Sports Flashback: Upper Darby Football Hall of Fame Banquet

The 1967 Upper Darby football coaching staff that will be honored on October 17, 2015 for leading the Royals to the Central League title. They include (from left) George Bennett, Frank Potter, Chuck Leonard (head coach), Joe Kennedy, and Duke Snyder.

The fall of 1967 was the beginning of a new high school football season in Delaware County and with that a new league was established. It was called the Central League and in that inaugural season, Upper Darby and Haverford High School finished as co-champions.

For Upper Darby, it all came down to the Thanksgiving Day game against arch rival Haverford. With weather that was described as cold, windy, muddy, and heavy rains, the Royals traveled down Lansdowne Avenue to Haverford High to play the Fords, who only had one league loss and had already clinched a tie for the league championship.

Upper Darby had two league setbacks to Conestoga and Penncrest, but the team that no one thought could win, came from behind to defeat Haverford, 10-6, to guarantee them a tie for the Central League title.

On Saturday, October 17, 2015, that outstanding Upper Darby squad and its coaching staff plus other players and individuals who have contributed to the rich football tradition at Upper Darby, will be inducted into the Second Annual Upper Darby High School Football Hall of Fame.

Greg Lingo, a former football player at the school and the head of the Hall of Fame Committee, wrote, “The purpose of this new hall of fame is to acknowledge Upper Darby alumni, coaches and teams that have made the greatest football contributions while at Upper Darby or in their career.

“It is also a way to celebrate our past in hopes that the kids of tomorrow will reach for greatness.”

Lingo also added, “The establishing of a hall of fame will also create stronger alumni and school bonds and more support for the football program.”

The banquet this year will be held at the Oaks Ballroom at 511 West Oak Lane in Glenolden; with the cocktail hour beginning at 6 pm. Tickets are $60 per person. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please contact Greg Lingo at 302-367-6648 or by e-mail at greg@cornellventures.com.

Besides members of the 1967 team, there will also be three of that team’s coaching staff in attendance, Duke Snyder, George Bennett, and Frank Potter. At age 92, head coach Chuck Leonard will unfortunately not be able to be there.

The eight other players being inducted that night are the following:

Tony DiMidio, who was from the class of 1960, had a great career at West Chester State before being drafted by both the New York Giants (NFL) and the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL. He chose the Giants but got injured and ended up with the Chiefs, playing as a lineman in the first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers. He later coached for many years in high school and college.

From the class of 1953 is Bob Adelizzi, who was injured during the Royals’ 1952 undefeated season, but made up for it while at Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth, he was named first team All-Ivy, second team All-East, and honorable mention All-American for both the 1955 and 56 seasons.

As a captain in the United States Marine Corps (1957-1961), he also played for the Quantico Marines in San Diego. Bob then went to the University of San Diego Law School and became an active real estate lawyer before becoming the CEO of two California banks and the Chairman of a real estate development company.

Paul Shepherd, who was the first Upper Darby quarterback to be named first team All-Delco, was also the Royals’ only Maxwell Award winner as the high school “Player of the Year”.

Paul passed for 2,950 yards and 27 touchdowns while playing for the Royals, but without his brother Bill’s support and receiving skills, he would never had been able to achieve the recognition he has over the years.

Ken Andreozzi, who was a teammate of Shepherd, was a first team All-Delco defensive back in 1976. As a senior, he registered 45 tackles and six interceptions on defense; while averaging 5.4 yards per carry and 16 yards per kickoff return.

After graduation, Ken played baseball at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (currently Philadelphia University), where he started every game in all four years. Presently, he has specialized in the equipment finance industry and has made a life in Bucks County with his family.

Despite missing his sophomore and junior years because of injuries, Robert O’Toole rebounded his senior season, leading the Royals in tackles and interceptions as an All-Central free safety.

At Widener, he led the Pioneers to three consecutive MAC titles and a National Championship in 1981. Currently, Robert serves as the President/General Manager of Miwon North America and lives with his family in Downingtown.

Jimmy O’Toole, who is Robert’s younger brother, was the Royals’ leading rusher for two years (1979-1980) and an All-suburban defensive back before attending Penn, where he led the Quakers to three consecutive Ivy League titles.

Tony D’Andrea, class of 1980, took a non-conventional approach to playing football following his time on the Upper Darby gridiron. Not wanting his football career to end, he abandoned the carpentry trade he studied at Vo-Tech, took the SAT’s and walked on at Division III powerhouse Widener, where he was a member of the 1981 National Championship team. Today, Tony is a CPA and Financial Planner and resides in Tennessee with his family.

Last on the list of inductees is Robert McLaughlin, who simply put is the most prolific passer in Upper Darby and Lock Haven University history. The two-time first team All-Delco quarterback still has a majority of the Royals’’ passing records and holds all the passing records for a season and career at Lock Haven.

The three-time first team All-PSAC and two-time Harlon Hill and all-American candidate still ranks in the top ten in PSAC and all divisions of college football. Today, Robert is senior vice president and Director of Mortgages for Bryn Mawr Trust.

Besides the banquet, all Royal alumni are invited to the Upper Darby/Radnor football game at Memorial Field the night before, Friday, October 16, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Richard Pagano is a sport historian who has written two books and over 1,600 columns in the newspapers for the Delco News Network. He is also a member of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association and is on the Board of Directors of the “Sports Legends of Delaware County”. He can be reached by e-mail at rp1751@aol.com.

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