Leave it to Marple Newtown defensive coordinator Sal Oropollo to give me a proper welcome back to the high school ranks.
“Hey Mr. Toohey,’ Oropollo yelled from midfield during a break in practice one day last week. “How old are you?’
“I’m 55,’ I replied.
“I have one question for you,’ Oropollo said. “If you’re 55, that means I have 10 years on you. How come you have more gray hair than I do?’
And you thought the press gets no respect.
Yes, I’m back doing high school football. Not on a full-time basis. Matt Smith is still the football beat writer, which means he’s the guy responsible for the stats, the Super 7 and the Football Friday package as well as any other breaking news on the Delco high school football beat.
My main focus remains the college scene, specifically Villanova, but also the 10 other colleges and universities that call Delco home. I’m just here to help out. I’ll be writing a column in this space every Friday and the goal is to delve into topics of interest to Delco sports fans.
And while much of the focus will be on football, it will not be limited to the gridiron, so if you have an issue that needs to be addressed, feel free to shoot me an email at the address below. I’ll take all the help I can get.
By the way, that is not a typo. Sal Oropollo is the defensive coordinator at Marple Newtown. Not surprisingly, the players love him.
What they like most is his enthusiasm.
“He gets a little amped up,’ linebacker A.J. Cunningham said of Oropollo. “I like that.’
“He’s a wacko,’ defensive tackle Markos Katrakazis said. “I love it. He really gets into it.’
Oropollo is enjoying his new job and the fact that he gets to share it with his son, Nate, who has joined Ray Gionta’s staff as an assistant coach after an All-MAC career at Lycoming College. The defensive linemen, specifically the end, can learn a lot from the younger Oropollo.
He’s proof that you don’t have to be 6-4 and 265 pounds to be an outstanding defensive end at the collegiate level. Nate Oropollo led the Middle Atlantic Conference in sacks as a senior last year (10) and was a first-team all-conference selection and second-team All-East Region by D3football.com. He also was voted the Most Outstanding Male Athlete at Lyco, and the younger Oropollo is all of 6-0 and 210 pounds.