A fall to remember

The fall sports winners will be honored at the 28th annual Northeast Sports Awards Banquet in the spring.

  • Boys Soccer Coach of the Year Mike Bradby.

  • Public League Football Player of the Year Jylil Reeder.

  • Co-Catholic League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Jared Ott (right)

  • Co-Catholic League Boys Soccer Player of the Year Joey Hansen (left).

  • Football Coach of the Year Mike McKay.

  • Catholic League Football Player of the Year Samir Bullock.

Ed­it­or’s note: The sea­son­al sports win­ners are chosen by the North­east Times’ sports staff based on both on-field ex­cel­lence and lead­er­ship abil­it­ies off of it.

In one of the more ac­tion-packed au­tumns the Times has seen, the time has come to name the top per­formers of the fall sea­son. 

There were count­less high­lights, from Fath­er Judge and Arch­bish­op Ry­an (girls) cap­tur­ing Cath­ol­ic League soc­cer titles, to Frank­ford’s near up­set of even­tu­al state champ St. Joe’s Prep in the city title game to vet­er­an and first-year head coaches alike tak­ing their pro­grams to new heights. 

While the cal­en­dar is soon set to turn to 2014, here is one fi­nal look at our fall win­ners, who will all be honored:

Foot­ball Coach of the Year

Mike McKay, Fath­er Judge

In 2013, the quar­ter­back of Fath­er Judge’s 1975 city cham­pi­on­ship team came full circle, tak­ing over the head coach­ing reins at his alma ma­ter. McKay, a 1976 gradu­ate of the school, was named the Cru­saders’ head coach back in April when Tommy Coyle de­par­ted for Penn Charter after 13 sea­sons. A year after go­ing win­less in the Cath­ol­ic League, McKay guided the Cru­saders to a 2-2 mark this time around. McKay sat atop a coach­ing staff that had tons of suc­cess in year one, in­clud­ing three straight shutouts on de­fense and sev­en wins over­all, four more than in Coyle’s fi­nal sea­son. Though the Cru­saders lost to La Salle in the play­offs, a new grid­iron found­a­tion has been set on Solly Av­en­ue. With sopho­more rev­el­a­tion Yeedee Thaen­rat (1,032 rush­ing yards, nine TDs) among the key re­turn­ers, Judge will look to be back in the mix for a league title in 2014.

Pub­lic League Foot­ball Play­er of the Year

Jy­lil Reed­er, Samuel Fels

While the Frank­ford Pi­on­eers had many her­oes in win­ning their second straight Pub­lic League foot­ball crown, no one play­er meant more to his team than Reed­er. Fels’ su­per­star ath­lete lit­er­ally did it all for the Pan­thers. In 2013, he caught 54 passes for 1,076 yards, rushed 92 times for 556 yards and even com­pleted 10 of 17 passes for two throw­ing TDs. He had 10 rush­ing TDs on the ground and 14 re­ceiv­ing tal­lies as well as two scores on kick­offs and one on an INT re­turn. He led the Pan­thers with four picks and ran, re­ceived or re­turned 27 of Fels’ 42 touch­downs. For his ca­reer, Reed­er fin­ished with 84 catches for 1,624 yards and 17 touch­downs. He was, without a doubt, the heart and soul of Fels’ pro­gram.

Cath­ol­ic League Foot­ball Play­er of the Year

Samir Bul­lock, Arch­bish­op Ry­an

In Samir Bul­lock’s first game in a Ry­an uni­form after trans­fer­ring from Fath­er Judge, all he did was ob­lit­er­ate the single-game school rush­ing re­cord, erupt­ing for 345 yards and erad­ic­at­ing a 23-year-old mark. In 11 games for the Raid­ers, Bul­lock ec­lipsed 200 yards on five oc­ca­sions and found the end zone 21 times for Ry­an. Des­pite an in­op­por­tune three-game los­ing streak that kept the dan­ger­ous Raid­ers out of the play­offs, 2013 rep­res­en­ted the best foot­ball sea­son of the Frank McArdle Jr. era. The three losses were Ry­an’s only of the sea­son, and Bul­lock and com­pany notched eight wins over­all. In Ry­an’s Thanks­giv­ing con­test against Wash­ing­ton, Bul­lock, need­ing 225 yards to ec­lipse 2,000 for the sea­son, ran wild for 280, fin­ish­ing the year with 2,055 yards, mak­ing him the 11th play­er in city his­tory to cross 2,000. The best part for Ry­an? Bul­lock is only a ju­ni­or, and he’ll be back in 2014.

Boys Soc­cer Coach of the Year

Mike Bradby, Arch­bish­op Ry­an

It’s not easy to step in for a pre­de­cessor who won 650 ca­reer games while turn­ing the boys soc­cer pro­gram in­to a state power­house, but that’s ex­actly what Mike Bradby did in 2013. Bradby took over for George Todt, who had coached 929 games at Ry­an between 1969-2012, win­ning 13 league titles in the pro­cess. While he didn’t win the Cath­ol­ic League, Bradby, who in­her­ited a roster with not a ton of ex­per­i­ence left on it, took his team farther than most ex­pec­ted in year one. After win­ning just three league games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and grabbing the sev­enth seed in the post­season, Bradby’s Raid­ers knocked off Con­well-Egan and up­set St. Joseph’s Prep be­fore be­ing elim­in­ated in a hard-fought 2-0 semi­final loss to even­tu­al cham­pi­on Fath­er Judge. Though he will lose seni­or All-Cath­ol­ic goalie Jared Ott, Bradby will bring back go-to seni­ors-to-be Joe Stock and Steve Gass­man, as well as a host of young tal­ent in his quest to be the first Ry­an coach not named George Todt to win a boys league title in 2014.

Pub­lic League Boys Soc­cer Play­er of the Year

Tyler Gorm­ley, North­east High School

When the be­loved Sam Feld­man re­tired as head coach fol­low­ing North­east’s 2012 league soc­cer title, nobody knew what the roster would look like the fol­low­ing sea­son. Play­ers ad­mired Feld­man so much that most of them didn’t want to play for any­one else. When Sam’s son, Kraig, ended up tak­ing the job, nearly every­body was back, in­clud­ing Gorm­ley, one of the Vik­ings’ fast­est and more tech­nic­ally gif­ted of­fens­ive weapons. And al­though North­east was up­set by Cent­ral in the title game, the Vik­ings still won 10 games, in­clud­ing eight in the league and a reg­u­lar sea­son title. After an emo­tion­al win in 2012, it was im­port­ant for Gorm­ley and com­pany to be able to give it a shot to re­peat. One of North­east’s most vis­ible ath­letes (he also moon­lights as a kick­er for the foot­ball team) and school am­bas­sad­ors, Gorm­ley will surely be missed when he gradu­ates this spring.

Cath­ol­ic League Boys Soc­cer Play­ers of the Year

Joey Hansen, Fath­er Judge; Jared Ott, Arch­bish­op Ry­an (tie)

Giv­en that soc­cer is one of the few sports that al­lows its games to fin­ish in ties, it only seemed fit­ting to give this award to two bey­ond-de­serving re­cip­i­ents. In help­ing guide a seni­or-laden Fath­er Judge team to a 20-2 re­cord, as well as league and city cham­pi­on­ships, Hansen was an All-State and All-Amer­ic­an se­lec­tion for the Cru­saders. A mid­field­er who does way more for his team than just score goals, Hansen, a La Salle Uni­versity com­mit, was right­fully re­cog­nized as one of the coun­try’s top high school soc­cer mid­field­ers. As for Ott, he kept a pro­gram un­der­go­ing a ma­jor facelift afloat with his fant­ast­ic play in goal, as well as his yeo­man lead­er­ship away from the field. In a con­ver­sa­tion with the Times on the eve of the play­offs, Ott spoke of how im­port­ant it was to fin­ish his ca­reer with the Raid­ers, in­stead of trans­fer­ring else­where after Todt re­tired. Judge sopho­more Kev­in Ceno, who scored on him in the league semi­finals, called Ott a “mon­ster” in net, and Bradby called his keep­er “the best in the state.” After an un­ex­pec­ted trip to the semi­finals, it’s hard to ar­gue with either as­sess­ment.

Girls Soc­cer Coach of the Year

Mickey Mc­Groarty, St. Hubert

Throughout his le­gendary ca­reer as the head coach of the Bam­bies’ soc­cer pro­gram, Mickey Mc­Groarty has defined con­sist­ency. When the fall comes each year, a few things are guar­an­teed: the leaves will change col­ors, the tem­per­at­ure will be­gin to drop and Mc­Groarty will have St. Hubert in the soc­cer play­offs. While Arch­bish­op Ry­an head coach Ry­an Haney won his second con­sec­ut­ive Cath­ol­ic League crown, nobody has sus­tained such ex­cel­lence in such a chal­len­ging league longer than the man they af­fec­tion­ately call “Mick.” Last sea­son, Mc­Groarty reached the 400-win mile­stone at the school; in 2013, while guid­ing a mostly in­ex­per­i­enced team, Mc­Groarty still coached the Bam­bies to 10 wins, in­clud­ing sev­en in the league, and an­oth­er play­off berth. Though the Bam­bies fell in the quarterfi­nals, it’s a priv­ilege to be­stow this award to someone who has made it his life’s work to mold high school stu­dent-ath­letes and pre­pare them for their lives after St. Hubert.

Pub­lic League Girls Soc­cer Play­er of the Year

Re­becca Gil­borges, Frank­lin Towne

It’s pretty easy for Re­becca Gil­borges to fly un­der the radar. After all, her twin sis­ter, Rachel, racked up more than 80 ca­reer goals as a for­ward on Bri­anna O’Don­nell’s Towne girls soc­cer team that has now won three straight Pub­lic League titles. Un­like her sis­ter, Rachel plays de­fense, a po­s­i­tion that’s im­port­ance of­ten goes over­looked in soc­cer. Re­becca Gil­borges anchored Towne’s back line as a cap­tain and four-year starter, where she star­ted at sweep­er in 73 straight games and helped hold league op­pon­ents sco­re­less dur­ing a 26-game stretch. As her head coach said, “Over her ca­reer, she has proven her­self time and again not only as  a tal­en­ted ath­lete, but also an ex­cep­tion­al per­son.” 

Cath­ol­ic League Girls Soc­cer Play­er of the Year

Kaitlyn Mc­Fad­den, Arch­bish­op Ry­an

Stick­ing with the de­fens­ive theme, the Rag­dolls’ ju­ni­or sweep­er fur­ther proves how im­port­ant a lock­down back line is in soc­cer. An All-State se­lec­tion on de­fense, Mc­Fad­den’s Rag­dolls marched to a 21-2 re­cord in 2013, win­ning the pro­gram’s second straight Cath­ol­ic League title. For the sea­son, Ry­an al­lowed just 11 goals, thanks in large part to Mc­Fad­den and linemates Taylor Adair and Tayah Nau­dascher, as well as goalie Jazmin Gonza­lez. Mc­Fad­den, of­ten the smal­lest play­er on the field, also plays the fiercest, and she very rarely makes a mis­take back there. The best part for head coach Ry­an Haney? Mc­Fad­den — and al­most every­one else — will be back to try to bring a three-peat to a school that has be­come a league power­house over the years. •• 

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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