By Don Seeley
Zameer McDowell will get an opportunity to erase a bad memory – the lasting memories from he and his Spring-Ford teammates’ final game last season.
That loss was to Coatesville in the District 1-Class AAAA football championship ... at Downingtown West High School.
And that’s exactly where McDowell, along with Pottsgrove’s Madison O’Connor, will be lining up on Sunday, May 5 to play in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star Game.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound McDowell, who was a tight end and defensive end for the Rams, and the 6-foot-7, 332-pound O’Connor, an offensive tackle for the Falcons, will be the area’s only two participants in the game, which benefits a variety of charities.
The East-West game, first held in 2001 at Mansion Park in Altoona, features some of the top players in the state.
McDowell was selected as one of three defensive ends — the other two being Council Rock North’s Curtis Cothran and Wilson-West Lawn’s Matt Rothrock. Last season, he was credited with 71 tackles, including seven sacks, and had 13 quarterback-hurries. He also broke up eight passes, intercepted one, recovered a fumble and blocked three kicks. On offense, he caught 17 passes for 280 yards and five touchdowns, including two that proved to be game-winners. He was selected to the All-Pioneer Athletic Conference team and The Mercury’s All-Area team, and named The Mercury’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Three players from the Coatesville team that denied McDowell and Spring-Ford that district title — quarterback Emmett Hunt, wideout Chris Jones and offensive lineman Andrew Baker — will be part of the East lineup, too.
O’Connor, a four-year starter for Pottsgrove, anchored the offensive line that led the Falcons to the Pioneer Athletic Conference title. O’Connor’s work up front enabled the Falcons to average an area-best 315 yards rushing. He was named All-Pioneer Athletic Conference — earning the league’s inaugural Bill Rogers Memorial Award as the league’s outstanding lineman. He was also selected to The Mercury’s All-Area team.
One of seven offensive linemen, O’Connor will be joined up front by Baker, La Salle’s Pat Hoffman, Lower Dauphin’s Jimmy Marks, Manheim Central’s Jordan Bowman. Muhlenberg’s Zach Duffy and Valley View’s Anthony Mengoni.
Cothran (6-5, 245) signed with Penn State, while Rothrock (6-2, 237) signed with Lafayette. Hoffman (6-4, 255), the only offensive lineman thus far to commit to a Division I program, will play for Navy. ... Other District 1 players selected to the game were Downingtown East quarterback Kyle Lauletta, Downingtown West tight end Justin Schmitt, Conestoga linebacker Riley Pritchett, and Henderson defensive back Spenser Rymiszewski. ... The East will practice at Downingtown West, while the West team will practice at North Hills High School in Pittsburgh. ... The game kicks off at 2 p.m.