Maloney stars in final outing as Quaker

Ryan Maloney (left) was a two-way star for Penn Charter last year. CONTRIBUTED

Ryan Maloney has always been a good talker.

Maloney, a senior at Penn Charter High School, could always be counted on to provide some words of wisdom for his teammates on both the football team and the basketball team.

He was a captain on the football team and his leadership helped the Quakers finish second in the tough Inter-Ac League.

So his teammates always know Maloney can offer words of wisdom.

But on graduation day, his entire class will get to hear him because he was selected to be a speaker during commencement.

“I was elected by my whole class,” said Maloney, who lives in Parkwood. “First they pick you to speak, and then the top three get verified by the faculty. There will be two speakers. I’m glad I got picked, I’ll enjoy doing it.”

Penn Charter has meant a lot to Maloney, who maintained a 3.5 grade point average in the classroom. But the best part of his high school career might be athletics.

In the winter, Maloney is a big man on the Quakers’ basketball team. And as much as he loved playing basketball, his true sport was football.

He has good reason to love the sport. He was one of the top players in the Inter-Ac, where he starred at defensive end and tight end.

For his efforts, he was selected to play last month in the city All-Star game where he competed with the Non-Public squad in a game against the Public team. It wasn’t a success in terms of winning, Public beat Non-Public 14-13, but Maloney proved to be one of the best players in the city.

He notched a game-high nine tackles, which earned him Defensive MVP of the Non-Public squad. Fellow Penn Charter senior and Northeast resident Terence Thompson, who missed the season with an injury, made six stops for the Non-Public team.

“It was great being out there with everyone,” Maloney said. “I never played at Northeast before. For the Judge guys and the Ryan guys it was just another game there, but I didn’t play there because we didn’t play our games there. I was happy to get a chance to play there. I got to play with Shane Dooley, I’ve known him for a long time.

“I played most of the game at defensive end. I played in another all-star game and there were a lot of people there, so I didn’t play as much as I would have liked. This was great. It was like a football game. I wanted to win, but it wasn’t really about that. It was more about going out and having fun.”

It also showed Maloney that he is completely ready for college football.

Toward the end of basketball season, Maloney suffered an injury when he went up for a rebound and came down on the foot of another player. It took some time for him to get back to full strength, but after his strong effort in the all-star game, Maloney knows he’s 100 percent and ready to get back in the game.

“I tore ligaments in my foot, so it was great to get back,” Maloney said. “I played in the East-West game, so that prepared me to play here, but I was able to play the whole game and the foot felt great after the game. I was able to do everything. Just went out and played with no problems.”

That gives him confidence heading into the summer. In a few short months, he’ll be headed to Widener where he’ll continue his football career. There, he’ll likely play defense, either defensive end or linebacker.

“I’m really happy with Widener, it’s good for academics and football,” Maloney said. “The defensive coordinator is Dan Connor, he was the all-time leading tackler at Penn State. I know I can learn a lot from him.

“I’m just grateful to have a chance to play. Division I? Division II? It really didn’t matter to me. I wanted to have an opportunity and I have a chance to play up there soon. And there are some really talented players there. It’s exciting.”

Before he gets back on the field, he plans on spending his summer getting faster and stronger, and he also hopes to make a few trips down the shore. He’ll also help out his father with their landscaping business.

He’s excited about everything the future holds, but he’ll always miss his days at Penn Charter.

“I loved the school,” Maloney said. “It was hard, I had to work for the grades, but it’s such a great school, academically, but I learned from my mistakes and did pretty well.

“I’m going to miss the people most. The students and the faculty. And I’ll really miss the coaches. I had a great relationship with them. They really care. I’ll miss everything about it. It was a great school for me.”