PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville senior linebacker/tight end Ryan Pannella made quite a name for himself during his football career that recently ended at the scholastic level.
Pannella helped lead the Phantoms to several successful seasons in the Pioneer Athletic Conference as well as a couple of District 1-AAA playoff berths. Pannella, a 6-0, 180-pound inside linebacker, registered 200 individual tackles in each of the last two seasons. This fall, Pannella also caught 23 passes from quarterback Chris Demey for 419 yards (18.2-yard average) while also providing strong blocking from his tight end position.
Pannella has been recognized for all of his hard work both on and off the playing field. He recently received a couple of special awards for his outstanding all-around contributions on and off the gridiron.
Pannella was named one of five Pottstown area seniors to receive the Mini Max High School Awards by Ron Jaworski, president of the Maxwell Football Club. Pannella also received one of four awardspresented by the Norristown Chapter of the Pennsylvania Football Officials Association for sportsmanship.
Pannella joined PAC-10 quarterbacks Hank Coyne of Spring-Ford, Brandon Bossard of Methacton, Tory Hudgins of Pottsgrove and Sage Reinhart of Pottstown as Mini Max recipients. A total of 51 players from the eastern half of Pennsylvania, representing Districts 1, 3, 11 and 12, were selected based on their coaches’ nominations and criteria beyond their achievements on the football field, such as academics, other school activities and community service.
The seniors will be honored Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Drexelbrook Catering Balldroom in Drexel Hill.
The Maxwell Football Club will also announce that evening a player from the prestigious group as its winner of the Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year.
“It’s something you work for to be a good person and a good player,” said Pannella. “To be awarded that much for the extra time really makes me happy.”
Pannella, a three-year starter for head coach Bill Furlong, also had two sacks in 2012 and one forced fumble.
He hopes to continue playing football at the collegiate level, possibly in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
“I am very happy for the team on getting where we wanted to be,” said Pannella. “We are all going out on a happy note.”
Phoenixville won its first two postseason games last year before falling in the district finals to Pottsgrove. This year the Phantoms dropped a first-round to contest to eventual district champion Interboro.
Pannella, the son of Steve and Chrissie Pannella, carries a 3.7 grade point average in the classroom. He received the Sportsmanship Award, which is presented to the player who stood out among his peers by demonstrating the highest ideals of sportsmanship on the field with his leadership, clean play, language, support of teammates and positive actions toward opponents. Tom Drakeford made the presentation to Pannella.
Coyne, a 6-2, 180-pounder, broke nearly every passing mark in the Spring-Ford record book under head coach Chad Brubaker. In his third year at the controls, Coyne led Spring-Ford to the PAC-10 title and the program’s first postseason appearance a year ago. This season he helped guide the Rams to the District 1-AAAA finals before a loss to Coatesville ended Spring-Ford’s best season ever. The Rams upended Garnet valley, Ridley and Pennridge on their route to the championship game.
Coyne, the son of Phoenixville teacher and Phoenixville and Owen J. Roberts coach Hank Coyne, has won more games than any quarterback in Spring-Ford history. That includes all the quarterbacks who represented the school following the formation of the jointure in 1955. He also finished high among all the quarterbacks in the history of the Pottstown area.
Coyne threw for 1,880 yards and 23 touchdowns prior to the 59-28 loss to Coatesville in the district title game at Downingtown. Coyne capped his career by finishing among the top five in four of the PAC-10’s career passing categories - second in completions (248) and yards (3,593), third in touchdowns (44) and fourth in attempts (465).
Coyne also finished in the top three in four overall career passing categories - first in completions (386) and attempts (703), second in yards (5,513) and tied for third in touchdowns (62).
Also honored by the officials were Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel, Spring-Ford senior Sydney McGill and Upper Perkiomen senior quarterback Dylan Wesley.
McDaniel was presented the Silver Whistle Award, which is given to the school for its handling of game-day functions, ranging from the treatment of officials to the behavior of its players, coaches and fans. Spring-Ford has been presented the Silver Whistle Award 10 times since 2000 and 12 times overall.
McGill the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff McGill, was presented the Walter Gould Award, which is presented to an individual who works unselfishly and without compensation to assist their school or local youth league. McGill has been the RAms’ “ball girl” for three seasons. The late Mr. Gould was a Phoenixville resident and longtime official.
The officials also dedicated their program to the late Robert “Bob” Hogga, who touched and impacted countless young athletes in the Phoenixville community for more than 20 years before he passed away last July.