CHESTER–The scene at Widener University Thursday night was a madhouse—and deservedly so.
Fans from all over descended upon Leslie C. Quick Stadium to watch the finest senior football players from the area compete in the 36th Annual Hero Bowl.
The players were divided into two teams: the East, composed of players from the Delaware Valley and Catholic leagues, and the West, with players from the Central and Inter-Ac leagues.
Many of the players will go on to play at the college level, but the Hero Bowl serves as the last chance for these talented players to strap on their high school team helmets.
However, the night was about more than just football.
The all-star showcase benefits the Hero Scholarship Fund of Delaware County Inc., founded in 1977 for children of police, firefighters, and emergency service personnel who died on the job.
Yet, for just a few hours, the focus was solely on football and the players put on quite a show.
The East came out on fire, scoring on their second play with a run from George Walker.
After the West offense struggled on their first possession, the East jumped out to a 14-0 lead when Chester wide out Anthony Jackson ran in another score.
The West defense stepped up with key stops, led by the play of Haverford School defensive end Grant Jamgochian, and the offense heated up with two straight scores, to cut the East lead to one, 14-13.
One of the most impressive plays of the game occurred when Haverford High School defensive end Dan Young blocked an East punt and Walker recovered it for the East, dashing nearly thirty yards for a first down.
Walker’s second touchdown of the game gave the East a 21-13 advantage, and they built the lead to 28-13 after a beautiful pass from Sun Valley quarterback Billy Hudson to Jackson.
Throughout the entire game, James Chakey of the Haverford School scrambled for solid yardage, and a touchdown run by the quarterback put the West down just 28-20 going into the locker room at halftime.
Both offenses struggled to score in the third quarter, but Cardinal O’Hara running back Jay Watkins scored on a run late in the quarter to end the drought and give the East a 34-20 lead.
Watkins scored again on a catch and run from Hudson for the East to build the lead to 40-20, but a great catch by Marple Newtown receiver Joey Pham set up a touchdown pass from Chakey to Garnet Valley wide receiver A.J. DePietro.
Another receiving touchdown by tight end Ryan Kelley of Harriton capped the comeback effort of the West as they fell to the East, 40-32.
The offensive MVPs of the game were Walker for the East and Chakey for the West. On the defensive end, the MVP trophies went to Cody Sutton of Monsignor Bonner for the East and Jamgochian for the West.