Over the next couple weeks we will take you inside training camp of your favorite Delco team. For full reports on every team, make sure to check out our annual football preview guide, due out Aug. 30.
Our good friend Harry Chaykun caught up with TE Brandon Waller and head coach Joe Gallagher at Haverford High camp.
1. Richmond-bound Waller ready for big year
The 2011 Haverford High football season ended with players, coaches and fans storming on to A.G. Cornog Field to congratulate junior Brandon Waller for the sack that ended the Fords’ 21-16 Thanksgiving Day victory over Upper Darby.
Since then, Waller has made a trip to Shippensburg University to compete in the PIAA Class AAA Track and Field Championships, and has moved down the Fords’ offensive line to tight end.
He also has decided that after graduation next June, he will move to Virginia for at least four years.
“Last month I committed to the University of Richmond,” the 6-3, 235-pound Waller said. “It was for a combination of reasons. They have a good football program and great academics.
Waller chose Richmond over Temple, Massachusetts, Colgate, Lafayette and Bucknell. He hopes to study medicine after he finishes at Richmond, and he would like to work in orthopedics.
His work these days is getting familiar with the tight end position as Haverford prepares for Saturday’s scrimmage with West Chester Henderson, the season opener Aug. 31 against Council Rock North and the Central League opener at home with Ridley Sept. 7.
“I want to play wherever the team needs me,” Waller said.
At Richmond, Waller could find himself playing linebacker.
“They have a lot of new coaches this year and they’re putting in new schemes down there,” Waller said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them play when they come up to Villanova this season.”
Last spring, Waller earned All-Delco honors in track and field, turning in the best throw in Delaware County (203 feet) in the javelin and claiming the fourth-place medal at the state meet. He also competed in states in the shot put.
2. Gallagher still a Bulldog at heartHaverford High coach Joe Gallagher remains loyal to his alma mater, St. James High of Chester, which closed in 1993. Gallagher was an all-state defensive end for the 1972 Bulldogs team, that posted a 12-0 record, including wins over Bishop Kenrick (29-27) for the Catholic League championship in a game played before more than 12,000 fans at Villanova Stadium, and 42-0 over Public League champ Frankford in the Philadelphia City Title Game at Franklin Field.
Gallagher listened intently as a Daily Times correspondent who covered St. James games during the 1972 season told some of his players about Gallagher and his teammates and mentioned how mention will be made of those Bulldogs each week of this season in the Daily Times Instant Replay feature, which highlights what was going on in high school football in Delaware County 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago,
“40 years ago,” Gallagher said with a smile and a shake of his head as the memories came rushing back. “My last high school game was on Franklin Field, and that was only 12 years after the Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers on that field to win the NFL championship. I’m sure we were on the spot where Chuck Bednarik tackled Jimmy Taylor and then sat on him as the clock ran out.”
Tony Serge, an All-Delco running back on the 1972 St. James team who played collegiately at Army and Villanova and has lived in California for a number of years, and Gallagher got together recently.
“He was home visiting his mother, and it was great to see him again,” Gallagher said. “He really looks good. He was a great running back.”
3. Brotherly bond
Gallagher spent a week this summer in suburban Detroit visiting his older brother, Frank, who also was an all-state lineman at St. James High.
Frank, who played at the University of North Carolina, was an offensive lineman with the Detroit Lions for most of his NFL career, then finished up with the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he was a starting guard in the 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.
“Frank did well in business out in Michigan and retired a few years ago,” Gallagher said. “Then he bought an old warehouse and built a baseball academy. He coached a team of college players and they won their league championship this summer.”