26th annual Northeast Sports Awards Banquet


Over the years, North­east Phil­adelphia com­pet­it­ors have cer­tainly es­tab­lished them­selves throughout the loc­al sports scene.

And this year was no dif­fer­ent.

Neigh­bor­hood ath­letes and coaches have once again em­braced the tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence in our com­munity. They have awed and en­ter­tained us with their tal­ent, en­thu­si­asm and re­lent­less hard work.

It is the North­east Times’ pleas­ure to com­mend their ac­com­plish­ments as we an­nounce the win­ners in base­ball and soft­ball, as well as gen­er­al awards, all of whom will be re­cog­nized at the 26th an­nu­al North­east Sports Awards Ban­quet, sched­uled for May 19.

The event will hon­or neigh­bor­hood ath­letes and be­stow more than 30 awards in such cat­egor­ies as Most Cour­ageous Ath­lete, Un­sung Hero, Schol­ar Ath­lete, and Play­er and Coach of the Year, among many oth­ers.

So without fur­ther ado, here are the top ath­letes chosen by the North­east Times

Spring Awards

Girls Soc­cer Coach of the Year

Bri­anna O’Don­nell, Frank­lin Towne Charter

Bri­anna O’Don­nell is amidst cre­at­ing a dyn­asty on the Frank­lin Towne Charter soc­cer field.

The wo­men’s coach for the past two years, O’Don­nell has guided the Coyotes to 16-3-2 re­cord dur­ing that time. She is a pi­on­eer for her play­ers both on the soc­cer field and in the classroom, al­ways em­phas­iz­ing the im­port­ance of aca­dem­ics as well as ath­let­ics.

In ad­di­tion to coach­ing the Coyotes’ soc­cer squad, O’Don­nell has also coached the wo­men’s varsity bas­ket­ball team for the past sev­en years.  She is a mem­ber of the school’s his­tory de­part­ment, where she cur­rently teaches psy­cho­logy and so­ci­ology.

O’Don­nell has be­come an in­cred­ible role mod­el for both her play­ers and stu­dents. She has self­lessly ded­ic­ated her­self to her be­loved stu­dent ath­letes at Frank­lin Towne Charter and she is this year’s Girls Soc­cer Coach of the Year.

Pub­lic League Girls Soc­cer Play­er of the Year

Sarah Rodgers, Frank­lin Towne Charter

It’s been four years in the mak­ing, and now Sarah Rodgers has evolved in­to the face of the fran­chise at Frank­lin Towne Charter.

The seni­or team cap­tain is cur­rently lead­ing her soc­cer squad in goals and as­sists this sea­son, help­ing the Coyotes score a 7-1-1 over­all re­cord, in­clud­ing five shutouts. With Rodgers at the fore­front, the Coyotes rode a six game win­ning streak throughout the first half of the sea­son.

A four-year varsity starter, Rodgers has been se­lec­ted as an All-Pub­lic honoree three times. She is the heart and soul of the Coyotes and is con­sidered by many to be one of the top play­ers to ever wear a Frank­lin Towne Charter soc­cer jer­sey.

Base­ball Coach of the Year

George Dufn­er, Samuel Fels High School

George Dufn­er is a man of pro­gres­sion.

Since tak­ing over the Samuel Fels High School base­ball team in 2007, he has con­tinu­ously im­proved the Pan­ther pro­gram. From height­en­ing num­bers to teach­ing skills to em­phas­iz­ing the im­port­ance of edu­ca­tion, Dufn­er has been an in­cred­ible role mod­el for his stu­dent ath­letes.

And it’s all been lead­ing up to this.

With Dufn­er lead­ing the way, the Pan­thers are cur­rently un­defeated in league play this sea­son, clinch­ing first place in the Pub­lic League C Di­vi­sion. They’ve outscored op­pon­ents by 47 runs thus far.

Dufn­er show­cases the qual­ity com­pon­ents of a suc­cess­ful coach. He pos­sessed great know­ledge of the game and con­tinu­ously be­stows his time, ef­fort and cap­ab­il­it­ies to­wards the tal­en­ted base­ball play­ers at Samuel Fels High School.

Pub­lic League Base­ball Play­er of the Year

Is­rael Diaz, Frank­ford

Is­rael Diaz has played a pivotal role in the Pi­on­eers’ suc­cess over the past four sea­sons, but it looks like he saved the best for last.

Now a seni­or shortstop and pitch­er for the Frank­ford High School base­ball team, Diaz has hit his stride this spring, where he guided the Pi­on­eers to an 7-1 re­cord, good enough for first place in the Pub­lic League A Di­vi­sion.

Diaz has proven him­self as a nat­ur­al lead­er for the youth­ful Pi­on­eers this sea­son, lead­ing by ex­ample on the dia­mond. The 5-foot-9 util­ity play­er can hit, throw, run and can catch any ground­er hit his way with ease.

A lifelong com­pet­it­or on the dia­mond, Diaz has whole­heartedly ded­ic­ated him­self to the craft. He pos­sesses the raw tal­ent and base­ball IQ needed to suc­ceed and is this year’s Pub­lic League Base­ball Play­er of the Year.

Cath­ol­ic League Base­ball Play­er of the Year

Kev­in Mack, Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School

While the Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School base­ball team has ex­per­i­enced plenty of ups and downs this spring, there was one con­sist­ent shin­ing star for the Raid­ers — Kev­in Mack. 

The seni­or left handed pitch­er and out­field­er has proven him­self on the dia­mond amongst the highly com­pet­it­ive Cath­ol­ic League. He is 2-0 on the hill this sea­son, fan­ning sev­en bat­ters and walk­ing only one.

An All Cath­ol­ic honoree in two po­s­i­tions — pitch­er and out­field — Mack is the es­sence of a team play­er, do­ing whatever he can for the bet­ter­ment of his squad.

In ad­di­tion to his four years on the varsity base­ball team at Arch­bish­op Ry­an, Mack is also a mem­ber of the varsity soc­cer and swim team. He has con­sist­ently earned hon­ors throughout his ten­ure at the Academy Road school and has suc­cess­fully em­braced the life­style of a stu­dent ath­lete.

Soft­ball Coach of the Year

Paul Com­marota, Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln

The Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School soft­ball team has suc­cess­fully evolved from a crew of in­ex­per­i­enced rook­ies in­to ma­jor Pub­lic League con­tenders this sea­son.

Be­hind their trans­form­a­tion is Paul Com­marota.

Equipped with a skilled, but in­ex­per­i­enced squad this sea­son, the Railsplit­ters’ coach suc­cess­fully taught his play­ers the ba­sic fun­da­ment­als of the game. He quickly formed a bond with his play­ers, en­cour­aging ded­ic­a­tion both on the field and in the classroom. He de­mands the best from his team, and at the same time cher­ishes the pure en­joy­ment of the game.

With Com­marota lead­ing the way, the Railsplit­ters are cur­rently 7-2 over­all, outscor­ing op­pon­ents by more than 45 runs this sea­son.

Com­marota has ded­ic­ated him­self to the Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln soft­ball fam­ily and is known for his com­mit­ment of time and ef­fort for the bet­ter­ment of his squad.

Pub­lic League Soft­ball Play­er of the Year

Ash­ley Hagan, North­east

Bat­ters be­ware of Ash­ley Hagan.

A seni­or hurl­er for the North­east High School soft­ball team, Hagan hero­ics on the mound have earned her a ruth­less repu­ta­tion this sea­son. She’s guided North­east High to a 9-1 re­cord — pitch­ing every in­ning for the Vik­ings.

A four-year varsity starter, Hagan has ded­ic­ated her­self to life on the hill, con­sist­ently bet­ter­ing her pitch place­ment and speed over the years. Her com­mit­ment has al­lowed the nat­ur­al ath­lete to rise as one of the top pitch­ers in the Phil­adelphia Pub­lic League.

Hagan’s skills aren’t lim­ited to the mound. Also a star on of­fense, she’s knocked in two doubles, one homer and six RBIs this sea­son, help­ing the Vik­ings outscore op­pon­ents by an as­ton­ish­ing 114 runs. 

Cath­ol­ic League Soft­ball Play­er of the Year

Alex Ster­mel, Naz­areth Academy

Soft­ball has be­come a way of life for Alex Ster­mel.

And it shows.

A seni­or at Naz­areth Academy High School, Ster­mel’s ded­ic­a­tion has be­come evid­ent on the dia­mond. She can hit, field, throw, catch. She can do it all.

Ster­mel mainly works as a first base­man, but is equipped to cov­er al­most any po­s­i­tion. She’s earned a start­ing po­s­i­tion with the Pan­das over the past three sea­sons — she at­ten­ded Little Flower High School her fresh­man year — help­ing guide Naz­areth to a pair of con­sec­ut­ive Ath­let­ic As­so­ci­ation of Cath­ol­ic Academies cham­pi­on­ship titles in as many years.

This sea­son, with Ster­mel at the fore­front, Naz­areth has gone un­defeated in league play and 13-1 over­all. The Pan­das are cur­rently rid­ing a 12-game win­ning streak.

When she’s not com­pet­ing at Naz­areth Academy, Ster­mel travels with the In­tens­ity, a Ju­ni­or Olympic soft­ball team that com­petes in vari­ous tour­na­ments and col­lege show­cases throughout the coun­try.

An hon­or stu­dent in the classroom, Ster­mel will con­tin­ue her ath­let­ic and aca­dem­ic en­deavors at Temple Uni­versity next year, where she has ac­cep­ted an ath­let­ic schol­ar­ship.

An­nu­al Awards

Col­lege Play­er of the Year

Mike Varanav­age, Blooms­burg Uni­versity

For Mike Varanav­age, it’s been a very grand fi­nale.

This year marked the Blooms­burg Uni­versity seni­or’s fi­nal foot­ball sea­son of his col­legi­ate ca­reer, and he cer­tainly made it count. Varanav­age, a line­back­er who towers at six feet tall and is 220 pounds strong, served as his team’s cap­tain this sea­son, guid­ing his fel­low Huskies to an un­defeated re­cord in the Pennsylvania State Ath­let­ic Con­fer­ence this sea­son (10-3 over­all).

A product of Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School, Varanav­age led his team in tackles this year with 98 — 53 of them were solo — and was sev­enth over­all in the PSAC. He snagged three in­ter­cep­tions this sea­son, re­covered a pair of fumbled and forced two.

Varanav­age’s hero­ics on the grid­iron earned him PSAC East De­fens­ive Play­er of the Week three times. He was named the PSAC East­ern Di­vi­sion De­fens­ive Play­er of the Year and also to the 2010 Dak­tron­ics, Inc., Di­vi­sion II All-Su­per Re­gion 1 foot­ball team.

Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year

Cath­er­ine Carr, bas­ket­ball

There’s no stop­ping Cath­er­ine Carr.

Even well after her bas­ket­ball ca­reer was over at Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity, the four-year star for­ward con­tin­ued to score big for the Ti­gers.

Carr was re­cently awar­ded All-Amer­ic­an hon­ors for her hero­ics on the hard­wood. She is the first wo­men’s bas­ket­ball play­er in Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity his­tory to re­ceive this hon­or.

That’s not the only reas­on Carr is now in the re­cord books at Holy Fam­ily. She also com­pleted her four-year ca­reer with 1,995 points, a new school re­cord.

Carr fin­ished this sea­son — her last with Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity — lead­ing her team in points (16.4), re­bounds (6.3) and as­sists (4). The Ti­gers went 24-5 over­all, in­clud­ing a trip to the CACC Cham­pi­on­ship Fi­nal.

This winter, she was named All-CACC First Team for the third con­sec­ut­ive sea­son, and also re­ceived CACC All-Tour­na­ment hon­ors and Dak­tron­nics All-East Re­gion First Team.

The six-foot stu­dent ath­lete will gradu­ate on May 15 with a de­gree in sports man­age­ment and mar­ket­ing. She will surely be re­membered as one of the best to ever com­pete for the Ti­gers.

Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity Male Ath­lete of the Year

Colin Whalen, soc­cer

Colin Whalen may be new to the Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity men’s soc­cer team, but it didn’t take long for him to make a name for him­self.

A ju­ni­or trans­fer stu­dent from La Salle Uni­versity, Whalen guided the Ti­gers in scor­ing with 16 points, net­ting four goals and re­cord­ing a team-high eight as­sists this sea­son.

An All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion, Whalen was ranked second in the Cent­ral At­lantic Col­legi­ate Con­fer­ence in as­sists per game. He was also named to the Dak­tron­ics, Inc., Men’s Soc­cer All-East Re­gion Team as voted by the sports in­form­a­tion dir­ect­ors of the NCAA Di­vi­sion II East Re­gion.

His nat­ur­al cap­ab­il­it­ies on the soc­cer field and team ori­ented at­ti­tude have proven to be a suc­cess­ful match for Whalen, who is this year’s Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity Male Ath­lete of the Year. 

Most Cour­ageous Ath­lete of the Year

Taylor Stein­berg, Naz­areth Academy

Taylor Stein­berg is the es­sence of a cour­ageous ath­lete.

At just 17 years old, she has been dia­gnosed with can­cer twice, and yet she has re­mained a mod­el of de­vo­tion and strong will for her peers at Naz­areth Academy.

A ju­ni­or stu­dent ath­lete, Stein­berg com­petes for the Pan­das’ soc­cer and lacrosse squads, however, she was forced to miss the spring lacrosse sea­son after be­ing dia­gnosed with a rare form of leuk­emia. She is now en­dur­ing reg­u­lar chemo­ther­apy treat­ments at the Chil­dren’s Hos­pit­al of Phil­adelphia.

This isn’t the first time Stein­berg has been faced with ad­versity. Three years ago — as an eighth-grader at Naz­areth Grade School — Taylor was dia­gnosed with thyroid can­cer. In Feb­ru­ary 2007, she had suc­cess­ful thyroid sur­gery at the Me­mori­al Sloan-Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter in New York and over the next two years, un­der­went a series of chemo­ther­apy treat­ments.

Des­pite all of her hard­ships, Stein­berg has main­tained an un­con­di­tion­al op­tim­ist­ic at­ti­tude. She is a vali­ant ath­lete who has con­tinu­ally over­come hurdles in her life to prove her­self amongst the best. She is al­ways eager and able to put in the time and work, re­gard­less of the chal­lenges she has en­countered along the way. She is power­ful in both mind and body; she is this year’s Most Cour­ageous Ath­lete.

Sports­man­ship Award

Musa Kamara, Samuel Fels

The only thing more im­press­ive than Musa Kamara’s skills on the soc­cer field is his at­ti­tude.

The Samuel Fels High School ju­ni­or for­ward guided the Pan­thers through and al­most-per­fect sea­son this fall, com­pil­ing an 11-1 over­all re­cord with five shutouts. He led by ex­ample on the field, head­ing the Pan­thers’ elec­tri­fy­ing of­fense that av­er­aged six goals per game and outscored op­pon­ents by 54.

Kamara cer­tainly played a vi­tal role in the Pan­thers’ suc­cess this sea­son, scor­ing 25 goals. He net­ted three hat tricks in the pro­cess and scored four goals, a per­son­al best, twice this sea­son — against Swen­son on Oct. 5 and against Fur­ness on Oct. 18.

But just as im­press­ive as his tal­ent on the pitch is his per­sona off it. Kamara worked as a team co-cap­tain this sea­son, and handled his lead­er­ship re­spons­ib­il­it­ies like a pro. He em­braced a pos­it­ive at­ti­tude, and his un­dy­ing en­thu­si­asm be­came con­ta­gious to his fel­low Pan­thers. Also an hon­or stu­dent in the classroom, Kamara has show­cased everything a suc­cess­ful stu­dent ath­lete should be.

Un­sung Hero Award

Derek Ross, Fath­er Judge

There were many reas­ons that the Fath­er Judge High School soc­cer squad ex­celled on the pitch this sea­son —ex­per­i­ence, tal­ent and ded­ic­a­tion.

Then, there was Derek Ross.

A seni­or team cap­tain for the Cru­saders, Ross em­braced his strong but si­lent per­sona. He worked as a sweep­er, whose calm and fo­cused at­ti­tude helped him dom­in­ate the back­field. With Ross lead­ing the way, the Cru­saders earned a 15-5 over­all re­cord, in­clud­ing a re­mark­able 10 shutouts. 

A four-year play­er for the Cru­saders, Ross helped net a pair of Cath­ol­ic League Cham­pi­on­ship tri­umphs, two city titles and a stats cham­pi­on­ship dur­ing that time.

In ad­di­tion to his suc­cess on the pitch, Ross has also scored big in the classroom — con­sist­ently earn­ing hon­ors throughout his ten­ure at Fath­er Judge.

Des­pite all of his ac­com­plish­ments, Ross nev­er hogged the lime­light. In­stead, he em­braced the im­port­ance of team­work and al­ways put his fel­low Cru­saders be­fore him­self. He is a tal­en­ted ath­lete, gen­er­ous team­mate and the re­cip­i­ent of this year’s Un­sung Hero award.  

The North­east Phil­adelphi­an Award

Mike Zolk, Neu­mann Gor­etti

High schools throughout the City of Broth­erly Love have ath­let­ic teams that fea­ture play­ers from North­east Phil­adelphia.

But none has had the im­pact of Mike Zolk.

A Far North­east res­id­ent, Zolk at­tends Neu­mann Gor­etti in South Phil­adelphia, where he is cur­rently help­ing the Saints base­ball squad dom­in­ate the Cath­ol­ic League.

A seni­or second base­man and pitch­er, Zolk is a per­fect ex­ample of a five tool play­er. He can hit for av­er­age, hit for power, throw, catch and man, can he run.

Nick­named “Zoom,” the speed­ster has guided the Saints to an un­defeated re­cord this sea­son. Neu­mann Gor­etti is cur­rently sit­ting atop the Cath­ol­ic League Blue Di­vi­sion with a 5-0 re­cord (8-0 over­all).

Those aren’t the only im­press­ive num­bers Zolk has helped rack up this sea­son. He’s slugged four doubles, three triples and two homer­uns, ac­count­ing for 16 runs bat­ted in this spring.

Also a star in the classroom, Zolk will con­tin­ue his aca­dem­ic and ath­let­ic en­deavors at the Uni­versity of North Car­o­lina at Chapel Hill next year, where he re­cently signed a Let­ter of In­tent to com­pete with the Par Heels.  

Fe­male Schol­ar Ath­lete of the Year

Alex­is Rodrig­uez, Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln

Alex­is Rodrig­uez has mastered quite a jug­gling act at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School.

The seni­or tri-sport ath­lete is a mem­ber of the Railsplit­ters’ varsity vol­ley­ball, bas­ket­ball and soft­ball teams, but per­haps her greatest work is in the classroom.

One of the top stu­dents in her class, Rodrig­uez — who plans to work to­wards a nurs­ing de­gree next year — has con­sist­ently earned hon­ors throughout her ten­ure at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln.

When she’s not hit­ting the books, Rodrig­uez is dom­in­at­ing Pub­lic League com­pet­i­tion. She guided the Railsplit­ters vol­ley­ball squad to an un­defeated re­cord throughout the reg­u­lar sea­son this year, win­ning all 11 out­ings. The squad outscored op­pon­ents by 30 dur­ing that time, in­clud­ing nine shutouts.

Fol­low­ing vol­ley­ball sea­son, Rodrig­uez sprin­ted onto the hard­wood, where she helped Lin­coln go 7-7 over­all on the bas­ket­ball courts, in­clud­ing an ap­pear­ance in the Pub­lic League play­offs.

Cur­rently work­ing as the Railsplit­ters’ start­ing third base­man, Rodrig­uez is really step­ping up to the plate this soft­ball sea­son. On April 15, she re­cor­ded three hits, in­clud­ing a grand slam, help­ing Lin­coln oust Edis­on High 15-0. She’s also knocked in five RBIs, cour­tesy of two doubles and a triple, guid­ing the Railsplit­ters to a 7-2 re­cord.

Rodrig­uez is an ex­cep­tion­al com­pet­it­or, but more im­port­antly, she ap­pre­ci­ates the im­port­ance of edu­ca­tion and know­ledge in the classroom, which makes her a sol­id choice for this year’s Fe­male Schol­ar Ath­lete of the Year.

Male Schol­ar Ath­lete of the Yea

Tony DiPi­etro, North­east

Tony DiPi­etro can do it all.

The North­east High School seni­or stu­dent ath­lete works as team cap­tain for the Vik­ings’ varsity soc­cer and wrest­ling squads and is also ranked in the top ten per­cent of his class.

A four-year varsity soc­cer play­er, DiPi­etro has con­sist­ently guided the Vik­ings to post-sea­son play dur­ing that time. This sea­son, North­east went 9-3 over­all, in­clud­ing five shutouts. The Vik­ings dom­in­ated the com­pet­i­tion, outscor­ing op­pon­ents by 17 goals en route to a Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship ap­pear­ance.

Once soc­cer sea­son was com­plete, DiPi­etro mi­grated to North­east High’s gym­nas­i­um where he con­tin­ued his suc­cess with the Vik­ings’ wrest­ling squad.

He helped the Vik­ings to an al­most-per­fect re­cord on the mats this winter. North­east fin­ished 9-1, in­clud­ing a nine-game win­ning streak and a Pub­lic League cham­pi­on­ship ap­pear­ance.

Des­pite go­ing dir­ectly from soc­cer to wrest­ling and train­ing year round for both sports, DiPi­etro has con­sist­ently en­sured his school­work is his num­ber-one pri­or­ity.

He has conquered the art of time man­age­ment. Wheth­er he’s on the soc­cer field, wrest­ling mats or in the classroom, DiPi­etro ex­cels at everything he does. His con­tin­ued suc­cess —both aca­dem­ic­ally and ath­let­ic­ally — is a true test­a­ment to his hard work and ded­ic­a­tion. 

Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year

Des­tiny Ox­ford, North­east

Des­tiny Ox­ford is rack­ing up all the right num­bers.

A four-year varsity ath­lete on the North­east High School bas­ket­ball and soft­ball teams, Ox­ford has earned eight varsity let­ters, eight post­season ap­pear­ances, sev­en win­ning re­cords and one cham­pi­on­ship title.

Not to men­tion, she is also a team cap­tain on both the bas­ket­ball court and soft­ball field, and still has time to score con­sist­ent hon­ors in the classroom.

This winter, Ox­ford was an ex­cel­lent lead­er for the Vik­ings’ youth­ful bas­ket­ball squad. She guided her be­loved team to an 11-4 over­all re­cord this sea­son en route to play­off con­ten­tion.

Fol­low­ing bas­ket­ball sea­son, Ox­ford re­lo­cated to the soft­ball dia­mond. She en­joyed no days off, no breaks, no off-sea­son. In­stead, she im­me­di­ately got to work. A self­less play­er who al­ways puts the bet­ter­ment of her team first, Ox­ford left her usu­al po­s­i­tion at first base to catch this sea­son, help­ing the Vik­ings fill a void po­s­i­tion be­hind the plate. With Ox­ford lead­ing the way, North­east is cur­rently 9-1 thus far this sea­son, outscor­ing op­pon­ents by more than 110 runs.

The mod­est and humble Ox­ford has proven her­self time and time again as one of the top stu­dent ath­letes in the area. She has mastered the art of suc­ceed­ing ath­let­ic­ally, as well as aca­dem­ic­ally, and has truly em­braced everything North­east High School has to of­fer.

Male Ath­lete of the Year

De­ion Barnes, North­east

It’s cer­tainly been an un­for­get­table year for De­ion Barnes.

The North­east High School seni­or helped make his­tory this fall, when he guided the mighty Vik­ings to their first Pub­lic League foot­ball cham­pi­on­ship title since 1983. North­east went un­defeated (6-0) in the Gold Di­vi­sion and 9-3 over­all.

After re­ceiv­ing a flood of col­lege schol­ar­ship of­fers — 14 to be ex­act — the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Di­vi­sion I re­cruit will con­tin­ue his ca­reer with the Penn State Nit­tany Lions in the fall.

Known for his ath­leti­cism, back­side pur­suit and quick­ness off the ball, Barnes’ foot­ball re­sume speaks for it­self. Rivals.com named Barnes a four-star pro­spect who is ranked sixth in the na­tion at his po­s­i­tion and second in Pennsylvania.

ES­PN.com grades him a three-star pro­spect with a scout’s grade of 78. As a sopho­more, Barnes re­gistered 50 tackles and 11 quar­ter­back sacks. As a ju­ni­or, Barnes ter­ror­ized the league, post­ing 64 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble re­cov­ery for a touch­down and one blocked field goal while play­ing de­fense.

Barnes’ seni­or year was the most mem­or­able.

While the de­fense held op­pon­ents to an av­er­age of 11 points per game, Barnes re­cor­ded 85 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and three blocked punts — one of which he re­turned for a touch­down.

While play­ing tight end for North­east, Barnes tal­lied 22 catches for 389 yards and four touch­downs, in­clud­ing the game-win­ner in the Pub­lic League Cham­pi­on­ship game against George Wash­ing­ton High School.

Throughout all of the hype and lime­light this year, Barnes has re­mained humble and groun­ded. He con­sist­ently put his team first and al­ways gave 100 per­cent on the field. Barnes is an ex­cep­tion­al foot­ball play­er and an in­tel­li­gent stu­dent. He will surely be re­membered as one of the top play­ers in loc­al foot­ball his­tory.

The 26th An­nu­al North­east Sports Awards Ban­quet will be held Thursday, May 19 from 6 to 10 p.m., at Cannstat­ters, loc­ated at 9130 Academy Road. Tick­ets for the North­east Sports Ban­quet cost $22 per per­son and in­clude din­ner. Win­ners do not need to pur­chase a tick­et. Their ad­mis­sion and din­ner is free of charge. Tick­et pur­chases for the North­east Sports Awards Ban­quet can be sent to: Teri Grumbrecht, Man­ager, TD Bank, 3930 Wood­haven Road, Phil­adelphia, PA 19154. Please make checks pay­able to: Frank­ford North­east Rotary Club. ••

Sports ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at 215-354-3035 or my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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