RADNOR — Two cross-county fire companies will mix it up on the football field  this weekend for some social fun.

Radnor Fire Co. will host Darby Fire Co. in the second "Battle of the Blue Route," seven on seven flag football game Saturday evening at Villanova Stadium.

The football team has been a part of the social activities at Radnor for the past ten years. Their usual opponents were Berwyn Fire Co. just up Lancaster Avenue. In 2018,  looking for other competition, Radnor turned its attention to Broomall Fire Co., with whom it answers calls on Interstate 476. Hence, the Battle of the Blue Route was born.

True, Darby is nowhere near Interstate 476. But this years’ game developed after Broomall declined a rematch. Radnor firefighters looked elsewhere and found mutual respect from softball leagues involving  the two departments.

“If I didn’t know Vince and his brother Frank from the softball league, this game probably won’t have happened," said Bob Bruno, captain at Radnor who organized the event. "They are always a great match-up. They have like 25 guys under 24 years old. I called him ( Darby Chief Vince Lanni) up and said I know we don’t ever see each other on runs but it would be cool to get together for a football game.”

“It’s just something fun, something nice to see different faces. said Lanni. “When we play Radnor in softball we know it’s going to be one of our tougher games, so guys show up to play. Hopefully its the same attitude and hopefully its a really good game. With softball its always a good game and a good time.”

In the past Radnor played at the high school but for reasons unknown that no longer was possible. At that point Villanova offered its field.

There will be 21 rules for the game including no tackling and two referees to keep the game from getting too physical.

Lana said the event was something fun to do in the winter and it helps build comaradery.

“We never see them on calls but we’re all firefighters.. You get to meet other guys you don’t see, you might have gone to fire school together,” said Bruno. “And you learn stuff. Darby cover less then a square mile but they’re busy while we cover 13 miles.”

“We remind them, you’re going to be having a beer with this guy after the game, we’re all doing the same thing, we’re all firefighters, should all be in good fun,” said Bruno. “And we all have our normal day jobs, so we can’t be getting banged up. “

The two said in addition to softball many members take part in a police fire hockey league at Ice Works in Aston but football is unusual. Lanni said some of the fire companies get together on Thanksgiving but that is also getting smaller.

Bruno said he hopes the game might spur renewed interest at other companies that might allow for more games.

“To keep it going we'll be to have a really good game so next year we play again,” Lanni said. “It’s a good thing, east meets west.”


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