Godfather’s Ultimate Pa HS Team Player 2010
After viewing almost 50 Pennsylvania High School teams during the 2010 season, I took special notice to some of the major impact players. These players did not play because of injury or sickness but were still instrumental to their team with their sideline presence.
Football is the greatest team sport in America. The difficulties many face are the lost chances to help their team. In some ways it’s like being a Sergeant of a war platoon and not being able to engage the enemy because of a war wound. It’s difficult for the player, coaches and loved ones. It is also the sad reality of the sport.
There were a number of players who faced this challenge during the 2010 season. Desman Peoples’ had an unfortunate foot injury at the end of the Archbishop Wood/Cardinal O’Hara game for the AAA, PCL championship. Whitehall’s Chris Polony had an ankle injury during the fourth quarter of their D11, AAAA final vs. Easton. North Allegheny’s Alex Papson had a shoulder injury that served as another example of an impact player who faced this challenge.
Following is a list of those who were elected to the top of the Godfather’s list who faced this adversity.
Dondi Kirby: The do everything skill player from Gateway tore his ACL during a summer camp prior to his senior year. Aside from being the main cog for his team he was also garnishing offers from schools like Florida, Michigan and Ohio State. He did not let the injury set him back one bit. At Gateway’s opener vs. Bishop McDevitt, Kirby was another coach on the sideline. He spent time with the defensive backs and receivers and talked to the coaches who needed his advice. His eventual reward was a scholarship to play football for the University of Illinois.
Conner Faust: Allentown Central Catholic: I had a chance to watch the Vikings play twice at the end of the year. Like Kirby, Faust also met the same fate during a summer camp. Slated to be their returning star RB, LB he took his injury in stride. I first noticed him in civilian clothes prior to their game for the Eastern Pa AAA crown vs. Archbishop Wood as their skill guys were doing drills. Immediately, he was as much into the drills almost as if he were doing them himself. He was imploring some of his teammates to pick up the pace. In the State championship game vs. Bishop McDevitt, Faust was in pads but not able to play. With under a minute to go and the state title theirs, all ACC had to do was down the ball twice. Faust was so excited for his team that he tried to take the field for the last two plays.
Jack Foley: The Middle Linebacker and captain for District 12’s Roman Catholic was leading the team in tackles and was on his way to a potential 1st team all catholic selection as well as looking forward to being a senior four year varsity starter for the baseball team. A torn ACL suffered in week six vs. Father Judge potentially derailed both dreams. In week seven Foley was in crutches on the Cahilittes sideline giving instruction to his defense when they were not in the game. He continued to be a big part of the Roman team as they went onto the Philadelphia Catholic final vs. LaSalle.
The Godfather’s Top Three
3- Shane McNeely: The Allentown Central Catholic stud TE/DL sprained an ankle in the first quarter of their Eastern Pa. AAA title tilt vs. Archbishop Wood. After being carried off the field and on crutches, McNeely was up and down the sidelines giving unending support to the Vikings for the duration of the game. His mind was solely focused on ACC’s main goal: getting to Hershey. He spent time with his replacement on the DLine on the bench and in effect, was another coach on the sideline. During the Vikings state championship game the following week at Hershey vs. Bishop McDevitt, McNeely was in pads but noticeably limping. He spent the entire game giving signals to the team on the field, yelling encouragement to the players on the sideline and even getting the Vikings fan section into the game. His energy was felt all along their sideline and it was almost as if he was on the field and in the game. What both he and Faust exemplified during that game wasn’t nothing short of remarkable in their quest to become a state champion. McNeely’s reward is a scholarship to play at the University of New Hampshire next fall.
2- Wayne Capers: The Chartiers Valley junior star quarterback’s career so far has been sidetracked by injuries in both his sophomore and junior season’s. Capers suffered a broken foot in week four during his sophomore season in which he already had piled up 353 yards in rushing and 500 yards passing. He spent the rest of the season rehabbing but still remained a huge part of the Colts team with his unending support in both practice and games. Fully recovered he returned this year and suffered a torn ACL in week one vs. powerhouse Montour. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter but still finished the game passing 19 of 35 for 338 yards and a last minute loss to the perennial WPIAL, AAA runner up. Once again, Capers rehabbed hard and remained a serious part of the Colt sideline the rest of the year. The son of the former Pittsburgh Steelers WR will go into his senior campaign hopefully at full strength and is entertaining interest from Penn State, Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh.
Godfather’s Ultimate Team Player of 2011
Marco Dapkey: As I entered Neshaminy’s Harry Franks stadium prior to the Redskins AAAA District 1 playoff game vs. Baynard Rustin in November, I couldn’t quite understand why there were so many people wearing number 7 jerseys in the stands. When I asked someone about it, I was told the story about Dapkey and his incredible spirit that has permeated through the entire Neshaminy school.
Dapkey was a returning senior LB and WR who played a major part in the success the 2009, 9-3 Redskins. While in training during the summer of his senior (and breakout) season, Dapkey’s life and football career took a serious turn when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. From the time he was diagnosed there were trips to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) a spinal tap, bone marrow as well as chemotherapy.
When Neshaminy took the field that night, Dapkey (supporting his 7 Jersey) led them on to the field. He sprinted toward the sideline and looked fit enough to put the pads on. I cannot even begin to explain the energy he gave not only his team, but the entire fan base that night. It penetrated through the air like the American flag that stood on the north end of the stadium.
This particular night he went from player to player, reminding them all how big this game was. I even saw him approach a defensive player whom Dapkey thought wasn’t playing hard enough. The player he approached later caused a Rustin fumble that was recovered by Neshaminy.
Marco Dapkey, without question is the Godfather’s Ultimate Pa. High School player of the year in 2011. He is presently doing well and on the road to recovery. The enthusiasm he has generated this year will be sorely missed during the 2012 season.
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