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Fall’s finest: Northeast Times names award winners

It was nice to be back to normal.

Sure, it wasn’t completely normal due to the pandemic, but the fall season was much closer to a real high school sports season than we had since the winter of 2020. And just like always, our teams were among the best in the area.

In football, we had a Public League champion, we had three teams play for city championships and almost everyone had a taste of playoff football.

And in soccer, we had finalists in both the Public and Catholic leagues championships in boys and girls.

It wasn’t easy picking winners in all of these sports, but after careful consideration, we have a great list of athletes and coaches.

These winners, along with the best of the winter, spring and overall award winners, will be honored May 12 at the annual sports banquet, which is returning after two years of being canceled due to the pandemic.

Winners for the winter sports, spring sports and overall winners will be announced later in the school year.

Here are this year’s fall award winners:


Joey Mastrangelo starred on both sides of the ball for Archbishop Ryan. PHOTO: MARY DASILVA

Catholic League Player of the Year

Joey Mastrangelo, Archbishop Ryan

The senior wide receiver and defensive back made plays every time he got his hands on the ball. Whether it was on a catch, an interception or on special teams, Mastrangelo made people miss and it’s a big reason why he scored nine touchdowns on the season.

At receiver he caught 19 passes for 541 yards and six touchdowns, on defense he picked off seven passes and scored twice and he also returned a kick for a score. He also recovered two fumbles.

Behind his heroics, the Raiders went from not winning a game last year to winning six games this year.

Public League Player of the Year

Ken Talley, Northeast

The edge rusher was one of the top players in the Public League and was a huge reason for the Vikings winning the Public League 6A championship and meeting St. Joe’s Prep in the District 12 championship.

The 6-foot-3, 243-pound athlete also saw time at linebacker and anchored a Northeast defense that recorded three shutouts among its six wins.

Talley has been a star since arriving at Northeast, and it appears he’ll be a star after graduating. He got offers from many Division I schools, and will continue his football career next year at Penn State.

Damon Brockington led Frankford to the Public League Class 5A championship. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Coach of the Year

Damon Brockington, Frankford

The former star linebacker at Frankford proved he could coach, too, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Under the first-year head coach, the Pioneers went 10-1 on the year, 6-0 during the regular season, and their only setback was in the District 5A Public League championship, where they fell to state finalist Imhotep Charter.

Among their 10 wins, the Pioneers recorded seven shutouts, and they picked up an impressive 14-7 victory over Cheltenham on Thanksgiving.

Joey Phillips has been the starting goalie at Ryan since his freshman year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Boys Soccer

Catholic League Player of the Year

Joey Phillips, Archbishop Ryan

The Raiders were the stingiest team in the Catholic League in terms of allowing goals, their goalkeeper was a huge reason for it.

Phillips, a junior captain, surrendered 11 goals in 12 Catholic League games, 20 in 20 games overall. He recorded nine shutouts and only seven goals in 11 regular season games.

He was a first-team All-Catholic selection and the second-leading vote-getter in the league.

He’ll return next year to anchor the defense again.

Public League Player of the Year

Carill Asanji, Abraham Lincoln

The Railsplitters had a surprising season that ended with Lincoln playing in both the Public League championship game and the District 12 Class 6A championship game. They lost in both games, but it did little to take the luster off a great season.

The heroes were plentiful, but Asanji seemed to always come through when the team needed him.

He scored 12 goals and added eight assists, and according to his coach, he was one of the best leaders on the team.

With the junior midfielder returning next year, the Railsplitters should be a force in the Public League again next season.

Coach of the Year

John Dunlop, Father Judge

Father Judge had a talented club, but Dunlop did a great job putting it all together and helping the Crusaders hang tough in a very competitive Catholic League.

The Crusaders advanced to the Catholic League championship and hung very tough against La Salle in the championship game.

Judge went 8-2-1 in the balanced Catholic League and the young Crusaders will once again be one of the top teams in the Catholic League next year.

Girls Soccer

Gianna Rivera said it didn’t take long to get acclimated playing with her new teammates at Ryan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Catholic League Player of the Year

Gianna Rivera

Archbishop Ryan

Whenever the Ragdolls needed a big goal, they turned to their striker who always seemed to come through.

The skilled sophomore led the Ragdolls in goals and was one of the top players in the Catholic League. On the season, she netted 22 goals and added three assists.

Her scoring was a big reason Ryan advanced to the Catholic League championship. She also had a huge hand in helping Ryan advance to the semifinals of the state tournament.

Rivera will return to the Ragdolls next year to lead Ryan in its quest to reclaim the Catholic League crown.

Jenna Slavin led Franklin Towne Charter in scoring this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Public League Player of the Year

Jenna Slavin

Franklin Towne Charter

Slavin has been one of the top players in the Public League since she arrived at Franklin Towne Charter. She’s helped the Warriors make the championship game in all three seasons she played, finishing runner-up as a freshman and senior, and winning it as a sophomore. The Warriors sat out last year due to the pandemic.

Slavin scored 10 goals this year, giving her 40 for her career, and was a big reason for the Warriors advancing to the Public League championship game

Coach of the Year

Deb Ounan

Franklin Towne Charter is always among the top teams in the Public League, but this year, the team had a lot of work to do. After winning the Public League championship in 2019, the Warriors sat out last year due to coronavirus. While most of the Public League competed in the spring of 2021, the Warriors opted out, which put them a year behind their competition.

Still, Franklin Towne advanced to the Public League championship where it fell to Central.

Franklin Towne has been quite successful under Ounan, making the finals in three of the last four years and winning the title two years ago. Last year, when they sat out, was the only season the Warriors didn’t advance to the championship.

Samuel Fels coach Mark Heimerdinger retired from coaching and teaching in October. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Special honoree

Mark Heimerdinger

The former Dougherty and Fels basketball coach was very successful in both stops, but his record doesn’t scratch the surface for what he did for his teams.

Heimerdinger compiled a 546-389 record during his 38 years coaching, which is good enough for fifth all time in Philadelphia high school basketball history.

He coached a pair of NBA players in Cuttino Mobley and Kyle Lowry, and he had the ability to make great players dynamic, good players great and average players good.

He guided Dougherty to the Catholic League championship game three times and he helped Fels, where he was also the athletic director, stay competitive in the Public League.

Heimerdinger retired prior to the 2020-2021 season.

All of winners will be honored at the Northeast Times sports banquet, which will be held May 12 at the FOP Lodge 5, 11630 Caroline Road. For tickets, visit nmg.ticketleap.com/hs36. Award winners receive free tickets to the event.

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