winners had their moment at the microphone. A common topic discussed by the coaches was the appreciation of what the Catholic League represents. It’s a league known for development, not only as football players, but also as men. Also, many of the coaches made it a point to thank their staff. Coach of the Year Awards and League MVP for each Division looked like this:
AA Co-Coaches of the Year: Jim Grugan,Dougherty and Pat Manzi, McDevitt
AAA Coach of the Year: Steve Devlin, Wood
AAAA Coach of the Year: Gil Brooks, SJ Prep

AA MVP: Drew Siegfried, McDevitt

AAA MVP: Jerry Rahill, Wood

AAAA MVP: Corey Brown, O'Hara(Committed to Ohio State)

In closing, Coach Gilmore gave his speech. In his playing days, he was an All-Catholic D-lineman at North Catholic and now his time is spent as the Head Coach of the College of the Holy Cross. He gave a passionate speech mentioning the strong foundation he received as a player in the Catholic League. Coach Gilmore also made it a point to tell the recipients to appreciate the dedication from their coaches. He went on to recount how one of his positional coaches would come to practice with tar on his pants because like many of the coaches in the league, he had come to practice straight from work. (This was an example of many of the coaches’ dedication to their team) After a heart-felt and motivational speech, Coach Gilmore ended by congratulating the recipients and wished them luck in their careers.

From Left to Right: AAAA Coach of the Year: Gil Brooks(SJ Prep), Tom Gilmore (Holy Cross), Vernard "Coach Abe" Abrams

Highlights of the Banquet: With this being the last football season for North Catholic and Cardinal Dougherty closing, a representative from each school gave a brief history of the programs for the last time. For North Catholic, it was a former player from 1950’s and for Cardinal Dougherty it was their last coach, Jim Grugan both gave a pretty cool recollection of the schools’ football history.

Congratulations to the 2010 All-Catholic football players!
Click below for the rest of the Philadelphia All-Catholic Team

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