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STATISTICS for the 39th Delaware County Hero Bowl (by the Tigers Radio Network)

Delco Times: East keeps good times rolling in winning for good cause at Hero Bowl

By Todd Orodenker

Delco Times &

MARPLE — The East team didn’t want it to end. After the clock hit zero, after their 36-7 domination of the West was final, they figured out ways to prolong the night.

First it was a team picture, then it was a round of shoutouts, then they reminisced about their two-and-a-half weeks together. Finally, they broke away, the joy of their Hero Bowl victory Thursday at Cardinal O’Hara still evident on their faces.

“We told the kids from the beginning, we wanted to create a great experience,’ said East coach Drew Pearson, who leads the Delco Christian program. “They came out and they just played.’

The East team did that in this annual Delaware County all-star game, which benefits the Hero Scholarship Fund, with a squad made up of senior stars from Springfield, Strath Haven, Radnor, Upper Darby, Academy Park, Interboro, Penn Wood, Haverford and Bonner-Prendergast. Previously, the teams were split up according to their leagues.

This year, they changed course and rough cut a geographically based mix. The result was a great night for the East and a rough night for the West.

The East led 7-0 after the first quarter and 28-0 at halftime. The game was really never close. Bonner-Prendergast quarterback Colin DiGalbo took home Offensive MVP honors for the East, throwing for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 5-of-7 passing. He also had 28 yards on the ground.

Winning the award in this game, with this team, for this cause, deeply affected him.

“It means a lot,’ he explained. “We work hard, we play hard for it. It meant a lot, it kind of brought a tear to my eye.’

DiGalbo recalled seeing the American flag flying high between two fire trucks and the massive police and firefighter presence. He knew what the game represented and what it was about. He also knew how much fun it was playing with this group.

The East side was singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” before the game. They had a ton of fun during their practices together, and it showed on the field.

“We were close, we were playing together,’ DiGalbo said. “We were playing together and having fun.’

DiGalbo had touchdown passes to Haverford’s Nick Costello (48 yards), Interboro’s Mark Everton (59 yards) and Academy Park’s Allon Ruffin (17 yards) in the first half. Springfield’s Brian Allen hit Penn Wood’s Kwabriem Jenkins for a 10-yard strike for the other score.

In the second half, Episcopal Academy’s Ryan Whayland had the West’s lone score via a 2-yard run. Chester’s Kquaran Mathews’ defensive play set it up. Strath Haven’s Nick Milone had a 44-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring.

All Pearson could do was marvel at what he had.

“When you have players like that, you just let them play,’ he said. “That’s what All-Star games are about.’

He was also thrilled about the defense, which let up just 95 total yards. East’s Breon Cottman-Cole, of Penn Wood, had a number of first-half sacks to help set the tone. There was little space for Chester coach Tony Beaty’s West side to operate.

“In an All-Star game, when you have to play Cover 0, it’s pretty remarkable,’ said Pearson of the effort. Trey Hinchley, of Ridley, had three receptions for 59 yards.

All proceeds from the Hero Bowl benefit the Fund, which provides scholarship support to the children of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

NOTES: The Ted Pokoy Memorial Award was named after the retired Chester police officer who died in 2006. The award is given each year to a person who has served the Hero Bowl and the Hero Scholarship Fund with distinction and dedication to Pokoy. This year’s recipient was Jerry Kennedy, the former Interboro teacher of 35 years who coached football and softball at the school. … While DiGalbo was the East’s offensive MVP, Cottman-Cole (Penn Wood) was the East defensive MVP after leading the way in the victory, Ridley’s Tre Hinchey (offensive) and Marple Newtown’s Vince Ciavardelli (defense) earned MVP honors for the West. … The cheerleader MVPs were Garnet Valley’s Sarah Ristine and Penn Wood’s Jalisa Walters.